The Evolution of the Long-Necked Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis L.) – What Do We Really Know? (Part 2)

Introduction: The story which is commonly taught in high schools about the evolution of the long-necked giraffe by natural selection (feeding-competition-hypothesis) fails to explain, among other things, the size differences between males and females. Giraffe cows are up to 1.5 meters shorter than the giraffe bulls, not to mention the offspring. The wide migration range of the giraffe and the low heights of the most common plants in their diet likewise argue against the dominant selection hypothesis. Now to the main points: 1) The fossil “links“, which according to the theory should appear successively and replace each other, usually exist simultaneously for long periods of time. 2) Evolutionary derivations based on similarities rely on circular reasoning (to refer once more to Kuhn's statement) 3) The giraffe has eight cervical vertebrae. Although the 8th vertebra displays almost all the characteristics of a neck vertebra, as an exception to the rule the first rib pair is attached there. 4) The origin of the long-necked giraffe by a macromutation is, due to the many synorganized structures, extremely improbable. 5) Sexual selection also lacks a mutational basis and, what is more, is frequently in conflict with natural selection (“head clubbing“ is probably “a consequence of a long neck and not a cause“; see also Michell et al. 2009). 6) In contrast to the thus-far proposed naturalistic hypotheses, the intelligent design theory is basically testable. 7) The long-necked giraffes possibly all belong to the same basic type inasmuch as 8) a gradual evolution from the short-necked to the long-necked giraffe is ruled out by the duplication of a neck vertebra and the loss of a thoracic vertebra. 9) Chance mutations are principally not sufficient to explain the origin of the long-necked giraffe. 10) The intelligent design theory offers an adequate and satisfying solution to the problems and points to numerous “old“ and new research projects. 11) Mitchell and Skinner present a good analysis of the selectionist problem; however, their phylogenetic hypotheses presuppose the correctness of the synthetic evolutionary theory, and their claims of “intermediate forms“ are unproven.

Last Updated
January 27, 2021
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