Archive for December, 2012
Just a month before Christmas, Charles Darwin had successfully launched one of the most notable effects on modern Western society with the publication of The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection on the 24th of November.
Even though all 1,250 copies of the first printing of the book were sold on the first day, by Christmas Darwin “found himself disturbed, even haunted,” in the words of Rebecca Stott in the book Darwin’s Ghosts, the Secret History of Evolution.
Even though Charles Darwin never observed the giraffe in nature, his comments on the giraffe have served as one of the longest lasting examples of evolution, until recently.
In The Origin of Species, Darwin argued “So under nature with the nascent giraffe, the individuals which were the highest browsers and were able during dearths [scarcity] to reach even an inch or two above the others, will often have been preserved.”
The process of preservation is a fundamental tenet of Darwin’s theory of biological evolution. The complete title of The Origin of Species is “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races.” The giraffe, according to Darwin’s reasoning, was preserved during times of food scarcity due to evolution of the elongated neck.
Even though evolutionary scientists have since distanced themselves from Darwin’s high “browsers” argument because we now know that’s not what giraffes do, and there is no fossil record evidence for giraffe transitional links, staunch Darwin fundamentalists, like Richard Dawkins, in an attempt to save Darwin’s dying theory, have resorted to deceptive fabrications.
In The Origin of Species the giraffe was used as one of Charles Darwin’s most lasting examples of evolution. Darwin argued, that “by this process long-continued [natural selection] it seems to me almost certain that an ordinary hoofed quadruped [horse-like animals] might be converted into a giraffe.”
“The giraffe’, Darwin continued, “by its lofty stature, much elongated neck, fore-legs, head and tongue, has its whole frame beautifully adapted [evolved] for browsing on the higher branches of trees.”
Throughout the sixth edition of The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin used the giraffe as an example to illustrate evolution through natural selection. Since the nineteenth century, however, the unfolding of scientific evidence continues to undermine – rather than support – Darwin’s contention that the long neck of the giraffe serves to illustrate evolution.
Undermining evidence is found in the giraffe’s leaf eating habits, fossil record, anatomy, physiology, and genetics.