A discovery with some teeth

Discussion in 'Science' started by Mercury, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. Mercury

    Mercury
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    I came across this at William Dembski's ID blog, of all places.

    Modern birds don't have teeth. Some have a serrated edge on their beak, but that's it. Recently, scientists found a way to make chickens grow teeth. It doesn't involve adding genetic material from other animals -- they already possess the necessary genes (just as whales possess the genes for hind limbs, as all regular visitors to this forum are well aware of). All they needed to do was make small tweaks to existing genes, and the research was prompted by a chicken who showed this mutation without human intervention. The discovery adds even further support to the claim that birds evolved from reptiles, and specifically from a type of dinosaur.

    Here's the link:
    Live Science: Surprise: Chickens Can Grow Teeth

    Is this evidence for common descent, or are chickens and crocodiles in the same created "kind"? :D
     
  2. Mercury

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  3. UTEOTW

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    The second article draws a very good point on why it is evolutionary support for the teeth to be similar to alligators.

    Alligators, or more specifically crocodilians, dinosaurs and pterosaurs are all archosaurs. So it is not trivial that when the birds were induced to grow teeth using their own latent genes that the teeth came out like the teeth of fellow archosaurs.
     
  4. Paul of Eugene

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    So is there any creationist anywhere that has an explanation for this discovery that does not involve toothy ancestors for chickens?
     
  5. Alcott

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    There probably is. I personally though would only question it in this way... birds can have teeth because birds' distant ancestors had teeth, because thier distant ancestors' ancestors had teeth, because their distant ancestors' ancestors' ancestors............. there have always, from infinity, been animals with teeth-- is that it?
     
  6. UTEOTW

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    Well, at some point there was novelty.

    But there is a point to be made from how you look at it. Teeth would be one part of the nested heirarchy of life. Nearly all jawed vertebrates have teeth and I don't think that organisms outside of the jawed vertebrates have teeth or at least nothing like what we have.

    If you go to the most basal of the jawed vertibrates, you will find a group known as the placoderms. These are divided into groups, some of which have teeth and some of which do not. It was once thought that they did not have teeth at all but some fossil placoderms from the Late Devonian (370 million years old)have been found to have true teeth. So a good case can be made that this was when teeth evolved.

    But a key evidence for evolution is this kind of nested heirarchy. And it works with so many different kinds of traits including things like genetic errors that have nothing to do with the physical traits which we are discussing.

    So it is very telling that birds have latent genes for making teeth. It fits all of the other data telling us about the origin of birds.
     

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