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Whale Evolution: Fact From Fiction
By Josef T. Long
©TrueAuthority.com - 5/05
Whales are some of God’s grandest creations. Not only are whales the largest animals currently living on our planet (actually the blue whale is believed to be the largest animal to ever live on earth—even bigger than the biggest known dinosaur), they are also among some of the most intelligent. As mammals that live their entire lives in the water, they are equipped with a number of design features that enable them to do so, such as an overall lack of hair, large lung capacity, and large body fat content, just to name a few.
Since whales are indeed mammals, evolutionists believe whales must have evolved from land mammals that adapted to aquatic life. In fact, these land mammals that are supposedly the ancestors of whales are believed to be four-legged creatures called mesonychids—a creature that looks anatomically similar to a dog. (No one has ever said evolutionists aren’t creative.)
However, the Bible teaches us that God created the whales before he created land mammals. This of course, is just another example of how evolution teaches things contrary to what the Bible teaches, and another good reason why Christians should not accept theistic evolution. (See: http://www.trueauthority.com/cvse/faq2.htm).
Evolutionists believe that whales have leftover vestigial pelvises that indicate they evolved from another type of creature. However, even assuming that the evolutionists were correct about this, this would mean that at some point the hypothetical land mammal would not have been able to survive on land or in water. In order for an animal, such as a dog, to evolve into a whale, it would need to get rid of its pelvis. This means that, at some point, the creature wouldn’t have a tail suitable for aquatic life, and wouldn't have legs suitable for living on land. It would be handicapped in the wild and would be extremely vulnerable to predators.
So what of these “vestigial pelvises” found in whales? These structures simply aren’t pelvises at all. In fact, they aren’t even vestigial. These “pelvises” are different in the males and females and play an important role in sexual reproduction. Of all things evolutionists want to claim are vestigial, there’s probably nothing more important to the whale’s ongoing survival! 
Whale’s tail inferior to a fish’s?
In 2004, well-known skeptic and evolutionist Michael Shermer debated creationist Dr. Kent Hovind. During the debate, Shermer brought up the point that he believed the whale’s tail was inferior to a fish’s. Of course, he didn’t give satisfactory reasoning for making such a claim. On the contrary, I would argue that a whale’s tail is actually superior to that of a fish. Whales and dolphins are generally able to swim much faster than fish, and their tails are so powerful that whales are even able to use their tails as weapons.
No missing links
There is something that can be learned from the supposed evolutionary fossil whale record, and that is that evolutionists tend to hype up their findings in order to avoid the fact that most of their evidence is fragmentary (in some cases, very fragmentary).
One should always keep in mind that when reading a publication of any kind that depicts a “missing link,” often times that depiction is beyond what the actual fossil finds justify. It is rare to ever find a whole fossil skeleton. Rather, it’s not unusual that only fragments of a creature are found, while the rest of the animal is put together to create what the person believes the creature would have looked like. I’m not saying that it's always wrong to do this, but it gives a good enough reason to be skeptical of a depiction of a missing link. For this reason, it would be wise for a person to find out what the actual fossil finds look like, not what some artist wants people to think the creature looked like.
Pakicetus (50 million years ago)
Pakicetus was a dog-like creature that was discovered in 1983 by Philip Gingerich. It is often portrayed as a primitive whale, swimming in water and hunting schools of fish. This is despite the fact that only a fragment of the skull and a few teeth were discovered. Such a reconstruction of an animal known only from a piece of the skull and a few teeth should hardly be taken seriously.
J.G.M. Thewissen discovered a more complete fossil of pakicetus, and the discovery looked nothing like the reconstructions of the pakicetus that swims in water and hunts schools of fish. Instead, the evidence revealed that pakicetus was a creature similar to a dog and spent its time on land. The animal was not in any way a primitive whale.
Unfortunately, it’s still not uncommon to see pakicetus depicted in a swimming position, obviously trying to give the impression that it is a creature turning into a whale.
Ambulocetus (49 million years ago)
Of all the supposed whale transitions, ambulocetus is probably the most well known. It is often depicted as an animal that is adapted to living on land and in the water. Of course, just like pakicetus, the artistic reconstructions of ambulocetus go beyond what the fossil findings justify.
The ambulocetus remains that have been discovered are much more complete than the first findings of pakicetus; however, crucial parts of the animal still have not been discovered. For example, the pelvic girdle has not been found. Without this, there is really no way of telling how the creature moved. This, however, does not stop evolutionists from using artistic manipulations to make ambulocetus look like it is a transitional form.
Very often, popular science journals, such as National Geographic, have depicted ambulocetus as being very transitional-like by giving the creature webbed feet. This is another place where the reader must be able to distinguish between fact and fiction. Soft tissue rarely ever gets preserved, and the ambulocetus remains are no exception. In other words, all we have are the bones. There is no evidence that the creature had webbed feet other than in the imagination of the evolutionists.
Basilosaurus (37 million years ago)
Basilosaurus was a fully aquatic creature that was approximately 70 feet long. It is very whale like in its appearance, but its tiny hind limbs have made it a creature of controversy. It is believed by most evolutionists that these hind limbs were vestigial, and therefore give evidence that this creature had evolved from a land creature.
However, this presents a problem for evolutionists. If these hind limbs were really the remains of hind legs from a land mammal, then how did the whale’s tail, with its horizontal fluke, develop? If whales really evolved from dog-like creatures, then the hind part of its body had to somehow twist in order to make the tail move vertically.
Really, though, the hind limbs do not prove that the basilosaurus evolved from a four-legged land mammal. They might not have been vestigial at all (hard to even make the claim that the hind limbs were vestigial since no one alive today has ever seen a basilosaurus). The legs may have actually had a function in the creature’s reproduction. Philip Gingerich has said, “It seems to me that they could only have been some kind of sexual and reproductive clasper.” (The Press Enterprise, July 1, 1990. A-15)
Size and Time
Take a look at the ages given to each fossil (based on evolutionary dating methods). There just simply isn’t enough time for there to be a record of whale evolution. To further this point, there is a huge difference in size in these creatures. For example, ambulocetus is a creature that was approximately 7-12 feet long, while the basilosaurus was approximately 70 feet long. This tremendous size difference is usually not compared in evolutionary writings, of course, because it would bring the ‘smooth’ transition into question.
Have modern whales been found with legs?
Rumors have spread in the past that whales have been found with functional legs. These stories have never been verified, and I don’t believe they ever will be. I suspect that if this ever really happened, pictures of it would be littered over every popular science journal, as this would cause problems for creationists.
If there is anything that can be learned from the supposed transitional record of whales, it is that evolutionists often create reconstructions of creatures that go way beyond what the actual evidence declares. I can’t emphasize enough that whenever a supposed transitional fossil is discovered, it is always wise to check the actual evidence, not what the evolutionists believe the creature would have looked like.
“We do not possess a single fossil of the transitional forms between the aforementioned land animals and the whales.” –E.J. Slijper
Jordan P. Niednagel
As stated in this article, the remains of evolutionary transitional forms are too often fragmentary. One thing is certain: creationists, of all things, truly desire and only hope for complete fossil specimens to be found. In such cases, the animal is clearly seen in its entirety, where a complete overview of its anatomy and thorough study of its body parts and their functions can then be performed. Consequently, the animal is time and again shown to not be the evolutionary link once hoped for.
And one final thought on whale flippers, specifically the humpback's. If you look closely, bumps are located on the front of their flippers. Once thought to be poor design, researchers are now discovering their incredible ingenuity. Engineers and US Naval Academy scientists in a recent study used two scale model flippers 22 inches (56cm) long, one smooth, and the other with little bumps, called tubercles. They put them in a wind tunnel, and were astounded by the results. The smooth flipper acted like a typical airplane wing, while the bumpy flipper had 8% better lift and 32% less drag. Not only that, it also resisted stalling at a 40% steeper wing angle.
Why is this flipper design better? The flow of fluid (gas or liquid) are dispelled by the tubercles at the flipper's front, being pushed into the "canals" in between. This generates eddies (or vortices) that keep and direct the flow of air or water at the surface of the flipper. As a result, lift is increased and stalling is decreased. The design may be applied to aircraft in the near future.
Humpbacks are agile creatures, and this explains why. Simply put, they have been masterfully designed to inhabit the waters God meant for them to inhabit.
1. Genesis 1:20-21, 25.
2. Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Evolution, p. 77, 1999.
3. “How to Debate a Creationist,” Debate 20, CSE, 2004.
4. Natural History of Northern Arizona, “An Introduction to Whales,” http://www.edu-source.com/marine/whales.html.
5. Harun Yahya, “A Whale Fantasy from National Geographic,” 2001, http://www.trueorigin.org/ng_whales01.asp.
6. Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Vol. 27 No. 2, “Not at all like a whale,” p. 21, 2005.
7. Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Evolution 2, p. 139, 2002.
8. National Geographic, “Evolution of Whales”, 2001.
9. E.J. Slijper, “Dolphins and Whales,” Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, p. 17, 1962.
Available online at www.trueauthority.com/cvse/whale.htm