What’s the rabbitfish–T.rex connection?
Brazilian scientists have discovered a new species of rabbitfish (alternatively known as ratfish, chimaera, or ghost shark), Hydrolagus matallanasi, living in the sea off southern Brazil.1–3
The scientists were first alerted to its existence from photographs taken on a commercial fishing boat in 2001. Dredging the ocean floor, they collected 21 rabbitfish at depths of 416–736 metres (1,364–2,414 ft).
This fish with a cartilage skeleton can grow up to about two metres (6½ ft) long, has large wing-like fins, and a whip-like tail. But what grabbed the media’s attention were comments by lead researcher Jules Soto linking the fish to the time of the dinosaurs.
“The species that we found has fossil records that are 150, 180 million years old,” he said. “That’s very rare. It’s like if we had an animal as old as the Tyrannosaurus rex still alive.”
The rabbitfish–T. rex connection
Actually, it’s not the first time that the discovery of an “ancient” or “prehistoric” species has been equated with finding a living dinosaur. After a marine biologist spotted a live coelacanth (earlier presumed extinct for 65 million years) in an Indonesian fish market, he said, “It’s kind of like finding a dinosaur back in the forest.”4 The Wollemi pine, for similar reasons, is popularly known as the “dinosaur tree”, its discovery like finding a ‘live dinosaur’.5
But herein lie a number of challenges to evolutionists. For example, why are “living fossils”6 like the coelacanth absent from the upper layers of the fossil record—(supposedly) representing millions of years? Also, the living and fossil forms are much the same—this latest rabbitfish species, according to Soto, is unchanged in 180 million years—why no evolution in all that (supposed) time?
The answer, and a much better explanation of the facts, is that the fossil “record” is not a record of millions of years of evolution and extinction. The oldest fossils likely date back only to the global Flood of Noah’s day, around 4,500 years ago.
So if those species haven’t become extinct in the meantime, they’re still reproducing “according to their kind” just as programmed during Creation Week around 6,000 years ago. Hence today’s rabbitfish, coelacanth and Wollemi pine are essentially the same as their fossil counterparts.
And while dinosaurs might well have gone the way of the dodo, it wasn’t millions of years ago—T. rex bones have been found to contain “soft cellular tissues” and red blood cell structures.7,8 So perhaps there might still be a living dinosaur? Well, if a modern-day sighting9 of a dinosaur-like creature is ever confirmed, it ought not be a surprise to Christians. Because from a biblical perspective, there’s really no difference between finding a live rabbitfish, coelacanth, Wollemi pine—or dinosaur.
References and notes
- Soto, J.M.R., and Vooren, C.M., Hydrolagus matallanasi sp. nov. (Holocephali, Chimaeridae) a new species of rabbitfish from southern Brazil, Zootaxa 687:1–10, 2004. Return to text.
- Brazil becomes fresh haunt for ghost shark, Nature 429(6994):796, 2004. Return to text.
- Scientists discover prehistoric ratfish, ABC News, <www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2004/ 06/18/1134676.htm>, 18 June 2004. Return to text.
- Living fossil fish turns up again, Creation 21(2):8, 1999; <creation.com/indocoel>. Return to text.
- Sensational Australian tree like finding a live dinosaur, Creation 17(2):13, 1995; <creation.com/woll>. Return to text.
- Catchpoole, D., Living fossils enigma, Creation 22(2):56, 2000; <creation.com/enigma>. Return to text.
- Dino soft tissue find, Creation 27(4):7, 2005; <creation.com/dinosoft>. Return to text.
- Wieland, C., Sensational dinosaur blood report! Creation 19(4):42–43, 1997; <creation.com/dino_blood>. Return to text.
- See, e.g., Irwin, B., Theropod and sauropod dinosaurs sighted in PNG? <creation.com/png>, 1 July 2008. Return to text.