Friday, July 31, 2009

The evolutionary wonder of the high flying goose

The bar-headed goose commutes across the Himalayas, flying at up to 30,000 feet. This seems kind of crazy, but I suppose the roads are uncrowded.

They had to do quite a bit of evolving to manage this. They have the sort of complex interconnected adaptations that old-style creationists used as evidence for active design. Thing is, they didn't have to do it all at once ...
How Geese Get Enough Oxygen Flying Over Himalayas By HENRY FOUNTAIN

The bar-headed goose's muscle cells have evolved to make more efficient use of low oxygen levels at high altitudes....

...He said the changes in the muscle cells probably evolved over a long period of time, perhaps as the Himalayas, one of the Earth’s youngest mountain chains, grew and the birds would have had to fly higher and higher.
Emily compares it to the old story of the boy lifting the growing calf. He did it every day, growing stronger and stronger, until, at long last, his spine snapped.

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