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Creation 30(2):40–41, March 2008

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Saddle up the horse, it’s off to the bat cave


This is the pre-publication version which was subsequently revised to appear in Creation 30(2):40–41.

Surprise, surprise! Evolutionists are now saying that bats and horses are more closely related than cows and horses.1 In the prestigious Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences, scientists studied genetic re-arrangements associated with retroposons, strands of DNA that copy themselves into RNA and then copy themselves back into DNA at different sites on a chromosome. In the evolutionary paradigm, closely related species share more of these re-arrangements than more distant relatives.

Until this study, scientists considered bats and horses to be very distant cousins. They were shocked to discover that bats and horses shared a high degree of DNA similarity. "I think this will be a surprise for many scientists," says Norihiro Okada at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan. "No one expected this." 2

Why such a surprise?

Image by Adam Brokes bat

Evolutionary scientists establish relationships between living organisms based on morphological and DNA similarity. Creatures that are anatomically similar are believed to be so because they possess a close evolutionary relationship—they are supposed to have inherited these characteristics from a fairly ‘close’ common ancestor. The same is true of creatures that are genetically very similar. So if two creatures are supposed to be evolutionarily close by one of these criteria, they should be by the other also—provided, that is, that the whole idea of common descent is valid.

Applying this logic, researchers predicted that cows and horses would be much more closely related than bats and horses. Cows are anatomically, physiologically, functionally, and behaviorally rather similar to horses. On the other hand, even a child could identify the huge differences between bats and horses. Compared to horses and cows, a bat is rather different in its skeletal anatomy, mode of locomotion (flying), navigation (echolocation), soft tissue arrangements, diet, and lifestyle.

Bats and horses should thus have been very different in their DNA, because of their obvious structural and functional differences. This shocking result revealed an egregious discrepancy between morphological and genetic data.

More Problems

The genetic data seems to also contradict the evolutionary interpretation of the fossil record. Horses supposedly evolved from a small quadruped beginning 35-55 million years ago, taking their modern form only in the last 1.5 million years. Cows supposedly began their evolutionary process about 23 million years ago. On the other hand, fully formed, modern looking bat fossils appear around 60 million years ago on the evolutionary timeline.

Separated by such an immense supposed time gap, horse and bat DNA should have been much more different by now. Cows and horses, supposedly having evolved in overlapping time frames, should share much more similarity in their respective genomes.


When it comes to bats and horses, the facts just don’t add up for evolution. Common descent is based on a whole set of assumptions, extrapolations, and inferences. However, in this case, the hard scientific data reveal that common descent is completely invalid.2

As Okada said, in regards to the surprising discovery, “…We need to look at fossils from a new point of view…” He’s exactly right. Perhaps it is time to throw away the tired, old evolutionary glasses and replace them with a fresh pair of biblical lenses.

Posted on homepage: 17 October 2006


  1. <http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9402-bats-and-horses-get-strangely-chummy.html> Return to text.
  2. According to Genesis, God created bats and horses as different ‘kinds’. In the creation model, even different creature ‘kinds’ can share common design features due to a common Designer. Similarities in structure will often be reflected in DNA similarities, but even creatures with very similar DNA can be radically different in their anatomy, physiology, function, lifestyle, and reproductive compatibility. See Are look-alikes related? and Argument: Common design points to common ancestry Return to text.

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