O Beautiful for Amber Waves of Fossils
Striking examples of life encased in fossil tree sap open eyes on creation vs evolution.
Lizards, geckos and chameleons entombed in amber were reported in Science Advances recently. Images and information about the “dinosaur-era” creatures were reported by the BBC News, New Scientist and PhysOrg. The world’s oldest chameleom had a catapulting tongue already in place. The geckos also had their adhesive toe pads in the mid-Cretaceous, “suggesting the gecko’s climbing lifestyle evolved much earlier than thought.” The BBC calls the chameleon a missing link, but at 80 million years older than the next oldest fossil chameleon, it “significantly pushes back the origins of the group and challenges long-held views that chameleons got their start in Africa,” PhysOrg says. The amber pieces are from Myanmar in Asia.
The specimens were collected decades ago and put into museum drawers. They are just now being analyzed. With modern CT scan techniques, the scientists can generate 3-D models of the animals to examine their anatomy in detail. Another PhysOrg talks about a new micro-CT scanner that is allowing scientists to view the insides of fossils, even tiny ones, with exceptional detail without destroying the rock. Details of a frog’s nervous system can be imagined with this newly-adapted technology.
Other Burmese amber samples from Myanmar reveal new details about ants. “Ants were socializing — and sparring — nearly 100 million years ago,” Science Daily reports about the Cretaceous fossils. Though dead and immobilized in the amber, scientists infer that ants were social way back then, as they are now. This particular species, outfitted with large fighting jaws, is no longer extant. Termites have also been found in the amber. A press release from the American Museum of Natural History also discusses the fossils, playing up the “evolution of eusociality” angle (which, if it already existed in the Cretaceous, says nothing about how it evolved). Even though the ants and termites look different from living species, “Eusociality was going strong in both groups during the Cretaceous,” the scientists surmise.
The findings were published in Current Biology (#1) and Current Biology (#2). The record for oldest termite previously was 17 million years; the amber fossils push them back 83 million years into the Cretaceous (100 Ma.), yet they already had a well-developed caste system. “These discoveries demonstrate the Mesozoic antiquity of specialized termite caste systems and corroborate that among all social species, termites probably had the original societies,” the abstract says. Both the ants and termites are labeled “basal” by the paleontologists, but what were their ancestors? If they already looked like termites and ants, and already had their characteristic caste systems, whatever is “basal” had to be further back and remains undiscovered.
One other critter was reported in Burmese amber. Science Daily says that a microwhip scorpion was found, the first from the Mesozoic (also about 100 million years old). Though 97 million years older than the next oldest fossil of this order, it looks pretty much the same. “Because it looks so similar to other microwhip scorpions still found today, it most probably shared the same habitat and preferences as its modern-day kin.” No evolution here for 100 million years.
Extinction is not evolution. Where is the ancestry? There was a lot more diversity in the past in many groups. O, the word games these evolutionists play! Calling something “basal” does not make it primitive. It does not demonstrate ancestry. These were full-fledged ants, termites, chameleons, lizards and geckos that had all the representative equipment of their species, even if they looked slightly different. The ants and termites had division of labor and eusociality already. Why talk of the “evolution of eusociality”?
These samples are not 100 million years old. They are only assigned that age to keep Charlie from getting embarrassed, because he needs the time. But they can’t even keep their own story straight. Over and over, we see them surprised that things “evolved much earlier than thought.” The only ones who thought that are evolutionists.