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Creation 34(4):39, October 2012

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Giant compound eyes, half a billion years ago?



We have already reported on the intriguing extinct giant invertebrate predator called Anomalocaris.1 This was a bit like a huge shrimp about 1-metre (3-foot) long (and it could grow to twice that), with spiked arms and a donut-shaped mouth full of tooth-like serrations. The previous report showed that it upset the prevailing evolutionary ‘date’ for this creature, and also noted how it was amazing that such a soft-bodied creature—lacking even a hard exoskeleton—could fossilize at all. Darwin himself wrote that “No organism wholly soft can be preserved,”2 because of his belief in exclusively slow-and-gradual processes, and his rejection of the Genesis Flood.

Now we see how well it was fossilized. A specimen from Emu Bay Shale in South Australia, ‘dated’ at about 515 million years old, was found to have compound eyes on stalks. Each eye was about 2–3 cm (about an inch) across, and had about 16,000 hexagonal facets, compared to a house fly that has only 3,000. (Only dragonflies have more, about 28,000. Evolutionists consider them to be ‘primitive’ flying insects, although human engineers are modelling flapping micro air vehicles on them!3)

The researchers inferred that the Anomalocaris must have had acute vision, but this posed problems for their evolutionary dogma. One report explained that the team leader, Dr John Paterson of the University of New England, said that:

“ … there was no evidence for eyes in organisms that lived before the Cambrian Explosion—a rapid increase in the diversity of life that began about 540 million years ago. The latest find showed sophisticated vision had evolved very rapidly. It came with a bang, in a geological blink of an eye.”4

Actually, this means there is no evidence that the eye evolved at all. I.e. it seems that the eyes appeared abruptly and fully formed. And evolutionists can’t appeal to long ages to help, since they appeared so suddenly. Indeed, the “Cambrian explosion” in general, with abrupt appearance of all the major groups, including vertebrates, has been a huge problem for evolution ever since Darwin.5 So have compound eyes in general; according to earlier research on other creatures:

“These results illustrate exactly why arthropod compound eye evolution has remained controversial, because one of two seemingly very unlikely evolutionary histories must be true. Either compound eyes with detailed similarities evolved multiple times in different arthropod groups or compound eyes have been lost in a seemingly inordinate number of arthropod lineages.”6

No, there is a better explanation: “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both”—Proverbs 20:12.

Posted on homepage: 28 December 2013

References and notes

  1. Catchpoole, D., Twice as wrong and more, Creation 34(1):15, 2012. Return to text.
  2. Darwin, Charles, Origin of Species, p. 422, 1st edition, John Murray, London, 1859; available online from darwin-online.org.uk. Return to text.
  3. Catchpoole, D., Dragonfly design tip, Creation 32(2):51, 2010; creation.com/dragonfly-design. Return to text.
  4. The eyes have it: world’s oldest predator found, canberratimes.com.au, 7 December 2011 (based on Paterson, J. et al., Acute vision in the giant Cambrian predator Anomalocaris and the origin of compound eyes, Nature 480:237–240, 2011 | doi:10.1038/nature10689). Return to text.
  5. Sarfati, J., The Greatest Hoax on Earth?, pp. 113–121, CBP, 2010. Return to text.
  6. Oakley, T. and Cunningham, C., Molecular phylogenetic evidence for the independent evolutionary origin of an arthropod compound eye, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 99(3):1426–1430, 5 February 2002. Return to text.

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