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Creation 34(3):23, July 2012

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Fossil insect ears—deaf to evolution


sxc.hu grasshopper

Evolutionary story-telling is usually tacked onto a report after the facts are in. But sometimes, evolutionary thinking leads to predictions as to what should be found in the fossil record. In one recent case, two evolutionists studying insect fossils found that the record did not match with the expectations of most Darwinists.

According to the evolutionary timeline, insects evolved many millions of years before echolocating bats. Thinking that the arrival of flying mammals equipped with sonar would spur the evolution of ears in the insect prey, the scientists expected that earlier insects would have less-developed ears, or none at all. Then they went searching through the museum shelves for insect fossils from the Green River formation in Wyoming, allegedly around 48 million years old (48 Ma). The results, published in the Journal of Paleontology, showed no evolution had occurred:

“Tympanal drum ears in insects are important for both intraspecific communication and for the detection of nocturnal predators … . Here we describe and document the exceptionally well preserved tympanal ears found in crickets and katydids from the Eocene Green River Formation of Colorado, which are virtually identical to those seen in modern representatives of these groups.”1

According to the summary on PhysOrg, co-author Roy Plotnick from the University of Illinois did not predict this. “The big evolutionary trigger for the appearance of hearing in many insects is thought to be the appearance of bats,” he said. “Prior to the evolution of bats we would expect to find ears in relatively few insects, but after that we should see ears in more insect groups.”2

PhysOrg tried hard to spin this into a positive statement for evolution: “50 million year old cricket and katydid fossils hint at the origins of insect hearing.” But further down, the article admitted, “The fossil ears measured half a millimeter in length, and were virtually identical in size, shape, and position to their modern counterparts.”2

In the face of this falsifying evidence, PhysOrg did its best: “The findings suggest that this group of insects evolved their supersensitive hearing long before bat predators came to be, the researchers say.” Dena Smith (University of Colorado), the other co-author of the paper, imagined that “Their bat-detecting abilities may have simply become apparent later.”2

Stephanie Pappas at Live Science kept her evolutionary faith in spite of the evidence: “Now, a new examination of 50-million-year-old cricket and katydid fossils finds that these odd ears evolved before even the appearance of the predators that these ears can hear.”3

Darwinism has no foresight. There is no way insects would become equipped with complex organs for something they would only need millions of years later. Their explanation, therefore, makes no sense—even within evolutionary theory.

The preservation of detail in these fossils was remarkable. “You can see every tiny feature down to the veins in their wings and the hairs on their legs,” Smith said. The evidence indicates not only that the insects were equipped with hearing from the beginning, but that these specimens in the Green River Formation were buried rapidly in the recent past—not millions of years ago.4,5

Posted on homepage: 16 September 2013

References and notes

  1. Roy E. Plotnick and Dena M. Smith (2012) Exceptionally Preserved Fossil Insect Ears from the Eocene Green River Formation of Colorado. Journal of Paleontology: January 2012, Vol. 86, No. 1, pp. 19–24. Return to text.
  2. 50 million year old cricket and katydid fossils hint at the origins of insect hearing: PhysOrg, 3 January, 2012, www.physorg.com/news/2012-01-million-year-cricket-katydid-fossils.html. Return to text.
  3. Stephanie Pappas, Fossils Reveal Secrets of Insects’ Weird Ears: Live Science, 3 January, 2012, www.livescience.com/17721-fossil-insect-ear-evolution.html. Return to text.
  4. Garner, P., Green River blues, Creation 19(3):18–19, 1997; creation.com/green-river-blues. Return to text.
  5. Oard, M.J. and Whitmore, J., The Green River Formation of the west-central United States: Flood or post-Flood?, J. Creation 20(1):46–49, 2006; creation.com/greenriver. Return to text.

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