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Root-Bernstein cites several examples to support biological evolution. He first begins by looking for body parts that result from the same embryological parts that may have different functions, like the whale’s flipper, a bat’s wing and a human’s hand. He also looks at body parts serving the same function, yet they have different developmental origins, like the wings of insects and birds. He examines the evidence of transitional forms by using modifications that the modern one-toed horse has undergone from the four-toed Hyracotherium. It was so stunning to see how the ribs of a certain reptile broadened, fused, and became the bony back plate that the tortoise possesses. It can be seen how evolution of the shell occurred when the skeleton is turned over.
He also gives the example of silky anteaters, spiny anteaters and pangolins. Each of them evolved from a different class of animals, yet they look generally similar. They all possess long, sticky tongues, long snouts and sharp claws for harvesting ants from their nests. They also have thick fur and little eyes or scales that protect them from harm from their tiny preys. Such examples of convergent evolution serve to best illustrate natural selection since any animal that feeds on ants, irrespective of its anatomic origins, requires certain adaptations, and will therefore; look similar to all the other animals living in the same way. He also studies vestigial traits, which are left over body parts that do not seem to serve any function presently, like the useless wings that flightless birds like ostriches have and the human beings pointless appendix.
It was apparent that the male skeleton had one fewer rib than that of a woman. It was evident that most students believed in the genesis story that God removed one rib from man in order for a woman to come to existence. Religion and evolution do not agree because it means the missing rib could have affected the entire generations from Adam till now. This helped the students realize that good students do not base their hypothesis on religion and faith.
Lamarck had the belief that anything that affects the body of a creature could also affect the body of the offspring. He gave the example that a person who lifts weights regularly has a higher chance of giving birth to a daughter who will inherit a stronger and bigger body, than one who just sits and sleeps on the sofa. He also says that if the tails of a generation of mice is chopped off, then mice with tails might become extinct. If an antelope is made to graze on higher leaves, its later descendants will be as tall as giraffes. However, this is not true as he demonstrates in the example of male circumcision. Muslim and Jewish are circumcised, yet the effect of circumcision i.e. removal of foreskin does not go down the inheritance line. Children born of circumcised fathers have penile foreskin. Lamarckian types of inheritance cannot occur in higher animals because once the egg cell has been formed, it carries unalterable genetic information. According to Darwin’s theory, its survival of the fittest, where body parts of animals evolves to ensure that the animal adapts to the environment. According to Darwin, there are no inherited external features because it is an animal that has to best adapt to the environment for it to survive.
From this experience, I was able to learn some things. I have learnt that sometimes, it is better to carry out my own research when I am not sure about something at the expense of accepting other people’s opinions. I was wrong concerning the number of ribs that a man has being lower than the number of ribs that a woman has. I have read the article and done some research on my own which has made me understand that the bible never mentioned the number of ribs that he took from Adam. Therefore, we cannot justify that God took one rib from Adam in order to make Eve. I am able to fully understand evolution and how it should not be studied in line with religion.