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Creation 44(2):56, April 2022

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A new star is born?

Brittle star discovered—identical to Jurassic fossils!


CC BY-ND 2.0 Jay Black/University of MelbourneOphiojura-exbodi
This false-colour CT scan shows the arms of the brittle star Ophiojura exbodi

A new brittle star (Ophiojura exbodi1) was discovered in 2011, in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, living on a seamount, 560 m (1860 ft) deep. Tim O’Hara (invertebrate curator at Victoria Museum, Melbourne, Australia) recognized its significance as representing “a new species, genus, and family of brittle star”.2 Instead of five arms, it has eight. Underneath its body are conspicuous, sharp teeth bristling in its jaws. Furthermore, O’Hara observed distinct muscle and nerve openings covering its arms—described as tiny “pig-snouts”.3

From photos, Ben Thuy (paleontologist at Luxembourg’s National Museum of Natural History) recognized striking similarities to Jurassic fossils known from Normandy, France. When microscopic details of the fossils were compared to the living animal, they appeared indistinguishable.

CC BY-ND 2.0 Timothy D. Ohara, Museum of VictoriaOphioleptoplax

O’Hara writes on his blog:

Scientists used to call animals like Ophiojura ‘living fossils’ but this isn’t quite right because life doesn’t become fossilised like that. The ancestors of Ophiojura would have continued to evolve in subtle ways over the last 180 million years.4

That would mean that the DNA changes accumulated over the supposed millions of years have effects so “subtle” that brittle stars predating the dinosaur era look identical, even at the microscopic level, to their living counterparts.

Besides being incredibly unlikely, this is assumed, not demonstrated. We don’t have the fossil animal’s DNA to compare. The evidence as it stands is one more severe challenge to evolution and millions of years. CMI has written before about the non-evolution of brittle stars5—consistent with the Genesis account of creation (intelligent design) and their preservation as fossils in Noah’s Flood 4,500 years ago.

Posted on homepage: 17 July 2023

References and notes

  1. Ophio is short for ophiurus = brittle star, literally ‘snake tail’, referring to its arms; jura refers to the Jurassic period named after the Jura mountains, exbodi refers to the oceanic expedition. Return to text.
  2. O’Hara, T., Thuy, B., and Hugall, A., Relict from the Jurassic: new family of brittle-stars from a New Caledonian seamount, Proc. Royal Society B, Jun 2021. Return to text.
  3. Pappas, S., Living fossil with arms made of ‘pig snouts’ discovered in the South Pacific, 28 Jun 2021, livescience.com. Return to text.
  4. O’Hara, T., Jurassic relict: a new family of brittle stars, 17 Jun 2021, museumsvictoria.com.au. Return to text.
  5. Brittle stars show no evolution, Creation 40(3):7–11, 2018. Return to text.

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Living Fossils book
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