Nov 26 2009

The Crocoduck!

crocoduckJust a short post today, as it is Thanksgiving for those of us in the US, and my day will be spent with family and way too much food.

Many of you may remember the idiotic duo of mindless creationism (IDMC) – Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. One of Cameron’s shining intellectual moments was when he presented his impression of a transitional species – the crocoduck. This is a favorite strategy of creationists – grossly misinterpret evolutionary theory, and then argue that because you are ignorant of how evolution is supposed to work, it must be false.

In this case Cameron presents and example (the crocoduck) of what many creationists think of as a transitional species, an impossible hybrid monster. They must think that evolutionists believe that in order for a duck to evolve, first a crocodile evolves a duck body, while retaining its crocodile head, and then the head eventually evolves into a duck head. And since we have never found a crocoduck – evolution must be false.

Even for those creationists who have not taken this classic canard to such absurd height, there is still the frequent claim that transitional fossils are missing from the fossil record – because they envision transitional species to be half-formed, in the process of morphing from one working form to another. This is at odds with evolutionary theory (which any creationist can learn by cracking a single legitimate science book on evolution) – which states that populations change over time with mostly gradual morphological changes, but each step of the way each individual is perfectly functional. Structures work every step of the way.

I was reminded of Cameron’s absurd crocoduck when I saw a recent science article detailing five ancient crocodiles – one of which is nicknamed the duckcroc (I can’t imagine why they didn’t just call it the crocoduck). They also found a ratcroc, dogcroc, boarcroc, and pancakecroc. These were crocodiles built to compete with their dinosaur cousins – with long legs, able to stand tall and gallop. Very cool.

The duckcroc (Anatosuchus minor) has a flat broad snout reminiscent of a duck’s. It’s not really a duckbill, of course, it has teeth and is clearly crocodilian – but the notion that Cameron’s crocoduck was found by paleontologists is priceless.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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