January 24, 2019 | David F. Coppedge

Hagfish Haunts Darwin

A zombie hagfish rises from the dead, and scares Darwin from two directions.

Hagfish are eel-like fish that look like creatures from a horror movie. Their tapir-like snouts are scary enough, but when threatened, they have a unique weapon: slime! They can spread a net of sticky slime around them that can clog the gills of an attacker. And they have been doing this for at least 100 million Darwin Years, perhaps 300 million.

Scare 1: Incredible Design

Evolutionists at the Illinois College of Engineering are fascinated by the slime defense of the hagfish. It’s truly a remarkable mechanism that inspires engineers, who would like to imitate it – not for scaring people, but for creating a material that unfolds rapidly. Read what they say:

“When the hagfish create this slime, they do so in an incredibly efficient way in that the amount of material they put into the water grows in a volume by a factor of up to 10,000 to make the final slimy gel,” Ewoldt explained. “The volumetric increase is astounding and as far as I know untouched by anything else in nature or anything we’ve done as engineers.”

The Navy would like to use this technique:

We wanted to investigate the whys behind just how amazingly curious and weird this thing is,” Ewoldt said “The interesting physics and the fact that there is no clear analogy became our motivation for trying to explain it.”

The Royal Society Interface publishes results of research that are at the interface of different sciences. In this case, explaining the mysterious hagfish met at the intersection of physics, applied mathematics, and biology.

“The hagfish slime doesn’t maintain the same topology while expanding in volume, it really fundamentally changes as threads unravel and its volume increases,” Ewoldt said. “The focus of this study was on this unique mechanism.

The threads of the slime are 100 times thinner than a human hair. They begin wound up like a skein of yarn, research has shown. Surprisingly, it takes flowing water to make it react. It won’t unwind in still water. And when it does unravel, it grows by a factor of 10,000 in milliseconds. That’s not all —

While the resulting slime gel is a solid, it is soft enough to take the form of its container, making it almost undetectable by the eye in a bucket of water. It is also strong enough and non-permeable enough to virtually stop the flow of water….

“I would love to think more about the material design aspect,” Ewoldt said. “We still haven’t figured out how to make a material like this, which swells up in water and clogs things up in a marine environment.”

We can’t duplicate this “material design,” and yet the researchers blindly say that this creature is a product of evolution. Is it, really?

Hagfish diagram in New International Encyclopedia, 1905

Scare 2: No Evolution

No other creature has this slime-making ability. There is no line of descent showing where it came from. The hagfish stands unique among marine organisms. The evolutionists at Illinois claim it has lived this way for 300 million years, but they say nothing about how it arose.

Now, Live Science reports that a fossil hagfish complete with slime kit has been found for the first time. They claim it is 100 million years old, indicating the slime trick is at least that old. That may be a long way into this creature’s existence, but it’s not the only problem for Darwinism.

Eyeless, jawless hagfish — still around today — are bizarre, eel-like, carrion-eating fishes that lick the flesh off dead animals using their spiky tongue-like structures. But their most well-known feature is the sticky slime that they expel for protection.

And now, scientists know that hagfish slime is robust enough to leave traces in the fossil record, finding remarkable evidence in a fossilized hagfish skeleton excavated in Lebanon. This new discovery is also prompting researchers to redefine the hagfish’s relationship to other ancient fish and to all animals with backbones.

To say the evidence will “redefine” its evolutionary relationship may be an improvement on claiming it “sheds light on evolution.” But the article does shed light on the fact that evolutionists have been debating for decades where to put these creatures on the Darwinian ‘tree of life.’ Reporter Mindy Waisberger admits, “Hagfish that lived 100 million years ago had the same slime-producing abilities as modern hagfish.”

There’s more spookiness in this particular fossil to frighten Darwinians:

Hagfish fossils are scarce, and this specimen — an “unequivocal fossil hagfish” — is exceptionally detailed with lots of soft tissue preserved.

An expert blames the lack of fossil evidence on the fact that these slippery sausage-like fish don’t have hard parts, like bones and hard teeth. He says, “it’s really difficult for them to get preserved into the fossil record.” But surely to be preserved at all, this specimen had to be buried rapidly. Additionally,  more and more fossils are showing fossil tissue preservation, including fossil jellyfish. Soft tissue remains have been found all across the geological record.

Here is a creature that appears with its unique capabilities fully formed, at least 100 million Darwin Years ago. With all this fright going on, the evolutionists try to compose themselves with some psychotherapy. They repeat the mantra, “It evolved.” No evidence required. Watch the therapy session for PTSD caused by this scary anomaly:

Hagfish are so weird that they have long been seen as “the odd ones out” on the fish family tree, the sole occupants of a lonely branch, Miyashita said. Because their fossils are so scarce, it’s unclear how long ago hagfish diverged from the common ancestor they shared with all other fishes (and subsequently, all vertebrates).

But the new fossil shows that hagfish 100 million years ago were remarkably similar to hagfish today, suggesting that their specialized features accumulated gradually over time. If so, rather than being a more primitive “cousin” to other fish, hagfish should be grouped together with long-bodied lampreys, the study authors reported. In clarifying these relationships, scientists develop a more detailed picture of how creatures with backbones evolved, Miyashita said.

“Where we place hagfish makes a difference to how we think about our own ancestors, more than 500 million years ago,” he added.

Thus they turn the absence of evidence into evidence for evolution. How long have they been debating where to put this scary creature? “This rare find also provides a clearer picture of where these oddball, slime-producing fish belong on the tree of life, perhaps helping to settle a scientific debate spanning centuries,” the evolutionist says.

The therapy session may have helped the evolutionists feel better, but did it really help biological understanding of fish? Did it really settle the debate? Did it provide a clearer picture of marine biology? To believe the latest “suggestion” that it belongs with lampreys, they have to believe that the amazing material expansion, which human engineers cannot duplicate, happened by chance in this one lineage of fish, millions of Darwin Years after lampreys that don’t have it. They have to believe this specimen was buried almost instantly, before it rotted, and never suffered bioturbation for 100 million years.

The mantra may help evolutionists feel better, but it’s a slimy way to explain something.

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