This article is from
Creation 28(4):56, September 2006

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Fossil ant found alive!


Entombed in amber (Figure 1), this beautiful fossil Gracilidris ant isn’t about to run anywhere in a hurry.

Alex Wild <http://www.myrmecos.net> Gracilidris ant

How long has it been like that? Conventional dating puts the geological age of such Dominican amber fossils (i.e. amber found in the Dominican Republic, on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean) as being from the upper Oligocene or lower Miocene.1 That is, around 15–20 million years old. And with this fossil being the youngest (in fact, the only) specimen of this ant ever identified, the genus Gracilidris has thus been presumed to have been, for many millions of years, extinct.

But surprise, surprise. A myrmecologist (a researcher studying ants) who was familiar with the ancient amber fossil happened to recognize its distinctive features in a live worker ant he observed in South America.2 So, Gracilidris is not extinct, but alive (Figure 2).

Alex Wild <http://www.myrmecos.net> ant

Evolutionists’ surprise at finding such ‘living fossils’ is understandable, given the ‘millions-of-years’ they assume elapsed since the specimens were fossilized.

But for Christians, it’s completely different. The Bible tells us that God created everything in six days, only around 6,000 years ago, programming living things to reproduce ‘after their kind’ (Genesis 1). And amber fossils (obviously formed under unusual conditions) likely date from the global Flood of Noah’s day (a most unusual event, by any measure), around 4,500 years ago.3 So it’s no surprise to Bible-believers when such ‘living fossils’ turn up.4

Posted on homepage: 12 November 2007

References and notes

  1. Wilson, E.O., Ants of the Dominican Amber (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). 3 The Subfamily Dolichoderinae, Psyche 92(1):17–37, 1985.
  2. Wild, A.L., and Cuezzo, F., Rediscovery of a fossil dolichoderine ant lineage (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Dolichoderinae) and a description of a new genus from South America, Zootaxa 1142:57–68, 2006.
  3. Catchpoole, D., The amber mystery, Creation 25(2):53, 2003.
  4. See, e.g., Catchpoole, D., Gladiator—an ‘extinct’ insect is found alive, Creation 25(2):51–52, 2003, creation.com/gladiator