Research on Intelligent Design

To put together scientific advances from the perspective of Intelligent Design.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Gull Variation

Dear Christopher D. Beling,

Thanks for your great comments and pictures!
[The ones that you posted at:]

You asked,
"…with what you say one is left wondering if this is really speciation at all?"

Previously I wrote to Dave,
"…'biological radiations' can have physical problems to reproduce amongst its extremes, but they still are genetically compatible."

Now, C. D. Beling wrote,
"…Denton goes on to express his belief that the two ends of the "ring" are really different species and that the "ring" itself is an excellent example of how speciation takes place!"

Yes, I have seen that under the current neo-Darwinian paradigm, there is a generalized misconception in biology to consider extreme varieties as if they were examples of "speciation", or of new species "on the making". Some more exaggerated evolutionist claims them to be 'examples' of "speciation caught in the act". However, whenever I found such gratuitous statements in evolutionary literature, I come back to think in terms of what can we infer from comparing those less known wild species with our a little bit better knowledge of domestic dogs variation.

However, even our dog knowledge is just a little bit better than our compatibility wildlife knowledge, but that 'even' it's not so much. The reason is that if we follow this Intelligent Design perspective and apply it to all nature, we can realize that dogs can have fertile offspring with wolves, coyotes, jackals and dingoes, being then, and all of them, just varieties of the same model organism.

If we think in terms of mathematical disciplines, we can consider the prototype of a similar kind of organism as a stable planetary orbit. Each variety is a particular and different motion within the same orbit. If the planetary orbits and energy are conserved forces, thinking ID will lead us to predict that also animal variation or "radiation" within the similar is a conserved force in nature!

For me, this is a beautiful prediction of ID that can be experimentally proved and confirmed.

For example, I have been exploring the bird-net to find evidences that even the most distant extremes of a biological orbit within varieties, like those extremes within the Gulls, used extensively as 'evidence' for a non-granted and completely speculative "speciation":

The first evidences that I found are from the Seventies:

“A crossfostering experiment with these gulls showed that, as in Darwin’s finches, misimprinted birds are capable of producing viable hybrids, i.e., once the premating isolating mechanism is broken”


Harris M. P., Morley C., Green G. H. 1978. Hybridization of Herring and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls in Britain. Bird Study 25(3): 161-166.

Harris, M.P. 1970. Abnormal migration and hybridization of Larus argentatus and L. fuscus after interspecies fostering experiments. Ibis 112: 488-498.

Quoted by:

Grant PR, Grant BR. Genetics and the origin of bird species. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Jul 22;94(15):7768-75.

Now, I have found that for whatever the rhetorical or philosophical reason within neo-Darwinian evolutionism, biologists today always tend to provide a 'uneasy' report to any attempt to study or to do interbreeding studies within varieties of the same kind of organism. Can the reason be that their sandcastle will dismantle completely? Can that be that environmentalists won't have anymore scientific grounds to talk about endangered "species", when what they are really saying is endangered "varieties", varieties that can be recovered, fostered, and even new varieties produced by a careful and rational ID thinking?

In this context, the most excellent and complete study related Gull interbreeding varieties is the next one, available only online:

Hybrid Gulls Breeding in Belgium. By Peter Adriaens.
"Mixed breeding in western Europe

All three species may interbreed <Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus argenteus), Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus graellsii/intermedius), Yellow-legged Gulls (Larus michahellis)>, as has been observed quite regularly in western Europe. The following are just examples, not an all-inclusive list."

Other related links to the first reference are:

Experimental Cross-Fostering of Herring Gull and Great Black-Backed Gull Chicks. Roderick Firth, Jr.
"In a similar experiment over a 4-year period, Harris (1970) interspecificially cross-fostered 496 HG chicks and 389 Lesser Black-backed Gull (L. fuscus) chicks. He found that growth and survival were similar to those of normally fostered young. The cross-fostered young, especially females, later tended to mate with the foster parent species and rear hybrid offspring."

On the Origin and Rarity of Interspecific Nest Parasitism in Birds. By Tore Slagsvold.
Vol. 152, No. 2 The American Naturalist August 1998
"Some cross-fostering experiments have shown that many birds, and in particular females, may breed with the foster species (Harris 1970)."

Subject: Herring x LBB photos. From: Nick Rossiter. Date: 21 Dec 2000 3:05pm
A paper with some solid evidence on LBBG x HG hybrids is "Hybridization of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Britain" by M.P.Harris, C.Morley and G.H.Green, Bird Study 25:161-166 (1978).
The work resulted from cross-fostering experiments -- the hatching and rearing of a young gull by adults of another species. The 'confused' young gulls returned to the colonies and formed mixed pairings. Hybrid young were traced through colour rings. Three definite hybrid young returned to the colonies as adults. Their characteristics were intermediate to HG/LBBG. The authors suggest that any HG/LBBG with a mid-grey mantle, pale yellow legs and an orange-yellow eye ring in the breeding season can be assumed to be a hybrid. Some hybrid skins (definite and possible) were obtained and at least some are in the British Museum..."
"…I suspect that too many HG x LBBG are being reported and that some of the assignments would better be made to strange HGs."

See also:

“There are a small number of apparent hybrid Lesser Black-backed x Herring Gulls within the breeding population, presumably as a result of the cross-fostering experiments conducted on the island in the mid 1960's.”

“Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull interbreed to a limited degree where their ranges overlap, producing birds of intermediate appearance, which could be confused with Yellow-legged Gulls.”

“all three (Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull and Caspian- Gull) apparently do (occasionally) interbreed.”

Hybrid or European Herring Gulls in Connecticut

Kelp X Herring Gulls

"Hybrids between Western and Glaucous-winged gulls can appear quite similar to Herring Gulls."
<private link>

"A captive Iceland Gull (female) × Lesser Black-backed Gull (male) pair produced two"
<private link>

Dick Newell's Glaucous x Herring Gull hybrids

"Presumed Larus hyperboreus x argentatus. First winter/summer. Medio May 2002. Fuglevika, Farsund, Vest-Agder, Norway". And an apparent "first-winter hybrid Glaucous x Herring Gull from Bergen"
Many more hybrids, in the same root link:


"A stunning hybrid gull (GGxHG)".

"The fifth presumed hybrid in Bergen this January (2002)".

"Two older hybrids, from February 2000". Also at:

"Two new presumed hybrids (HGxGG)". Also at (the second possible HGxGG):

“Lesser Black-backed Gull: (Larus Fuscus.)
Habits: These birds can be interbreed with the Herring gull.”

"A hybrid gull should also be considered. However, I'm not sure of any reasonable hybrid combination that would produce a gull with such an appearance. Perhaps Glaucous-winged X Western Gull and Great Black-backed X Herring Gull are two hybrids that should be considered. However, the same characteristics (leg color, hooded appearance, eye color, mantle color) all seem to reasonably eliminate these hybrids from consideration.

Any comments on this gull would be appreciated."

The next pictures from Martin Reid's Website "Gull News":

"…possible California Gull x Ring-billed Gull hybrid? from Corpus Chrisi"

The same one, back again at Corpus Christi, pictured also at:

"…possible first-summer(?) Kelp or Kelp x Herring hybrid from Corpus Christi". Also pictured at:

And other similar to that previous one.

A presumed FRGU (Franklin's Gull) x RBGU (Ring-billed Gull) hybrid, both from Fort Worth.

A possible Glaucous-winged Gull hybrid from Fort Worth.

Other "hybrid ufo's" (smile):

Gull from the UK, with candidates such as michahellis, cachinnans, heuglini, cach. x argentatus:

HEGU showing SBGU (Slaty-backed Gull, Larus schistisacus) features?

Presumed Kelp x smithsonianus? hybrid from south Texas:

"…apparent Western Gulls with winter head streaks are likely hybrids with Glaucous-winged Gulls. Pure Western Gulls are rare inland, away from the immediate coastline."

"Several species of large white-headed gulls, genus Larus, often hybridize freely... (Ingolfsson 1987, Pierotti 1987, Spear 1987, Pierotti & Annett 1993)."

"Nothing is yet known about the possible hybridization of Yellow-legged Gulls and Herring Gulls in North America, where both species may co-occur (Wilds & Czaplak 1994)."

" Yésou 1991 for exceptional fuscus x cachinnans pairs in western France and in north and north-western Spain."

Ingolfsson, A. 1987. Hybridization of Glaucous and Herring Gulls in Iceland. Stud. Avian Biol. 10: 131–140.
Pierotti, R. 1987. Isolating mechanisms in seabirds. Evolution 41: 559–570.
Pierotti, R. & Annett, C. 1993. Hybridization and male parental investment in birds. Condor 95: 670–679.
Spear, L.B. 1987. Hybridization of Glaucous and Herring Gulls at the Mackenzie Delta, Canada. Auk 102: 123–125.
Wilds, C. & Czaplak, D. 1994. Yellow-legged Gulls (Larus cachinnans) in North America. Wilson Bull. 106: 344–356.
Yésou, P. 1991. The sympatric breeding of Larus fuscus, L. cachinnans and L. argentatus in western France. Ibis 133: 256–263.

Quoted by:
Oro, D. 1997. Courtship feeding between Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans and Herring Gull L. argentatus in the western Mediterranean. Marine Ornithology 25: 74-75.

John Haas' Gull Page: Nelson's Gull - Glaucous x Herring Hybrid. See also: 2 hybrid gulls known as Nelson's Gulls.

"On the Cape, you will encounter a variety of gulls, and with so many hybrids it does get confusing differentiating among them at times."

"The wing-tip patterns of this type simulate those described for Glaucous L. hyperboreus x Herring Gull hybrids; at a distance, they could be mistaken for Glaucous or Iceland Gulls L. glaucoides, were it not for their unusually dark upperparts."

Etc. Etc… [more than 232,000 refs in Google for the words "hybrid" plus "Gull"; 762 for "Hybrid" "Herring Gull" plus "Lesser Black-backed Gull"]

Your next question:
Does one need to look at the full genome of this gulls to find out - i.e. to see whether or not their genes match one-to-one?

My answer: I think that if we start tracking their ability to produce fertile offspring, we can improve our understanding of varieties, variation and to promote a more realistic biology, and ecology and my 'Mendelian Bioengineering'. For such purposes, the Internet is the more useful tool that the ordinary and Darwinian-biased peer-reviewed journals, as Google's hits demonstrate it. Hundreds of thousands of organisms currently misclassified as different species or even genus will fall within the good ol' concept of "Kind"!

Is it possible if a long enough time elapses that the genomes really become incompatible with each other (in terms of cross-over) and one is really left with two - non interbreeding members of a Genus (i.e. and no longer subspecies of a species)?

My answer: I have seen that such concept has been the standard idea, pushed as 'fact' by the evolutionary community of today and since Darwin's days. However, our current knowledge of molecular biology, if left unbiased (which means "Darwin Out"!), indicates that the normal genome plus its orbiting molecules are sufficiently robust, i.e., by using quality control mechanisms to prevent them to naturally "escape their own orbits" of genetic compatibility.

So, it is a not an easy job, but its possible; if not done by myself, at least done by a new generation of freethinking students!

Dr. Beling, again, thank you very much for your questions!


Blogger Ed Darrell said...

So, your claim is that these are all one species?

Is that your claim, also, about the California salamanders? The green warblers of the Himalaya?

Can you point to anything in the collection of research findings which suggests any serious problem with evolution? Isn't this fuzzing of the species line exactly what Darwin found, and predicted would be found world wide?

And isn't that exactly what we should see in true ring species?

Friday, October 07, 2005 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger fdocc said...

Edwin S Darrell,

Thanks for posting.

You asked,

"So, your claim is that these are all one species?"

I claim that 'Gulls' are a genetically compatible subject for Mendelian Bioengineering.

You asked,

"Is that your claim, also, about the California salamanders? The green warblers of the Himalaya?"

I haven't gone there yet. Each case needs to be studied individually.

You asked,

"Can you point to anything in the collection of research findings which suggests any serious problem with evolution?"

Yes, the concept of 'speciation' is wrongly claiming that new incompatible species are arising, in my studies, new varieties within compatible organisms are the ones that are and that can be arising.

You asked,

"Isn't this fuzzing of the species line exactly what Darwin found, and predicted would be found world wide?"

No, because Darwin and followers are talking about "the origin of incompatible species". While reality and my studies under the Intelligent Design framework present them as "the origin of compatible varieties".

You asked,

"And isn't that exactly what we should see in true ring species?"

The Darwinian paradigm insists in the evolution to reach the point of incompatible new species. What I have seen is the variation within a prespecified pattern, which means within compatible groups of organisms, I call it "the backs and forths of nature", the prespecified variation within a Theme.

Again, thanks for your posting!

Monday, October 10, 2005 2:34:00 PM  

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