320-million-year-old amber has flowering plant chemistry


Amber, fossilized tree resin, is being found at more and more locations around the earth. Insects, feathers, and other organisms are found encased in amber, but their occurrence is generally rare. Just recently marine organisms were even found in amber.1

Baltic amber inclusions

320-million-year-old amber discovered

Amber is mainly found in strata classified as Cretaceous and Tertiary. But just recently it was found in Carboniferous coal in Illinois, dated 320 million years old within the uniformitarian timescale.2,3 Such a date is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, for amber. The Carboniferous is supposed to be the time that many plants now extinct, such as lycopods, ruled the swamps and forests.

Chemistry indicates amber from a flowering plant

Not only does the old date make us stand up and take notice, but an analysis of the chemistry of the amber is even more surprising. The chemistry turned out to be that observed only from flowering plants (angiosperms) that supposedly had not yet evolved:

“However, the most remarkable aspect of the newly discovered Carboniferous amber is that it has a molecular composition that has been seen only from angiosperms, which appeared much later in the Early Cretaceous.”4

So, do the researchers suggest that flowering plants evolved earlier? No, they make it clear that they are not suggesting this.5 Rather they reject the idea that the amber is from flowering plants because of evolution:

“In any case, this 320-million-year-old amber is certainly not from angiosperms, which arose almost 200 million years later.”4

Evolutionary conundrums

Then from what tree did the amber originate? They conclude that the amber must have come from “a predecessor of ancient conifers or some strange extinct fern.”6 In other words, they don’t know.7 Their conclusion also upsets the analysis that was carried out to determine the kind of tree that exuded the resin, since they can no longer trust the chemistry pointing to a particular type of tree.

This interpretation also means that resin must have evolved twice and in different types of trees, a conclusion that is simply subsumed under what is glibly called ‘convergent evolution’:

“The discovery by Bray and Anderson reveals that resins of extremely similar molecular composition can be produced by entirely unrelated plants. This astonishing evolutionary convergence at the molecular level presents a cautionary message to those who study amber.”8

I consider the idea of convergent evolution incredible. How many environments are so alike for millions of years that they are able to evolve similar structures in ‘unrelated’ animals by unguided, random processes? Convergent evolution is another evolutionary dodge to account for tens of thousands of exceptions in their comparative anatomy ‘proof’ of evolution.

The exclusion of flowering plants as the logical origin of the amber is one of many examples of circular reasoning employed by evolutionists to make their evolutionary scenario seem precise. It shows that the so-called precision of evolutionary events comes about by dismissing or minimizing anomalies. This example also shows how it is not possible to falsify the evolutionary paradigm.

First posted on homepage: 11 November 2011
Re-posted on homepage: 11 March 2016

References and notes

  1. Oard, M.J., Marine fossils in amber suggest the Flood log-mat model, J. Creation 24(1):9–10, 2010. Return to text.
  2. Bray, P.S. and Anderson, K.B., Identification of Carboniferous (320 million years old) class Ic amber, Science 326(5949):132–134, 2009. Return to text.
  3. Grimaldi, D., Pushing back amber production, Science 326(5949):51–52, 2009. Return to text.
  4. Grimaldi, ref. 3, p. 51. Return to text.
  5. Bray and Anderson, ref. 2, p. 134. Return to text.
  6. Ehrenberg, R., Flowerless plants also made form of fancy amber, Science News 176(9):5, 2009. Return to text.
  7. Ehrenberg, ref. 6, p. 6. Return to text.
  8. Grimaldi, ref. 3, p. 52. Return to text.

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