Browse Search Feedback Other Links Home Home The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
Previous Claim: CB941   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CB951

Claim CB950:

Evolution says that complex structures would not be formed without a selective advantage for them. But overspecialization with no adaptive value sometimes occurs. An example is the enormous antlers of the Irish elk. Despite the seeming disadvantages, animals with such extreme features seem to do as well as other animals.


Macbeth, Norman, 1971. Darwin Retried. Boston: Delta, pp. 70-73


  1. There are no established cases of overspecialization that did not have adaptive value. In some cases, the adaptive value may not be obvious, but there are none where its absence is plausible. In particular, sexual selection can produce exaggerated and seemingly detrimental features, such as the stalks of stalk-eyed flies and the huge antlers of Irish elk.

  2. Adaptation can become non-adaptive overspecialization when the environment changes. If a flower becomes dependant on one pollinator, for example, the loss of the pollinator can cause the extinction of the flower.

Previous Claim: CB941   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CB951

created 2003-7-28, modified 2004-3-1