45, Number 3
Five Features Correlate
with Seed Weight in Yuccas
to Support a Seed-Dispersal Hypothesis
George F. Howe
Morphological observations were made on fruits, seeds, stems, leaves, and flowers of 13 species of Yucca at various locations in California, Arizona, and eastward. The dates of flowering, fruit production, and fruit fall (or fruit persistence) were recorded. Seed samples for 12 of the 13 species were weighed, and fell into two different weight classes: light and heavy. It was observed that the species producing light seeds had a suite of five other correlated morphological characteristics. Conversely, most of the heavy-seeded yucca species had five different or contrasting features. Neither the seed weight classes nor their systematic correlation with the other five traits were covered in the Yucca literature consulted. Seeds of 14 additional Yucca species and one Yucca subspecies, taxa that were unavailable during the field studies, were commercially available from seed suppliers. It was possible to determine from the literature which of these 14 species possessed dehiscent pods, one of the attributes correlating with light seeds; and which ones produced indehiscent pods—the contrasting feature regularly associating with heavy seeds. The weights of the purchased seeds were consistent with the predictions that: (1) seeds from plants known to possess dehiscent pods would be light, and (2) the seeds from plants having indehiscent fruits would be relatively heavy. The few exceptions to other correlated features are listed and analyzed. It is proposed that the five features correlating with light seeds aid in transport of the seeds by wind. It is further hypothesized that the five contrasting attributes, which are usually present in heavy-seeded yuccas, foster seed dispersal by animals. These two hypotheses find support in the present data. Several additional morphological traits were analyzed and appear to be unrelated to seed dispersal or to phylogeny, posing a problem for neo-Darwinian macroevolution. The yucca correlations support a nonevolutionary origins model for Yucca species. Based on these data, further predictions are made, including the prediction that the correlations of seed weight with other features will also exist in the species and subspecies of Yucca not yet analyzed. Other possible avenues for future yucca research are enumerated.
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Did Gene Duplication Produce Gene Families?
Gene duplication is a process that produces extra copies of genes within the genome. Gene families are groups of similar genes, which evolutionist biologists believe to be products of gene duplication. In this paper, I argue that gene duplication is not the source of all of the modern gene families for the following reasons. (1) Most of the documented gene duplications are detrimental, and when beneficial, they cannot lead to new molecular functions. (2) Duplicated genes are usually silenced epigenetically, followed by degenerative mutations, ending up in non-functionalization. (3) Members of gene families are often components of irreducibly complex systems. (4) Regulation hierarchies, which have no counterparts in lower organisms, are required for proper expression of gene families. I propose the following criteria to distinguish between DNA sequences that were duplicated in history and paralogous genes that were created individually: First, copy-number polymorphisms among individuals of the same species obviously demonstrate recent duplications. Second, components of irreducibly complex systems are not likely products of gene duplications. These include genes with complex regulation hierarchies. Additional criteria are that the degree of sequence homology is a poor indictor to determine whether genes are duplicated, and the duplication by transposition is possible but is normally suppressed.
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A New Report of Unique Features
in the Peristome of Funaria hygrometrica
A Van Andel Creation Research Center SEM Study
Mark H. Armitage
Sporophyte capsule structures of the moss genus Funaria from California were studied under Scanning Electron Microscopy. The peristome of the sporangium was observed to have a unique “pad” and “ web” bellows that appears to be little reported in the literature. This pad and web structure functions, along with the peristome teeth, as a tiny bellows assembly that sucks minute numbers of spores out from the capsule for dispersion during optimum conditions for spore distribution. This bellows system appears to have been skillfully designed. I conclude that such design is a result of divine intelligence.
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Reports of Living Pterosaurs
in the Southwest Pacific
Jonathan D. Whitcomb
Standard models of evolution assert that all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs became extinct long ago and that their fossils are evidence for unlimited common ancestry, the extinction of the vast majority of species opening the way for those more fit to survive. Although all species of pterosaurs could have been destroyed by the Flood and post-Flood changes, the young-earth view holds out the possibility of extant pterosaurs. Investigations of reports of creatures whose descriptions suggest Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs in remote areas of Papua New Guinea were carried out between 1994 and 2007. Two expeditions to Umboi Island in 2004 resulted in formal interviews with villagers, and an expedition deep into the interior of the mainland in 2006 resulted in indirect video evidence and a sighting by two native explorers. Although no direct proof has been presented, the indirect evidence is substantial and intriguing.
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Why the Inverted Human Retina Is a Superior Design
Jerry Bergman and Joseph Calkins
It is often claimed that the human retina is poorly designed because light must travel through the nerves and blood vessels to reach the photoreceptor cells, which are located behind the eye’s wiring. Many specific reasons exist for this so-called backward placement of the photoreceptors. A major one is that it allows close association between the rods and cones and the pigment epithelium required to maintain the photoreceptors. It is also essential in both the development and the normal function of the retina. Both the rods and cones must physically interact with retinal pigment epithelial cells, which provide nutrients to the retina, recycle photopigments, and provide an opaque layer to absorb excess light.
(available to the public)