Mussel Reproduction: Darwinist Explanations Please?

Dr. Jobe Martin has a neat DVD series entitled “Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution” in which he shows some very high quality video clips of some pretty amazing creatures. In Part 3 of the series, he describes mussels — little clam-like creatures that live on the sea floor and have the amazing ability to mimic minnows. The picture above is a screenshot of such a mussel going “fishing” for a larger fish like a bass. The bass is tricked into thinking he is seeing a minnow, and, following his bass instincts, opens his mouth and tries to eat the “minnow.” Now everyone knows how fast bass are in grabbing bait. They apparently didn’t attend the Emily Post School of Table Manners because they gulp their food quickly. But … the mussel is faster. Before the bass has chance to get his mouth around the “minnow,” the mussel shoots a high velocity stream of eggs (!!) into the bass’ mouth! The eggs hatch and the larva attach to the gills of the bass and extract nourishment from them. Read more HERE. Amazing! Why didn’t I learn this in school? Why are mussels not even mentioned in the 2006 Prentice Hall Biology textbook used in public high school classrooms around the USA? Why did a supposedly “anti-science” creationist have to be the one that informed me of this amazing little creature with such a weird reproductive system? Maybe because Miller and Levine (the Prentice Hall authors) don’t have an evolutionary explanation for it? Think of it! Shooting your eggs into a fish’s mouth to nourish your babies? Wow. That’s weird. How in the world did these creatures evolve this ability?

Well, like a good evolution skeptic, I did a literature search (including Talk Origins) for evolutionary explanations of mussel mimicry and did not find anything. I did find a poster in a forum who made an attempt HERE. He writes …

How can we explain it? Here’s a possibility: Imagine that some of the mussels develop a little flag that accidentally attract local fish. At first, the flag is useless. It is a mutation. After some generations, one of the mussels develops a tendency to shoot its larvae out when rubbed up against. These two developments would provide the basis for the result we see in the video after many generations of evolution.Of course, it’s important to remember that bass and mussels evolved together. It’s not like bass, and minnows were all evolved when these mussels arrived on the scene. So the mussel can develop advantageous characteristics over a long period of time. The commentator is wrong that the “very first” mussel had to use this mechanism and use it successfully. The mussel only has to be somewhat successful (the least bit advantaged over its kin) to have its traits propagate. Over time, natural selection will perfect its advantage. Also, evolution teaches us that there was no “very first” mussel. There is a only gradient of forms descending back to some common ancestor.

So the commentator is ignorant about how evolution works. This is typical of most people who think they have an example that refutes evolution. Also, he thinks that just because he can’t provide an explanation, that there probably isn’t one. But given the fact that he is so misinformed, it’s no wonder he can’t come up with an explanation!

So this poster’s explanation amounts to “what if” involving two very unlikely scenarios which might possibly give rise to this situation, then he stops his explanation. But what is really needed is a COMPLETE explanation. How did mussels reproduce before they developed this new system? Now, fast forward to the situation described above … to the point where we have a flag-waving mussel shooting eggs when rubbed. The eggs would not yet have developed an ability to attach to gills and thus develop into new mussels, so this is actually an evolutionary DIS-advantage because now you have LESS eggs turning into viable adults in the “egg-shooting” varieties than in the “non-egg-shooting” varieties. Are you starting to see the difficulties here? And this is only the beginning of the difficulties.

I will stop there and let my Darwinist friends at AtBC, the Richard Dawkins Forum, and Internet Infidels take it from here and try to explain the evolution of these little mussels. But please … no “just so” stories. Please try to really explain this process IN DETAIL. Thanks!

2 Responses to “Mussel Reproduction: Darwinist Explanations Please?”

  1. lordkalvan says:

    I am no biologist and can offer you no detailed explanation of the process that you describe, but whether or not such a detailed explanation can be provided, the lack of what you request is not an invalidation of evolutionary theory unless you believe that ‘science’ must be able to provide an exact and accurate account of every observed phenomenon that a theory seeks to explain, otherwise the theory is immediately invalidated. The fact remains that there are multiple strands of evidence to support the idea of evolution and that any CURRENT inability to provide a full and detailed account of how the mussel you refer to developed its reproductive strategy only illustrates the simple fact that knowledge is incomplete and understanding is, like life, continually evolving. Personal incredulity that the complexity of a biological process could have evolved is not evidence that it did not evolve, nor is it evidence for ‘intelligent design’ by some kind of supernatural power.

  2. thewiseking says:


    If analyzed in your frame of reference and context, whereby there is abundant lack of cogent and incisive evidence to support darwinisim and, plethora of evidence suggesting intelligent design; which maybe refered by some as lack of knowledge, it is more rational and fair to tend towards intelligent design. presently evolution is only based on undefined possibilities within probabilities of uncounted magnitude. furthermore disproving a certain religion or for that matters all religions (which is not yet done) cannot imply the absence of intelligent design, but for that matter in the implied context, signifies, simply the lack of knowledge. however finding the correct faith after accepting and deviating towards the higher probability of intelligent design is critical and different to the above question itself. considering this is the topic of science, the books of the three major religions can be questioned in the context of science, and a derivation can derived based on the logic, that if science just got to know something recently, then how for example quran could tell so centuries ago.