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Horseshoe crabs invented themselves?

The latest (earliest?) horseshoe crab fossil find has made quite an impression


Photo by Joachim Scheven, LEBENDIGE VORWELT Museum Fossil Limulus from Solnhofen limestone
Fossil Limulus from Solnhofen limestone.
Photo by Joachim Scheven, LEBENDIGE VORWELT Museum Living horseshoe crabs
Living horseshoe crabs, Limulus polyphemus.

Thanks to the global Flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6–9), only about 4,500 years ago, anyone with a mind to do so can find fossils of a great many animals and plants in sedimentary rocks, right around the world. Many of these are beautifully preserved, consistent with catastrophic burial in such an event. Two impressions of horseshoe crabs, presented in a recent issue of Palaeontology journal,1,2 are no exception—there’s ‘even evidence of their compound eyes’.3

However, because evolutionists instead interpret the fossil-bearing rock layers as a ‘record’ of millions of years of evolution (rather than a sequence of burial by the Genesis Flood and its after-effects), they are regularly surprised when fossil organisms just like those living today (so-called living fossils) are found ever deeper in the rock strata. And these latest horseshoe crab fossils4 represent a classic example of that. They were found in rocks claimed to be 445 million years old—pushing the supposed evolutionary origins of horseshoe crabs back at least 100 million years earlier than previously thought.

That leaves evolutionists with the problem of trying to explain why these ocean creatures ‘haven’t changed much over the eons’.

As researcher David Rudkin of the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada admitted: ‘We wouldn’t necessarily have expected horseshoe crabs to look very much like the modern ones, but that’s exactly what they look like’.

Such is the power of the evolutionary paradigm on those who believe it, they seem genuinely surprised when confronted with evidence consistent with God having programmed living things to reproduce ‘after their kind’ (Genesis 1).

Speaking to LiveScience, Rudkin mused as to why the horseshoe crab, which he described as ‘the lowly little animal that crawls out of the sea every once in a while to mate’ could have survived for so long (in his view, for 445 million years). He implicitly ascribed it to their design, but wrongly credited it to the horseshoe crabs themselves. ‘This body plan that they’ve invented, they’ve stayed with it for almost half a billion years. It’s a good plan,’ Rudkin said.

He’s right about it being a good plan. Consider, for example, the horseshoe crab’s advanced immune system and many other design features. So the horseshoe crab’s ‘body plan’ is a very good plan—and it’s one that was indeed ‘invented’, but of course could not have been invented by the horseshoe crabs themselves. As explained in these resources, such a plan, with its inherent information couldn’t possibly have come about except from a source of even more information.

That source of even more information has also provided us with important information—information about who He is, and what He, as our Creator, expects of us.

But of course, not everyone, it seems, is willing to hear.

Published: 14 March 2008


  1. Rudkin, D., Young, G., and Nowlan, G., The oldest horseshoe crab: A new Xiphosurid from Late Ordovician Konservat-Lagerstätten deposits, Manitoba, Canada, Palaeontology 51(1):1–9, 2008. Return to text.
  2. Unfortunately, our request to the Manitoba Museum for permission to use those horseshoe crab images to illustrate this article was declined. Return to text.
  3. Bryner, J., Oldest horseshoe crab fossil discovered, LiveScience, 1 February 2008. Return to text.
  4. There have been many horseshoe crab fossils found. See, e.g. Death March—Horseshoe crab stopped dead in its tracks. Return to text.