© 1989, 2000 by Creation Research Society. All rights reserved.
T. Gish, Ph.D.
Creation Research Society Quarterly 26(1):5 June, 1989
Biological creationist research
in the past 14 years is reviewed as it was in the first decade of the
Creation Research Society (Gish, 1975). See Part I: Geological Research
Variable Production of
Growth Rings in Bristlecone Pines
Dendrochronology, the establishment
of a chronology, or dating by counting tree rings, assuming that each
ring represents an annual growth cycle, can be extended by matching
tree-ring patterns of old living trees with patterns of long-dead trees.
One tree commonly used for this purpose is bristlecone pine (_Pinus
aristata_) because of the long ages of some living specimens and because
multiple growth rings in bristlecone pine under usual circumstances
are very rare. Bristlecone pine trees growing in the White Mountains
have been explored for this purpose. This range of mountains is east
of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and separated from them by a fairly wide
desert valley. The area is about 14 miles east of Big Pine, California.
Using bristlecone pine dendrochronology, ages as old as 7,100 years
have been obtained. Walter Lammerts (1983, pp. 108-15) has discovered,
however, that under certain experimental conditions, extra growth rings
could be induced in bristlecone pine, calling into question the reliability
of dendrochronology in establishing accurate absolute ages.
He measured growth rates
of seedlings of bristlecone pine under various conditions, including
normal outdoor conditions; ordinary greenhouse conditions; greenhouse
conditions supplemented by maintenance at a temperature of 70F with
no extra light; greenhouse conditions supplemented by a heat lamp for
16 hours per day and maintained at a minimum of 70F; and greenhouse
conditions supplemented by treatment with fluorescent light for 16 hours
per day, and maintenance at a minimum of 70F. The group that showed
the most rapid growth was the group given the treatment with the heat
lamp. The fluorescent light treatment was next most effective in promoting
growth, but considerably less so than the heat lamp. The use of the
heat lamp and fluorescent lamp simulated a 16-hour daylight period,
with the heat lamp providing extra heat, of course. The plants maintained
at 70F with no extra light exhibited considerably less growth, even
less than those plants held under ordinary greenhouse conditions. Those
plants grown outdoors had a growth rate only a fraction of those grown
in the greenhouse.
Lammerts discovered that
seedlings left to grow under ordinary greenhouse conditions, with no
extra light or heat (Lammerts' home is in Freedom, California, where
temperatures are cool enough in winter so that no growth took place
during that period), exhibit only one growth ring after 2.5 years. The
most significant of Lammerts' findings was the discovery that an extra
growth ring could be induced by depriving the plants of water for two
to three weeks in August and then resuming watering. Ordinarily, Lammerts
had found, a three-year old bristlecone pine exhibits two growth rings,
since, as noted above, no growth ring forms in the first 1.5 years of
life. When Lammerts examined three-year-old bristlecone pine trees which
had been deprived of water for three weeks in August, followed by normal
watering during a warm month in September (September is often the warmest
month of the year there), he found that they had three growth rings
instead of the two expected. Four-year-old bristlecone pines similarly
treated exhibited four growth rings instead of the three found for similar
plants whose growth was not interrupted by depriving them of water for
two to three weeks in August.
Lammerts points out that
soil moisture is at an optimum in the spring, and then diminishes steadily
to such an extent as often to halt growth. Then, as the high pressure
builds and the heat increases, even more stress has to be endured by
the young pine forests. In the early fall, however, evaporation from
the formerly existing large lakes again results in clouds and early
fall rains, even in such inland mountain areas as the White Mountains.
The pine trees would then resume growth, as Glock noted, with the result
that another flush of growth and resultant growth ring occurs, just
as in the experiment where the young seedlings formed an extra growth
ring following return into the ground under the mist system after their
In the spring, the hot sun
and increasingly long days would act the same as the heat lamp treatment,
only more so, and stimulate growth of the pine trees, especially in
June and July, thus causing them greatly to extend their root systems.
This would make them even more vulnerable to stress resulting in cessation
of growth until the early fall rains.
Lammerts cites considerable
historical evidence that the part of the U.S. embracing this area of
California, and actually much more, was much wetter in the past. The
Great Salt Lake, in Utah, is a remnant of Lake Bonneville, which had
an area of 50,000 square miles. Its decrease in size is said to be correlated
with a 200-year period of drought beginning about the year 1200, as
determined by tree ring studies. Even as late as 1860, the snowfields
of the High Sierras were much larger than recently. As Lammerts points
out, with extensive snowfields there would be much evaporation from
them in the spring and early summer. The prevailing westerly winds would
carry this evaporation over the areas easterly as clouds yielding rain
to an extent considerably more than at present. The growth in the spring
and early summer would cease during the dry period in late summer. Then,
after an early fall rain, or possibly snow, followed by a hot spell
in September, growth would resume, yielding an extra growth ring.
Lammerts postulates that
it is possible that the presumed 7100 years of age postulated for some
bristlecone pines could be reduced to an actual age of about 5600 years,
assuming that extra rings would be formed by effects of stress during
50% of the approximately three thousand years since the end of the Flood.
Lammerts acknowledges, of course, that it yet remains to be seen whether
these results can be duplicated with older bristlecone pines.
Loss of Vigor Due to
In an earlier publication,
Tinkle (1971, pp. 183-5) had reported the loss of vigor in tomato plants,
due to a mutation which resulted in pleiotropy and extra cotyledons.
Tinkle (1975, p. 52) has since reported the results of additional tests
on tomato plants and on campion. Seeds of mutant tomato plants, bearing
three cotyledons, and seeds of normal plants were planted in a cool,
fairly light basement. After two months, 20% of the three cotyledon
plants had survived, while 37% of the normal two-cotyledon plants were
surviving. Tinkle found the mutant to be a late-bloomer, and after a
light frost, 76% of the leaves on a mutant plant showed damage, while
only 54% of the leaves of the normal plant revealed damage. The normal
plants were also higher yielding, averaging a total weight of fruit
of 119.3 oz. compared to 92.0 oz. for the three-cotyledon plants.
Tinkle also obtained three-cotyledon
campion among normal two-cotyledon plants. After transplanting to outside
soil, the mutant plant showed considerably more loss of leaves and leaf
damage than did each of three normal plants. Tinkle concluded that even
a small change in morphology, due to mutation, causes a significant
derangement of physiological function, as evidenced by loss of vigor.
Post-Fire Survival of
Chaparral Relative to Recovery by Seedlings and Crown Sprouting
George Howe (1976, pp. 184-90)
has studied the regrowth of two chaparral shrubs, Adenostoma fasciculatum,
H. & A. (chamise) and Ceanothus crassifolius (buck brush),
after fires in the Newhall, California area. He found that chamise seedlings
are important in regeneration of chamise populations, even though fire-damaged
chamise plants can regenerate by sprouting from their crowns. Burned
buck brush plants, in contrast, are unable to regenerate by crown sprouting
and are thus limited to seedling regrowth following destruction by fire.
Some evolutionists have
maintained that chaparral genera, which resprout from old plants, as
well as repopulate burned areas by seedlings, routinely have fewer species
because they reproduce vegetatively by sprouting, thus bypassing microevolutionary
changes which accompany the sexual life cycle involving new seedling
generations. Howe noted, however, that chamise, which regenerates vigorously
by seedlings after destruction by fire, is limited to only three species.
These results conflict with both the observations and theory of Vogl
and Schorr (1972, p. 1186), who stated,
Howe does state that further
research is necessary to determine if chamise seedlings respond differently
in the San Jacinto Mountains, where Vogl and Schorr made their observations,
compared to the Newhall, California area, where Howe made his observations.
As noted by others, Ceanothus
(buck bush), which regenerates exclusively by seedlings, has numerous
species (58). Other genera, which regenerate by both sprouting and seedlings
after fire, possess fewer species, ranging downward from Quercus,
with 12 species, to genera like Pickeringia (chaparral pea),
and four others that have only one species per genus. Thus, generally,
a large number of species within a genus does correlate with the ability
to reproduce by seedlings only. Some evolutionists, such as Wells (1969),
suggest that the "ancestral," or "primitive" condition
was the ability to crown-sprout, and that the loss of this ability within
a genus leads to greater rates of speciation and to enhanced specialization
in species, due to increased intensity of natural selection. Howe suggests,
however, that the reverse may be true; that the ancestral characteristic
may have been the lack of ability to crown-sprout, since the greater
number of species within Arctostaphylos and Ceanothus
are unable to crown-sprout. Thus, species that crown-sprout are outnumbered
in both genera, because the rate of speciation slowed, or even stopped,
in those lines in which crown-sprouting developed.
Howe points out that whichever
may be the case, no real evolution, certainly not macroevolution, is
involved, since, from beginning to end, chaparral remains chaparral.
The real question in origins is, of course, not how to account for the
varieties of chaparral but how to account for the origin of basic plant
kinds, such as, for example, chaparral, pine trees, peach trees, and
bougainvillea. Howe further points out that it is merely an assumption
that all species within a genus have arisen from a common ancestor by
natural means and he finally points out with support from biologists
who are evolutionists, that many of the supposed species within the
genus Ceanothus may be mere varieties within a single species. In fact,
the 58 species of Ceanothus may possibly be reduced to just three
Howe concludes that since
the chamise chaparral, Adenostoma, not only reproduces by crown-sprouting
but also reproduces vigorously by seedling after a fire. Yet the genus
Adenostoma has only three species and there is nothing inherent
in the ability to rapidly speciate in those genera which possess the
ability to repopulate by seedlings. Howe suggests that further research
should include hybridization studies to determine which species in the
genus Ceanothus are true species and which may be mere subspecies.
Further studies are needed to discover if there are other genera which,
although presently believed not to do so, actually do repopulate after
fire by seedling regrowth.
In a later paper, Howe (1982,
pp. 3-10) discusses, in greater detail, the evolutionist and creationist
explanations for the two methods of reproduction, resprouting, and seeding
The Creation Research
Society Grand Canyon Experiment Station
George Howe (1984, pp. 9-16)
has described observations that he and John Meyer made during a trip
to the Creation Research Society Grand Canyon Experiment Station (GCES)
and its environs. The GCES, located on 2.5 acres, is about 22 miles
north of Prescott, Arizona, and about six miles north of Chino Valley,
on U.S. 89. Howe and Meyer recorded many notes on both the fauna and
flora of that portion of Arizona. They suggest that the GCES can be
used as a center for studies of the biology and geology of an area within
a 200-mile radius of the GCES. [Note added in 1995: In 1992/3 a research
center with laboratories and visiting scientist quarters was constructed
at the site. It is now called the Van Andel Research Center.]
Howe and Meyer suggest several
research projects and have invited suggestions from others. Their suggestions
include research on lichens growth rates; factors governing the growth
rates and survival of junipers; a search for new crops suitable for
production on an economical scale in a type of environment similar to
that near the GCES; hybridization experiments to determine the limits
of plant created kinds, the determination of chromosome numbers in various
plants as another assist in delimiting plant kinds; the restoration
of native grass cover which has been displaced by human activity; and
various other studies utilizing other features within a 200-mile radius
of the GCES, including, of course, the Grand Canyon, the south rim of
which lies about 110 miles north of the Station.
Survival of Organisms
in Freshwater and Saltwater
The Flood of Genesis 6-8
destroyed all land-dwelling, air-breathing animals except those on the
Ark. What happened, however, to freshwater and saltwater creatures in
the mixed waters of the Flood? There seems to be little doubt that many
of them failed to survive the catastrophic effects of the Flood and
became extinct. Those that survived apparently were able to tolerate
the degree of mixing they encountered or were able to take advantage
of special conditions existing during the Flood. Norbert Smith and Stephen
Hagberg (1984, pp. 33-7) have conducted experiments to determine survival
rates of freshwater and saltwater organisms in waters of varying amounts
of salt and have also demonstrated that such organisms might have survived
the Flood due to layering of freshwater over saltwater.
In the experiments by Smith
and Hagberg, a 10-gallon aquarium was partially filled with 20 liters
(somewhat more than five gallons) of artificial seawater from a commercial
mix (Instant Ocean). The bottom of the aquarium was covered with crushed
oyster shells and brine shrimp were added. The water was aerated and
maintained at about 22-23C throughout the experiment. The saltwater
fish, Blue Damsel Fish (_Abudefduf uniocellatus_) was placed in the
tank. In order to reduce salinity, fresh water was added and salt water
was removed, maintaining a volume of 20 liters. Salinity was constantly
monitored. Observations were made on the activity and behavior of the
fish and the fish were removed to a recovery tank when they showed loss
of locomotor activity, as exhibited by their inability to right themselves.
To test the rate of dilution
on tolerance levels, salinity was reduced at rapid, intermediate, and
slow rates. In the fast rate, salinity was reduced in twenty 1.5 parts
per thousand increments in two hours; in the intermediate rate, the
salinity was reduced in twenty 1.5 parts per thousand increments in
20 hours, and in the slow rate, the reduction was in twenty 1.5 parts
per thousand increments in 40 days. The salinity at which loss of locomotor
activity was experienced (in parts per thousand) were: 0.80 +/- 0.08
for rapid dilution; 0.88 +/- 0.36 for intermediate rate of dilution,
and 20.3 +/- 1.1 for slow rate of dilution. It appears that a slow rate
of dilution, rather than increasing a saltwater fish's ability to adapt
to dilution of salt content, actually decreases that ability. That was
apparently the case with the Blue Damsel Fish which lost locomotor ability
at greater dilution with a more rapid rate of dilution.
In the test of a heterogeneous
Flood model (layering of freshwater over saltwater), a 55-gallon tank
was filled to a depth of 20 cm with artificial seawater. The bottom
was covered with crushed oyster; marine algae were added, and the mixture
was aerated. A good growth of algae provided oxygen and brine shrimp
were added. Marine organisms, consisting of Striped Damsel Fish, Hermit
Crab, and sea slugs (Gastropods), were added. After overnight, a 16-cm
layer of freshwater was placed over the seawater without mixing of the
two layers. Freshwater organisms, including Mosquito Fish (_Gambusia
affinis_), Goldfish (_Carassius auratus_), snails, and duckweed (_Semma
sp._), were added to the freshwater layer. Although there was some increase
in salinity in the freshwater layer, and decrease of salinity in the
saltwater layer, all animals and plants survived the 30-day duration
of the experiment. Except for occasional excursions of the Goldfish
and Damsel Fish into other layers, all organisms remained in their own
layer, except the Mosquito Fish. These freshwater fish moved freely
throughout the aquarium, with no seeming preference for any salinity
These experiments, limited
though they were, indicate that at least some marine organisms can tolerate
only limited dilution of salt water. It is suggested, by Smith and Hagberg,
that the vast majority of marine life was destroyed by the Flood but
that small, protected areas of the pre-Flood seas were overlaid with
freshwater during the Flood, permitting certain marine organisms to
survive the duration of the Flood.
The Creation Research
Society Grasslands Experiment Station
A 3.5-acre plot of grassland,
approximately seven miles southeast of the town of Weatherford in southwestern
Oklahoma, has been made available to the CRS and designated as the CRS
Grasslands Experiment Station (GES), with E. Norbert Smith as Director.
In 1983, Stephen Hagberg and Smith (1984, pp. 62-6) initiated research
at the Station. This research was primarily designed to encourage further
long-term studies of various aspects of this prairie plot and the floral
and faunal species which inhabit it. This plot has never been under
plowed cultivation, although it has been used for winter livestock grazing
for at least 75 years. Very little of the once vast prairie grassland
area that originally existed in the U.S. still retains its original
character, in terms of the composition and relative abundances of the
plant and animal species that inhabited it. The GES does provide a small
plot of original prairie grassland in southwestern Oklahoma.
In their report, Hagberg
and Smith describe the characteristics of the soil of the GES and the
climate of this area of Oklahoma. They conducted preliminary research
into the types of species of plants present on the plot, their relative
abundance, and their distribution over the plot. As expected, grasses
(Gramineae family) made up the largest portion of total ground cover.
Other families represented included Leguminosae, Compositae, and Solanaceae.
Beginning in the first week in July and continuing about once a week
through the first week of September, a series of plant collections was
made at the plot, the specimens being pressed and identified. Two 1m
x 1m square plots were spaded up in the downslope and upslope areas.
It is anticipated that this will allow study on the course of plant
succession on these plots.
This region of Oklahoma
is situated between native short-grass prairie to the west and tall-grass
prairie to the east. Both "eastern" and "western"
species of amphibians (salamanders, frogs and toads), reptiles (turtles,
lizards, skinks, racerunners and snakes) mammals (opossums, shrews,
moles, raccoons, badgers, skunks, coyotes, squirrels, gophers, rats,
mice, armadillos, and rabbits), and many birds are found in the area.
Hagberg and Smith, in addition
to a continuation of studies already initiated, suggest a series of
other research projects that could be done at the GES that would contribute
to the general scientific knowledge in the areas of botany, zoology,
and ecology. They further suggest that research here might serve as
a basis for an understanding of events leading up to and factors involved
in the perpetuation of prairie grasslands under post-Flood conditions,
and that ecological studies utilizing the diversity of plant and animal
species at the GES might perhaps contribute to the question of origins.
Plant Succession Studies
In the spring of 1969, George
Howe and Walter Lammerts staked out areas near their homes in California
for plant succession studies, in order to discover any possible evidence
for the establishment of varieties and eventually subspecies, which
would lend support to the concept of microevolution. The results of
studies through 1973, as reported by Lammerts and Howe (1974, pp. 208-28),
provided no evidence for the production or enhancement of varieties
or subspecies through natural selection. In fact, under unfavorable
and catastrophic conditions, natural selection apparently worked to
perpetuate the normal or more prevalent varieties. Lammerts (1984, pp.
104-8) reviews the results and implications of the 1969-1973 studies
and briefly reports on observations on the plots made by George Howe
in March of 1984. Howe's observations on plant varieties and abundances
in 1984 merely served to confirm the results he and Lammerts had obtained
in their earlier work, with no significant changes being observed.
Lammerts points out the
alarming rate at which plant species are becoming extinct. He states
that the loss of genetic diversity on a worldwide scale, caused by plant
extinction, cannot be overemphasized. One ecological consultant warns
us that as many as 100 species of organisms per day will be lost by
the end of this century.
Factors Involved in Population
suppose that extrinsic factors, such as starvation, disease, and predation
are responsible for the maintenance of population sizes, and thus lead
to natural selection of variants more resistant to these factors, eventually
giving rise to new species, and so on, up the evolutionary scale. If
it could be shown that organisms possess some intrinsic self-regulating
mechanism that controls population sizes, this would weaken the Darwinian
evolutionary hypothesis. This inspired interest by E. Norbert Smith
(1985, pp. 16-20), in experiments designed to test the effects of various
conditions on the reproductive ability of organisms. He reported on
the results of his experiments, using the common freshwater arrow-headed
planarian, or flatworm _Dugesia dorotocephala_, as his test organism.
He designed his experiments to test the effects of such factors as feeding
frequency, population density nature of substrate surface, metabolic
or waste products produced by the planarians, and crawl space on asexual
reproduction. Reproduction in D. dorotocephala is both sexual
and asexual. Asexual reproduction occurs by fissioning. The posterior
end of the worm clings to a surface while the anterior end moves away.
The tail end breaks off and both pieces regenerate missing parts. Asexual
reproduction rates were determined by counting the number of fragments
produced per worm per unit time.
Smith found that in each
experimental group, increasing worm density reduced the rate of asexual
reproduction. Reproduction appeared to be more closely linked to density
than to feeding frequency. For example, at a density of two worms per
10 milligrams fed once a week, reproduction is reduced from one fragment
every 23.3 days to one fragment every 29.5 days, an increase of 6.2
days. If, however, a density of four worms per 10 milligrams fed twice
weekly is employed, one fragment every 42.9 days is produced, compared
to one fragment every 23.3 days, employing a density of two worms per
10 milligrams fed twice weekly, an increase of 19.6 days. Similar experiments
comparing crowding to feeding frequency, employing other densities and
frequencies, produced similar results. Increasing density always reduced
reproduction rates. Substrate surface characteristics, such as slime
and the presence of metabolic and waste products in the water, seemed
to have little or no effect. Increasing crawl space by introducing a
microscope slide in a test box, increased somewhat the reproduction
rate in the test box compared to the rate in a control box containing
Smith's results led him
to state that the planarian, _Dugesia dorotocephala_, can regulate its
population density independently of so-called Darwinian checks, since
negative outside forces such as starvation, predation, or disease were
not necessary for population homeostasis. This indicates, Smith declares,
that animals were designed with the ability to avoid over-exploitation
of their habitat.
Origin of the Kaibab
The tassel-eared squirrel,
Sciurus aberti, inhabits areas in Arizona, New Mexico, and in
several isolated spots in Mexico. It feeds on cones and terminal buds
of Ponderosa Pine, so its distribution is limited to Ponderosa Pine
forested areas. The Grand Canyon, 200 miles long, 5,000 feet deep, and
12 to 15 miles across, with the Colorado River running through it, acts
as a barrier to terrestrial animal movement. What is commonly called
the Abert squirrel inhabits the Coconino Plateau, just to the south
of the Grand Canyon, and what is called the Kaibab squirrel inhabits
the Kaibab Plateau, just to the north of the Grand Canyon, across from
the Coconino Plateau. Some zoologists give the Kaibab squirrel species
status, Scuirus kaibabensis, while others designate it as a subspecies,
_Scuirus aberti kaibabensis_, of the Abert squirrel. Supposedly, according
to evolutionists, the Grand Canyon has existed for at least several
million years, separating the two varieties of the tassel-eared squirrel
into populations isolated from one another. This separation, they believe,
was of sufficient duration to permit differentation into separate species,
or at least into separate subspecies.
John Meyer (1985, pp. 68-78)
examined nearly 100 specimens of Kaibab and Abert squirrels in the Grand
Canyon National Park Study Collection. The purpose of his study was
to determine the extent of the differences between the Kaibab and Abert
squirrels, and, using the generally accepted notions of zoologists concerning
the mechanisms required to give rise to variations and the time required
for such changes to take place, to estimate the time these two populations
of squirrels have been isolated from one another. If the separation
of the ancestors of these two varieties of the tassel-eared squirrels
into isolated populations was indeed caused by the formation of the
Grand Canyon, this estimate would thus provide an approximate time for
the formation of the Grand Canyon. Meyer's studies convinced him that
the differences between the Kaibab and Abert squirrels were essentially
minor, being limited to relatively slight differences in coloration,
and thus, if the differentiation were caused by separation due to the
formation of the Grand Canyon, the formation of the Grand Canyon must
have occurred recently; on the order of thousands of years ago, rather
than several million years.
In general, the main color
features of the typical Abert squirrel include a dark-colored tail,
a white belly, and a steel-gray body. The typical Kaibab squirrel has
a white tail and a nearly pure-black belly. Except for these differences,
the Kaibab and Abert squirrels appear to be similar in all respects,
according to Meyer. There is significant variation in the coloration
of both the Kaibab and the Abert squirrel, although the variation is
more striking in the Abert squirrel. This variation has given rise to
Abert squirrels that resemble Kaibab squirrels and Kaibab squirrels
that resemble Abert squirrels. Thus Hall (1967) refers to some of the
squirrels on the north rim as "Abert-like Kaibabs," and in
the Grand Canyon National Park Study Collection, Meyer found a drawer
of animals labeled "Kaibab-like Aberts." Based on 28 measurements
from the skulls of each of 10 individuals, Meyer reports that the morphology
of Kaibab squirrels differs little from that of Abert squirrels, which
is in agreement with the reports of other investigators.
Of the ten conditions which
evolutionists assume that must exist for significant genetic variations
to arise and thus for evolution to occur, Meyer would definitely associate
eight of these, and possibly all ten, with the two isolated populations
of tassel-eared squirrels. Based on evolutionary assumptions, then,
if the Kaibab and Abert populations of the tassel-eared squirrels have
been separated for several million years, these two populations should
differ in very significant ways. Because of the minute differences between
Kaibab and Abert squirrels that Meyer was able to identify, limited
as they were to minor differences in coloration, he maintains that the
Abert squirrels on the south rim and the Kaibab squirrels on the north
rim of the Grand Canyon represent, for all practical purposes, one continuous
population. Therefore, he reasons, the separation must have been recent,
thus indicating a recent formation for the Grand Canyon.
While one may agree with
Meyer that the data indicate these two populations of squirrels have
not been separated for several million years, it will be difficult for
some to agree that this establishes an approximate age for the formation
of the Grand Canyon. If the Grand Canyon was formed during the waning
stages of the Flood, as receding Flood waters drained from the emerging
North American continent, there would have been no squirrels on either
rim of the newly formed Grand Canyon. It would be many years after the
formation of the Grand Canyon before squirrels and other animals could
have arrived. It appears more likely that the tassel-eared squirrel
migrated to areas on both sides of the Grand Canyon and that these areas
have since become ecologically isolated from one another in relatively
recent times. Evolutionists, of course, assume that this isolation occurred
several million years ago, whatever the causative factors. This assumption,
Meyer's work definitely contradicts.
Isolation of the Shiva
"As one stands on
the Grand Canyon's North Rim across from Shiva Temple, the view is
breathtaking. The panoramic visual sweep of the canyon is stunning.
The emptiness is overwhelming, as the lowering sun casts continually
changing shadows across the red, tan, and gray strata which make up
the walls, buttes, temples, and precipices of the mile-deep canyon.
On the opposite canyon wall, one can barely make out the thread-like
Kaibab and Bright Angel trails. A tiny splotch of green marks the
oasis at Indian Gardens. The only sound impinging upon one's ear is
the turbulent wind capering along the precipitous North Rim, the faint
cry of an eagle, and perhaps the distant boom of thunder echoing across
the mightiest canyon on earth, signaling the late afternoon development
of an incipient thundershower. It is difficult to imagine that this
lonely outlook was the jumping-off point for a world-famous expedition
a half century ago in the fall of 1937."
With this bit of journalistic
eloquence, John Meyer (1987, pp. 120-5) introduces his description of
a 1937 American Museum of Natural History expedition to Shiva Temple,
an isolated butte in the Grand Canyon. This expedition was undertaken
by evolutionists, with the conviction that the animals on Shiva Temple
had been isolated from their ancestors on the North Rim of the Grand
Canyon for many tens of thousands of years, therefore evolution should
have produced significant evolutionary differences between animals on
Shiva Temple and their relatives on the North Rim of the Canyon. When
the results of the expedition revealed no differences between these
creatures, evolutionists concluded that the animals on Shiva Temple
are not isolated, but can easily scale the walls of Shiva Temple. Therefore,
they declared, animals easily cross from the North Rim of the Grand
Canyon to the top of Shiva Temple.
Desert conditions prevail
in the bottom of the saddle between the North Rim and Shiva Temple.
These conditions, Meyer and George Howe believe, might construct a barrier
to the movement of small forest dwelling species from the North Rim
of the Canyon (elevation about 7650 feet), to the top of Shiva Temple
(elevation about 7700 feet), a barrier even greater than the problem
of scaling the vertical walls of Shiva Temple. Meyer and Howe therefore
undertook a study to evaluate the degree of isolation of Shiva Temple,
using direct observation of vegetation, and selected climatic variables
and known habitat preferences of the small mammals of the Grand Canyon
area (Meyer and Howe, 1988, pp. 165-72).
Using a chartered plane,
Meyer and Howe took more than 100 photographs of the vegetation and
general topography of Shiva Temple. For the purpose of taking measurements
on soil and air temperatures, and relative humidity, five stations were
established on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon at 7650 feet, and two
stations on the saddle between the North Rim and Shiva Temple, dubbed
Shiva Saddle by Meyer and Howe. The bottom of this Saddle has an elevation
of 6300 feet. The Saddle is narrow and is flanked on each side by nearly
vertical walls which descend at least another 1000 feet to basins below.
As Meyer and Howe point out, the Saddle, small in size and very flat,
receives direct heating from the sun throughout most of the day and
from rising air from below. The horizontal distance between the North
Rim and Shiva Temple is about two miles.
Both Shiva Temple and the
Kaibab Plateau (which includes the North Rim), are capped by Kaibab
limestone'a highly porous material. As a result, there is a complete
lack of standing water on Shiva Temple and an almost complete lack on
the North Rim. Temperature measurements showed that soil temperatures
at the shaded station in the Saddle were as much as 13C higher than
at the shaded station on the North Rim. At the same time, soil temperatures
at the unshaded Saddle station were about 12C higher than at the unshaded
North Rim station. The relative humidity was significantly lower in
the Saddle than at the North Rim. At all times of measurement, the air
temperature was 1 to 6C warmer on the Saddle than at the North Rim.
Ground-based and aerial
observations showed that the Saddle area is populated almost exclusively
with pinyon pine and juniper. The top of Shiva Temple and the lower
reaches of the Kaibab Plateau at the North Rim, on the other hand, contain
heavy homogeneous stands of Ponderosa Pine. Aerial photographs provide
evidence that the distribution of plants on Shiva Temple is similar
to that of the North Rim. In order to traverse the area between the
North Rim to Shiva Temple, it is necessary to descend about 350 feet
below the Rim to a ridge which runs nearly one-half mile. One must then
descend from the south end of the ridge another 100 feet to reach the
Saddle, which is about three-quarters of a mile across. After the Saddle
is crossed, to reach the top of Shiva Temple, a climb of about 1350
feet up steep talus slopes and finally a nearly vertical pitch is required.
The top of Shiva Temple encompasses an area of about 300 acres.
Meyer and Howe found that
the pinyon pine and juniper forests of the ridge and the Saddle between
Shiva Temple and the North Rim differ markedly in plant species composition
from the two Ponderosa Pine forests on the top of Shiva Temple and the
North Rim. Thus, in addition to the climatological barrier presented
by conditions in the Saddle, the differences between plant species in
the Saddle and on the North Rim and Shiva Temple appear to provide an
additional obstacle to migration of small mammals from the North Rim
to the top of Shiva Temple. The vegetation on Shiva Temple, on the other
hand, is strikingly similar to vegetation on the North Rim.
As Meyer and Howe note,
the climatic and vegetational differences between the North Rim and
the Saddle and difficulties of ascending Shiva Temple are not sufficient
to block the migration of some mammals from the North Rim to Shiva Temple.
On the other hand, there are a number of species of small mammals that
inhabit Ponderosa Pine forests but which do not frequent areas which
have the types of vegetation found in the Saddle. Furthermore, the Kaibab
squirrel (_Sciurus aberti kaibabensis_) is not found on Shiva Temple,
even though the Ponderosa Pine, which is found on Shiva Temple, provides
the main food source of this squirrel. Thus, if the Kaibab squirrel
were able to cross the area between the North Rim and Shiva Temple and
ascend Shiva, it would find conditions there suitable for its existence.
Thus, the fact that the Kaibab squirrel is not found on Shiva Temple
constitutes additional evidence that Shiva Temple is biologically isolated
for some mammals from the North Rim.
While indicating that further
research is necessary, including a more extensive study of vegetation
and the trapping of small mammals in the Saddle area, Meyer and Howe
conclude that there is sufficient evidence to indicate a recent origin
and significant isolation of Shiva Temple. They point out that if microevolutionary
changes may result from the isolation of subpopulations over a long
period of time, then, since no such microevolutionary differences between
mammals found on Shiva Temple and on the North Rim can be detected,
the isolation of Shiva Temple must have occurred recently, if indeed
Shiva Temple is isolated. They maintain that there is significant isolation
of Shiva Temple from the North Rim for a number of small mammals which
are found on both the North Rim and Shiva Temple, thus establishing
that this isolation could not have occurred tens of thousands of years
ago but must have occurred recently.
Meyer and Howe point out
that their data, which support isolation of Shiva Temple for some mammals,
provide evolutionary theory with a two-horned dilemma. They state that:
"On the one hand,
short-term isolation of small mammals on Shiva Temple presents the
problem of a recent formation of this topographical feature. On the
other hand, long-term isolation of small mammals on Shiva Temple without
concomitant changes in gene frequency is hardly consistent with allopatric
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Hagberg, S. C. and E. N.
Smith. 1984. A report of activity on the Grasslands Experiment Station
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Hall, J. G. 1967. The Kaibab
squirrel in the Grand Canyon National Park. Report to the National Park
Howe, G. F. 1976. Post-fire
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___. 1982. Postfire strategies
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___. 1984. Plant succession
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___ and G. F. Howe. 1974.
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___. 1987. Shiva Temple:
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___ and S. C. Hagberg. 1984.
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___. 1976. Further research
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