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Author Topic:   How creationism explains babies with tails
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 1002 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


(1)
Message 1 of 59 (524846)
09-19-2009 4:15 PM


EVIDENCE OF HUMAN TAILS

Believe it or not, some human babies are born with true tails.

It seems to be an atavism. An atavism is a reappearance of an ancestral organ that happens with a rare few organisms in a population. This happens because it took only a small genetic change to disable the development of the organ, but the complete gene line remains, and it takes only a small genetic change to bring it back. For example, there was a dolphin caught and photographed with complete hind limbs (normal dolphins don't have hind limbs), reported on MSNBC.com. And, of course, as a more interesting example, there are babies born with tails.

PubMed has indexed up to 100 reported cases of human tails. The most interesting case is found in the Bergman study (contains photos of infant genitalia). You can see photos of the tail in extended and contracted positions, as though the tail contains relevant muscle.

But the tail was not examined in detail. A more thorough examination is found in a 1980 study by Bar-Maor, for The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, which has been made available freely online on PubMed. Click on the "Full Text" button on the right side of the page. The study contains three case reports of human tails, each with bony vertebral segments.

Given that each and every one of us human beings once had a tail, this stuff doesn't have to come as a surprise. Wait, what? Yep, you had a tail, from about 28 to 47 days after conception.

Image source: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. If you follow that link, each embryo image is a clickable link, and you can view rotated images and animations at many stages in embryo/fetus development. Our tails were removed in later development by the immune system.

Note: these are not about Haeckel's embryo sketches. What you see above is an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of an actual human embryo.

EXPLANATIONS FROM CREATIONISTS

So how do creationists explain this stuff? Well, it isn't easy. If I believe that Adam was created on the sixth day and had life breathed into his nostrils by God, who then took a rib out of his abdomen and used it to create Eve, then there really is no way in heck I would expect Adam and Eve to have the complete genes for a tail.

I did a Google search for human tail evolution and, wouldn't you know it, the first link that comes up is a creationist article.

Creationist explanation #1: The "tail" is just a malformation.

This is the most common creationist explanation. The first article in the Google search is a 1982 piece by ICR's Duane Gish.

We would like to emphasize once again the fact that this appendage was not a tail. We have already quoted Ledley's own testimony that the "tail" did not contain even rudimentary vertebral structures. Ledley states in his article that there is no precedent for a vertebral tail without caudal vertebrae. The "tail" was offset from midline with no connection to vertebral structures and contained a soft fibrous fatty core. The resemblance to a tail was highly superficial.

Gish is referring to a study on a human tail by Ledley, which had a caudal appendage WITHOUT vertebral segments. There are "true tails," which contain vertebral segments, muscles, veins--everything we seen in a complete monkey's tail--and then there are "pseudotails," which are nothing more than skin and fat like a tumor. The Lidley tail was a pseudotail. Gish goes on to claim that the appendage is just a malformation. The Bar-Maor study was written two years earlier, in addition to many other cases of true tails.

The largest creationist organization is Answers in Genesis, and they have a 2008 article (Setting the Record Straight on Vestigial Organs) with a little blurb with the same claim, that the "tail" is not really a tail because it is only a fatty tumor. Again, no mention of true human tails, after decades of true human tails being published knowledge.

Creationist explanation #2: The "caudal appendages" are not really appendages.

Creation Ministries International has a 2007 article by Andrew Lamb (Human tails and fairy tales), and this time it includes evidence of knowledge of the Bar-Maor study. How does the author take this?

The x-ray that appears on the TalkOrigins webpage is of Child 3, who had a healthy, well developed coccyx. Being soft tissue, Child 3ís benign caudal appendage does not appear in the x-ray, except perhaps to the trained expert eye. What does appear is the normal healthy coccyx, albeit of only three bonesómost of us have four coccygeal vertebrae; a few percent of people have five and a few percent have three.

He isn't clear, but he notes that the two x-ray images of the tail do not show the appearance of an external appendage, so his writing proceeds as though the vertebral segments are just an internal extension of the coccyx. Well, that would fly, except that the study describes two out of the three tails as a "caudal appendage," meaning an external tail.

Beyond that, the author simply does not have an explanation.

Creationist explanation #3: Eugenie Scott calls it a duplication mistake.

An author on DrDino.com, Kent Hovind's website, rebuts the evolutionary argument about tails by citing the authority of Eugenie Scott, the head of the National Center for Science Education, the pro-evolution thinktank.

ďActually, thatís [human "tails"] not an evolutionary issue at all, Brian. Itís um, itís a matter of developmental biology, itís a, itís a matter of what happens when that sperm fertilized that egg, and that egg grew into a baby, and that baby was born. Um, I couldnít give you the exact precise biochemical explanation but probably at some point where the, um, the genes instructing how many vertebrae to lay down in that vertebral column, um, duplicated itself a couple extra times, by mistake. It was a, uh, faulty transmission of information, so to speak. And this particular individual just added, ended up getting a few extra, extra vertebral, um, segments. Um, and this, this doesnít happen very frequently, but, you know there are glitches in the genetic material that produce things like this, just as there are glitches in the genetic material that produce people with six fingers. Um, but if somebody was born with six fingers, you donít think ďOh no! That, that takes us all the way back to AcanthostegaĒ, with the earliest amphibians some of them had six fingers. Itís not really an evolutionary issue.Ē

--Radio debate with Hugh Ross

So there's the opinion of Dr. Eugenie Scott, who is a well-qualified physical anthropologist, and then there is the evidence. I can't explain why Dr. Scott thinks as she does, but her opinions are not the deciding factor, nor are the opinions of any single expert or textbook. If we must rely on expert authority, then it is best to rely on the consensus of expert authority, which weighs heavily on the side of human "tails" being tails without the quotes.

A "true human tail" is defined by Shifan et al. 2006: "True human tail is a rare event. It is defined as a caudal, vestigial, midline protrusion with skin covering a combination of muscle and adipose tissue." The word, "vestigial," is used, meaning a "true human tail" is defined by the medical establishment as an ancestral leftover. There is disagreement in the medical literature about whether a true tail contains vertebral segments, but there is widespread agreement that it is "vestigial" and it "arises by retention of structures found normally in fetal development." (Pediatric Surgery, Update 8, Vol. 24, No. 01, Jan. 2005). There was at least one dissenting researcher I found who sides with Dr. Scott, saying, "But 'true' tails in humans are not true at all: they do never contain bone, cartilage, notochord or spinal chord, and they are easily removed surgically." (Verhulst, 2004). His disagreement is expressed as claiming that the tails are not really "true," and he is of course mistaken about the lack of bone, etc. I did a search on Google Scholar for "true human tail," and I received 37 results, meaning there have been 37 studies containing that phrase. More of those studies can be found using the phrase, "true tail," and related studies are found using the phrase, "fetal tail."

But of course the most important factor is the evidence. The tails with vertebral segments, skin and organized muscle--that you have seen in the Bergman study, the Bar-Maor study and more--cannot be explained by a mere duplication mistake. After all, they are the same tails that we were conceived with.


Replies to this message:
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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3549
Joined: 09-26-2002
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 2 of 59 (524851)
09-19-2009 4:23 PM


Is it run it again time?
Smoking-Gun Evidence of Man-Monkey Kindred: Episode II... Tails

Adminnemooseus


    
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 1002 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 3 of 59 (524854)
09-19-2009 4:40 PM


Re: Is it run it again time?
This thread is an update of that one, but they certainly are not the same. This thread is much more comprehensive, factually corrected, and oriented toward creationist explanations.
  
Adminnemooseus
Director
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Message 4 of 59 (524863)
09-19-2009 5:19 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the How creationism explains babies with tails thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4349
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003
Member Rating: 1.5


Message 5 of 59 (527466)
10-01-2009 1:05 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ApostateAbe
09-19-2009 4:15 PM


So there's the opinion of Dr. Eugenie Scott, who is a well-qualified physical anthropologist, and then there is the evidence. I can't explain why Dr. Scott thinks as she does, but her opinions are not the deciding factor, nor are the opinions of any single expert or textbook. If we must rely on expert authority, then it is best to rely on the consensus of expert authority, which weighs heavily on the side of human "tails" being tails without the quotes.

I think the whole debate hinges on this excerpt.

If one doesn't have to interpret it as a tail, and it's down to a "consensus", then really it's up for debate.

If it's down to induction, most tails, from what you say, aren't tails.

Are these "real" tails? I still have no conclusion on that because different people tell me different things.

.....(Just my opinion, I'm not here to debate).


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 Message 1 by ApostateAbe, posted 09-19-2009 4:15 PM ApostateAbe has responded

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ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 1002 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 6 of 59 (527620)
10-01-2009 9:11 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by mike the wiz
10-01-2009 1:05 PM


We can rely on the experts, and that is what most people do most of the time, except if we can examine the original evidence for ourselves, and I would rather not rely on the experts in this case. I think all of us are qualified to examine the evidence and make a worthy decision. The studies are there to look at, and they contain detailed descriptions and photographs. It is the same evidence that Eugenie Scott or anyone else looks at. Whether the evidence adds up to common descent with tailed critters is largely a personal decision, but there it is. The debate really should hinge on the evidence.
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wuchun 
Inactive Suspended Junior Member


Message 7 of 59 (575137)
08-18-2010 11:26 PM


deleted garbage spam

Edited by AdminAsgara, : deleted garbage spam


  
Heaven32
Junior Member (Idle past 1301 days)
Posts: 1
Joined: 10-02-2010


Message 8 of 59 (584469)
10-02-2010 12:44 AM


Vestigial limbs are something that evolution might predict and would certainly allow for due to inheritance of genetic information from ancestors.

Examples that are well documented include human's being born with tails, whales and dolphins with leg and pelvic girdles, snakes with legs, chickens with teeth. Most importantly vestigial body parts are only ever found in the species that are thought to have descended, due to genetic evidence, from species that we know do have those parts (i.e. human-tail/primate-tail, land-mammal-legs/whale-legs, lizard-teeth/chicken-teeth, lizard-legs/snake-legs).

How does ID account for these mutations? If chickens where created (and NOT evolved), they would not have need of the genetic information for teeth, nor whales and snakes for legs, nor of humans for tails.

Edited by Heaven32, : No reason given.


Heaven
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jonnyk
Junior Member (Idle past 1274 days)
Posts: 1
Joined: 10-29-2010


Message 9 of 59 (588979)
10-29-2010 12:30 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Heaven32
10-02-2010 12:44 AM


Need some additional info regarding GENES FOR TAIL CONTROL IN HUMANS!
Ive had a long discuission with a creationist. He now sates tht although wnt-3a and cdx1 have been in dentifiewd in animals to control tail development tht doesnt mean tht any wht he terms as , birth defected, human tail is formed due to the dame genes. ALSO i cldnt find an article at talkorigns or anywhere else which states directly that the human wnt-3a and cdx1 are the ones responsible for tail formation IN HUMANS in cases where a true human tial is formed. CLD ANYONE PLT refer me to a scientific site where this relationship is celarly demonstrated or that the human embryonic tail is controlled by these two genes in humans which cld later develop into a true human tail? Thankyou very much.
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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 469 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 10 of 59 (588995)
10-29-2010 1:45 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jonnyk
10-29-2010 12:30 PM


Re: Need some additional info regarding GENES FOR TAIL CONTROL IN HUMANS!
There may well not be the clear demonstration you wish. Human embryo's are a very valuable resource and consequently there is not a very wide set of in-situ characterisation of gene expression patterns in humans.

Similarly familial cases of real tails in humans are incredibly rare, I could only find one referenced in the literature, so there is very little scope for a proper genetic analysis to find a causative locus.

TTFN,

WK


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Aaron
Member (Idle past 334 days)
Posts: 65
From: Kent, WA
Joined: 12-14-2010


Message 11 of 59 (596254)
12-14-2010 1:13 AM


I haven't looked into the genetic reason for human tail mutations yet, but I have a quick comment.

My son was born with 7 toes on each foot.

What aspect of his evolutionary past was creeping up?

He had also had an extra bone growth coming from just above his wrist.

Did our ape ancestors have extra digits too?

I think you can read into genetic mutations what you want, but its not really proof of anything.


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Just being real
Member (Idle past 310 days)
Posts: 369
Joined: 08-26-2010


Message 12 of 59 (596259)
12-14-2010 2:16 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Aaron
12-14-2010 1:13 AM


I haven't looked into the genetic reason for human tail mutations yet, but I have a quick comment.

My son was born with 7 toes on each foot.

What aspect of his evolutionary past was creeping up?

He had also had an extra bone growth coming from just above his wrist.

Did our ape ancestors have extra digits too?

I think you can read into genetic mutations what you want, but its not really proof of anything.

Great response Aaron. I'm going to remember that one!


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 59 (596260)
12-14-2010 2:28 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Aaron
12-14-2010 1:13 AM


Wow, Aaron.

Maybe next time, though, wash the turkey baster first?


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Aaron
Member (Idle past 334 days)
Posts: 65
From: Kent, WA
Joined: 12-14-2010


Message 14 of 59 (596261)
12-14-2010 2:59 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by crashfrog
12-14-2010 2:28 AM


"Maybe next time, though, wash the turkey baster first?"

Amusing...

I didn't even mention his webbed toes - that must have been from his frog ancestor.

Edited by Aaron, : No reason given.

Edited by Aaron, : No reason given.


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Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2284
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 15 of 59 (596268)
12-14-2010 5:39 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Aaron
12-14-2010 1:13 AM


Polydacty
Hi Aaron and welcome to EvC Forum!

My son was born with 7 toes on each foot.

Wow! That's pretty amazing. What is even more amazing though is that I can guess, with a reasonable chance of being correct, that you are of European extraction (extra digits are much more common amongst Europeans). If I'm right about that, then the chances are that your son has his extra digits on the "thumb/big toe" side of the feet (this is the most common position amongst Europeans, amongst Africans, the likelihood is that it is the other way around, on the "pinkie" side).

Polydacty is caused (usually) by a failure of the genes that control sonic hedgehog (not the cartoon character!). Sonic hedgehog is a signalling molecule that is vitally important in embryonic development. Amongst its many duties is that of telling the fingers where to grow, which way round to grow and so on. Mutations in the genes that keep sonic in check can lead to over-expression of certain traits, including fingers and toes.

What aspect of his evolutionary past was creeping up?

Given that even non-vertebrates have analogues of sonic hedgehog, an extremely ancient one.

Of course lots of mammals have varying numbers of digits. Pigs have four, camels two, elephants five and so on. Polydacty is equally able to affect them too, and by the same means as in humans (over-expression of sonic hedgehog), leading to multi-toed cats and so on (fifteen percent of the cats in Boston are polydactylous, with some having up to fifteen toes per foot). I would argue that this is strong evidence of inter-relatedness in all mammals, indeed, in all vertebrates.

Did our ape ancestors have extra digits too?

Doubtless.

I think you can read into genetic mutations what you want, but its not really proof of anything.

No? To me it seems like strong evidence of inter-relatedness. We use the same chemical pathways as cats and pigs, apes and horses in our developmental processes. There would be no reason for this if the Theory of Evolution were not true. Less closely related groups, like insects do not use sonic hedgehog, but analogous chemicals. This argues very strongly that a designer could have, if he so wished, used very different processes for different mammals. This does not appear to be the case. Instead, those creatures with a close evolutionary relationship to each other, use the most similar means of development.

Our developmental processes are amazing, but they are far from perfect. This is, of course, exactly what we would expect to see from the haphazard business of evolution. It is rather harder to square with the idea of an intelligent designer though.

Mutate and Survive


On two occasions I have been asked, Ė "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. - Charles Babbage
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