|Wesley R. Elsberry
Joined: May 2002
Over on Ed Brayton's blog, an unnamed ID advocate was trying to claim that convergence, such as that seen between placental wolves and thylacines, posed a problem for evolution. Here's my response:
I'm not sure what the placental/marsupial wolf example is supposed to show as a criticism of evolution. Is it really unreasonable that the niche of "terrestrial cursorial quadruped predator" would be filled in two different lineages?
It's certain that the similarities are less "uncanny" than current antievolutionists would make them. You don't have to be an anatomist to recognize that the skulls of the two have very different shapes of bones and (of course, when talking about mammals) dentition. Yet, as recently as a conference in 2002 (IIRC), we had the spectacle of an antievolutionist opining that the two were indistingishable -- and presenting two illustrations of these animals to buttress the point. The funny thing was that it was apparent right off the bat to me that the pair were actually the very SAME illustration, with one of them flipped left to right and colorized.
A nice page with comparison of the thylacine and wolf skulls and dentition is at http://www.naturalworlds.org/thylacine/index.htm
Note the differences in neural foramina between the two.
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker