January 19, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Fossil Fumbles Damage Darwinism

Three recent fossil finds are rearranging Darwin’s tree of life.  Pro-Darwinists will interpret this as pruning; Darwin skeptics will interpret it as uprooting. 

  1. Shark heads:  “The earliest known braincase of a shark-like fish has shown some assumptions about the early evolution of vertebrates are ‘completely wrong,’ experts say.  That’s what National Geographic said.  Read all about it: sharks are not more primitive compared to bony fish.  The situation is a lot more complicated.  “This is the first real movement in this part of the evolutionary tree in the last hundred years,” one scientist commented.  The BBC News write-up, however, did not point out the problems.  It merely reported that the fossil is “shedding light on the evolution of jawed vertebrates.”
  2. Archaeopteryx, emu?:  Interpreters of the early bird Archaeopteryx have fallen into the bird camp and the reptile camp.  Score a point for the bird team: Science Daily reported on X-ray scanning of the fossil that shows its hearing bones were more bird-like than reptile-like.  It probably heard like a modern emu, they figure.
  3. Rolling stones:  Precambrian rocks have long been known to possess wiggly lines.  What are these trace fossils?  Without a body, it was hard to know.  Evolutionists eager to soften the Cambrian Explosion interpreted them as worm trails – the earliest examples of bilaterian (two-sided) animals.  That interpretation has come under fire with the discovery of giant living amoebas that can roll around and produce tracks very similar to those seen in the fossil record.  Both Science1 and Current Biology2 commented on the finding reported last month reported in Current Biology.3  None of them were optimistic.  It appeared that, at least in some cases, the hoped-for traces of complex multicellular life that might have lessened the impact of the Cambrian Explosion were in fact made by single-celled organisms.

A footnote on the third item: the original paper by Matz et al actually made things worse for the Darwinians.  The authors suggested that even the Ediacaran biota (08/19/2004, 01/05/2008), the strange plant-like things that preceded the explosion, were not multicellular organisms.  “Our observations also render indirect support to the highly controversial interpretation of the enigmatic Ediacaran biota of the late Precambrian as giant protists,” they said.  If so, it doesn’t suggest the Darwinists hoped the Ediacaran biota would provide transitional forms.  It only sharpens the concussion of the Cambrian explosion: because, except for sponge embryos found in the Precambrian, it means everything prior to the sudden appearance of virtually all the animal phyla consisted of single-celled microbes.


1.  Stefan Bengtson and Birger Rasmussen, “New and Ancient Trace Makers,” Science, 16 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5912, pp. 346-347; DOI: 10.1126/science.1168794.
2.  Jan Pawlowski and Andrew J. Gooday, “Precambrian Biota: Protistan Origin of Trace Fossils?,” Current Biology, Volume 19, Issue 1, 13 January 2009, pp. R28-R30, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.11.003.
3.  M.V. Matz, T.M. Frank, N.J. Marshall, E.A. Widder and S. Johnsen, “Giant deep-sea protist produces bilaterian-like traces,” Curr. Biol. 18 (9 Dec 2008), pp. 1849?1854.

Watch for the release this year of a new documentary on the Cambrian Explosion.  The problem that should have falsified Darwinism in 1859 never went away.  Each new finding shouts that Darwinism has been defeated, and should be tossed into the dustbin of history.
    But the pro-Darwinists are unrepentant and stiffnecked.  Listen to what Sid Perkins said in the new Darwin-Birthday Bombast issue of Science News (Jan 31, 2009, 175:3, p. 30).  In an article bluffing that transitional forms are found all over the fossil record (only mentioning Tiktaalik and a particular salamander), he said this about the Cambrian:

And many stretches of the fossil record poorly represented in Darwin’s day – such as the Precambrian, an era before the Cambrian period (which began about 542 million years ago and is when much of life’s diversity apparently evolved) – are now more thoroughly populated.  Fortey notes: “For Darwin, the Precambrian was a complete mystery, whereas now we have a tremendously detailed narrative” for that era, much of it gathered in the past few decades.

The bluffing and misrepresentation in that paragraph is shocking and irresponsible.  “Apparently evolved” is pure question begging built on imagination.  Sure the Precambrian is “more thoroughly populated” – with microbes, but not with the transitional forms Darwin needed.  Science News, you know, has been a Darwin Party mouthpiece since its founding at the Scopes Trial, when it was a propaganda arm of the new ACLU that sued Tennessee (12/28/2005).  Even secular historians now admit that the whole Scopes affair was a sham to shame religious creationists in the media, which is the only thing the lurid sideshow accomplished.  Would you grant any credibility to scoundrels?

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