Category Archives: evidence for evolution

Vestigial limb muscles in human embryos show common ancestry—for the gazillionth time

There are three kinds of vestiges that constitute evidence for evolution, or rather its sub-claim that modern species share common ancestors. I discuss all three in Why Evolution is True: 1.) Vestigial traits that persist in modern species but either have no adaptive function in a species or a function different from the one served […]

How the whale lost its genes

The evolution of whales, porpoises, and dolphins—the “cetaceans”—is well understood thanks to a plethora of fossils, mostly found in recent years (for a good general summary of the data, go here). Starting from a small, deerlike artiodactyl living around 48 million years ago (Indohyus may be related to the common ancestor of whales), this evolution […]

A 43 million-year-old transitional form: an amphibious whale

The evolution of whales from a small, deer-like artiodactyl took about ten million years: from about 50 million to about 40 million years ago. That’s remarkably fast evolution, especially when you consider the amount of morphological and physiological change that occurred, and the fact that the divergence between chimps and modern humans from their common […]

The recurrent laryngeal nerve as evidence for evolution

On pages 82-84 of Why Evolution is True I discuss the recurrent laryngeal nerve of humans (and other tetrapods) as an example of evolution. It’s evidence via “retrodiction”, which is what I call the situation when a previously unexplained and puzzling phenomenon can be understood only in light of a theory, thus supporting that theory—in […]

You have vestigial muscles that moved the whiskers of your ancestors

This is the kind of post I envisioned writing—once every few weeks or so—when I started this website. My intention was to use the site to publicize new evidence for evolution. Not that we need any to show that that well evidenced theory is true, of course, but to support the book and alert people […]

Texas blind salamander has optic nerves but no real eyes

This is the kind of post I originally intended to go on this site. When I started this website, I thought that every few weeks I’d publish a bit of new (or old) evidence for evolution, supporting Why Evolution Is True, which was a new book in 2009. Well, as you see, things kind of […]

Is the appendix a vestigial organ?

One of the main mistakes creationists make is arguing that if a vestigial trait is actually used for something, then it is neither vestigial nor gives us evidence for evolution. (Such features testify to common ancestry.)  Both creationist claims are wrong. They rest on the false argument that if the appendix, for instance, actually has some […]

Don McLeroy responds to the evidence for whale evolution

The other day I put up a post showing a video by Jon Peters about the evidence for the evolution of whales. That’s one of the great stories of evolution, and is copiously documented with evidence from many areas: the fossil record, genetics, embryology, vestigial organs, and so on. (The reptile—>mammal transition is equally well […]

Evidence for evolution: whales

After my CfI lecture in Portland, I met reader Jon Peters, who told me he’d made and videotaped an entire lecture on the evidence for evolution—using only whales and other cetaceans as examples. Some of the material is from WEIT, and I must have given permission for that, though I can’t recall. I may have […]

Vestigial traits in humans

Here’s a new video from Vox that demonstrates several vestigial traits in humans. Most of these are in WEIT, but this is a great short video to show students.  I don’t have a palmaris longis on either arm, but I can wiggle my ears. Still, I didn’t know that you can detect futile attempts to […]