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How Woodpecker skull evolved

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How Woodpecker skull evolved

Postby jaebaeli » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:40 am

I am an author, doing some research for one of my books. I noticed all kinds of arguments by Creationists about the Woodpecker and understand the refutations of most of those, but there's one i can't find the proper scientific refutation on...

The woodpecker's skull. Lots of information about how it absorbs the shock, etc, but how would an adaptation like that begin? Since the first ancestor of the woodpeckers we know today had to start somewhere, how indeed did that first woodpecker keep from damaging his brain when he hammered a tree?

My guess is it started out as the usual pecking behavior, and through natural selection, became a stronger and stronger trait to have the skull it does, until the modern woodpeckers could hammer as they do... would that be accurate? if so, what would be the answer? is there any scientific literature on this?

I am surprised there is NO information that i can find online about his specific aspect of it. I very much want to provide that information in my book and hope to see it being posted around as often as the crap Creationists say about how God made woodpeckers as they are now, right out of the box, because the skull itself could not have evolved as the first woodpecker would have died without the adaptation/ mutation that protected its brain...Like have they found ancestral bones of woodpeckers that show the changes in the skull? Is there any evidence to support our conjectures about how this could have evolved?

Appreciate any insights and hopefully something soundly scientific to use as a reference.
Thanks all.
Kelli Jae Baeli
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Postby biohazard » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:08 pm

I don't quite understand the whole claim that the first woodpecker would have died of brain damage - surely the first pecker around didn't hammer around like the modern day woodpeckers do. Perhaps it merely tried to knock the wood now and then to gain access to some insect larva living under the bark of a tree. Many of the modern day birds are able to knock hard objects with their beaks without killing themselves, so why couldn't the acestor of woodpeckers do so.

Then among these ancestors there was a bird with a mutation that gave it a more suitable skull structure and it turned out to be more successful in gaining access to the larvae - he could hit a bit harder without hurting himself. This bird's offspring then had a bit more adapted head for their lifestyle and they slowly increased in numbers. And among these pre-woodpeckers, again someone had a useful mutation that further helped to protect his brain and he did better than the others - he could collect more larvae before getting headache or whatever. Pretty standard practice in evolution as far as I can tell. Of course what I just said is just an example of how it could have happened. What exactly happened may be different and I don't know if it has been documented yet, but you get the point.

The wings of flies and other such features are, in my opinion, more challenging in evolutionary terms, and even those have good explanations nowadays.

Or am I missing now something about the woodpecker skull? Is there some specific structure/feature the creationists claim could not have evolved?
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Re: How Woodpecker skull evolved

Postby jaebaeli » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:34 am

Yes, this is very much like my guess for what happened too. Just having a hard time finding any scientific data that SHOWS that's what happened.

It's the usual Irreducible Complexity argument...(just as they do wtih the Bombardier Beetle and Giraffe's neck, and Basically, the creationists say that all the features that allow a woodpecker to drill into a tree without getting brain damage, had to have been there all at once, or else the first one would have died and they wouldn't exist. It's their argument FOR GOD having created the woodpecker. I just wanted to find some scientific corroboration so i could soundly dispute it--even though I understand how it could have evolved, they are taken in by the usual garbage their leaders spew. Don't want to leave room for one of them to say it was just my opinion...
thanks for a thoughtful reply!
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