This vestigial hindlimb is evidence of basilosaurids' terrestrial heritage. A: Not all textbooks cite the same vestigial structures, but let’s take a look at all of them together, and then analyze each one separately. Jerry Coyne from the University of Chicago sums up the evolutionary position nicely: Whales are treasure troves of vestigial organs. Museums frequently highlight these structures in whale skeletons, claiming this evolutionary story along with them. An Email Exchange Regarding “Vestigial Legs” Pelvic Bones in Whales by Jim Pamplin Excerpt: The pelvic bones (supposed Vestigial Legs) of whales serve as attachments for the musculature associated with the penis in males and its homologue, the clitoris, in females. Many living species have a vestigial pelvis and leg bones, testifying…to their descent from four-legged ancestors. Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Whale Skeleton: The pelvic bones in whales are also a good example of vestigial evolution (whales evolved from four-legged land mammals and secondarily lost their hind legs). Promiscuous Whales Make Good Use of Their Pelvises Hips don’t lie: Whale pelvic bones are not vestigial but instead evolved to help the marine mammals maneuver better during sex Assessment of the vestigiality must generally rely on comparison with homologous features in related species. Hind Leg Bones in Whales. Vestigiality is the retention during the process of evolution of genetically determined structures or attributes that have lost some or all of the ancestral function in a given species. A simple "do we observe this" or not, whole vestigial limbs "legs" on modern whales that is. The evolution of whales. Next let’s look at the idea that some whales have vestigial legs or hips that are supposedly “evolutionary left overs” from when whales walked on land. Q: Biology textbooks say there are vestigial structures like…(a) human tail bones, (b) whale pelvis, (c) snake hind legs, (d) the appendix, and (e) gill slits on embryos. Drawing shows a similar (small) pelvic bone of a Sperm whale with an even smaller abnormal lump of bone fused to it, which abnormality is labeled by evolutionists a ‘vestigial femur.’ However, this tiny blob of bone bears little resemblance to the leg bone of any land animal. * Perhaps Whales Evolved from Bats? Far more significant than the best evidence claimed for the famed Indohyus to be the land-dwelling ancestor of the whale, i.e, it's "thickened knob of bone in its middle ear", is the identical echolocation sequences in bats and whales (see Li, et al., 2010, Current Biology)!One wonders why Ying Li didn't try to become famous by claiming that the racoon … Letter c in the picture indicates the undeveloped hind legs of a baleen whale. $\endgroup$ – John May 17 '12 at 15:47 Despite the apparent uselessness, evolution left traces of hind legs behind, and these vestigial limbs can still be seen in the modern whale. The picture below on the left shows the central ankle bones (called astragali) of three artiodactyls, and you can see they have double pulley joints and hooked processes pointing up toward the leg-bones. Whether the small bones in the pelvic area of modern / fossil whales are part of their skeletal anatomy or vestigial is another question. Just like the human appendix, 8 these “hip” bones are interpreted as a vestigial structure. Basilosaurus was indeed a whale, but one with two delicate hind legs, each the size of a three-year-old girl's leg, protruding from its flanks. Are these really evolutionary leftovers?
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