Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Chapter 14: Hind legs in whales

Anyone following this blog will have noticed the posts are becoming fewer and farther between.  That's because the parts of The Greatest Hoax on Earth that I took the time to look at in detail were chapters 10 and 11 (see my posts from back in November and December 2013).  So from now on my posts will slowly tail off as I comment only on things that jumped out at me when I read the later chapters (which I only read through once).

Vestigial leg bones in whales

On pages 262-3 Sarfati briefly discusses Dawkins' claim that whales have remnants of what were once back legs in their ancestors.  The bit that attracted my attention is this paragraph:
One myth promulgated by some evolutionists says that some whales have been found with hind legs, complete with thigh and knee muscles. However, this story probably grew by legendary accretion from a true account of a real sperm whale with a 14cm (5.5 inch) bump with a 12cm (5 inch) piece of bone inside. Sperm whales are typically about 19m (62 feet) long, so this abnormal piece of bone is minute in comparison with the whale - this hardly qualifies as a "leg"!
Sarfati's reference for this paragraph is to an article written by Carl Wieland that appeared in a 1998 edition of the Creation magazine.  It's online here (

Wieland's article addresses only a single anecdote about claims by an anti-creationist at one of Wieland's public lectures.  The anti-creationist was relying on a single scientific source to claim some whales have been found with hind legs, so Wieland's article only examines that single source.   

But there's lots more evidence of hind legs in whales and dolphins.  The Talk Origins website gives a good summary here (  One example at that site is of external hind legs in a humpback whale, which contained multiple leg bones well over a foot (12 inches/30cm) in length (and the Talk Origins article claims these bones had shrunk and were originally over four feet long).

This photo from the Talk Origins site shows a dolphin, caught in Japan, that has hind flippers:

[Figure2.2.2 (atavistic dolphin flippers)]

You can find other, slightly less objective, sites with similar information, such as:

All of the links I've provided (including Talk Origins) argue strongly against young-Earth creationism, so Sarfati and other young-Earth creationists will dismiss them outright as biased, etc.  However, I'd recommend looking at the sites and their references and then comparing that with the evidence presented by Sarfati, Wieland and other young-Earth creationists.  It's pretty clear to me both sides of the argument are pushing a strong agenda, but one side is a lot more open with the evidence.


  1. I pointed out in a comment on the Amazon review of the book by Linda Edwards that the information on leg bones in whales had been brought to Sarfati’s attention while he was still at AIG, years before ‘Hoax’ was written. It is clear, then, that he must have decided not to include it in ‘Hoax’, which to me amounts to deliberate deception. See my post at ( for documentation.

  2. Thanks stickler. Your example reinforces my impression that (on average) those on the evolution side of the debate are more open with the scientific evidence than those on the creation side.