Cane Toads Evolve Again

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Cane toads evolve again, according to articles in BBC Earth News 19 Oct 2010 and Journal of Evolutionary Biology, published online 7 Oct 2010, DOI:10.1111/j.1420¬9101.2010.02118.x. Cane toads were introduced to eastern Queensland, Australia in the 1930s and have been spreading out across northern Australia ever since at an increasingly rapid rate. In 2006 toad researchers reported that the toads at the front of the advance were evolving longer, stronger legs. Biologists at James Cook University, Queensland, Australia have now followed up this study by collecting toads from various places throughout the range of toads, fitted them with radio tags and releasing them. As expected the toads from the edge of the range moved fastest. The researchers then allowed the toads within each population to breed, then tagged and released the offspring. Toads whose parents were from the edge of the range dispersed more quickly than those with parents from the core of the range, confirming that the ability to move faster was inherited. The researcher concluded: “Taken together with demonstrated spatial assortment by dispersal ability occurring on the expanding front, these results point firmly to ongoing evolution as a driving force in the accelerated expansion of toads across northern Australia.”

BBC Earth

Editorial Comment: A significant “driving force” for moving cane toads across Australia hit the news after the reports described above were released s as one toad has been found in Perth, Western Australia, as reported by ABC News 16 Nov 2010. It seems to have been trucks or cars driven by humans. Even the long legged toads would not have survived the trip across the desert from the tropical north or from the east.

However, the toads that are moving on their own legs across the top end of Australia are not being driven by evolution. In 2006 Creation Research reported the study that claimed toads were evolving longer legs and commented: “All that is happening here is that the toads which are winning the race across Australia are the ones that already have a gene for longer legs. As a result of leaving the others behind the faster toads are becoming temporarily separated from the shorter legged toads. Therefore, toads at the invasion front can only mate with toads of similar leg length and thus reinforce the long legged tendency.” (See “Toxic Toads Evolving into Eco-Nightmare” in this Fact File) This new study proves we were right and that no evolution is involved. It was just ordinary genetics. We also made the following prediction: “when the short legged toads catch up to the front line they will breed with the long legged animals once more, resulting in a return to the average leg length seen in older established populations. When this happens will the evolutionists claim they are devolving?” It seems the short legged toads have yet to catch up by hopping, but they may have already beaten the rest by arriving by motorised transport so we stand by our prediction of what will happen when they do.

Evidence News 24 Nov 2010

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