"The wing of the ostrich resembles those of the gyrfalcon and the hawk. Who does not know how
the speed of the gyrfalcon and hawk in flight exceeds that of other birds? The ostrich certainly
has wings like theirs but not their speed of flight. Truly, it has not the capacity to be lifted from
the ground and gives only the impression of spreading its wings as if to fly; however, it never
supports itself above the earth in flight.
It is exactly the same with all those hypocrites who pretend to live a life of piety, giving the
impression of holiness without the reality of holy behaviour."
The Aberdeen Bestiary
Folio 41v , c. AD 1200
— on the ostrich, its vestiges a symbol of hypocrisy since the 2nd century A.D.
Some of the most renowned evidence for evolution are the various nonfunctional or rudimentary
characters, both anatomical and molecular, that are found throughout biology. A vestige
is defined, independently of evolutionary theory, as a reduced and rudimentary structure
compared to the same complex structure in other organisms. Vestigial characters, if functional,
perform relatively simple, minor, or inessential functions using structures that were clearly
designed for other complex purposes. Though many vestigial organs have no function, complete
non-functionality is not a requirement for vestigiality (Crapo 1985
, pp. 601-609; Dodson 1960
, p. 44; Griffiths 1992
; Hall 2003
; McCabe 1912
, p. 264;
Merrell 1962, p. 101
; Moody 1962
, p. 40; Muller 2002
; Naylor 1982
; Strickberger 2000
, pp. 9-10; Wiedersheim 1893
, p. 2, p. 200, p. 205).