Monday, 1 July 2013

”Evolutionary Conservation” and Other Darwinian Buzzwords

Many of our feathered friends seem to have an “evolutionary conserved” organelle that has the hallmarks of design.

Joel Kontinen

Darwinese is an interesting language. In contrast to standard English, words can take on very surprising meanings.

Recently, when researchers reported on the discovery of an organelle in the inner ear of many birds, they said that it was a case of “evolutionary conservation”, which in plain language means that something has not evolved.

The paper reporting this in Current Biology suggests that this organelle is “an integral component of the sensory apparatus in birds.” It probably helps birds to navigate much more accurately than we can with our hi-tech devices.

Change should be the most prominent feature in evolution. However, very often researchers have to resort to Darwinese to explain away the facts. Evolutionary conservation or stasis is all too common in the fossil record, and the number of living fossils keeps on increasing.


Lauwers, Matthias et. al. 2013. An Iron-Rich Organelle in the Cuticular Plate of Avian Hair Cells. Current Biology 23 (10) 924–929.