May 18, 2014 | David F. Coppedge

Evolution Is Rapid Except When It Is Static

A new living fossil and others that must have changed rapidly or not at all are described in recent news.

Living fossil dinoflagellate:  A paper in Geology describes the discovery of living cysts of a dinoflagellate (a marine unicellular organism with a flagellum) in southeast Asia.  It was supposed to have gone extinct in the early Pleistocene, but then has reappeared today in several spots from Japan to the Philippines.  How do evolutionists explain its persistence unchanged for millions of years?  A press release from the University of Ghent offers the idea of a “refuge” from extinction and evolution:

This unicellular species, with planktonic and benthic stages, was previously thought to have become extinct within the early Pleistocene. It evolved more than 50 million years ago and is the last survivor of a major early Cenozoic lineage. The discovery of living D. pastielsii in the IPWP [Indo-Pacific Warm Pool] suggests that this stable environment served as an important refuge for thermophilic dinoflagellates, and its disappearance from the Atlantic following the early Pleistocene implicates cooling.

The early Pleistocene starts at 2.5 million years ago.  That’s a long time for isolated locations on earth to maintain a stable environment while the rest of the world was cooling.  It’s also a long time for the creature to escape evolution so much that it is recognizable from fossils more than 50 million years old on the geologic time scale.

Fast and furious bears:  “Polar bear evolution was fast and furious,” a headline from Science Magazine reads.  How fast?  The new estimate puts the split between brown and polar bears at about 353,000 to 493,000 years ago – a “blink in time” compared to the previous estimate of 600,000 to 5 million years.  The article adds, however, that modern polar bears can interbreed with brown bears.  This makes them mere varieties of the same species, according to the widely-trusted “biological species concept.”

Butterflies and beesPhysOrg describes how certain genes for butterfly and bumblebee patterns seem to mutate predictably over and over again.  These genes affect mimicry patterns only, and sometimes it’s not the gene, but how it’s regulated that causes the effects.  Researchers were somewhat surprised to find that the changes were predictable, not random, implying there are mutational “hotspots” that allow the species to adapt to the environment.  Nothing was said about the origin of new organs or functions.

More soft tissue in a fossil:  “Petrified sperm” from ostracods is described in fossils reported by Live Science, dating from 16 to 25 million years ago in evolutionary time.  The detail in the fossils is exceptional; coils of the gigantic sperm of this species are clearly seen, as well as the receptacle ducts in the female.  As for how the tissues could be preserved in such exquisite detail for so long, the article only suggests that bat guano falling into the water in the cave was somehow responsible.   It’s not clear from the article if primordial material is present in these fossils.  The inference is from this statement: “preservation in amber is different than preservation in rock, as amber frequently preserves soft tissue and rock rarely does.”  Whatever its condition, here is another fossil that shows no evolution for 25 million years.  One scientist said, “the most astounding aspect of our findings is that it strongly suggests that the mode of reproduction in these tiny crustaceans has remained virtually unchanged to this day.”

None of these stories support Darwin’s view of the world: slow, steady, gradual evolution.  For one thing, they militate against millions of years.  They all support complete design from the beginning, rapid variation from built-in mechanisms for designed adaptation, and the complete absence of “evolution” for new information or function.  In other words, they support the Biblical view of recent creation.  “Astounding,” isn’t it.


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