The Evolution of the Long-Necked Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis L.) – What Do We Really Know? (Part 1)

Author(s)Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig
Year Published2010
JournalInternet Library
Page Numbers1-38
Size640.90 KB
Abstract:

In the following article the assertions of three supporters of the synthetic theory concerning the evolution of the long-necked giraffe will be discussed: the statements of Ulrich Kutschera, Richard Dawkins and Kathleen Hunt.

  1. Ulrich Kutschera made the following statement regarding the origin of the giraffe, on 29 November 2005 in 3SAT (a German TV channel): "...the evolution of the long-necked giraffe can be reconstructed from fossils." According to today's best giraffe researchers, all fossil links that could show us the gradual evolution of the long-necked giraffe from the short-necked giraffe are missing, apart from the insufficiently answered question of causes. Some paleontologists postulate a "neck elongation macromutation" to explain the origin of the long-necked giraffe.
  2. Richard Dawkins likewise considers – in a striking exception to his usual theoretical framework – the origin of the long-necked giraffe through a macromutation. This exception would, of course, be entirely superfluous if the gradual evolution of the long-necked giraffe could really be reconstructed from fossils, especially since he much prefers the gradualist view. Dawkins draws the okapi, in relation to the giraffe, nearly twice as large as it really is. In this way, the problem of its evolution (the gap between the two forms) appears only about half as large. One may well ask if this technique is really useful in the search for truth.
  3. Kathleen Hunt however, in her often-cited work Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ, leaves no doubt that the origin of the giraffe is clearly and completely solved by the synthetic theory (gradual evolution by mutations, recombination and selection). When one looks at her reasoning more closely, however, one encounters numerous holes and problems and the fossil evidence for the gradual evolution of the long-necked giraffe is — as expected — completely lacking. A detailed analysis of her work shows, therefore, that the strong impression that one receives on a first reading concerning the continuous evolution of the giraffe stands in stark contrast to the current paleological facts.

The data so far obtained show that there are many suggestive but untestable hypotheses on this topic and that we really know nothing about the evolution of the long-necked giraffes. Moreover, a close examination of the evidence reveals several deep problems for any of the current hypotheses explaining the origin of these species exclusively by mutations, recombination and selection.

Keywords: Evolution, Giraffe, Natural selection, Paleontology, Morphology, Okapi  

Author: Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig

Journal: Internet Library


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