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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Evolutionary Ghost Stories?

Listen up, shrimp. No, wait. I mean, listen up, about shrimp. I reckon punctuation and right wording make a difference. Actually, it's not really a shrimp.

Let me back up.

Paleontologists discovered a fossil arthropod that strongly resembles a rare kind of critter that is shrimp-like. There are things called the "banded cleaner (or coral) shrimp", but really aren't shrimp. They're classified as closer relatives to lobsters and such than to shrimp. They sure look like shrimp, though.

Banded Cleaner Shrimp is not really a shrimp. Creation, evolution, creation science, paleontology
"Banded Cleaner Shrimp", Stenopus hispidus / US-NOAA
But evolution and paleontology are chock full of storytelling, and the facts don't always mesh with the stories. This new stenopodidean is in the "wrong" place according to the evolutionary worldview. Since it pops into the geologic column, disappears for a few "millions years", then is spotted again pretty much unchanged, they tell a story about it being in a "ghost lineage". Yeah, right. Using the biblical creation Genesis Flood model, it fits mighty fine, no problem.
Fossils seem to tell amazing stories about ancient animal life, but close inspection reveals that these stories differ from each other not because of different fossils, but because of different interpretations. Do the remarkable circumstances surrounding a newly discovered fossil arthropod tell two stories or just one?

A US team of paleontologists publishing in the Journal of Paleontology described a new fossil arthropod as belonging to a rare shrimp-like kind called stenopodideans. These marine animals have a huge set of third legs, whereas shrimp and lobsters have large first legs.

The fossil looks so much like a living stenopodidean that the study authors were easily able to identify it. But the really remarkable piece of this story is its geologic setting.
If you're not scared, you can read the rest by clicking on "Ghost Lineage Spawns Evolution Ghost Story".