Why Just Five Digits on Tetrapod Limbs?

first_imgTwo family members each possessing an extra digit on each limb find that having a sixth finger is beneficial and useful.A condition called polydactyly has been known ever since the Bible mentioned a case: “And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants” (II Samuel 21:20). The authors of a study in Nature Communications comment,Although polydactyly is not rare, and can be traced back at least 1000 years, only its genetics has, until now, been studied. This may in part be due to the belief that supernumerary fingers represent a malformation and are not useful, thus are generally removed at a young age.Because intact cases are hard to find, few researchers have had a chance to answer questions about extra fingers. Are they functional? Do they have their own muscles and nerves? Are they useful? Are polydactyl people aware of the extra fingers individually? For the first time, a team of 11 researchers evaluated a a 17-year-old polydactyl subject and his 52-year-old mother.Here, we analyzed the neuromechanics and manipulation abilities of two polydactyly subjects who each possess six fingers on their hands. Anatomical MRI of the supernumerary finger (SF) revealed that it is actuated by extra muscles and nerves, and fMRI identified a distinct cortical representation of the SF. In both subjects, the SF was able to move independently from the other fingers. Polydactyly subjects were able to coordinate the SF with their other fingers for more complex movements than five fingered subjects, and so carry out with only one hand tasks normally requiring two hands. These results demonstrate that a body with significantly more degrees-of-freedom can be controlled by the human nervous system without causing motor deficits or impairments and can instead provide superior manipulation abilities.In short, an extra finger can be very useful! Think of how many extra tasks you could perform with an extra finger. You could do more tasks with one hand than it usually takes for two. Imagine the faster typing or calculating that could be done! What could a piano player achieve with two extra fingers?Fig 1 from the paper shows subject P1’s right hand.The supernumerary finger in the subjects looks just like the other fingers, with knuckles, fingernails and all. It was located between the thumb and index finger, and had a spherical range of motion like the thumb. Its internal anatomy was halfway between a thumb and finger, with the advantages of both:The extra or supernumerary finger (SF) with three phalanges has a saddle joint similar to that of a normal thumb (Fig. 1e). It has two extrinsic flexor tendons as well as a normal extensor apparatus (Fig. 1c), in addition to dedicated digital nerves. Hence, this polydactyly hand is controlled by more muscles and nerves than normal five-fingered hands. Critically there are intrinsic muscles whose origin is the second metacarpal and whose insertion is to the proximal phalanx of the finger, similar to the muscles of a normal thumb and yielding a spherical range of motion (Fig. 1b, c).For some reason, the authors didn’t mention toes. Did they fail to look and see if the subjects’ feet had extra digits? That would be odd. Whatever, “The experiments demonstrated that they have no difficulty in controlling the SF in coordination with and independently from the other fingers while no movement deficits of the hand or other limbs were observed.” The subjects were apparently happy to have the extra digits and there was no downside. Who wouldn’t want them? The authors were so surprised and pleased by the results, they feel that robot makers should design robots with six fingers!Where Has Evolution Been?Here is a clear case of a beneficial mutation. And yet since the first tetrapod crawled out of the water 400 million Darwin Years ago, evolution seems to have been stuck in a rut: five digits per limb max is all a creature gets. Some animals, like horses and birds, get fewer, but why isn’t polydactyly more common? Why don’t we see evolution producing 7-fingered animals, or 8 or more? Why is polydactyly still considered a genetic “defect” instead of a beneficial trait? (Note: as can be seen in images of polydactyl subjects, not all SF’s are beneficial; some are clearly deformed.)Evolutionists will invent storytelling words like “canalization” to explain evolutionary conundrums like this. Basically, canalization means that natural selection gets organisms stuck in a rut sometimes, and it’s hard to get out. But then, the opposite is also true! Variation is limitless, such that animals can invent flight, swimming, leaping, crawling and anything else. Evolution can invent wings, tails, eggs, the lack of eggs, pouches, beaks, teeth, gears, meat-eating plants, and eyes (multiple times independently). Any complex organ an animal would find useful can be made special order from Darwin’s Tinkering Shop. So what is the message of evolution— canalization, or innovation?Notably, the paper does not discuss evolution. This particular mutation for six fingers is not the type of random mutation that evolutionists would need to claim macroevolution, because the genes for fingers, with all their bones, muscles, tendons and parts, are already there. It’s instructive that all four limbs of the Gath Giant had six digits, not just one, two or three. Most likely a regulatory gene or “master switch” failed at some point in development. A switch for digit number failed to turn off before six digits began to develop in the embryo. That would explain why each digit contained the full suite of muscles and bones needed, which would have developed later after the initial digit number was established. Since many mutations are pleiotropic (i.e., affect other genes), the Gath Giant’s mutation may have also altered genetic controls for body size, leading to gigantism. Once again, though, if these mutations had been so beneficial in Darwinian thinking, they should have been selected, and spread throughout the entire human population. Since they did not, Darwinists cannot claim this as evidence for beneficial mutations supporting macroevolution.What About Creation?The same question must be asked of creationists. If six fingers are beneficial, why would an intelligent Designer restrict digits to five? The awesome variety in nature shows how easy it would be for the Maker to add or subtract digits. In fact, a Designer could have given each creature any number of fingers and toes suitable for its individual needs. Even whales and dolphins have five digits hidden within their flippers. What is it about five? We switch to Commentary mode for possible answers.For one thing, no animal is complaining. We humans do marvelously well with our endowments. One cannot say, “If a little is good, more is better” in all cases. Six may work, but seven? Eight? Certainly there will be a point of diminishing returns. Five is a great number that seems to be optimum for most people and animals.Another answer was suggested by Walter ReMine in his book The Biotic Message (1993). The living world is so designed, he argues, as to send a message: life did not evolve, and there is One Creator. Both creationists and evolutionists agree that organisms are arranged in nested hierarchies: groups with common traits, and groups within groups. The question is whether that arrangement indicates common ancestry or common design. ReMine states the central claim of his argument, which he defends for the next 500 pages:Life was reasonably designed for survival and for communicating a message that tells where life came from. The biotic message says, “Life is the product of a single designer – life was intentionally designed to resist all other interpretations of origin.” (p. 2o)Without the complexity, evolutionists might think life just pops into existence easily. Without the unity, theists might tend toward polytheism (i.e., different gods created different types of beings). When we see unity, such as in pentadactyly (5 digits) in the hierarchical group known as tetrapods, it supports the honest seeker with the message that the same Creator made them all.ReMine appeals to no religious arguments in his book. Message Theory, he argues, is a testable proposition for science, all the more powerful for the many questions it answers that evolutionists fail to answer (as he documents profusely in their own words). The bottom line of “Message Theory” is that creation sends an unambiguous signal of a single Designer.(Visited 484 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South Africa’s ’30-day TV advert’

first_img18 August 2009 While most television advertisements only last for 30 seconds, the 2010 Fifa World Cup offers South Africa the opportunity to stage a 30-day advertisement to the world, says 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairman Irvin Khoza. Speaking at the 2010 National Communication Partnership conference in Johannesburg on Monday, Khoza said the World Cup was a once-in-a-lifetime marketing opportunity for South Africa. “Think of the tournament as a 30-day commercial for South Africa – a 30-day television commercial to be watched by a cumulative audience of billions around the globe – this is the scale of our opportunity for South Africans to present this country effectively and proactively,” Khoza said. The LOC chairman said it was up to South Africans to decide what the message of the “30-day commercial” would be. The 2010 Fifa World Cup will be played in nine South African cities over a period of 30 days, with 32 teams playing 64 matches in the battle to be crowned football champions of the world. Assessed in terms of the number of worldwide viewers, the World Cup is the world’s biggest sporting event. It is expected to draw in a cumulative worldwide television audience of more than 26-billion spectators in 2010 – for Germany 2006, the total cumulative television audience was 26.3-billion. Using Monday’s occasion to give a 2010 stadium construction update, Khoza said the six stadiums that have not yet been completed are 80 percent complete and would be complete by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the latest research indicates a major shift in confidence among South Africans regarding the country’s ability to pull off a successful World Cup. During the first quarter of 2009, a Fifa-commissioned survey revealed that 88 percent of South Africans felt a sense of pride at being the first African country to host the World Cup, while 77 percent predicted the tournament would be a success. And in May this year, a separate survey by African Response found that 89 percent of South Africans believed the World Cup would benefit the country. Source: BuaNews / South Africa 2010last_img read more

South African products, services on show in Maputo

first_img25 August 2014A delegation of South African companies has begun showcasing their products and services at the 50th Maputo International Trade Fair, which got under way in the Mozambican capital on Monday.The 29 companies – including 19 small, medium and micro enterprises and six emerging exporters – are participating in the week-long fair with the help of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).The companies will be looking in particular to tap into the growing Mozambican market in transport and communication.“Mozambique is one of South Africa’s top five trading partners in Africa, and we want to expand our market share to enable our companies to compete with other countries that have since made substantial inroads into the country,” said the DTI’s economic counsellor in Mozambique, Matome Kgowedi.The director of export promotion at the DTI, Julius Nyalunga, said Mozambique was an important country in relation to the government’s diversification strategy in Africa.“It is one of the countries that we are targeting, with the understanding that it is amongst the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, and that it has signed a number of memoranda of understanding with South Africa that seek to strengthen trade relations,” Nyalunga said.“We also intend to increase South African outward investment into Mozambique, but it is interesting for us to understand that if we are not going to aggressively participate in Mozambique, there is going to be a challenge, because role players from the world over are here and they are trying to get a foothold into Mozambique’s market.”Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

World Cup 2014: Argentina beats Nigeria 3-2 as both teams advance

first_imgArgentina’s Lionel Messi scored the opening goal. (AP Photo)Argentina beat Nigeria 3-2 in their last World Cup group match on Wednesday, with Lionel Messi and Ahmed Musa scoring two goals each before Marcos Rojo kneed in the winner. Argentina won Group F while Nigeria also advanced despite the loss. Messi scored in the third minute, slamming in the rebound after Angel Di Maria’s shot bounced off the post. Nigeria replied within a minute as Musa cut in from the left and beat Sergio Romero with a curling shot toward the far post. Messi’s perfectly hooked free kick restored the lead for Argentina just before halftime. The second half started at the same furious pace as the first as Musa scored his second and Rojo made it 3-2 from a corner within the first five minutes.last_img read more

Salaam Cricket 2017: India much stronger than Pakistan now, say Mohammad Azharuddin and Aamer Sohail

first_imgIndia are a far better side than Pakistan currently and the gap between the two sub-continental cricketing giants are yawning, agreed Mohammad Azharuddin and Aamer Sohail, who were often involved in some engrossing Indo-Pak battles in the 1990’s.Azhar and Sohail were part of a session titled Superhit Muqabla-Indo-Pak Captains. Harbhajan Singh was also on the panel. India and Pakistan face off at Edgbaston in their opening match of the Champions Trophy in what will be the first ODI between the arch-rivals since the 2015 World Cup. India, thanks to a Virat Kohli hundred, had got the better of Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval.Defending champions India have been on a roll, especially with Kohli now at the helm in all three formats. Their pacers have been in remarkable form while the batting looks completely settled. Pakistan on the other hand, are in a transitional phase with Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan having retired at different stages from different formats over the last couple of years.”Today’s Pakistan team does not have a lot of match-winners. India are much stronger,” said Azharuddin.Sohail, one of the most explosive openers in the 90’s, agreed with Azhar and said there’s a wide gap between the two cricket teams and praised Indian cricket authorities for taking the right steps.”There’s plenty of gap. Indian cricket authorities have invested in the right areas and they emphasised on the basics of cricket.”We started relying too much on players like Afridi and Imran Nazir, who were not very dependable. They could only win you 10 out of 100 matches.advertisement”In the past, we never associated India with fast bowlers. There were exceptions like Kapil Dev and a few others. Now, they have a few together and their approach is refreshing because they think wickets. Indian outlook has changed.”Any team needs utility cricketers and impact cricketers. Pakistan does not have those kinds of players and we lack a proper leader. The fact that we have played so much cricket on the dead Emirates pitches has affected us,” Sohail said.Harbhajan Singh, one of those men behind Indian cricket’s rise over the last decade or so, said a strong infrastructure has helped.”India have worked hard on fast bowlers. After Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra gave India a new perspective.”Pakistan have a lot of good individuals now but once upon a time, they had fast bowlers who rocked the world. Now, India has that kind of talent and the National Cricket Academy has played a key role there. The fitness levels even in Ranji Trophy are pretty high.”The three panellists also discussed the current stalemate in bilateral cricket relations between India and Pakistan.”I am surprised that India do not want to play Pakistan in any bilateral event and yet they are playing World Cups and ICC events. Is it about money?,” Sohail said.Harbhajan and Azhar felt if India stop playing cricket with Pakistan because of cross-border tensions, then other relations with the neighbours should also end.Also Read:Salaam Cricket 2017: Shane Warne, Sourav Ganguly recall old cricket memories and ‘sledge’ each otherSalaam Cricket 2017: Don’t think Anil Kumble can have problems with anyone, says Harbhajan Singhlast_img read more

SHAWN MENDES OPENS UP ABOUT BEING BULLIED IN CANDID POST ENCOURAGES FANS

first_imgMendes posted this message alongside numerous pics showing his success:  “I’m thinking about being in 9th grade right now. The day after I posted one of my first covers onto YouTube back in 2014.”Mendes added of a group of older bullies, “[They were] yelling out ‘sing for me Shawn, sing for me!’ in a way that made me feel absolutely horrible… made me feel like a joke, like what I was doing was just stupid and wrong.” Login/Register With: Shawn Mendes – Timothy Kuratek /CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter Advertisementcenter_img Shawn Mendes is opening up about how he was bullied as a kid, for wanting to sing.The musician posted a candid Instagram post on Sunday, telling his fans about his experience with bullies while he was growing up.Mendes encouraged his fans to follow their dreams no matter what in the inspirational post. Advertisement Facebook Advertisementlast_img read more

Sturgeon Nose canoe maker says he learned everything he knows from his

first_imgLaurie Hamelin APTN National NewsA traditional Sturgeon Nose canoe maker from British Columbia is passing his knowledge on so his art doesn’t get lost.Wayne Louie was in Vancouver at the Kanata Festival building a seven-foot canoe.“Growing up on the flats of the lower Kootenays helped shape my life,” said Louie who is from the Ktunaxa Nation. “And watching all the elders do their canoes, my grandma was my mentor. I watched her, studied her, learned everything from her.”Louis explained that the work behind building a canoe is all based on science.“It’s all waterproof at the end of the day, it’s made out of western maple for the ribs, the slats, it’s all tied together by bitter cherry bark and cedar roots. White pine is the wood that goes on the frame, and what is so unique about the white pine is that it seals itself as it is curing, it becomes waterproof. And everything is built like my ancestors, there are no nails, no screws, no wire, no foreign material,” said [email protected]last_img read more