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Creation 33(3):23, July 2011

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Horsetails are ‘living fossils’!


scouring rush
Horsetails, also known as scouring rush (because when tied in bundles they make serviceable brushes), have a hollow, jointed stem. Note the detail of the joints preserved in the ‘dinosaur-era’ horsetail fossil from Jurassic rock found at the Dinosaur National Monument, Utah, USA.Now compare with the living horsetail—a ‘living fossil’ indeed. These photos are from p. 205 of Dr Carl Werner’s book, Living Fossils—Evolution the Grand Experiment Vol. 2. and superb documentary DVD—Evolution: The Grand Experiment (Episode 2 Living Fossils) DVD.

Keen gardeners know that horsetail plants are just the thing to have around a water feature, or areas with poor drainage. An added attraction, apparently, is that horsetails are ‘living fossils’.1 That is, the horsetail is a plant that looks just like horsetail fossils ‘dated’ at over 145 million years old—what evolutionists refer to as the Jurassic Period or ‘dinosaur era’.

But why no evolution in all that (supposed) time? The horsetail and other ‘living fossils’ show evidence of stasis, not evolutionary change. The horsetail is nevertheless often paraded as evidence of an evolutionary timeline, and is itself described in evolutionary terms. E.g. horsetails are said to be “too primitive to bear seed so they reproduce by spores like ferns”.1

However, as with all ‘living fossils’, the horsetail is in accord with the biblical account.

Firstly, there has been no evolutionary change, ruling out any notion of ‘primitive’ vs ‘modern’—horsetails give rise to horsetails, reproducing “according to their kind”, right in line with Scripture (Genesis 1:11–12). They’re wonderfully suited to marshy ground, which they can colonize rapidly and “aggressively”.1 So much for their supposedly being ‘primitive’!

Secondly, the beautiful preservation of horsetail fossils, found right around the world, fits with catastrophic burial at the time of the global Flood of Noah’s day, about 4,500 years ago. Both horsetails and dinosaurs were created, along with everything else, during Creation Week just 6,000 years ago—they do not hark back to a supposed evolutionary ‘Age of Dinosaurs’ millions of years ago! (See also p. 35, this issue.)

So it’s no wonder that both living and fossilized horsetails are the same. While some people might be disappointed at losing the evolutionary symbolism of having a ‘prehistoric’ plant growing in their own garden, Christians need to be ready to remind people that horsetails are very much from the present, not the past. By definition, no living plant can be ‘prehistoric’.

Posted on homepage: 17 September 2012

Reference and note

  1. Living Fossil Horsetail Reeds for Gardens, www.moplants.com, acc. 6 April 2011. Return to text.

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