About 100 years ago, bird-biting mosquitoes called Culex pipiens entered the tunnels then being dug for the London Underground (the ‘Tube’). Cut off from their normal diet, they changed their habits to feed on rats and, when available, human beings. During WW2, they attacked Londoners seeking refuge from Hitler’s bombs. Their plaguing of maintenance workers may be the reason the underground variety has been dubbed molestus.
British scientists have now found that it is almost impossible to mate those in the Tube with the ones still living above ground, thus suggesting that they have become a new species1 (or almost so). This has ‘astonished’ evolutionary scientists, who thought that such changes must take many times longer than this.2
Informed creationists have long pointed out that the biblical model of earth history would not only allow for the possibility of one species splitting into several3 (without the addition of new information, thus not ‘evolution’ as commonly understood), but would actually require that it must have happened much faster than evolutionists would expect. The thousands of vertebrate species on the Ark4 emerged into a world with large numbers of empty ecological niches, often as varied as the two worlds of our mosquito example here. They must have split many times into new species in the first few centuries thereafter, as the bear population, for example, gave rise to polar bears, grizzlies, giant pandas and more.5 The observations on these underground mosquitoes are thus exciting news.
Actually, creationists have long suspected that organisms had ‘built-in’ genetic mechanisms for rapid variation—even beyond the normal processes of adaptation where genes, reshuffled by sexual reproduction, are selected in various environments.6 Thus, recent discoveries of such mechanisms being still viable today are of very great interest.
For example, there are genes which can ‘jump’ around the chromosome. These are normally kept in check, but Drs Jenny Graves and Rachel O’Neill of La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, have found that in hybrids, these can undergo ‘rampant’ changes.
This may even be ‘the general mechanism for speciation in all multi-cellular creatures’ (by making it impossible to ‘back-breed’ with a parent population). Graves says, ‘We thought it took millions of years of long-term selection for a jumping gene to be activated. We’ve now shown that it can happen maybe in five minutes after fertilization.’7 These are exciting times to be a creationist.
We think that expanding genetic research will likely reveal even more examples of built-in, ‘pre-fab’ mechanisms for rapid change in response to environmental pressures. Ironically, as more such created mechanisms (very far from normal Darwinian ideas) are discovered, they will probably be misconstrued as support for evolution, at the same time as biblical Christians are exulting in their true significance.