There’s More to the Story, Much MoreImagine that you saw a magnificent mansion and when you asked where it came from, you were shown a box of fantastic tools. Perhaps those fantastic tools were used to construct the mansion, but they don’t exactly answer your question. What about the construction materials, the workers, the design, and the construction process? Those unanswered questions are like the recent findings of how squids and octopuses control their image and color. Action potentials travel down the nerve to the synapse near the skin of the squid or octopus, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is released and it sets off a sequence of events in special cells. Special proteins are phosphorylated, they congregate, the cell membrane folds in on itself, water is transported, the cell’s osmotic pressure shifts and its refractive index is adjusted to cause a change in the reflected light. In short, it changes color.
Those are a fantastic set of tools, but they leave many questions unanswered if we’re wondering how the squid changes it color. Just for starters, how did the correct action potentials, at the right time, in the right nerve cells, become activated?
No, I’m not asking how action potentials are physically initiated. That’s a fascinating story in itself, but it is just another tool. What I’m asking is, how was it decided when and where to set off action potentials?
Somehow there must be the correct neural processing that takes as input the environmental situation or challenge, interprets that information, and formulates the appropriate neuron firing strategy. That is yet another layer of complexity on the squid and octopus coloration story.
As unlikely as evolution is when considering the tools of coloration control, its astronomically low probability takes another plunge when we add this neural processing requirement. It is yet another reason why the “evolution is a fact” claim does not come from science.