Why do flightless birds have wings?

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Ostrich (photo copyrighted) (Courtesy of Films for Christ)

There are at least two possibilities as to why flightless birds such as ostriches and emus have wings, either:

  1. The wings are indeed “useless” and derived from birds that once could fly. This is possible in the creationist model. Loss of features is relatively easy by natural processes, whereas acquisition of new characters, requiring specific new DNA information, is impossible. Loss of wings most probably occurred in a beetle species that colonized a windy island. Again, this is a loss of genetic information, so it is not evidence for microbe-to-man evolution, which requires masses of new genetic information.[1]

    Emu (photo copyrighted) (Courtesy of Films for Christ).
  2. The wings have a function. Some possible functions, depending on the species of flightless bird, are: balance while running, cooling in hot weather, warmth in cold weather, protection of the ribcage during falls, mating rituals, scaring predators (emus will run at perceived enemies of their chicks, mouth open and wings flapping), sheltering of chicks, etc. If the wings are useless, why are the muscles functional, allowing these birds to move their wings?

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  1. C. Wieland, “Beetle Bloopers: Even a Defect Can Be an Advantage Sometimes,” Creation, 1997, 19(3):30.

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