Joined: July 2007
|Quote (George @ Sep. 28 2007,07:44)|
|Quote (Daniel Smith @ Sep. 28 2007,03:31)|
Basic Questions in Paleontology pp. 358-359, (emphasis his)
|However, in the formulation of this view, not enough consideration has been given to the fact that the evolutionary trend of reduction in the number of toes had already been introduced long before the plains were occupied in the early Tertiary by the precursors of the horse; these inhabited dense scrub, meaning that they lived in an environment where the reduction of the primitive five-toed protoungulate foot was not an advantage at all. In the descendants, then, the rest of the lateral toes degenerated and the teeth grew longer step by step... regardless of the mode of life, which... fluctuated repeatedly, with habitats switching around among forests, savannas, shrubby plains, tundra, and so on.|
If selection alone were decisive in this specialization trend, we would have to ascribe to it a completely incomprehensible purposefulness...
So basically Schindewolf is saying that horses developed single-toed hooves regardless of the selection pressures applied?
Just to clarify, horses don't (yet) have single-toed hooves. Bones (metacarpal/metatarsal) from the two flanking (2 and 4) digits still remain. They serve no useful purpose (they often become inflamed or broken), while the tops of the front ones still form part of a joint:
If they suggest design, their designer was an idiot. Maybe Daniel can explain the elegance of their design if he disagrees.