When I first started to read about how faith and evolution relate to one another, I found a book by Darrell R. Falk called Coming To Peace With Science:  Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Science. This was one of the most readable books I discovered when it came to presenting the laymen with evidence for evolution, and it was there that I came across one of the most convincing proofs for evolution that helped me embrace common descent.

The unique mammals of Australia are almost exclusively marsupial, i.e., they give birth to their offspring early and incubate them in pouches. At the time that Australia broke away from Antarctica and South America, the small mammals that existed were marsupials, according to the fossil record from that time, which is admittedly pretty scarce. The fossil record from South America indicates that most animals were placental, and today all species there, with the exception of possums, are placental.

What is interesting is that in Australia, there is an animal called Mymecobius uniquely fit for finding and eating ants. It has a long snout, strong paws for digging through mounds, and flat teeth suited to chewing ants. South America has the anteater, of course, with similar features but no pouch.

    

Australia has the marsupial wombat; South America the placental groundhog. Australia has marsupial squirrel-like animals, some that fly. Australia has been home to the Tasmanian wolf (now exstinct), a marsupial; rabbit-like marsupials; marsupial mice and moles; and at one time, it even had a marsupial cat. The rest of the world has these animals, of course, but they are placental.

     

(Wombat)                                                                                                      (Hedgehog)

Common descent explains this situation. As the original marsupial mammals met a specific environment, they changed to adapt, but they remained marsupial. Conversely, as the original placentals of South America or North America met similar environments, they also changed to adapt, many of them turning out to have very similar bodies to their counterparts in Australia, but they remained placental.

Now, if not evolution, then what? Am I to honestly believe that God made one wolf in North America with a placenta and another wolf in Australia with a pouch? Or that god made the wolf “kind” capable of developing pouches? Does anyone have more patience than I to search Answers In Genesis to get a reply?

Advertisements