Sunday, 31 July 2011

New Darwinian Just So Story: Dim Lights Gave Us Big Eyes

Evolution research is not known for its critical approach but for its just so stories.

Joel Kontinen

Have you ever wondered why some people have bigger eyes than others? According to a recent study conducted at the University of Oxford, the answer in not blowing in the wind but the puzzle can be solved by eye evolution.

Eiluned Pearce and Robin Dunbar measured the skulls of 73 individuals who had lived at different latitudes. According to New Scientist, they found out that ”the overall skull volume and the volume of the eye socket increased with latitude”.

They published their research in the journal Biology Letters.

Some other researches are not convinced that Pearce and Dunbar interpreted their data correctly. Chris Kirk, an anthropologist at the University of Texas in Austin, says that one would have to measure the eyes before reaching the conclusion the Oxford researchers did.

This kind of adaptation does not have anything to do with Darwinian evolution since humans (and animals) have been created with the ability to adapt to their environments. This is for instance seen in skin colour. In the animal kingdom, long-furred dogs live near the poles and short-furred dogs nearer the Equator.

Darwinian evolution needs just so -stories because it lacks real evidence.


O’Luanaigh, Cian. 2011. Dim polar light drove humans to evolve larger eyes. New Scientist 2823 (27 July).