“Lousy” Pigeon Professors

Pigeons flying

Study of lice on pigeon does nothing to confirm molecules-to-man evolution

by Harry F. Sanders, III

In-depth Article

As part of the evolutionary dogma, evolutionists are constantly seeking to bridge the gap between simple adaptation and variation and change between types of organisms. This has never been observed, despite numerous evolutionary claims to the contrary.1 However, they persist in attempting to prove their ideology, leading to studies like one published recently by a group of professors from several universities across the United States. This article will demonstrate that the study of lice on pigeon does nothing to confirm molecules-to-man evolution as one of its authors publicly claimed. Instead, while illustrating natural selection, it provides evidence that lice remain lice.


A recent study looked at the colors of lice on the feathers of numerous varieties of pigeons. According to the authors, the study was proof of evolution: “To our knowledge, this is the first real‐time demonstration that microevolution is fast enough to simulate millions of years of macroevolutionary change.”2 One of the coauthors of the paper, in a statement discussing the work, went even further: “People have been trying to bridge micro- and macro- evolution for a long time. This study actually does it. That’s a big deal.”3 However, despite their protestations to the contrary, this study does not demonstrate macroevolution or even any evolution at all.

According to the evolutionists themselves, macroevolution “encompasses the grandest trends and transformations in evolution, such as the origin of mammals and the radiation of flowering plants.”4 The late Ernst Mayr, a well-known and respected evolutionist wrote, “The classical view of macroevolution held by Darwin and the majority of paleontologists up to the present day is that species in the course of their gradual evolution in time change to such a degree that they will become different genera, or taxa of still higher rank, and acquire in the process all the adaptations and specializations of the world of organic diversity.”5 In other words, macroevolution describes the process that generates new basic types of organisms, such whole new families or phyla.

Evolutionists do not generally make clear what they mean when they use the term evolution. In some cases, they mean simple change within a population or species, otherwise known in their vernacular as microevolution. Other times, they mean a stage in molecules-to-man evolution, in their worldview macroevolution. Sometimes they use evolution to mean both in the same sentence! Fortunately, these authors were clear in what they meant. However, microevolution and macroevolution are unnecessarily confusing terms. Generally, adaptation or speciation is a good replacement for microevolution while evolutionis a good replacement for macroevolution. This helps keep it clear precisely what is meant by each term.

The pigeon lice study was conducted over four years and involved populating two separate groups of pigeons with lice. The pigeons were either light or dark colored, and both the control and experimental groups had an equal number of each color. The control group had a special device inserted in their beak that prevented each bird from preening its feathers but still allowed it to feed and otherwise live a normal life. The researchers cleansed each pigeon of lice and lice eggs prior to the experiment, then populated each pigeon with equal numbers of light and dark color variants of the same species of lice. At the end of the four-year study, the researchers assessed how many lice of each color variant were on each pigeon.

Unsurprisingly, the pigeons that were unable to preen showed no difference in the number of light or dark lice. However, the pigeons that were able to preen showed a remarkable difference in the colors of lice. The dark-colored pigeons were mostly covered in dark-colored lice, and the light-colored pigeons had light-colored lice. While this is a fine example of natural selection at work, natural selection is not evolution…


image credit: Fraser Cottrell