By now you’ve heard the news about whales. PhysOrg has this article from a week ago: Ancient four-legged whales once roamed land and sea, which says, with our bold font:
Whales belong in the ocean, right? That may be true today, but cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises) actually descended from four legged mammals that once lived on land. New research published in Current Biology reports the discovery in Peru of an entirely new species of ancestral whale that straddled land and sea, providing insight into the weird evolutionary journey of our mammalian friends.
This is the research paper they’re talking about: An Amphibious Whale from the Middle Eocene of Peru Reveals Early South Pacific Dispersal of Quadrupedal Cetaceans. You can read it online without a subscription, but we’ll stay with PhysOrg, which says:
The oldest prehistoric whale fossils date from 53m years ago, and were found at sites in the northern Indian Himalayas, and present day Pakistan. The fossil record tells the story of a gradual transition from wading to living most of the time in deeper water, like otters or beavers, while retaining the ability to walk on land.
Around 42 million years ago, and still land-worthy, the newly discovered Peregocetus pacificus [hereinafter P. pacificus] set off on an epic journey to the other side of the world. In the Middle Eocene era (roughly 48 to 38m years ago), Africa and South America were half as far apart, but that is still an impressive swim? for an animal less than three metres long that was not completely adapted to marine life.
And here’s one last excerpt from the end:
Modern whales have of course long since returned to the oceans from which the first land mammals’ distant ancestors emerged. All that remains of their evolutionary foray onto land are tiny remnants of bone attached to the pelvis in some species, an anatomical echo of their ancestors’ land adventures. But who’s to say where they’ll be roaming in another 50m years?
Obviously, that wasn’t very biblical, so it’s unlikely to appeal to creationists. The first reaction we’ve seen is from Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. Their headline is Peruvian Walking Whale. It was written by Troy Lacey, AIG’s correspondence representative — whatever that is. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
In addition to the label of protocetid [see Protocetus], the authors of the paper have also speculated on a migratory route from Asia to Africa to South America and North America for Peregocetus. Even allowing for the researchers’ contention that the distance between Africa and South America was half that of what it is today (due to subsequent tectonic movement) the global expansion of an animal they speculate was basically a huge sea otter seems far-fetched. [Except, of course, for the animals released from Noah’s ark.] Today’s marine otters live in either Alaska/British Columbia or California and don’t seem inclined to venture hundreds or thousands of miles over the open ocean. Why would a coastal semi-aquatic mammal (about the size of a large walrus) suddenly decide to migrate such great distances? We also must remember that this is a single (and partial) skeleton of one animal. That tells us nothing about where it lived or where it migrated from. What it tells us is where it was buried.
Those hell-bound scientists have no evidence at all (except for a fossil that AIG can’t begin to explain). After some other nit-picking, the creation scientist says:
From a creation perspective [Hee hee!], this is a post-flood mammal, possibly semi-aquatic, but also perhaps not. The web-foot interpretation is based solely on speculation, and there are other animals with similar morphologies which are completely terrestrial. … But whatever the case, it is an air-breathing (at least) partial land-dwelling animal, the original created kind of which would have been created on day 6, one day after the whales were created on day 5 of creation week.
Yeah. It probably flopped around after being released from the ark, and then somehow ended up in Peru. After some more babbling, Hambo’s creation scientist finishes with this:
Despite all the hoopla, we don’t have a walking whale here. What we have is a terrestrial or semi-aquatic mammal that has gone extinct probably during or at the end of the ice age.
That explains everything. It’s not a whale ancestor. There’s no evolution, and no millions of years. All the evidence shows is creation week, the Flood, and nothing else. So send Hambo all your money, get a lifetime pass for the ark, and hang out there for the rest of your days. It makes more sense than anything else.
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