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There are gaps between land mammals and whales (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (There are gaps between land mammals and whales (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CC216.1:

There are gaps between land mammals and whales.

Source:


CreationWiki response:

The wording of this claim is actual rather generous. The main link (Indocetus ramani) given by Talk.Origins is too fragmented to do anything with. Everything before it is a land animal or semi-aquatic and everything after it is a whale. So there is at least one really big gap that Indocetus ramani at best turns into two gaps.

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The transitional sequence from a land mammal to whales is quite robust.

In actuality the only thing this sequence really has going for it is that it seems to be naturally in the correct order.

a. Pakicetus inachus: latest Early Eocene

While Pakicetus is known mainly from skulls, a partial skeleton has also been found showing that Pakicetus was mainly a land animal. There is nothing transitional about it. It is not even a mosaic.

b. Ambulocetus natans: Early to Middle Eocene, above Pakicetus. It had short front limbs and hind legs adapted for swimming; undulating its spine up and down helped its swimming. It apparently could walk on land as well as swim.

Ambulocetus natans is based on only fragmented evidence. While a more complete skeleton has been found, even that lacks some critical parts, like the shoulder and upper forelimb. This makes the whole reconstruction questionable at best, but as we have seen, evolutionists do not require much in the way of fossil remains to reconstruct an animal in a manner favorable to evolution. Since the front legs are incomplete it is likely that Talk.Origins' description is more a result of evolutionary assumptions than reality.

The only real similarities that Ambulocetus natans has with whales is nose features that allowed it to swallow underwater, and ear structure that allowed them to hear well underwater. Ambulocetus natans seems to have spent much time both on land and under water, but that does not make it transitional.

c. Indocetus ramani: earliest Middle Eocene

Indocetus ramani is known only from partial remains, including the skull, pelvic bones, vertebrae, and parts of hind limb bones. There is no other information about Indocetus ramani, not even a description of why evolutionists consider it to be transitional.

d. Dorudon: the dominant cetacean of the late Eocene. Their tiny hind limbs were not involved in locomotion. e. Basilosaurus: middle Eocene and younger. A fully aquatic whale with structurally complete legs

Dorudon and Basilosaurus seem to be varieties of the same created kind.

As in "modern" whales, the so-called legs help with reproduction and have nothing to do with feet. The designation of the rear appendages as vestigial legs is based purely on the assumption of evolutionary change.

f. an early baleen whale with its blowhole far forward and some structural features found in land animals but not later whales (Stricherz 1998).

The far forward position of the blowhole on this fossil simply show the past variety among baleen whales. The rib bones to vertebrae attachments and length of arm bones are more impressive but there is no indication of them in "older" as well as "later" whales, so no hint of real transition.

The whale's closest living relative is the hippopotamus. A fossil group known as anthracotheres links hippos with whales.

Anthracotheres only links hippos with whales if one accepts both transitions.

The common ancestor of whales and hippos likely was a primitive artiodactyl (cloven-hoofed mammal); ankle bones from the primitive whales Artiocetus and Rodhocetus show distinctive artiodactyl traits

Talk.Origins is being deceptive by calling Artiocetus and Rodhocetus primitive whales. While they may both have been largely aquatic, both have substantial limbs. The fact that their ankle bones show artiodactyl traits only shows a relationship if one assumes evolution.

Form more information see:(Talk.Origins) Cetaceans

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