Evolutionists can’t dodge ‘Living Fossils’
Modern Horseshoe Crab, Limulus polyphemus, World Aquarium, Missouri, USA
Dinosaur-Era (Jurassic) Horseshoe Crab, Mesolimulus walchi, Jura Museum, Germany
Despite the clear similarity of these horseshoe crabs, evolutionists insist on giving the fossil different genus and species names to its living counterpart. But where’s the difference? Note that the fossil specimen was found in rock labelled as “Jurassic”—said to date from 180–225 million years ago. Why is there no evolution (‘change’) in all that (supposed) time?
Some folk just don’t see the significance of the myriad examples of ‘living fossils’. Following our interview with Dr Carl Werner on the topic,1 one evolutionist protested:
“There is no written rule that says a lineage has to die out just because an offspring develops a beneficial mutation. The theory of evolution explains how species change over time, it doesn’t say that all species must change over time. As long as a species can survive in its environment and pass on its genetic information to its offspring, it can survive indefinitely. It doesn’t mean that the ‘living fossil’ didn’t speciate, it just means those possible splits died out while the original lineage was able to always successfully reproduce even into today. How exactly does that not work with evolution?”
However, as Dr Werner said in the article:
“If a scientist believes in evolution and sees fossils that look like modern organisms at the dinosaur digs, he/she might invent an hypothesis to ‘explain’ living fossils this way: ‘Yes I believe that animals have changed greatly over time (evolution), but some animals and plants were so well adapted to the environment that they did not need to change. So I am not bothered at all by living fossils.’ This added hypothesis says that some animals did not evolve. But if a theory can be so flexible, adding hypotheses that predict the opposite of your main theory, one could never disprove the theory. The theory then becomes unsinkable, and an unsinkable theory is not science.”1
Furthermore, some evolutionists have admitted that living fossils (‘stasis’) are a big problem for evolution.2 They have no explanation. This is not about suggesting that something has to go extinct if something evolves from it; that is not the point. The point is the lack of change, which is a huge problem for evolution, which is about vast changes. As high-profile evolutionists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge admitted, “the maintenance of stability within species must be considered as a major evolutionary problem.”3
Evolutionists like to call it ‘evolutionary stasis’. But evolution is about change, and putting ‘evolutionary’ in front of ‘stasis’ does not explain stasis in terms of evolution.4 All organisms undergo mutations (accidental genetic changes). There is no mechanism that prevents mutations such that many organisms can remain the same for supposedly hundreds of millions of years.
And as if explaining the stasis exhibited by living ‘dino era’ creatures such as horseshoe crabs (pictured here) wasn’t already hard enough for evolutionists, what about far ‘older’ examples such as fossil ostracodes (clam-like arthropods known as ‘seed shrimps’), complete with exceptionally well-preserved soft body parts.5 With an evolutionary ‘age’ of 425 million years, the fossilized ostracodes look just the same as living ostracodes today.6 425 million years of stasis!? In that alleged time-frame, evolution by mutations and natural selection has supposedly changed some (unidentified) worm into all the species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals (including elephants and mice, and of course, us). At the same time all the land plants have supposedly evolved. Such is the claimed power of evolution to change things, and yet these ostracodes have remained unchanged (and many others ‘dated’ even older).
In the evolutionary story, environmental change, or the development of new environmental niches, drives evolution as organisms adapt to new environments. So they argue that living fossils are the creatures whose environment did not change. However, in the evolutionary view Earth has sustained multiple global catastrophes (but not a global flood; the Bible speaks about that!) and multiple ice ages. How could there be any place on earth that has remained static, including no change in predators? And living fossils occur across the spectrum of life; and they are very common.
Combine the observations of stasis and the scarcity of transitional fossils (there should be millions of them) and you have to ask, “Where is the fossil evidence for evolution?”
Well-preserved fossils speak of rapid burial in water-borne sediment, consistent with the Bible’s account of the global Flood just 4,500 years ago. And stasis is right in line with the Creator having made creatures to reproduce “according to their kind”, just as Genesis says happened during Creation week, about 6,000 years ago. No millions of years. No evolution.
References and notes
- Living fossils: a powerful argument for creation—Don Batten interviews Dr Carl Werner, author of Living Fossils (Evolution: the Grand Experiment vol. 2), Creation 33(2):20–23, 2011. Return to text.
- See creation.com/living-fossils-enigma. Return to text.
- Gould, S. and Eldredge, N., Punctuated equilibrium comes of age, Nature 366(6452):223–224, 1993. Return to text.
- See: Bell, P., Evolutionary stasis: Double-speak and propaganda, Creation 28(2):38–40, 2006; creation.com/stasis. Return to text.
- Siveter, D., Sutton, M. and Briggs, D., An ostracode crustacean with soft parts from the Lower Silurian, Science 302(5651):1749–1751, 2003. Return to text.
- Oard, M., Remarkable stasis of a fossil ostracode with soft parts, Journal of Creation 18(3):16, 2004. Return to text.
It would be great if CMI compiled a complete list of all the known living fossils in a format similar to: Age of the Earth
It would be a very long list! In the mean time, the book by Dr Carl Werner compiles a good sample of them with beautiful photos (see resources listed on the top-right of the article).
Evolution is not a scientific theory due to the following:
1. It must supply considerable evidence in
support of its formulation.
2. Recent scientific evidence does not
support its primary assumptions.
3. It was speculative in concept.
4. No scientfic law has been derived from
any initial concepts.
Therefore evolution should be concidered an
While I'm at it (and I've said this elsewhere - a response from CMI was lost in the ethernet), if there should be "millions" of transitional fossils pointing the way to evolved kinds, what about non-transitional mutated forms?
It seems to me that every transitional creature that survived and contributed to an evolutionary change should have been preceded by incredibly enormous numbers of mutated creatures that either survived and proceeded along an eventually unsuccessful evolutionary line, or else died out immediately.
After all, the probability of a beneficial mutation occurring by chance is extremely small, so many mutations would have to occur, statistically speaking, in order to move from one creature in a chain to the next.
These mutations would not only be seen coming from the "parent" creature, but would also appear as offshoots from every transitional creature in a line. The numbers should be HUGE (have I said that already?)
Shouldn't at least vertebrates involved in such mutational behaviour have left fossils in numbers far, far exceeding those of transitional fossils (which we don't even see), which in turn should far outnumber the fossils of "completed" kinds that we do see? Yet I am not aware of any having been found.
It could even be argued, I think, that the earth should be teeming with such mutated creatures now.
Ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of truth. I think in our modern time it should be rephrased as “never wanting to come....” This business of missing links, mutations, and evolutionary stasis gets on my last nerve. Excuses, excuses, is all they are now giving. Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge missed becoming real prophets of evolution by not predicting that NOVA, National Geographic, and Public Broadcasting would make the miracle of evolution happen through Photoshop, and skilled movie photography. Yes sir, this miracle of evolution happens right in the living rooms of unsuspecting viewers around the world. Evolutionists prove they “adapt” by adopting every technology known to man as they continue their truth and humanity destroying charade. One time I ran a check of “living fossils” on the net and was shocked by the amount of such fossils listed. I say, keep up the good work CMI. Bully for you!
Michael S mentioned circumstantial evidence for evolution. I would question that even circumstantial evidence exists. To be evidence of any kind, it would have to be consistent with evolutionary theory, but contradictory to creationist (or any other) theory, n'est-ce pas? To illustrate:
There's an excellent moment in a Get Smart episode (I am now raising the intellectual standard here a notch or two) where Max and detective Harry Hoo are examining a murder scene. They see two cigarettes in an ash tray, and there follows a discussion about what this tells them about the murderer (or murderers).
They first observe that there must have been two people in the room at the time of the murder, both smokers. They then realise that there could have been three people there at the time, including one non-smoker. In the end, they conclude that there could have been as many as 100 people in the room at the time of the murder, "provided only two of them smoked".
At that point, two other men who are examining the murder scene come over to the ash tray and collect their cigarettes.
The circumstantial evidence here appeared to say something useful, but since it did not preclude another "possibility" (Harry Hoo word), it wasn't evidence at all.
Is there anything that evolutionists can put up that contradicts creation? If there is, is it only of that "transitional" type that is here today and gone tomorrow, because it will later been disproven, only to be followed by another attempt that is condemned to eventually suffer the same fate?
A well written commentary. My question concerns the creation of Adam&Eve. Since GOD created Adam on the sixth day, was he the first people created. When were the neanderthals created.
The question is a bit peripheral to this article.
Neandertals were post-Flood people. Their full humanity is no longer doubted following the publication of a draft of 60% of their DNA sequence: Neandertal genome like ours. See also articles at: How intelligent were Neandertals?
As for the dating of the fossils, see the article "The pigs took it all" for an example of the story telling that goes on in the name of paleoanthropology.
Only true born again believers agree with a young earth. At the new birth God gives to all His children, Faith, otherwise all you have is human interlect. That can never comprehend the wonderful works of God, our great Creator Psalm 104 : 24
Faith is certainly a gift from God, but it is also a growing thing. We start out as 'babes in Christ' and grow towards maturity. The Holy Spirit has a lot of work to do knocking the 'rough edges' off us. Those rough edges can be all manner of false ideas and attitudes, including 'baggage' we have taken on board from the societies we live in; like ideas about origins that do not measure up with what God has revealed to us. That has been my experience and that of many others; saved but with false ideas yet to be dealt with. See Can Christians believe in evolution?
It seems to me that the key issue here are mutations and fundamental ignorance about them. Evolutionists claim themselves that mutations happen all the time - which is true - and that sometimes mutations lead to the development of new organs - which is so not true, only the opposite is possible. The rest of mutations of harmful or near neutral - that the evolutionists admit. But it seems that they use the mutation argument as they please. They attribute transformation of species to mutations - due to beneficial ones that just happen to come by among many others - but in the case of living fossils or stasis they say that change didn't occur because it wasn't necessary. So, they attribute evolution to randomness of mutations but in the case of living fossils mutations are conveniently suspended. Why? Because they are not needed! Really? I would like to know what percentage of evolutionist are familiar with even the basic knowledge of what mutations are and do. Because they are obviously using them like incantations without considering what they are actually saying.
Yes, mutations are like a magic wand to do whatever is needed regardless of the feasibility.
good humor in this article too, especially the "prehistoric" worm and modern mice/elephants comment :)
Excellent article! You have totally convinced me that evolution doesn't happen and that the world is less than 6000 years old. There are just a few small areas that I would like you to clarify. Scientists have an ice core record dating back over 500,00 years, a tree growth-ring record dating back over 11,000 years and we can see galaxies that the light has taken millions of years to reach us. How does this work? I'm not a scientist, but I thought that it only took one fact to conclusively prove something wrong?
Somebody apparently said "sarcasm is the lowest form of wit".
Also, in commenting you agreed that you had checked creation.com for answers to your objections. Clearly you have not done that as none of these things you raise are even 'facts' (they are interpretations of facts). All age calculations depend on assumptions about the past and those assumptions have to fit into the prevaling 'consensus' view (of deep time). But so much does not fit. Just try reading the articles on this website when you search for 'ice core dating', 'distant starlight' and 'tree-ring dating' (and 'dendrochronology').
Think also about the implications of carbon dating, which are a huge problem for the millions of years belief system (see Carbon 14 in dino bones and the related reading at the end of that article.
For many other evidences that just 'don't fit' the deep time dogma, see 101 evidences for a young age of the earth.
Dear Don -
I think you are right on target!
There is an article called "evolution is stupid" on the internet which is hysterical. The author explains why evolution cannot be the truth.
Truly, anyone with half a brain who is not emotionally bound to his brainwashing from a young school age can think for himself that evolution is one of the biggest lies foisted upon God´s children.
If evolution were true then the whole earth and everything in it would have been and still continue to be in flux and various states of development/change. Including humans. This we do not see.
People do not want to believe in God - it´s that simple. They are programmed to believe that they themselves can be gods. They embrace materialism, because that is what they are taught. They only believe what they can see and what they are told and taught.
They are trapped in the matrix of lies and deception. And unfortunately they are the majority of the people living today. There are only very few true believers who whole-heartedly subscribe to the real truth.
I´m glad you are one of them!
I agree that evolution is preposterous, but we are called to give answers, to defend the faith, with "gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15). If we ridicule others' beliefs, we will get warfare, not witnessing opportunities. If we are polite to others, if they ridicule us, they will be put to shame (v.16).
I think Jeff here, is clutching at straws. Where in the bible does it say evolution was "ordained by the Lord"? Quite the contrary! It makes it crystal clear that God created completed kinds, fully formed without evolutionary nonsense having any input whatsoever. Jeff's whole approach is not scientific in the extreme ("......jiggles about a mean") and to attempt to claim that Don is lying, is just ridiculous. Funny how evolutionists will often claim that Christian creationists lie, and yet this is a contradiction of the very nature Christians would adopt. Jeff, I would suggest you study a bit more real bonafide science before making such outrageous claims, and this site, actually, is an exceptional place to study good sound science, but unfortunately many who criticise Cmi are still blind, and prefer to hear a lie, Christian or otherwise.
I appreciate that you publish my critique (albeit truncated). That, at least, is honest.
Evolution is about "stupendous change" - yes - over stupendous time - that is why it works. "miracles, anyone?" you ask. Is evolution (which was ordained by the Lord) and more or less a miracle that the Flood or the sudden flowering of different languages post Babel?
You say there is no mechansism preventing the mutation that leads to change. That's correct, but there does not need to be. Mutations will only catch on if it is reproductively favourable. If not why change? Hence the horseshoe crab and coelocanth - which are different from fossils but not that much - they are not the same. As is recognised by all "evolutionists", changes between generations do not accumulate in circumstances where there is no pressure for change. In such cases it is the phenotype (which is where most mutations are expressed) which jiggles about a mean.
And finally - "the scarcity of transitional fossils". No. You know very well this is wrong. As Gould says "Transitional forms are generally lacking* at the species level, but they are abundant between the larger groups".
*Note - not "absent".
The only thing I deleted was an ad hominem argument:
“Would Dr Carl Werner be the Creationist author of that name? Once more, as Mandy Rice-Davis put it 'he would say that wouldn't he?'” This is a form of argument that 'attacks the person' rather than dealing with the actual argument and has no place in reasoned debate.
"That, at least, is honest." Another ad hominem attack directed at me this time, suggesting that other things I have done were dishonest. Note also the feedback rules, which you agreed to in commenting, which state that we are not obliged to publish anyone’s comment, especially when they involve personal attacks, come from an anonymous source, false email address, etc.
"Stupendous time"? Oh yes, 'given enough time anything is possible, right'? Wrong! The impossible does not become possible because you add loads of (imaginary) time (see 101 Evidences for a young(er) age of the earth and the universe). Time is the enemy of evolutionary notions, because even with the billions of years mythology, it is nowhere near enough time! Even some basic chemical reactions necessary for life would never happen, even in trillions of years, without enzymes to start with, for example; see World record enzymes.
Furthermore, because of many slightly deleterious mutations that natural selection cannot get rid of, all 'higher' organisms are deteriorating; heading for extinction. If we had been here for millions of years, well ... we would not be here! See From ape to man via genetic meltdown.
Also, decoding the human and chimp DNA has revealed vast differences (~30%), which is way beyond what random mutations can do, even with the wildest daydreaming of evolutionary population geneticists in ~6 million years (look up Haldane's Dilemma on Creation.com).
So much for your faith in mutations.
Mutations are happening all the time and the number in multicellular organisms way exceeds the ability of natural selection (NS) to get rid of them. Most of them are like dots of rust on a car; each one is not sufficient to stop the car, but eventually they will. Population geneticists recognize that NS can only 'see' mutations that have a big effect; more than 10% effect on fitness (number of surviving offspring). So change is inevitable, even over thousands of years, but it is not the right sort of change that evolutionists need to believe that microbes changed into microbiologists. The bottom line is that for anything to remain essentially unchanged for hundreds of millions of years would indeed take a naturalistic 'miracle'.
However, you are also not engaging with the issue of environmental change, which includes the evolution of new predators and parasites, thus driving evolutionary change (according to evolutionists).
Transitional fossils? You say, "You know very well this is wrong." Another ad hominem argument, Jeff. But this is much stronger than the one earlier; now you are accusing me of lying! And you wonder why we don't publish such comments. But you are wrong again anyway. Gould was not just talking about inter-specific transitional forms (of which there are some, which we creationists have no issue with, being variation within the created kind). Since us creationists cannot be trusted, let me quote another evolutionist interpreting Gould:
“Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils. … You say that I should at least ‘show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived.’ I will lay it on the line—there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.”
Note: “there are no transitional fossils”, not, ‘Oh, yes there are some between major phyla.’ Actually, that is where they are most conspicuously absent! (see That quote!)
And the words of Gould himself:
“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.” [my emphasis] (see Gould complains).
Note that this was in 1980, when Gould wrote freely and at length about the lack of transitional fossils at all levels. What you quoted from Gould came just a couple of years later in the heat of the battle over teaching creation in public schools in the USA. The evolutionist Michael Ruse also said things in this context of the politically-charged culture war (that evolution was not a religious idea) that he directly contradicted in a more considered situation. Like Ruse’s statements in court, I think we can justifiably discount Gould’s as not representing his true beliefs that he had so clearly stated in published essays.
We could cite also the leading 20th Century Evolutionary Biologist Ernst Mayr:
[In contrast to the expected gradual transitions in the fossils as per Darwin] "What one actually found was nothing but discontinuities. All species are separated from each other by bridgeless gaps; intermediates between species are not observed. ... The problem was even more serious at the level of the higher categories." [Emphasis added] (The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance, p. 524, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1982.)
Jeff, you have said that you are an Anglican. I assume this means that you profess to be a Christian, not just that you attend an Anglican church. As a Christian, you must surely follow Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. As your Lord, what He says, should surely 'rule' over your thinking. Jesus authenticated every 'jot and tittle' of the Old Testament. That Old Testament records that God spoke (not campfire stories of desert nomads, but God speaking!) in Exodus 20:1ff, saying that He created everything in six days, 'resting' on the seventh day (Exodus 20:11), the basis of our seven day week. Jesus himself authenticated the 'young earth' implication of this. And Jesus only spoke what the Father told him to speak (John 12:49,50). Since you don't believe these things, do you really follow Jesus as your Lord? Please think seriously on these matters.
One counter to that I have heard of is that those animals didn't need to evolve any more. They had reached the end of evolution and thus no longer needed to continue to evolve. I view this as a cop out since it goes against what evolution is about and that is change. Even though we haven't seen the required type of change necessary, but living fossil show stability not even a slightest bit of change in them.
Indeed, as the article says, the lack of change is in the context of supposedly huge climate changes as well as the supposed evolution of new predators, parasites, etc., and all the while so many things remain the same.
"Evolutionary Stasis" = How to have your cake and eat it too. Seriously though it shows how evolutionary theory is not "falsifiable"
There might not be any written rule that says a lineage has to die out just because an offspring develops a beneficial variation, but Darwin argued that this was the most likely consequence. He also pointed out that even when all environmental conditions remained the same there was always going to be a struggle for survival and hence selection for any favourable variation.
Living fossils remain a problem for evolutionists.
Living fossil sounds so old and here are 425 M years mentioned (that's 425 000... Thousand years!). But even before this time a desire had to be, the desire to reproduce, otherwise evolution wouldn't work. Where did this desire came from and it is to be found in flora and fauna also? And where there is a desire there must be a way to satisfy this desire.
Obviously cell dividing wasn't good enough anymore, so reproductive organs was the answer. And there evolved two different ones at the same time which had to team up to make it work.....you know, to pass on the good mutations.......to whom I am talking here?
We creationists know how it came to pass and to be fair the evolutionists know it too....somehow.
Having a similar feature to the beginning of life, aren't we all 'living fossils'?
Is not another problem posed by these living fossils that the organism(s) could have allegedly gone all these millions (sometimes hundreds of millions) of years without leaving any remains even though they were obviously alive?
Yes, a classic 'living fossil' is one that has a discontinuous fossil record. The coelacanth comes to mind, which is missing from rocks 'dated' at more recent than dinosaurs but must have lived during those supposed 65 million years.
Don, well articulated. It is perhaps the nail in the coffin for evolution, that there is such an impressive induction of unchanged organisms. So much for no evidence of creation, if animals not changing does not qualify as animals reproducing according to their kinds, then please tell me MrEvolutionist, what WOULD qualify as creation evidence?
Logically, it is of pivotal and vital importance for the Creationist to cling to these points of evidence because of the axiom, "the greater the claim, the greater the evidence must be".(paraphrase)
If I told you I was superman and could fly to the moon, only one standard of evidence would be acceptable, and that would be a demonstration. i.e. Conclusive incontrovertible PROOF. But when evolutionists tell us some type of land-mammal evolved into a whale, and then we see examples of change, such as these living fossils, (i.e.no change at all), then we have to ask; "what standard of evidence should evolution have to answer to?"
If these claims of evolution are extraordinarily large, like the superman claim, then the aforementioned axiom should be firmly applied. The greater a claim, the greater the evidence must be.
Evolution is one if not the biggest claim of all time, and yet the evidence for it is circumstancial and tenuous to the extreme, which does not satisfy the axiom, but in fact says the opposite. Evolutionists are unwittingly saying that the bigger a claim, the more we should trust what they are saying, and ignore the evidence to the contrary.
The fact remains, species are not forced to evolve. If there is no environmental pressure and mutations therefore offer no advantage you'll get a period of stasis. In any case modern horseshoe crabs do show differences to fossil ones and who knows what evolution might do to them in the next 100million years?
Some things evolve quickly, others do not. So what?
And your argument about places on earth remaining static is a false one. All that creatures which move need is places that they are fitted to live in. If the environment changes they either adapt and survive (evolve!) or they die ot OR they move.
Jeff, you are not engaging the arguments. I suggest you read the article carefully and think about all the points. Evolution is a claim about stupendous change over time (miracles, anyone?). Stasis is a huge problem for this claim, as high profile evolutionists (cited) admit.
Nobel Laureate WERNER ARBER, a Swiss micro-biologist, has spent the last 50 years of his life, documenting the cumulative effects of MUTATIONS on thousands upon thousands of generations of single-cell organisms. Thus far, Werner Arber reports that he has found ... NO MECHANISM ... that would enable a single-cell organism to evolve into a multi-cell organism.
Arber received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1978 and he is certainly a Darwin skeptic.
Even if we allow the possibility of evolutionary stasis, my question is how on earth were these organisms able to avoid the accumulation of DNA errors over that period of time? Surely, there could not be a lineage that did not accumulate any copying errors over such a length of time?
"Evolutionists can’t dodge ‘Living Fossils’" they shouldn't be able to but they have. When I first started reading creationist literature I was livid, I had thought education was about opening minds not closing them. The so called education system I had been through avoided presenting any evidence or facts that could undermine the 'proven fact' of evolution. It is amazing that such a confidence trick can be maintained. However we should not be surprised as to see through the flawed 'evidence' of evolution one must love the truth. In fact a much discredited book (Bible) details these times and says "...They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie..." (2Thes 2:10-11). In such times dodging the reality of living fossils is sad but easy to understand when you appreciate the times!
I really love this article and the argument that evolutionary stasis does not make sense.
Of course, the problem for evolutionists becomes even greater when the living fossil has been used as an index fossil
Very powerful article. The argument against the GTE is very well formulated here.
However I have a little problem with the use of the word "organisms" in the first sentence of the third last paragraph. I would say "populations" since organisms don't individually adapt, or "evolve", but rather populations as a whole. My evo prof would have a problem with that, and probably be so angry she'd ignore the whole article. Then again she might also accuse you of quote mining Dr. Gould :-P !
Once again thank you for your ministry.
Thanks for the affirmation.
However, if your prof would really get angry over the use of 'organisms', she should 'get a life'. In context, "as organisms adapt to new environments", 'organisms' is not used in the sense of an individual but as a type of life (species, if you like). This is directly equivalent: "as populations adapt to new environments". If I had written "as an organism adapts to a new environment", there might be cause for complaint.