Fossil Squid Named for Joe Biden
It would be mean to call Biden a grasping sucker squid, but that’s
who scientists decided to name a fossil for. It challenges evolution.
Meet Syllipsimopodi bideni, which means “prehensile-sucker-foot Biden.” It’s a fossil of a new species of squid that was found by two curators who work at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York, who felt their discovery would honor the 46th president of the United States. It is generally an honor to have a new species named for you; whether Biden felt honored by this association was not mentioned in the report.
The fossil challenges the evolutionary narrative about squids, says the press release from AMNH. The title, “New Species of Extinct Vampire-Squid-Like Cephalopod,” may add insult to injury to associate Biden with a blood-sucking monster extending its sucker-laden tentacles to pry the lifeblood out of its victims. They surely did not mean it that way, but it will be hard for Republicans not to snicker.
Vampire squid (vampyropods) had 10 tentacles compared to the usual 8 for octopuses, which are related members of the cephalopod (head-foot) class of mollusks. One reason for the problem with evolution of this fossil is that it represents devolution—the loss of features. In this case, the “understanding” devolved as well. Co-author Christopher Whalen explains:
“The arm count is one of the defining characteristics separating the 10-armed squid and cuttlefish line (Decabrachia) from the eight armed octopus and vampire squid line (Vampyropoda). We have long understood that octopuses achieve the eight arm count through elimination of the two filaments of vampire squid, and that these filaments are vestigial arms,” said Whalen. “However, all previously reported fossil vampyropods preserving the appendages only have 8 arms, so this fossil is arguably the first confirmation of the idea that all cephalopods ancestrally possessed ten arms.”
Controlling ten arms is harder than controlling eight. It seems to be a case of evolution by subtraction (Evolution News). Another problem for the evolutionary narrative is that this creature looks modern or extant (i.e., living today). So said Neil Landman, a curator emeritus in the Museum’s Division of Paleontology,
“Syllipsimopodi may have filled a niche more similar to extant squids, a midlevel aquatic predator,” said Landman. “It is not inconceivable that it might have used its sucker-laden arms to pry small ammonoids out of their shells or ventured more inshore to prey on brachiopods, bivalves, or other shelled marine animals.”
This creature, discovered in 1988 in Montana and donated to Canada’s Royal Ontario Museum but not examined till now, presents another problem for evolution: it’s early in the evolutionary timeline. The press release says that it “dates to about 328 million [Darwin] years old, making it the oldest known vampyropod and extending the fossil record of the group by about 82 million years.” This gives its kind less time to evolve from any ancestor (which is unknown; see below).
In all, this specimen is not helping evolutionists.
Based on the age, characters, and phylogenetic position, the fossil challenges the predominant arguments for vampyropod origins, and the authors propose a new model for coleoid (internally shelled cephalopod) evolution.
Puzzling through the Murky Darkness
At The Conversation (8 March 2022), Tom Fletcher, Honorary Research Fellow in Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester, invites us to “Meet the ten-armed, 325-million-year-old octopus fossil named after President Joe Biden.” He agrees that this fossil does not help the evolutionary story for cephalopods. It was torpedo-shaped like modern squid. It probably used jet propulsion for locomotion like modern squid. It possessed “rounded fins on either side of its body for stability,” and it “probably lived in a similar way to true squid today,” with arms specialized for grasping and suckers to manipulate its food. So where is the evolution in 325 million years? To save face, Fletcher claims it is helping the evolutionary narrative anyway because scientists are solving the puzzle piece by piece. This is the famous “we’re getting warmer” defense in Darwinization stratagey (see 17 Feb 2022).
Can the Paper Shed Some Light?
The peer-reviewed paper takes this tack, too: “Fossil coleoid cephalopod from the Mississippian Bear Gulch Lagerstätte sheds light on early vampyropod evolution” (Whalen and Landman, 13, Article number: 1107, Nature Communications, 7 March 2022).
How can it shed light, when the story is one of subtraction, not addition? The authors lie about addition (see extended quote below)* but their evidence shows loss of structures, not gain. It’s hard to see any Darwinist taking pleasure in a model that starts with already-functioning complex creatures like this one, and saying that the evolutionary narrative of cephalopods is one of loss of traits.
In addition, this fossil revealed exquisite soft-tissue impressions (Lagerstätte = exceptionally preserved fossil site). The paper does not make it clear if any original unfossilized tissue is present, but they did find the ink sac and other delicate features. “While less common, non-mineralized fossil vampyropods are known from several Mesozoic lagerstätten,” they postulate, “their unique biochemistry appears to improve the preservation potential of their soft tissues.” Evidence, please? Are they saying that only to maintain their belief in 325 million Darwin Years? The mention of “unique biochemistry” serves as a red herring.
The paper wrestles with debates about how to classify and sort out the various cephalopods, but no common ancestors are unequivocal. Here’s a taste:
The oldest nautilids are the Silurian (Wenlock) lechritrochoceratids. The lechritrochoceratids are thought to descend from the Middle Ordovician uranoceratid tarphycerid Centrocyrtoceras. This narrative, that tarphycerids are stem nautilids, had largely been supplanted by the argument that nautilids originated from an unknown orthoceratoid ancestor. However, the tarphycerid hypothesis has recently been revived and expanded as part of a larger effort to reclassify the various orders of fossil nautiloids. In this revived scenario, nautilids descend from tarphycerids, tarphycerids descend from oncocerids, and oncocerids descend from ellesmerocerids—a modernization of several much older proposals for nautiloid interrelationships. No hypothesis of nautilid origins has yet been tested phylogenetically.
At the end, no light was shed. The only thing propping up their “narrative” or “scenario” is prior commitment to unshakeable faith in evolution, in spite of the evidence. “Although conclusive fossil evidence is yet lacking, it stands to reason that this environment also cultivated the first coleoids,” they say, perpetuating the evolutionary myth of “If you build it, they will come.” All Darwin has to do is provide the environment, and it will “cultivate” the emergence of whatever animal appears in the fossil record, thanks to the omnipotent power of the Stuff Happens Law.
OK guys. You have no evidence. You have no ancestor, no credible timeline, no series of gradual innovations, and no reason to believe your “scenario” except for your own bluffing chutzpah about evolution. On the contrary, you have a highly complex creature with a muscular system, a digestive system, sensory systems including camera eyes, sexual reproduction, a central nervous system and much more. You have exceptionally-preserved soft tissue impressions that should not survive for 325 million Darwin Years. You promised light but shed darkness. You disseminated fogma, misleading the public. And you have humiliated your preferred Dear Leader, Joe Biden. We’re calling you out, Landman and Whalen. We charge you with impersonating a scientist (16 July 2014 commentary). Repent, apologize, resign, and go get a real job, or else our K9 unit with charge into action.
*Extended quote from the paper that shows lying about addition of characters by evolution:
Excluding octopods, the pattern of vampyropod evolution after origination seems to be one of addition not subtraction. Structures are added to the proostracum that are then expanded and elaborated via increasingly complex developmental controls; there is no evidence for a gradual evolutionary reduction of extensive phragmoteuthid-like lateral fields or of an anteriorly elongate conus.
But read on:
If the gladius** is a remnant of the body chamber, then the ventrolateral reductions must have occurred rapidly. Alternatively, the vampyropod gladius formed via a simple mutation that turned off the developmental processes responsible for the formation of the biomineralized shell layers. The remaining structure would have been a simple dorsal plate that posteriorly wrapped around the apex (i.e., the proostracum); no complex sequence of gradual reductions is necessary. We suggest this latter scenario is a much more plausible model for the formation of the gladius. Even if evidence was equivocal, the scenario we propose requires fewer genetic alterations (1 change = loss of all mineralized tissues) than the conventional model (7 changes = loss of ventral body chamber, loss of lateral body chamber, loss of primordial rostrum, loss of septa, loss of siphuncle, shortening of conus, demineralization). However, evidence is not equivocal: no phylogeny has ever suggested vampyropods derived from a phragmoteuthid-like ancestor. Furthermore, Syllipsimopodi predates all known neocoleoids and already has a fully developed gladius without a phragmocone. Syllipsimopodi and our phylogeny demonstrate that vampyropods likely originated soon after the origin of neocoleoids. The rapid formation of the gladius can be more easily explained through the modification of one fundamental developmental process, than by the gradual loss of a series of complex structures.
**Note: “The gladius, or pen, is a hard internal bodypart found in many cephalopods of the superorder Decapodiformes and in a single extant member of the Octopodiformes, the vampire squid. It is so named for its superficial resemblance to the Roman short sword of the same name, and is a vestige of the ancestral mollusc shell, which was external” (Wikipedia). Even this “scenario” represents LOSS not GAIN of a simple hard structure. Rather than call it a vestige, they should be looking for its function in this animal. The history of “vestigial organs” is another Darwinian blunder.
Now read their final paragraph. Again: NO EVIDENCE for their evolutionary scenario! Look at their wish list:
The conventional model for the formation of the gladius could be plausible if vampyropods originated long after the Devonian origins of Neocoleoidea, if we had a sequence of fossils showing gradual reductions of the body chamber and phragmocone, if the earliest proostraca were mineralized, if vampyropods exhibited a general trend towards reduction of the gladius, or if vampyropods descended from phragmoteuthids. However, each of these lacks or is contradicted by evidence. Syllipsimopodi demonstrates that vampyropods existed in the Mississippian and already possessed a demineralized gladius without any discernible remnant of the phragmocone. Syllipsimopodi shows that the earliest gladii were simple structures that were elaborated on by succeeding lineages; not complex shells to be evolutionarily reduced to an essential minimum. Lastly, no fossils have ever been discovered that might indicate a gradual reduction of the body chamber except for phragmoteuthids, and our phylogenetic analysis reaffirms the growing consensus that phragmoteuthids are not stem vampyropods.
These creatures appear in the record fully formed for their ecological niche. There is not a record of addition or of gradual subtraction, even after 82 million Darwin Years. Is that credible? That’s much more time than they think a whale evolved from a quadruped, or a human evolved from an ape. It’s crazy when you THINK about it. Evolutionists believe that thinking evolved, too, which undermines their credibility. They’re not interested in truth but in preserving their fitness. What is truth? If it evolved, it is not true.