Rebuttal to the Columbus Dispatch Article Titled, 
"White, dark meat can be traced to turkey ancestors" (12/16/03)

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With the Thanksgiving holiday celebrated so recently, it is not surprising that the Columbus Dispatch science section (primarily evolutionary pseudoscience) would publish an article attempting to manufacture a relationship between some physical characteristics of turkeys and Darwinian evolution. The specific article I will be addressing purports that endosymbiont theory, first proposed by Lynn Margulis proves that white and dark meat in turkeys can be conclusively traced to their perceived evolutionary ancestors.

The article begins by explaining a few of the biological differences between white and dark meat in turkeys---- e.g. how mitochondria are present at elevated levels in dark meat because of the higher energy demands in legs and thighs (fair enough). However, the author then introduces Lynn Margulis’ endosymbiont theory, to conclude that double layers of lipid membranes in mitochondria are the result of Darwinian evolution.

A fundamental problem with the article is that the author neglects to scientifically distinguish between domesticated and wild turkeys. The result is a significant level of confusion because the characteristic differences between a domesticated and wild turkey are noteworthy enough that some detailed explanation is required.

Contrary to the confusion initiated by the Columbus Dispatch article, wild turkeys are fully capable of flying and running for some distance. It is the domesticated turkey that has serious limits to flying and running. Since the Thanksgiving public desires a turkey on their table with a larger amount of breast meat, selective breeding has added enough weight to cause the domesticated turkey to loose most (if not all) of its ability to fly.

While selective breeding of domesticated turkeys is a wonderful example of the extent to which certain preferred characteristics can enhance their attractiveness for human consumption, it is also a superb illustration of how these same characteristics can result in an animal that is unsuitable for survival in the wild. For this reason, most states (if not all) prohibit the release of pen-raised domestic turkeys due to the possibility of introducing disease and /or contaminating the gene pool of wild turkeys.

Darwin apologists call this type of selective breeding an example of evolution. However, this is actually an example of simple adaptation and variation within species (microevolution) using an intelligent designer (in this case the intelligent designer is man).

In 1967, Lynn Margulis proposed a theory that attempted to explain the evolutionary origins of prokaryotes, eukaryotes, mitochondria, chloroplasts etc. Her theory was called "The Endosymbiotic Theory" and the Columbus Dispatch article mentions it as their proof of the evolutionary origin of double layer lipid membranes in mitochondria. While several dogmatic evolutionists accept this theory as the best explanation for the origin of eukaryotes, etc, there are serious scientific issues that have never been resolved. For example, (1) the mechanism for endosymbiosis resulting in the formation of a eukaryotic cell has never been observed in the lab, (2) the theory is based on an oxygen poor early earth atmosphere. 1

Although this hypothesis is interesting, without any actual experimental observation in the lab supporting endosymbiosis, this theory is nothing more than speculation.

In conclusion, while the body of the Columbus Dispatch article contains language that only suggests endosymbiotic theory as a possible explanation for the origin of double layer lipid membranes in mitochondria (I give the author some credit for this), the article’s title proposes it as a proven fact (several demerits here). It is obvious that the truth about the origin of these lipid membranes from a scientific standpoint lies with only using endosymbiont theory as a possibility to explain the origin of double layer lipid membranes in mitochondria.


1. A highly speculative assumption. There is a great deal of scientific information that does not support an oxygen poor early earth atmosphere. See my article on this website about the early Earth atmosphere.

Patrick Young, Ph.D.
Canal Winchester, Ohio 

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