On March 24, 2003, the Discovery Channel broadcast a documentary called “End of Extinction: Cloning the Tasmanian Tiger.” The subject matter of this documentary was the efforts being made to clone the extinct Tasmanian tiger thanks to a jawbone which had been preserved unspoiled in a solution of alcohol for the last 140 years. The program carried the views of scientists about the cloning project, initiated by officials from the Australian Natural History Museum, and the difficulties encountered. At the end of the program the hopes were set out that even if the cloning project were not a success the pieces of DNA obtained from the jaw might be strung together and that the cloning might be achieved one day in the future. Yet on the other hand the program also broadcast evolutionist propaganda by putting forward various Darwinist claims about the origin of the Tasmanian tiger. This article is a reply to the Darwinist errors in that documentary.
The Tasmanian tiger is a species which used to live on the island of Tasmania, to the south of Australia. The settlers who came to populate the continent of Australia played an important role in its complete disappearance. Farmers initiated a wide hunting campaign against the animal, which caused them extensive damage by attacking their livestock, and this ended in the total extinction of the Tasmanian tiger.
The program mainly concentrated on the attempts to clone the Tasmanian tiger, and had little to say about the creature’s origins. The Discovery Channel put forward, in a single sentence, the claim that the Tasmanian tiger was a species that had emerged with evolution, and then glossed over the subject. The claim was expressed in these words: “The Tasmanian tiger, which had evolved over 50 million years, was wiped out in only 50.”
The reason why this claim regarding evolution was restricted to a single sentence is that the Tasmanian tiger totally undermines all the evolutionary scenarios.
Before moving on to the terrible dilemma the Tasmanian tiger represents for evolution, we need to make it clear that the other name for the animal is the Tasmanian wolf. Indeed, its anatomy resembles not that of a tiger, but of a wolf. Its skull structure is identical to that of the North American wolf, and “Tasmanian wolf” is the name most generally employed in scientific literature. Its only point of resemblance to tigers is the parallel stripes on its back.
One important characteristic of the Tasmanian wolf/tiger is that it is a marsupial, just like the kangaroo. The fact that it is a marsupial, despite its very close resemblance to the wolf, has forced evolutionists to accept a number of points.
Although the Tasmanian tiger is a marsupial, the North American wolf which it resembles is a placental mammal. According to evolutionists, the parting of the ways between placental mammals and marsupials took place some 100-120 million years ago. The fact that the two species’ last common ancestor was such a long time ago is in clear conflict with the characteristics they possess. The question is this: How is it that living things alleged to have evolved on two totally different continents (Australia and North America are in effect on opposite sides of the world) have such different skeletal structures after around 100 million years? How is it that “evolutionary processes,” based totally on chance events, can have twice produced the same bodily structure in two completely different geographical locations? In the face of these questions, evolutionists are forced to agree that the two animals emerged by random mutations twice, in different regions.
According to evolutionists, they came to possess similar anatomies because of environmental factors, despite the fact that the two live in very different parts of the planet. These environmental factors influenced these evolving animals in the same way, resulting in the emergence of two similar creatures. Evolutionists refer to these imaginary factors as “evolutionary pressure,” and use a style of language implying that there was a conscious process leading them both in the same direction. The fact is, however, that there is no such thing as “evolutionary pressure.” There are only random mutations, and it is utterly irrational to believe that these mutations could have appeared in exactly the same form, hundreds of times over, in two different mammal groups. The logical explanation is that these two independent creatures were created according to a common “plan.”
In fact, the similarity between the Tasmanian wolf and the placental wolf is an important piece of evidence undermining the classic evolutionist claim (the homologous argument) that morphological similarities confirm the thesis of descent from a common ancestor. Since it is perfectly clear that the two wolves did not descend from a common ancestor, then how much credibility is left to the thesis, which proposes that “they are similar, so they must be related,” put forward in the case of apes and human beings for instance?
The Darwinist tales put forward on the Discovery Channel regarding the origin of the Tasmanian wolf have no scientific meaning. The channel is imposing its own Darwinist beliefs on its viewers without offering any scientific evidence for them. We call on the Discovery Channel to put an end to its blind evolutionist bias.