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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fossils and Fossil Rocks Kill Off Evolution! Part Three - Lazarus Taxa!

Lazarus Taxa.   Most people don't realize that many organisms thought to have died off millions of years ago lived along with man until very recently, which I have blogged on extensively.  But what about organisms that disappear from the fossil record supposedly tens or hundreds of millions of years ago that are found living today?

I am not talking about organisms that we have declared to have gone extinct in fairly recent memory, like the ones in this video, below.  The genetic code of animal kinds can "bring back" a variety by the recombination of genetic material of populations that had been separated in various ways. 





This is not a surprise to Creation Science, as we believe that God made all kinds of organisms with rich genetic code so that speciation could allow the organism to continue to reproduce and live on when weather or predation or other factors changed.  Organisms change by speciation, the selection of the most beneficial choices from the many possibilities found in the gene pool of the organism.  Consider the dog, with so many sizes, shapes, colors and other features that an unknowing scientist, finding them in the fossil record, might classify them as 100 separate types of organism rather than seeing them all as dogs!

I am talking about organisms supposedly extinct millions of years ago which supposedly evolved into modern forms!   Much of the Earth is not well known or explored.  Missionary friends from Papua New Guinea and Suriname have heard of the reports of dinosaur/dragon animals and the Congo's Mokele-mbembe has been mentioned in sightings and near-misses so often one wonders if perhaps a dinosaur or perhaps a hundred of them are still around, just not where mankind tends to go?  

The not-so-reliable Wikipedia probably misses a few Lazarus Taxa,but just look at ALL THE EXAMPLES!!! 

According to basic Darwinist interpretation of the fossil rocks (which is more twisted and convoluted than a puzzle garden), organisms found in one layer evolved into the organisms found in the next layer upwards and so on and so forth until we get to modern-day organisms.   So since we have found so many organisms that supposed evolved into something else, organisms that were plentiful in one rock layer and then disappeared and  considered extinct either magically re-evolved or somehow have some Secret Lazarus Taxa hardened impenetrable biosphere they have now recently abandoned to rejoin the rest of us, right?   Or maybe they borrowed a time machine?



credit

The ‘Lazarus effect’: rodent ‘resurrection’!

There are lots of things amid the sights and smells of an Asian food market that can surprise visitors from western countries.
Graphics by Mark A. Klingler / CMNH
rodent
rodent
In May 2005, New Scientist reported that when Robert Timmins, of the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, was wandering through a Laos market, he discovered an animal completely unknown to science.1
This particular specimen had already been killed, and was destined for the kebab skewer.
‘It was for sale on a table next to some vegetables,’ said Timmins. ‘I knew immediately it was something I’d never seen before.’
The creature (figures D, E*, F), a rodent dubbed Laonastes aenigmamus or stone-dwelling puzzle-mouse, looks like something in between a squirrel and a large rat. Not only was it a completely unknown species,2 but sufficiently different from other mammals that it was given its own family, the Laonastidae—the first mammal family to be created since 1974 (following the discovery of the bumblebee bat).
rodent
rodent
Illustration (see footnote 2) by Mark A. Klingler / CMNH
rodent
But just 10 months later, some people were about to get another big surprise.

Not new, but ‘resurrected’!

In March 2006, Science journal dropped a bombshell, saying that the rodentLaonastes is not new. Under the headline ‘Rodent Resurrection’, the journal reported that anatomical comparisons of Laonastes with fossil evidence (figures A, B, C) from the lower Miocene, Shandong Province, China, showed that the creature living in Laos today is actually a surviving member of the Diatomyidae, a group of rodents long thought extinct.3
‘Hence,’ says Science, ‘Laonastes “resurrects” a clade of mammals that was formerly thought to have been extinct for more than 10 million years.’ In fact, according to Dr Mary Dawson and her paleontologist colleagues who published their detailed analysis in that issue of Science,4 the Diatomyidae were believed to have been extinct for more than 11 million years. In their own words:Laonastes is a particularly striking example of the “Lazarus effect” in Recent mammals … ’. By this they mean the ‘reappearance’ of an ‘extinct’ group of organisms after ‘a lengthy hiatus [gap] in the fossil record’.
But wait a minute—just what is the cause of the ‘Lazarus effect’? Surely paleontologists (many of whom do not accept biblical creation) aren’t thinking that the same One who raised Lazarus from the dead after four days in the tomb (John 11:1–12:11) also raised Laonastes from the dead after 11 million years?
But this is not something that you’ll read in New Scientist or Science.
Indeed, they’re not. Instead, they suggest that the fossils from the intervening period have simply not been found yet, or that conditions conducive to fossilization occur only rarely.5
But that ‘explanation’ looks increasingly lame when one considers (as the paleontologists said) that Laonastes is ‘a striking example’ of the ‘Lazarus effect’, which means it is not unique. There are many other organisms which, according to ‘a lengthy hiatus in the fossil record’, ought to have long been extinct, and yet are found to be living today.

Fresh fish—surprise, surprise


Photo by Joachim Scheven, LEBENDIGE VORWELT Museum
resurect coelacanth fossil
One of the most infamous of these ‘living fossils’ is the coelacanth fish (see page 54), once held up to be the ancestor of all land animals and birds, and formerly thought to have died out 65 million years ago. But when fishermen hauled a live coelacanth to the surface from the deep ocean waters off Madagascar, evolutionists saw that it was not a transitional form (i.e. on the way to evolving from sea creature to land animal). For one thing, its soft anatomy was not at all like an amphibian’s. And the coelacanth uses its stronger fins to navigate the nooks and crevices of deep ocean rock formations, but never to ‘walk’ along the bottom (let alone come onto land). Its fins were fins—not semi-evolved legs, as had been mooted—and, by the way, it was just the same as its beautifully-preserved fossil counterpart (meaning no evolution had taken place).6
So notorious has the coelacanth become that Dr Mary Dawson described Laonastes as ‘the coelacanth of rodents’.7 Interestingly, years after the coelacanth was found off Madagascar, it was also unexpectedly ‘discovered’ in south-east Asia in a similar manner to Laonastes. A marine biologist from America was wandering through a fish market in Manado, Indonesia, and recognised a coelacanth on a fishmonger’s cart.8Reporting the find, Nature journal published a photo of Indonesian fishermen with a live coelacanth.9 For a fish that had supposedly been extinct for 65 million years, you can’t get much fresher than that.
The coelacanth andLaonastes are not the only ‘Lazarus’ organisms living today
The coelacanth and Laonastes are not the only ‘Lazarus’ organisms living today. The rare South American opossum-like marsupial Dromiciops gliroides (known locally as ‘Monito del Monte’) is a member of a ‘clade’ (Microbiotheria) earlier thought to have become extinct more than ten million years ago.10,11,12 And the fossil ant Gracilidris, thought to have died out 15–20 million years ago, has recently turned up alive and well in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.13,14 These and the hundreds of other known examples of ‘living fossils’ (e.g. tuatara,15 salamander,16 horseshoe crab,17,18 and the Wollemi pine19,20) prompt the question: why is there no ‘record’ of them leaving any fossils for all those ‘millions of years’?
The answer: there never were any ‘millions of years’.
You can’t get a historical record by looking at rocks; you need an actual historical record—an eyewitness account of history. The Bible claims to be just such an account—from the very beginning of time. Does it tell us of something that happened in history which might explain the ‘Lazarus effect’?

‘Deluged and destroyed’


Photo by Joachim Scheven, LEBENDIGE VORWELT Museum
Fossil <em>Limulus</em> from Solnhofen limestone
Fossil Limulus from Solnhofen limestone—Upper Jurassic (supposedly about 140 million years old).
A serious challenge to evolution.
Photo by Joachim Scheven, LEBENDIGE VORWELT Museum
Living horseshoe crabs
Living horseshoe crabs, Limulus polyphemus.
According to a straightforward reading of the Bible, ‘the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is in them’ (Exodus 20:11) were created around 6,000 years ago (not millions or billions of years). But today’s world is no longer the ‘very good’ world (Genesis 1:31) that God made. Since then, sin and death have entered (Genesis 2:17; 3:6–19; Romans 8:19–22) and there’s been a major event that catastrophically rearranged the earth’s geography, topography and geology—a global Flood (Genesis 6–9), around 4,500 years ago.
This beautifully explains why we find, across vast areas throughout the world, sedimentary rock layers obviously laid down in rapid succession, containing lots of plant and animal fossils. Many of these fossils are so well-preserved they must have been covered quickly. So the ‘fossil record’ is mostly a legacy of the global Flood of just a few thousand years ago, reflecting the order of burial in that event. It is not a ‘record’ of the order of evolution (‘appearance’) over millions or billions of years.
But this is not something that you’ll read in New Scientist or Science. The Bible gives us more than a clue as to why. It tells us that ‘you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come’ who ‘deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed’ (2 Peter 3:3–6).
Deluged and destroyed. And because many scientists either don’t know or ‘deliberately forget’ this, they wrongly interpret the absence of particular organisms across multiple layers of sedimentary rock as being ‘a lengthy hiatus’ across millions of years. And that wrong interpretation of the ‘fossil record’ means people didn’t expect to find living today a coelacanth or a Wollemi pine that had only been known from fossils supposedly ‘millions of years’ old. Hence their surprise when such ‘living fossils’ turn up. So when Robert Timmins and his team encountered Laonastes, who could blame them for assuming it was something new.
There is no ‘Lazarus effect’ spanning millions of years.
But Laonastes wasn’t new, and nor were its fossils more than 11 million years old. There is no ‘Lazarus effect’ spanning millions of years. These ‘living fossil’ creatures have been here all along, reproducing ‘after their kind’ both before and after the Flood, just as the One who created them around 6,000 years ago intended. This is the same One who raised the real Lazarus from the dead; and the same One who, being Creator, had the power to take up His own life after He’d been put to death on a timber cross. This is the One who was really resurrected; in fact the One who is the Resurrection—our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.21 Beware of imitations!

Composition by Steve Cardno, photo of dinosaur model by Allen Browne.
Dinosaur model

Where are they hiding?

The ‘surprise’ discovery in an Asian market of the kha-nyouthat lives on isolated rocky outcrops, raises the question of how many other ‘hidden animals’—e.g. dinosaurs—might still be living in the rainforests and swamps of Asia, the Congo and elsewhere. (Many people don’t realize that most dinosaurs were smaller than a sheep.) As happened with the coelacanth, evolutionists would be very surprised at the discovery of a dino ‘living fossil’, previously thought to be extinct for millions of years. But it would be no surprise to creationists, who know from the Bible that the universe is only around 6,000 years old anyway, and that all the different kinds of land animals and birds—including dinosaurs—moved out from the Ark and inhabited the earth around 4,500 years ago.

References and notes

  1. Pickrell, J., Kebab meat rodent gives birth to new family, New Scientist 186(2500):18, 2005. Return to text.
  2. The locals have known it simply as kha-nyou, or ‘rock rat’. Timmins and his team later collected additional specimens by trapping the animal on rocky limestone outcrops in and around the Khammouan National Biodiversity Conservation Area in central Laos. But they have not yet seen it alive. Return to text.
  3. Hurtley, S. and Szuromi, P., Rodent resurrection, Science 311(5766):1341, 2006. Return to text.
  4. Dawson, M.R., Marivaux, L., Li, C.-k., Beard, K.C. and Metais, G., Laonastes and the “Lazarus effect” in Recent mammals, Science 311(5766):1456–1458, 2006. Return to text.
  5. Fara, E., What are Lazarus taxa?, Geological Journal 36:291–303, 2001. Return to text.
  6. Doolan, R., The fish that got away … for 70 million years? Creation 9(2):8–11, 1987. Return to text.
  7. Carnegie Museum of Natural History Press Release, New family of mammal really living fossil—Rodent found in Laos in 2005 really surviving member of a thought-to-be-extinct rodent family, , 24 April 2006. Return to text.
  8. Living fossil fish turns up—againCreation 21(2):8, 1999, Return to text.
  9. Erdmann, M.V., Caldwell, R.L. and Moosa, M.K., Indonesian ‘king of the sea’ discovered, Nature 395(6700):335, 1998. Return to text.
  10. Patterson, B., Pascual, R., Evolution of mammals on southern continents: V. The fossil mammal fauna of South America, The Quarterly Review of Biology43(4): 409–451, 1968. Return to text.
  11. Lobos, G., Charrier, A., Carrasco, G. and Palma, R., Presence of Dromiciops gliroides (Microbiotheria: Microbiotheriidae) in the deciduous forests of central Chile, Mammalian Biology—Zeitschrift fur Saugetierkunde 70(6):376–380, 2005. Return to text.
  12. Bozinovic, F., Ruiz, G. and Rosenmann, M., Energetics and torpor of a South American ‘living fossil’, the microbiotheriid Dromiciops gliroidesJournal of Comparative Physiology B 174(4):293–297, 2004. Return to text.
  13. Wild, A.L. and Cuezzo, F., Rediscovery of a fossil dolichoderine ant lineage (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Dolichoderinae) and a description of a new genus from South America, Zootaxa 1142:57–68, 8 March 2006. Return to text.
  14. Catchpoole, D., Fossil ant found alive! Creation 28(4):56, 2006. Return to text.
  15. Helder, M., Tantalizing tuataraCreation 13(3):24–27, 1991, Return to text.
  16. Catchpoole, D., Salamanders are ‘living fossils’! Creation 26(2):26–27, 2004, Return to text.
  17. Catchpoole, D., ‘Living fossils’ enigmaCreation 22(2):56, 2000, Return to text.
  18. Walker, T., Death march—Horseshoe crab stopped dead in its tracksCreation 25(2):54–55, 2003, Return to text.
  19. Sensational Australian tree … like ‘finding a live dinosaur’Creation 17(2):13, 1995, Return to text.
  20. ‘Dino tree’ goes on saleCreation 28(1):11, 2005. Return to text.
  21. This paragraph is drawn from various passages in the Bible, including: Deuteronomy 6:4Mark 12:29John 1:1–3Colossians 1:13–23John 10:17–18,Matthew 28:6John 11:25Isaiah 43:11Titus 2:11–14Return to text.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



The Profusion of Living Fossils


"LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all:
the earth is full of thy riches"
 
(Psalm 104:24).
Evolutionists consider what they call "living fossils" to be rare, the famous Coelacanth fish being the best-known example. The fossils of this fish are found only in rocks older than 70 million years (assuming the standard geologic time scale to be real), but living coelacanths have been found in the Indian Ocean.
New cases of so-called living fossils do turn up fairly often. Graptolites have been considered in the past to be index fossils for the Ordovician period, 300 million years old. Yet they recently were found still living in the south Pacific.1
Other famous living fossils include the tuatara (supposedly extinct since the Cretaceous Period until found still living in New Zealand), the Lepidocaris crustacean (only found as fossils in Devonian rocks), the Metasequoia conifer tree (thought extinct for the past 20 million years), the Neopilina mollusk (supposedly extinct for 280 million years), the lingula brachiopod ("extinct" since the Ordovician), and even the trilobite (chief index fossil of the even more ancient Cambrian Period).2
Evolutionists tend to reserve the title of "living fossil" for those animals and plants which had been considered extinct until suddenly they turned up living today. Consequently, the vast numbers of living organisms that were already known to be in the fossil record are generally ignored as examples of living fossils. These even include those organisms supposed to be the most ancient of all. Evolution is supposed to have begun when prokaryotes evolved out of the primeval soup. It is significant, therefore, that:
Fossils very similar to living prokaryotes are found in rocks about 3500 million years old.3
Likewise, the primitive one-celled organisms called eukaryotes are supposed to have evolved from prokaryotes. But, these also are still living, essentially unchanged, in the modern world.
Simple eukaryotes, resembling living unicellular algae, are first confirmed in the fossil record about 1500 million years ago and first suspected in rocks almost 2000 million years old.4
The most important modern prokaryotes are probably the bacteria and the blue-green algae, and these certainly should be considered living fossils. They have been found in abundance in 3.4 billion year-old rocks from South America. Modern soil bacteria have been found in Precambrian rocks. One wonders why, if evolution really works, these "primitive" organisms have not changed significantly in over a billion years.
The prolific evolutionist, Stephen Jay Gould, has insisted that there is no evidence whatever against evolution. Yet he stresses the fact that bacteria have changed little since ancient times.
The most salient feature of life has been the stability of its bacterial mode from the beginning of the fossil record until today and, with little doubt, into all future time so long as the Earth endures.5
The same situation applies throughout the geologic column. In the supposed "oldest" period with metazoan fossils, all the present-day animal phyla are found as fossils, largely in modern form. As Gould says:
In one of the most crucial and enigmatic episodes in the history of life, . . . nearly all animal phyla made their first appearance in the fossil record at essentially the same time, an interval of some 5 million years (about 525 to 530 million years ago) called the Cambrian explosion.6
Speaking of the Cambrian fauna, there are many that still survive, all looking much like they did over 500 million years ago. The prominent British evolutionists, Richard Dawkins, has made the following comment:
And we find many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists.7
Indeed it has. Until recently, the phylum of vertebrates had been considered a later arrival in evolutionary history. But not now! Even the vertebrate phylum now extends into the Cambrian period, especially with the recent discovery of two fossil fish in China:
The two new fossils . . . from Chengjiang are the most convincing Early Cambrian vertebrates ever found.8
The insects and other land invertebrates are also a very important group, and these practically all seem to be living fossils. With respect to the arthropod phylum (the largest in the animal kingdom), consider the millipedes, for example.
Indeed, the oldest fossils of land-dwelling animals are millipedes, dating to more than 425 million years ago. Incredibly, the archaic forms are nearly indistinguishable from certain groups living today.9
The same phenomenon holds for practically all the insects.
Compared with other life forms, insects are actually slow to evolve new families—but they are even slower to go extinct. Some 84 percent of the insect families alive today were alive 100 million years ago. . . .10
Whether bees or ants, cicadas or beetles, termites or cockroaches, the fossils of these and other insects are always practically identical with (though often larger than) their modern descendants. The same applies to the arachnids and myriapods.
Space does not allow discussion of modern amphibians (e.g., frogs, toads), reptiles (crocodiles, alligators, turtles), mammals (bats, squirrels, shrews, opossums, tarsiers, etc.), all of which (and many, many others) are practically identical with their fossil representatives.
Speaking of extinction, the dinosaurs come to mind. These also may have been living fossils up until modern times, except that they were called dragons. Not many people realize how closely the ancient and medieval descriptions of various types of dragons correspond with modern paleontological reconstructions of various dinosaurs. But encyclopedia articles on "Dragons" have occasionally noted this characteristic. Dinosaurs were according to two of these,
. . . gigantic and astonishingly dragon-like extinct reptiles of past ages.11
The dragons of legend are strangely like . . . the great reptiles which inhabited the earth long before man is supposed to have appeared on the earth.12
The Bible, of course, also mentions dragons as real living animals at the time it was being written.
There is no space here to discuss the various ages themselves but, in the young-earth model of geologic history, all the alleged "ages" were actually different deposits either of the great flood or of the residual catastrophes following it. Thus, it is not surprising that the sedimentary rocks laid down by the Flood contain fossils of most of the creatures still surviving in the present age. Still further correlation with extant plants and animals will, no doubt, be developed as more fossils are discovered.
The fossil record is often so sparse that . . . there are plenty of cases where groups survived for tens of millions of years without leaving a single fossil.13
In actuality, as documented in many books by young-earth creationists, the fossil record is not a record of long evolutionary ages, with distinctive life forms in each age, as evolutionists allege, but of just one age, that of the great flood. No wonder, then, that practically all living organisms are represented in the rocks of the geologic column.
And in their marvelous variety and complexity they all bear witness to the wisdom and power of their Creator, while the great panorama of suffering and death (often even extinction) displayed in their fossilized preservation is a perpetual reminder, not of evolution, but of the terrible consequences of human sin on man's entire dominion.

References

1 Sue Rigby, "Graptolites Come to Life," Nature (vol. 362, March 18, 1993), pp. 209-210.
2 "Living Fossil Resembles Long-Extinct Trilobite," Science Digest (vol. 42, December 1957), p. 59.
3 Colin Patterson, Evolution (Second Edition, London, Natural History Museum, 1999), p. 129.
4 Ibid., p. 131.
5 Stephen J. Gould, "The Evolution of Life." In Evolution! Facts and Fallacies, Ed. by J. Wm. Schopf (San Diego: Academic Press, 1999), p. 5.
6 Ibid., p. 38.
7 Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton Co., 1987).
8 Philippe Janvier, "Catching the First Fish," Nature (vol. 402, November 4, 1999), p. 21.
9 William A. Shear, "Millipedes," American Scientist (vol. 87, May/June 1999), p. 234
10 Carl Zimmer, "Insects Ascendant," Discover (vol. 14, November 1993), p. 30.
11 Article "Dragon" in Encyclopedia Britannica, 1949 edition.
12 Article "Dragon" in World Book Encyclopedia, 1965 edition.
13 Peter J. Bowler, Review of In Search of Deep Time, by Henry Gee (Free Press, 1999). In American Scientist (vol. 88, March/April 2000), p. 169.
* Dr. Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.






Sean Pittman's entire work and references are found here.


Coelacanths
The Living Fossils





The coelacanths are fish having a flexible oil-filled type of back bone that gives them their name. In place of the bony vertebral column of most adult fishes, coelacanths have a large, thick tube of cartilage, called the 'notochord'. In the early development of most fishes, the notochord of the embryo or larva is gradually replaced by the bony (or calcificed) center of the vertebral column.  But in coelacanths, lungfishes and some types of sharks, the transformation of notochord into a segmented bony (or calcified) vertebral column does not take place.  In coelacanths, the hollow notochord is filled with oil and provides a strong, yet flexible support for the spinal cord. 41  

Coelacanths are thought to be very ancient fish who lived before, during, and after the time of the dinosaurs.  However, like the dinosaurs, the coelacanths vanished from the fossil record (some 80 million years ago).  However, before they seemingly went extinct they lived prosperously for nearly 400 million years.  They are in fact thought to be the ancestors to the first vertebrates to step out of the seas and walk on dry land some 350 million years ago.  Because of this belief that coelacanths are an important evolutionary link between sea and land dwelling vertebrates, special significance has been given to their place in the fossil record.  In fact, it was long thought that the fossil record was the only place where coelacanths would ever be found.  This seemed to be true until 1938 when living coelacanths were found alive and well off the coast of South Africa living at a depth of around 120 to 250 meters. 41  Since then, other colonies of coelacanths have been found in various areas such the coast of Madagascar, Sulawesi (Indonesian Archipelago), Mozambique, and Comoran.
  
The initial discovery of living coelacanths came as quite a shock to the scientific community.  To find a "living fossil" after it had vanished from the fossil record for some 80 million years was quite a stunning revelation.  How could this be explained?  How could a creature be preserved/fossilized over and over again during the course of 300+ million years and then vanish for some 80 million years only to reappear, alive and well, in modern oceans?

Well, there are several explanations commonly given to explain such a phenomenon.  Perhaps one of the more popular explanations is that the modern coelacanth is not the same creature as those coelacanths found in the fossil record.  In fact, the differences are thought to be so significant that modern coelacanths have not only been classed in a different species category, but in a different genus group as well.  The classification of the modern coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae verses the very similar fossil coelacanth Macropoma lewesiensis, goes as follows:


Coelacanth Classification

Kingdom: Anamilia vs. Anamilia
Phylum: Chordata vs. Chordata
Class: Osteichthyes vs. Osteichthyes (bony fishes)
Order: Coelacanthini vs. Coelacanthini
Family: Sarcopterygii vs. Sarcopterygii
Genus: Latimeria vs. Macropoma
Species: chalumnae vs. lewesiensis





Many "emphasize" the point that, "The living coelacanth is not a living fossil in the very strict sense that members of the species L. chaumnae itself have never been found as a fossil.  In fact, no other species assignable to the Genus Latimeria has been found as a fossil either.  Latimeria and the Cretaceous fossil Genus Macropoma are quite closely related, and we could possibly include them in the same family.  Beyond that, all fossil coelacanths belong to the order Coelacanthini." 38,40

The problem with this argument, as discussed in some detail above, is that phylogenic classification schemes are quite subjective.  A comparison of the modern coelacanth with those found in the fossil record really does not necessitate their being any more different from various breeds of dogs who are all members of not only the same genus and family groups, but the same species group as well.  Even so, some do argue that, "A person can see substantial differences in the fins, tail, lobe fin, and drastic changes in the structure of the head." 40  However, it seems to me that this is an over emphasis when such differences are no more drastic than the differences that are seen within species groups (ie: bulldog vs. German Shepherd).  It is true that the picture comparisons do show some obvious differences, but these do not seem to be as striking as many seem to suggest.  The lobe fins themselves are almost identical.  The tails are also practically identical excepting for comparisons of the "supplementary tail fin."  The problem here is that the supplementary tail fin was left out of the drawing of the fossil coelacanth, Macropoma lewesiensis (as were the fin bones).  This is because, "Details of the fossil's supplementary tail fin are insufficiently known to allow restoration" (The same can be said for the fin bones).  This leaves, basically, the "drastic changes in the structure of the head" as the only real possible difference between the two coelacanths. 

It appears that the two heads are in fact very similar as far as the number, relative position, and general shape of the bones in the two creatures.  It seems like the main differences can be found in the relative size of the various bones or bone proportions.  These differences give Macropoma a longer and more pointed snout than is found in Latimeria as well as a bit of an overbite.

Based on these rather minor differences these two creatures are classed, not just as different species, but as members of different genus groups.  Are these differences really greater than the range of comparable differences found within the range of other species, such as domestic dogs or even modern humans?  Consider, for example, the differences between a German Shepherd and a bulldog.  The German Shepherd has a long, narrow snout with an overbite, while a bulldog has a short, flat snout with an underbite.  These differences might even be called "drastic."  If the bulldog phenotype where found only in the fossil record and the German Shepherd were living today, would they be classed in the same species or even genus groups when compared side-by-side?  I doubt it.

In this light, the statement that "No other species assignable to the Genus Latimeria has been found as a fossil", seems to me to be a bit misleading.  In fact, Peter Forey, in his book, "History of the Coelacanth Fishes", comments that the skeleton of Macropoma lewesiensis is "virtually identical to that of the coelacanths caught off the Sodwana Bay, Latimeria chalumnae, and differs little from the skeleton of most Devonian coelacanths." 39,40   The problem is that there does in fact seem to be a tendency to place very similar fossils in different categories based primarily on the fact that they obviously lived so far apart in time that they can not possibly be members of the same species.  This practice seems to be the rule rather than the exception.  So, to say that the L. chaumnae species has never been found in the fossil record seems to me to be stretching it a bit since this species classification is based on very minor morphologic differences that are clearly within the range of intra-species variation. 

So why then, did the coelacanth disappear from the fossil record for 80 million years?  Other arguments are that only those coelacanths that lived in more shallow water environments died out while the deep water variety managed to survive.  The deep water environment occupied by many modern coelacanths is thought to be very poorly conducive to both fossilization and discovery.  Other coelacanths, such as those colonies that have been found more recently living off the coast of the Comoro Islands, live in shallower waters but over steep slopes of these volcanic islands.  Some scientists, such as Hans Fricke (a coelacanth specialist) suggest that, "these slopes are too steep to hold sediments that could rapidly cover a dead fish and thus begin the fossilization process."  The steep slopes and underwater caves that form the habitat for the modern coelacanth simply do not allow for the fairly rapid sedimentation and burial needed for fossilization to occur.  Also, deep water prevents scientists from exploration and discovery even if such fossilization did occur.  Additionally it is thought that continental subduction might have destroyed such deep sea fossils as well.40

These arguments are all well and good except for one thing.  If coelacanths were so successful for hundreds of millions of years in areas quite conducive to successful fossilization, then why, when they died out of such areas, did they not evolve back into these niches over the course of time?  Why did these niches that supported coelacanths so successfully over the course of hundreds of millions of years never become repopulated over the course of 80 million years by populations of coelacanths living elsewhere?  Really, 80 million years is a fair amount of time.  One might think that surviving populations of deep-sea coelacanths might fluctuate in size.  They might even "evolve" the ability to populate rivers and lakes again.  Is it not strange that in 80 million years, the surviving populations of coelacanths never found opportunity to evolve back the ability to live in their former habitats where they were previously so successful?  After all, it seems like a much shorter step to go from a deep sea environment to a shallow water environment than to go from swimming to walking around on land.  If the coelacanths gave rise to land dwelling creatures in a few million years, then why was it so difficult for them to win back their former water-based environments? (Back to Top)




9 comments:

Jon W said...

"According to basic Darwinist interpretation of the fossil rocks (which is more twisted and convoluted than a puzzle garden), organisms found in one layer evolved into the organisms found in the next layer upwards and so on and so forth until we get to modern-day organisms. "

Your lack of understanding is impressive for its completeness.

First, organisms do not evolve. Populations evolve.

Second, a parent species does not go extinct just because some new species evolved from it, any more than your parents died when you were born.

Third, there's nothing in conventional theory that says a species has to be fossilized throughout its existence on Earth. Quite the opposite: because the fossil record is so incomplete, we can be quite sure that a great many species have left no known fossils at all. All we can be sure of is that when an entire large group of animals that was previously quite common in the fossil record abruptly vanishes completely, then probably all members of that group went extinct.

Fourth, most of the cryptids you refer to are native legends with no known physical evidence to support them. Some descriptions of mokele-mbembe do resemble a sauropod, true. But it has also been described as similar to a hippo or a rhinoceros, and some versions have it as a water spirit with no physical body at all. In the absence of physical evidence, we have no idea what mokele-mbembe is at all.

radar said...

Talk about blowing smoke!

More and more populations of organisms thought extinct millions of years ago have been found. So the fossil record is NOT a sequential record of evolution, it is a catastrophic flood event recorded in stone. Some organisms have gone extinct, some have speciated and some have remained the same. The layering of the Earth can be reproduced with flumes, all the features of the sedimentary rocks as first produced and only Flood and post-Flood activities explain the surface of the Earth as found after the Ice Age was done. Actually that Ice Age is not quite done, some remnants are still melting slowly from season to season. Mount Kilamanjaro is an example of a mountain with a snowcap that really should not have been there and has been observed to dwindle away.

While the fossil record doesn't have one true transitional form, it records organisms that are all complete (when we have the full fossil to observe). You were wrong when you claimed no vertebrates have been found in the Cambrian rocks. Despite Darwinists being in charge of declaring what name to give a layer in any one area, fish have been found in the Cambrian, fish with backbones. No, I would not expect land animals to be lounging around at the sea bottom, so I would not expect many in the Cambrian fossils. Cambrian is mainly bottom-dwelling sea creatures because it is the bottom layer of Flood sediments!

As to "legends" I actually have pointed people to public records, literature, pictures, carvings, figurines and so on from mankind between the time of the Flood until the 18th Century! People knew enough about dinosaurs to depict them pretty accurately and much better than paleontologists could do until at least the 1980's and in fact some Acambaro figurines had details of dinosaurs we did not know until the 1990's.

Finally, NOTHING evolves. Organisms devolve. But if evolution actually worked, a single organism must evolve and then that evolved organism must be so much better than the rest of the population that it's genetic material is favored and the population changes by favoring that one organism. If you think entire populations just have the same mutation at the same time, wow! But actually it takes multiple mutations that are favorable and all work together to to make even slight changes in organisms. Michael Behe did a lot of testing and research and work to show the world that the upper limit of "favorable" mutations being passed along from one organism to the next is two. Not enough to change anything of note.

Your constant derision is getting tiresome. Any reader who tormented themselves by comparing your remarks to my posts would conclude you are not just blowing smoke, you are a massive smokestack!

You make unsupported claims while I make posts with evidence and usually a few references.

You DEMAND action from me as if you were an authority. As I asked once, what did your last slave die from?

Derision may make you feel good but it doesn't help your arguments. After all these years commenters can judge for themselves, but my overall level of knowledge of origins, biology, geology, cosmology, philosophy, the Bible and associated disciplines has been enough for me to be invited to join scientific organizations. Go ahead and be snarky, it just makes Darwinists look bad.

Anonymous said...

* For certain definitions of "scientific organizations".

Anonymous said...

Any reader who tormented themselves by comparing your remarks to my posts would conclude you are not just blowing smoke, you are a massive smokestack!

ANY reader? It's funny, since few if any of your dozen readers would conclude that, that your NEXT sentence begins: You make unsupported claims...

lava


Jon W said...

Oh, one other thing:

Radar ranteth, "While the fossil record doesn't have one true transitional form,"

A few days ago I saw a report of a new study of primitive birds. One of the problems in bird evolution has always been that no one could figure out how Nature got from a groundbound small theropod to a powered-flying bird. If evolutionary theory is correct, there had to be some sort of intermediate stage, with limbs that were useful somehow as lifting surfaces, but not yet as true wings for powered flight. There were two major hypotheses, called "ground up" (or "cursorial") and "trees down", but no good evidence because the earliest known birds seemed to already be fully powered flyers.

Well, back about a dozen years ago, Chinese paleontologists found a critter called Microraptor that had long lifting feathers on both arms and legs. A few years later a team of scientists built a computer model of Microraptor and ran it through some tests. They found that if the legs streamed out behind -- the posture of an animal leaping off a tree branch -- the leg feathers formed a second lifting surface, in addition to the arm feathers, producing an animal that could glide very efficiently.

Now, this new study says that traces of lifting feathers have been found on the legs of other fossil early birds, such as Confuciusornis. If these findings are correct, we just filled in that gap in the evolution of birds, and more or less confirmed that the trees-down theory is right. Birds started as four-limbed gliders, developed powered flight while still using four limbs, then enhanced the arms into large obligate wings and released the legs to do other things.

Evolutionary theory made a testable prediction, and it passed. And it did so in the form of an animal with transitional features between primitive gliding dinosaurs and fully flying birds.

radar said...

Jon doesn't even know what a transitional form IS or he would not give us such long convoluted and wrong information!

Jon will also be unhappy to learn that some paleontologists are now suggesting that some dinosaurs evolved from birds rather than vice-versa.

But God created them all. Lots of luck pretending life came from mud puddles and lightning bolts!

Jon W said...

"Jon doesn't even know what a transitional form IS or he would not give us such long convoluted and wrong information!"

Wrong? What part of what I said is wrong?

"Jon will also be unhappy to learn that some paleontologists are now suggesting that some dinosaurs evolved from birds rather than vice-versa."

Jon has known about this claim -- and the evidence on which it's based -- for years. Jon has also exercised his ability as an intelligent human being to think critically about the claim and find it wanting. The line between dinosaur and bird is so blurred now that it's not surprising we would find fossils of animals that can't be definitely classified as one or the other.

Jon also notes that this is exactly what we would expect if evolutionary theory is correct, but it leaves creationists with an insurmountable problem: if every one of these animals was created de novo, each according to its own kind, then why can't we reliably distinguish between dinosaur 'kinds' and bird 'kinds'?

radar said...

What a great job of patting each other on the back! But none of you has identified a transitional form. Every organism captured in sedimentary rock that is complete or mostly complete represents a normal specimen of a fully-formed and functional organism.
There is not one identifiable and supported transitional form in the fossil record.

Furthermore the fossils are no more neatly arranged in the sedimentary layers than are the layers themselves. We often find a mix of land and sea and swamp creatures mixed with aquatic and land plants in a jumble that can be explained by a global flood and nothing else.

While you can find and post the latin names of various fossils, what you are not doing is actually compiling any evidence for evolution. You have not found a way for life to begin, you have no explanation for the myriad problems with the sedimentary rocks nor the millions of fossils we have found. To have so many anoxic burials of creatures from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the food chain all buried in multitudes, so many of them obviously buried alive so fast they do not finish eating or giving birth, trapped and often posed in the classic death throes of death from strangulation? Do you all think you can close your eyes to the actual evidence and keep telling fairy tales forever?

More and more fossils with flesh remains are found, more records of dinosaur and man living at the same time, more evidence of a short time for this iteration of human civilization, more evidence of a very young Solar System, more evidence of functionality for DNA and more amazing design found in organisms and intelligence within them and their abilities. Science is studying organisms to learn from the designs of God, designs degraded from 6-7,000 years of devolution but still remarkable.

The movie, Gladiator, contains a quote that is applicable. I say to Darwinists as Maximus said to Commodus - "The time for honouring yourself will soon be at an end."

When God decides to end the material world and you face Him? Those words apply. While breath remains in your bodies you could turn to God and admit that He is the Creator of all. Or, like Commodus, you can have your short time of gleeful and reckless living and an eternity dying.

Jon W said...

" Every organism captured in sedimentary rock that is complete or mostly complete represents a normal specimen of a fully-formed and functional organism.

"There is not one identifiable and supported transitional form in the fossil record."

Radar, you appear as ignorant as ever about what a "transitional form" is. No one (except stupid and malignant creationists) has ever suggested that a transitional form would not be a fully-formed and functional organism. Archaeopteryx was a fully formed organism, completely capable of living and reproducing. Likewise Tiktaalik, and Diarthrognathus, and Hyracotherium, and all the other transitional fossils that have been identified. However, each of these can also be identified as intermediate in physiology between some older more primitive form, and some younger, more derived form. That's all that evolutionary theory requires of a "transitional form." Only a creationist, and an exceptionally stupid and ill-informed one at that, would think that a transitional form would have a wing on one side and an arm on the other.

"We often find a mix of land and sea and swamp creatures mixed with aquatic and land plants in a jumble that can be explained by a global flood and nothing else."

Anything of this sort that can be explained by a "global flood" can also be explained by large riverine floods. Since there are things that conventional geology can explain but flood geology can't, and there's nothing that flood geology can explain that conventional geology can't, that puts conventional geology on top.

And Pascal's Wager is still flawed, both logically and theologically. I hear that Kali Ma is getting mightily ticked that you keep dissing her, and Kali has some very interesting ways to deal with those who incur her displeasure...