Not to be outdone by the spectacle of the Kentucky Derby, Ken Ham, head of the Kentucky Creation Museum, just to the south, complained about the evolutionary aspects of the exhibit. As Kentucky.com reports:
Ham contends the idea of horse evolution is false, and he particularly disputes the line of prehistoric horses that scientists link to the modern horse.His persistently poor grasp of evolutionary theory is really quite astounding. Given the amount of time that he has spent opposing it, you would think that he would have learned at least something about it. Apparently not.
Ham writes that in the display, two early horses, Miohippus and Merychippus, grow steadily bigger.
“What's the problem, though, with the belief that horses somehow evolved into larger and larger animals? If that were true, shouldn't we see only very large horses today? But we don't — horses vary in size from the Clydesdale to the much smaller Fallabella (just 17 inches tall).”
Ham concludes: “This example of a poor, unscientific display at the Horse Park is just another good reason why you need to visit a place that will tell your children the truth — the Creation Museum!”
And I bet the display has quite a bit to say about recent artificial selection which is responsible for the differences in the size of the horses just as it is for the size differentials in the different breeds of dogs and cats. Did this never occur to him??
But beyond the artificial selections issues, just because you had small horses in the past and larger horses today doesn't mean that ALL horses are going to be large, just as it doesn't mean that all cats are going to be large. Selection operates on the animals living in certain environments. In India and Siberia, it is optimal for the tiger to be large and, likely due to Bergmann's Rule, the Siberian tigers are slightly larger than the Bengal tigers. It is optimal for a lynx or a bobcat to be small in the dry, southwestern U.S.
Horses diversified and the modern Equus genus dates to around 3 to 4 million years ago. Between about 5 million years ago (end of the Miocene) and 12,ooo years ago (beginning of the Holocene), there was a gradual cooling and horses generally got larger. That came to a crashing halt with the end of the Late Würm glaciation when the climate began to warm substantially and most of the large horses disappeared. The domestication of horses appears to have begun as early as 6,ooo years ago and the modern horses that race are the result of that.
With his completely ignorant understanding of horse evolution and his blatant plug for his own for-profit creation museum, Ken Ham demonstrates that there are, in fact, more horses asses in the world than there are horses.
Now playing: Anthony Phillips & Andrew Skeet - Credo in Cantus (Instrumental)