All the more than 250 species of woodpeckers have tongues that stick out three times longer than their beak. The tongue reaches from their right nostril, around the outside of their skull, and into their mouths. At the end of the tongue are hard, saliva coated bristles and barbs that aid in grabbing the prey. The tongue can also be used for lapping sap.
The tongues of birds are different from the muscular tongues of humans. “Within the entire length of woodpecker’s tongue lies the ‘hyoid apparatus,’ a linear series of tiny bones sheathed in muscles and soft tissue. . . When the woodpecker wants to stick out its tongue, it contracts muscles near the base of the hyoid apparatus. This forces the hyoid bones forward within their sheath and propels the tongue out of the bill. Relaxing the muscles allows the tongue to shorten and brings it back inside.”
Problems With The Woodpecker’s ‘Natural Selection’
Evolutionists try to explain how the tongue of the woodpecker developed through natural selection. Note, the author states, “The purpose of this website is to provide accurate information to those who might otherwise take the erroneous claims of creationists at face value.” However, his mutations explanation raises some serious questions. (see source below)
1) Why didn’t other insect-eating birds evolve such a tongue?
2) The tongue would do no good apart from the reversed toes for support. Did this evolve at the exact same time?
3) The tongue is not just long but is sticky and barbed. How did that come about?
4) The woodpecker uses the tail feathers for support. If they molted before new ones grew in, the bird would be greatly handicapped. However, the old ones grow in before the supporting tail feathers molt. Remarkable, eh?
5) To use his tongue in conjunction with his beak, the shock absorbing skull system, discussed last time, would need to be in place from the start. That makes three remarkable adaptations that all changed at the same time!
6) If the woodpecker’s head and tongue are the results of ‘accidents’ called mutations, how does this explain improvement? In writing this, I made many mistakes in typing and spelling. Not one was an improvement. Genetics works the same way.
7) The most telling problem is this: Though it is feasible that adaptations this major took place gradually (though hardly believable they all happened at once), the fossil record says otherwise. There is no fossil evidence that the woodpecker we know today was ever anything else. Not one intermediary form has been found.
Why Is Creationism So Disliked?
What is so repulsive about the idea that a wise Creator designed and made the woodpecker perfectly to do what he needs to do? Maybe this isn’t such an “erroneous claim” after all since such a view best fits the evidence and is in harmony with what the Bible says too.