Upright with Giraffes

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Upright with giraffes, as reported in BBC News and ScienceDaily 3 July 2014. Giraffes not only have long necks, but also long thin legs that don’t seem robust enough to support their weight. Christopher Basu of the Royal Veterinary College, London explained: “Giraffes are heavy animals (about 1,000kg), but have unusually skinny limb bones for an animal of this size. This means their leg bones are under high levels of mechanical stress”.

Basu and colleagues measured the forces that giraffe legs can stand, using legs of giraffes that had died in captivity and applying force with a hydraulic press to simulate body weight. They found the legs remained upright and stable with no additional support, even when subjected to greater forces than the giraffe’s body weight. It seems a long strong elastic ligament, named the suspensory ligament, provides the extra strength and stability needed to prevent the legs from collapsing. The bones in the giraffe’s legs have a deep groove running along their length to house this ligament, which is also thought to prevent the foot joints from overextending and thus also protect the feet from collapsing. Because the ligament is made of strong elastic tissue, rather than muscle, it provides passive support, which means giraffes do not need to use much muscle power simply to stay upright.

Basu said he would “like to link modern giraffes with fossil specimens to illustrate the process of evolution.” He went on to say: “We hypothesise that the suspensory ligament has allowed giraffes to reach large sizes that they otherwise would not have been able to achieve”.

BBC, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: We predict that the fossil record will show that members of the giraffe family have always had such a bone groove and ligament and that prediction is creation based.

Likewise if the suspensory ligament had to evolve by chance, then you have the problem: how sufficient numbers of half-evolved giraffes, without suspensory ligaments, could have avoided falling over and breaking legs whilst waiting for the right genes to evolve and be passed on to the next generation of increasingly taller giraffes.

The giraffe has been used by atheist sceptics like Richard Dawkins as an example of bad design, and therefore, evidence against creation. However, as this study shows, the more we study the strange and wonderful creatures in this world, the more evidence we find for clever design and forward planning.

This research, and the actual results, not the researchers’ evolutionary interpretation, reminds us how science really works – we see something odd, so we do more research to find out how it works. Writing things off as bad design and accidents of evolution, just because we don’t understand them, is not science. The true scientific approach to the world around us is based in the fact that man was created in the image of God, with understanding and a creative mind and told to rule over the earth and in order to do this we need to study it in a systematic way. Furthermore, it is worth studying because it was created by God, who does not change, and who has set up the world to function in consistent and logical ways. (Ref. anatomy, mammals, wildlife, prediction)

Evidence News vol. 14 No.12
9 July 2014
Creation Research Australia