August 19, 2015 | David F. Coppedge

Good Fossils, But Where's the Evolution?

They’re millions of years old, evolutionists say, but these fossils look like things you could find around town.

Salamander in amber:  The first ever fossil of a salamander trapped in amber was reported by Oregon State University. Found on the Dominican Republic, it’s claimed to be 20 million years old. And that’s not the only long age claim; evolutionists are saying they first evolved in the area 40 to 60 million years ago. Somehow, mysteriously, they went extinct, since no salamanders live on the Caribbean islands now. “I was shocked when I first saw it in amber,” OSU professor George Poinar Jr. remarked; “There are very few salamander fossils of any type, and no one has ever found a salamander preserved in amber.” The headline claims this fossil “sheds light on evolution of Caribbean islands,” but lower in the article we read this:

BM-lightclickThis fossil salamander belonged to the family Plethodontidae, a widespread family that today is still very common in North America, particularly the Appalachian Mountains. But it had back and front legs lacking distinct toes, just almost complete webbing with little bumps on them….

“The discovery of this fossil shows there once were salamanders in the Caribbean, but it’s still a mystery why they all went extinct,” Poinar said. “They may have been killed by some climatic event, or were vulnerable to some type of predator.”

How did this fossil get there, and what caused the extinction?

This fossil is 20-30 million years old, and its lineage may go back 40-60 million years ago when the Proto-Greater Antilles, that now include islands such as Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, were still joined to North and South America. Salamanders may have simply stayed on the islands as they began their tectonic drift across the Caribbean Sea. They also may have crossed a land bridge during periods of low sea level, or it’s possible a few specimens could have floated in on debris, riding a log across the ocean.

If this story is to be trusted, it means these delicate amphibians were either sailors on long journeys, or managed to hang on out there for up to 40 million years without a problem, till they all died for no known reason. Is it plausible that no climatic events or predators threatened them for all that time? As for evolution, they don’t look significantly different from living ones of their family today. Did 60 million years pass with no evolution? That’s six to ten times as long as the estimated transition from a four-footed land animal to a fully aquatic whale, as explained in the documentary Living Waters.

First flower: Another fossil, this one from Spain, is being dubbed the “world’s first flower” by the secular science news (e.g., Science Daily, Live Science). Alleged to be 125 to 130 million years old (based on fossils in the same strata), Montsechia has shattered evolutionary expectations by appearing to have flowered underwater.

“This discovery raises significant questions about the early evolutionary history of flowering plants, as well as the role of these plants in the evolution of other plant and animal life,” said Dilcher, an emeritus professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Geological Sciences.

These fossils were known earlier, but are being “reinterpreted” now as being contemporaneous or earlier than Archaefructus, the previous contender for world’s oldest flower. Even though the fossil is being considered primitive, you might find something like it in a Japanese garden:

In terms of appearance, Dilcher said, Montsechia resembles its most modern descendent, identified in the study as Ceratophyllum. Also known as coontails or hornworts, Ceratophyllum is a dark green aquatic plant whose coarse, tufty leaves make it a popular decoration in modern aquariums and koi ponds.

Predictably, Elizabeth Pennisi in Science Magazine obeyed the DAM Law by referring to the origin of angiosperms (flowering plants) as “Darwin’s Abominable Mystery.” It kept Darwin “perpetually perplexed,” she perceives. The plant was not bioluminescent, but she says “a newly analyzed fossil species has shed light on where these plants, known as angiosperms, may have gotten their start. In water is the surprising suggestion.” But is it plausible that “adaptation to freshwater occurred early in angiosperm evolution” and stayed pretty much the same to the present? Not all evolutionists are convinced, she points out.

The chief paleobotanist of the paper in PNAS, David Dilcher of Indiana University, offered this mind twister in the Live Science article: “The plants were very inventive, and it demonstrates how important the outcrossing, the genetics were in the evolution of early flowering plants.” But can a plant breed be an “inventive” plant breeder?  Dilcher and the other authors end the paper by pointing out that this plant, if it is the first flower, was already well adapted for its lifestyle. If so, it doesn’t really matter if the first flower was aquatic or terrestrial; it is not transitional.

Montsechia, the fossil angiosperm presented here, raises questions centered on the very early evolutionary history of angiosperms. The importance of very early aquatic flowering plants, perhaps basal to all angiosperms, as previously proposed, merits serious consideration and reevaluation. Clearly, Montsechia was very well adapted to a submerged aquatic habit and lived during an early stage of angiosperm evolution. Now it is time for the fossil angiosperm families Montsechiaceae and Archaefructaceae to become a part of the phylogenies presented in our current angiosperm literature.

In short, scientists are surprised that this “basal” plant was not just well adapted, but “very well adapted”. The abominable mystery continues.

When you cut away the jargon and posturing, what you see is the People of Fluff defending their fluffy faith in Father Charlie against all evidence. Evolution must be true, no matter what the fossils say. If organisms don’t evolve, they bluff with the word “stasis” which sounds scholarly but just means “going nowhere.” If unrelated organisms hit on the same design, they call it “convergent evolution.” If a variety of organisms show up in the same layers, they call it “explosive radiation.” This gumby theory works backwards, forwards, fast, slow, and stationary. And they call their critics “people of faith.” When you call their bluff, they become the People of Froth.

 

 

 

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Comments

  • John C says:

    Unless of course, you blame 20 Ma humans for wiping them out, a really surprising development arises out of the fact that salamanders no longer live on Hispaniola.
    It has always been my understanding that one of the key tenets of evolutionary theory was that creatures evolve to survive. So why are there no more salamanders (or at least younger fossils?) This strange fact seems to throw into confusion the very basis of evolution of species.

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