By David Jolly – June 9, 2019
Virtually everyone here in the U.S. has seen or heard of the gecko used in commercials for a certain insurance company. That gecko has successfully invaded and colonized many homes and businesses throughout the country. But what does that have to do with Creation?
As I have previously shared, while working on my master’s thesis, I studied a different gecko that also invaded and colonized many homes and businesses in the U.S. The first documented report of the Mediterranean gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, was in Key West, Florida in 1915. Through the scientific literature, I tracked this gecko across the Gulf Coast states from Florida to Texas. At the time of my research, I lived in Mesa, Arizona and the Mediterranean gecko had been well established in the area for over 35 years.
During my research, I found that the only life history study ever done in the U.S. on this interesting little gecko was conducted in Texas and published in 1986. In the conclusion of this study, the author claimed that the Mediterranean gecko was proof of evolution because of its method of colonization which is known as the Founder Principle. Evolutionists have long used the Founder Principle to justify their theory.
The Founder Principle is defined as the establishment of a new population from a larger population by the transportation of a few individuals, a gravid[i] female or a nest, to a new area that is isolated from the original population. The new population will contain a lesser amount of genetic variation than was found in the larger original population. In a number of instances, the decrease in genetic traits will lead to enough of a change between the two populations to make interbreeding unlikely or impossible which in turn will result in the establishment of a new species or subspecies. And it is these changes that are used as proof of evolution.
The Founder Principle is one variation of what is called a genetic bottleneck. A genetic bottleneck generally occurs as a result of a major event that drastically reduces the number of individuals in a population. It can also be the result of removing a few individuals from the parent population and relocating them in a new and isolated location. Examples of a genetic bottleneck could be a disease that kills off a majority of a population, leaving only a few individuals left. It could also be the effect of transplanting a few individuals to a remote location that is geographically separated from the original larger population. As can be seen in the image to the right, the narrower the neck of the bottle (meaning the fewer individuals that survive or are passed on to the new population) the fewer genetic traits that are passed on with them.
What if the ‘A’ was a trait for a large body size and ‘a’ was a trait for a small body size. Those individuals with ‘AA’ would be quite large, while those with ‘Aa’ would be medium sized and those with ‘aa’ had a small body size.
The parent population contained a fairly equal amount of the large and small traits which may have resulted in medium sized individuals. In the first example of the largest bottleneck, more traits are passed on and the new population will most likely reflect the traits of the parent population and have medium sized bodies. In the middle example, both traits occur, but there are a greater number of individuals with traits for the larger body size than the smaller, so in all likelihood, that population would have been somewhat larger than the parent population. In the third example, only those individuals with the ‘a’ trait survived, resulting in a population of smaller individuals.
Indeed, the Mediterranean gecko did colonize via the Founder Principle. When I mapped out the various reports of the appearance of the geckos across the Gulf Coast states, the paths followed the major highways and port cities. As a rule, they do not migrate more than a few dozen yards from where they hatch. They are nocturnal geckos that inhabit urban and industrial areas. They like to hide in the cracks in walls and fences of homes and commercial businesses and in and around boxes and freight. The females will nest in and under items such as large cartons of freight. Unlike most reptiles that lay numerous eggs at a time, female Mediterranean geckos lay an average of only 2 eggs at a time. However, up to a dozen or more females will lay their eggs in the same nest. When the freight is shipped from one city to the next, sometimes a few individuals or a nest will be shipped along with it allowing the geckos to colonize a new area.
Since the Mediterranean gecko repeatedly colonized across the U.S. by means of the Founder Principle, I tried to determine if there were any differences between the ones that were now well established in Arizona compared to those from Texas and Florida. Besides the nearly 100 geckos collected from the Mesa, Arizona area, I was able to obtain a number of specimens from Texas as well. Unfortunately, I was unable to collect any specimens from Florida.
When comparing the Arizona and Texas specimens, what I found was quite interesting. The Arizona specimens were significantly smaller than the Texas geckos. Additionally, the Texas geckos were far more aggressive than the Arizona geckos. Approximately 80% of the Texas geckos would try to bite when handled while none of the Arizona geckos ever bit. When placed together in a terrarium, the aggressiveness of the Texas geckos was such that even when the Arizona geckos out numbered the Texas geckos 10-to-1, they would find a secluded corner as far away from the Texas gecko as possible and remain there until they eventually starved to death. As long as the Arizona geckos were in the presence of the Texas geckos, they would not eat, but as soon as they were removed from the same terrarium as the Texas gecko, they would start to eat almost immediately. I tried 15 different combinations of numbers and sexes and had the same results every time – dead Arizona geckos.
The difference in size and behavior between the two populations may be considered enough evidence to claim that the gecko population in Arizona be classified as a new subspecies of Mediterranean gecko. Unfortunately, I was not able to afford the cost to conduct any DNA studies on the two populations of geckos to substantiate my findings. Had I been able to conduct the DNA tests, I am positive that it would have shown that the Arizona geckos contained a lesser amount of genetic variation than the ones found in Texas.
Probably the greatest example of all time for a genetic bottleneck coupled with numerous Founder’s effects, would have been the Genesis Flood and subsequent Ice Age. The animals on the Ark probably carried a fairly large amount of genetic variety, which would allow them to survive the many different environments on the earth after the Flood. A certain amount of variation would also have been lost at the time of the Flood because taking only 2 individuals (7 of some) out of a larger population would still create a HUGE genetic bottleneck. As the animals dispersed from the Ark, they would have started breeding faster than normal because breeding pressures would have been non-existent at the time. As the populations grew, they began to spread out to the four corners of the earth via one Founder’s event after another. Each new population would have had less genetic variation than the previous one creating many new species in a span of 100-300 years after the Flood. Eventually, new areas were filled with enough animals and the rapid speciation would have slowed down.
It was also around this time (200-700 years after the Flood) that Ice Age occurred as a result of the Flood. The Ice Age caused some major climate changes which would have caused many of the newly formed species to die out and become extinct because they no longer carried the necessary traits to survive that the original members of the population had. That would help to explain the many different fossils we find in early post-Flood deposits.
In reality, the Founder Principle and genetic bottlenecks are the exact opposite of what evolution requires. Not only does evolution need an increase in variability, they also need an increase in genetic information. For example, they need a way to have ‘Bb’ and ‘Cc’ added to the ‘Aa’ when it never existed in the population to start with. To date, there has never been a known case of NEW genetic information being added to an organism by natural means. If evolution was true, we should be finding all kinds of examples of this, but we don’t. We do find numerous examples of the Founder’s Principle and genetic bottlenecks resulting in not only new species, but numerous extinctions as well, which all fits into a curse filled Creation that continues to run down.
Yeah, listen to the gecko. It will tell you that real science and the study of population genetics supports a biblical creation model and completely destroys evolutionary theory. If I ever do get evidence that the geckos in Arizona are a new subspecies, I am tempted to name them Hemidactylus turcicus creationensis because they tell me that God’s Word about Creation and all that follows is true.
[i] The term ‘gravid’ is used for animals that are carrying young or eggs. In scientific terminology, the term ‘pregnant’ is used only for humans.