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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’.

Reference and note

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

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Readers’ comments

Dehne M.
I have collected horse tails, Gingkos and several Dicroidium species in the same grey shale layers directly underlying coal beds in Tasmania. Two plants still extant and one extinct. Then one sees coal beds above these plant species topped off by large fossil tree trunks. It's great catastophic geology and direct evidence of a major watery event impacting the terrestrial environment, not a placid swamp origin for the coal and allied plant fossils.
Ockie C.
Here's a saying that comes to mind concerning those who fail to see the lack of evidence...

Einstein said: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Just an amendment to this thought; these scientists and long-ager's and evolutionists doctor and cheat and cajole in order to always get to the same tired old conclusion... There is no God...

They get so personal with our warriors and saints who stand up for the truth with passion and tolerance and no-one ever says anything...

I will now say something...

How deluded must a professing scientist be in order to ignore the facts so blatantly? How utterly arrogant and sublimely foolish to spit in the face of the Almighty Creator time and time again and not expect to be put down...?


P.S. I fully expect this comment not to be published and that is o.k. I just had to get it off my chest... :-)
Victor B.
The abundance of "living fossils" and the lack of "transitional fossils" in the fossil record surely must be worth pondering when examining the fossil record (Darwin would expect the opposite). When examined critically it undermines "Evolution" and affirms "Biblical creation". (an argument amongst many others). Many "living fossils" and a lack of credible "transitional fossils" collectively points to the need for re-examining the premise of Evolution - that one type of organism changes into another type of organism over time.

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