October 4, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Modern Crustacean Found in Early Cambrian

A “crown-group crustacean” that is “markedly similar to those of living cephalocarids, branchiopods and copepods” has been found exquisitely preserved in early Cambrian fossil beds from China, an international team reported in Nature.1  Though such organisms have been found in middle and later Cambrian rocks, this pushes the origin of eucrustacea (crustaceans of modern aspect) back another 25 million years.  The authors of the paper said nothing, however, about the implications of this discovery to the problem of the Cambrian explosion (see 04/23/2006).
    Not only was the crustacean modern-looking, it was so well preserved that even soft parts and eyes were visible.  Even fine parts of setae on the tips of the legs are clearly seen in the organisms representing different developmental stages.  Examples of “Orsten-type” Cambrian lagerstatten (exceptionally preserved fossil beds) were known from Sweden, but this one is from China.  The species Yicaris dianensis resembles “living minute and blind cephalocarids, both in its head and trunk-limb design.”  In other words, modern cephalocarids are blind, but this Cambrian representative had large twin eye lobes.  Other resemblances were noted in the “post-mandibular limbs with their elongate, rather fleshy basipods armed with up to seven setiferous, soft endites medially,” and the existence of epipodites:

Epipodites and a sophisticated combined locomotory and food-gathering apparatus, as present in Yicaris and, presumably, in the eucrustacean ancestor, may have been a significant factor leading to the successful diversification of eucrustaceans already by the Cambrian.  Some authors consider that insect wings may have originated from epipodites; the early Cambrian occurrence of this trait is of potential significance to the debate regarding the emergence of winged (pterygote) forms within euarthropods.

That speculation notwithstanding, the crustacean found here apparently had a system for sweeping food toward its mandibles using these epipodites and antennae.  Plus, it had eyes, a head shield, a developmental process from larva to adult, and was probably capable of swimming.
    The authors mentioned nothing about the Cambrian explosion.  Their only reference to the evolution of this complex creature shielded the problem of missing evidence by claiming that evolutionists are getting warmer in their search for an ancestor:

Discussion.  The material of Y. dianensis is important in two respects.  First, it displays the post-embryonic ontogeny of an animal as old as the Early Cambrian.  Second, Y. dianensis is temporally close to evolutionary events deep in arthropod and, specifically, crustacean phylogeny.  Its development should, therefore, be closer to the original developmental pattern of the stem forms and less changed than that of recent in-group taxa, which have accumulated lineage-specific modifications.  With such ontogeny data and having the age of the fossil as a time marker, it is possible to more precisely include ontogenetic evolutionary pathways in the reconstruction of relationships and ground patterns of stem species and monophyla.  According to our analysis, Y. dianensis represents the first undoubted eucrustacean known from the Lower Cambrian (the single previously described Lower Cambrian putative eucrustacean species lacks eucrustacean characters) and can serve as a substantial tool for testing relevant character acquisition and phylogenetic hypotheses.  This is of particular importance because crustacean phylogeny has gained new interest by recent studies using neurobiological, developmental-biological and molecular investigations.

Yet the authors did not explain how this organism was any more primitive than modern crustaceans.  The claim above, therefore and the following one from the Abstract, seem unsupported by the evidence at hand: “Its stratigraphical position provides substantial support to the proposition that the main cladogenic event that gave rise to the Arthropoda was before the Cambrian.”  No evidence for that “cladogenic event” (in plain English, the genesis of a new kind of animal) was provided.  The statement basically means only that evolutionists must now search earlier than the Cambrian for clues to where arthropods came from, assuming they evolved from more primitive ancestors.
    The Editor’s Summary, similarly, avoided mention of the Cambrian explosion.  “Newly unearthed Orsten-type fossils from China include the earliest known eucrustacean in exquisite three-dimensional detail, significantly extending the fossil record of this group.”  In summary, true crustaceans now are established to exist at the Atdabanian layer of the early Cambrian, just slightly above or in the layers where the first trilobites and echinoderms appear.


1.  Zhang et al, “An epipodite-bearing crown-group crustacean from the Lower Cambrian,” Nature 449, 595-598 (4 October 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06138.

No sooner had we reported the exceptional finds reported in Geology (next entry), when this one showed up.  They think they can get away with it, hiding their announcements in expensive journals that the public is unlikely to see, using fancy words like “cladogenic” and “monophyletic” to pull the wool over our eyes.  Need plain English?  They found another modern-looking animal in the lowest fossil-bearing rocks, without any trace of an evolutionary sequence from simple to complex.  Their claims about “cladogenic events” before the Cambrian leading up to this critter, eyes and all, is pure fiction dressed up with euphemism and obfuscation.  There is no evidence this animal evolved.  There it is, fully formed in this early layer, without any Darwinian tree.  Cladogenic is a miracle word inserted to hide a lack of evidence.  Tell it like it is.
    It is shameful that scientists persist in propagating their myth without any evidence to support it, and lots of evidence against it.  Sudden appearance is not evolution.  Darwin-doubters need to call them on the carpet and demand honesty and accountability.  The Darwin Party knows all about the Cambrian explosion.  Few are the ones that want to talk about it, because it embarrasses them, just like it did Charles Darwin, who called it one of the strongest arguments against his theory.  Charlie hoped that continued searches for more fossils would eventually find the missing links.  Wrong!  Increasing evidence has made his problem worse.  The Cambrian explosion is louder than ever, booming out the message: life appeared abruptly, fully formed, as if it had been created.
    To see the Darwin Party squirm, go to the Wikipedia page on the Cambrian explosion and click on the discussion tab.  Now search on the word creationist:

How much to say about how Creationists, supporters of Intelligent Design and some Islamists quote the CE as a refutation of Darwinian evolution?  Pro: it’s a hot topic and some readers will be disappointed if they don’t see coverage.  Cons: hard to do briefly in what is a long article anyway; hard to avoid charges of partisanship (either way) unless the discussion is long.

Come on, cowards: the Internet has plenty of space.  Go ahead and take all the time you need to explain how modern, complex life “emerged” without ancestors by an evolutionary process.  We have the time.  Make our day.  Give us the whole tale.  See if you can do better than the Master of Disaster, Charlie Marshall, did (04/23/2006).
    One of the tricks they try to play is to say that the Cambrian explosion was not that sudden a bang; it extended over 40-80 million years or more, if certain trace fossils from the Precambrian are tossed into the story.  They compare the Cambrian explosion with the rise of mammals which, according to their mythology, diversified into all our modern forms in just 40 million years.  First of all, it is really dumb to use one myth as evidence for another.  It’s like saying that life must have evolved on Europa because it must have evolved on Mars.  Foul: double drivel.  Evolution is the issue, and claiming it happened fast twice at two different times just begs the question.
    More important, the appearance of each type is virtually instantaneous.  Trying to stretch the Cambrian explosion out, or link it earlier with the Ediacaran fauna presumably earlier (see 12/02/2002 and 08/19/2004) is not going to help.  The fact remains that each complex creature, whether trilobite, crustacean, echinoderm, worm, or vertebrate fish (08/21/2002), shows up suddenly, fully formed, at first appearance in the record.  They don’t see incipient trilobites becoming half-trilobites then full trilobites over a period of ten million years, such that they could make a claim that Darwinian evolution was working on steroids for awhile.  No; the first trilobites and crustaceans just show up – no ancestors at all.  Whatever the Ediacaran organisms were, they were not on the way to becoming trilobites; they were a distinct kind of organism that also appeared abruptly and went extinct.  (Speaking of trilobites, remember that the record is the reverse of evolutionary expectations: see 07/28/2007).  However they may wish to draw out the process, the Cambrian explosion was really a set of multiple independent explosions at roughly the same time.  The ones they think showed up millions of years later, like this eucrustacean, keep turning up earlier and earlier.  All the basic animal types (phyla) and body plans show up on the lowest layers.  Evolution is falsified by the only tangible record of the past.
    Because of the awareness of the Cambrian Explosion most readers have, we would expect to see some acknowledgement of it by the paleontologists who report their Cambrian discoveries.  Instead, we still get worthless evolutionary promissory notes, like “this new fossil will shed light on the origin and ancestry of arthropods” when there is no collateral.  Stop accepting trust deeds from the Darwinian loan sharks.  Their deeds are not worthy of anyone’s trust.
    For more entries on the Cambrian explosion, see 09/04/2007 on genetic mechanisms, 04/03/2007 on comb jellies, 01/16/2007 on alleged Precambrian embryos, 08/10/2006 on Cambrian embryos, 07/13/2006 on mollusks, 06/18/2006 on alleged Cambrian explosion precursors, and 04/23/2006 on Cambrian Explosion Damage Control, 02/14/2006 on hand-waving solutions offered by the Darwinians.  The last entry contains links to earlier entries about Cambrian vertebrates, long thought to be not represented that early; see especially 01/30/2003 about 500 fossil fish found in the early Cambrian.  You might recall from 07/25/2003 that many high school biology textbooks gloss over this little problem for Darwin, if they mention it at all.

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