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Creation 41(2):20–21, April 2019

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Sea Pens

‘Extreme’ living fossils shout ‘after their kind’


The Bible says that God created living things to reproduce ‘after their kind’ (Genesis 1). We tend to take this for granted; a dog begets a dog, a parrot begets a parrot, an apple seed produces an apple tree. It is a well-established principle of biology that even young children understand.

Figure 1. A fossil sea pen (Charniodiscus arboreus) from the South Australian Museum, Adelaide, © AVC Inc., photo by Dr Carl Werner and a living sea pen (Sarcoptilus grandis), from Doubtful Sound, New Zealand, © OceanwideImages.com

The story of evolution asserts that one ‘kind’ of creature can change into another ‘kind’—and that this happened countless times, over hundreds of millions of years. In this story, fossils, which are the remains of once-living organisms, are said to record these changes of one kind into another. However:

  1. The transitional forms, or in-between kinds, are notable for their scarcity in the fossil record, whereas they should be abundant. Prominent evolutionary fossil specialists have admitted this.1 To resolve this inconsistency, some have imagined that creatures could change from one to another so rapidly as to leave no fossil evidence of such change.2 Is this the paleontologists’ version of ‘the dog ate my homework’?
  2. Living-fossils
    Figure 2. The book, Living Fossils, by Dr Carl Werner, contains many more examples that defy evolutionary dogma. It is available at creation.com/s/10-1-536.
  3. The fossils persistently show lack of change. Many of today’s organisms can be found as almost identical fossil forms throughout the rock layers—‘living fossils’. In fact, virtually every kind of organism alive today is a ‘living fossil’.

Dr Carl Werner has studied living fossils in depth, visiting museums around the world to find them, and recording many examples in the book Living Fossils, with beautiful photos taken by his wife Debbie. As Dr Werner says, “Living fossils are in museums everywhere and their significance cannot be overstated. They give evidence that life has not changed over time.”

Carl points out that many living fossils are not recognized because paleontologists tend to give the fossil forms quite different names to the living ones. Because of their evolutionary beliefs, most of those working on them do not expect to find ‘old’ fossils of living creatures—evolution should have changed them beyond recognition. Also, many people are unfamiliar with the living marine creatures that feature so prominently in the fossil record.

The sea pen presented here, a type of ‘soft coral’, is an ‘extreme’ living fossil, because the evolutionists assign it an ‘age’ of 560 million years! This is a common fossil in rocks labelled as Ediacaran (which is ‘pre-Cambrian’). Yet it is clearly a sea pen. The Museum of South Australia acknowledges this with their label. The features are clearly those of a sea pen, with the prominent ‘holdfast’ clearly visible at the base, the stem (rachis), and ‘polyp leaves’.

Figure 3. The label at the Museum of South Australia. Photo © Carl Werner.

If any creature can remain unchanged over such an unimaginably long period, how can anyone seriously believe that some worm has changed into all the diverse creatures with a backbone (fish, crocodiles, snakes, dinosaurs, birds, mice, elephants, kangaroos, apes, humans, etc.)—supposedly in less time?

Note that most paleontologists speak of the Ediacaran fossils as other-worldly, and say that the organisms represented were wiped out and replaced by entirely different ones found in the ‘Cambrian’. However, the sea pen still lives today. I wonder what other Ediacaran fossil creatures are also still living today, but have remained unrecognized because of evolutionary bias that does not expect to find them.

The fossil record matches the Bible’s description of God creating things to reproduce true to their different kinds (Genesis 1:11–12). And the fossil record can be understood generally as a record of burial sequence in the world-wide Flood of Noah (that is, not over eons of time).

References and notes

  1. Sarfati, J., Refuting Evolution, chapter 3: The links are missing; creation.com/re-3. Return to text.
  2. Batten, D., Gould grumbles about creationist ‘hijacking’, J. Creation 16(2):22–24, 2002; creation.com/gouldgrumble. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

The Fossil Record
by John D Morris, Frank J Sherwin
US $20.00
Hard Cover
Living Fossils book
by Dr Carl Werner
US $30.00
Hard Cover

Readers’ comments

Nathan W. N.
I am confused, why can sloths diversify so rapidly, yet this creature stayed the same? Could it be the environment that it is in, so that it did not need to change?
Don Batten
You do seem confused. It would likely help if you read the related articles, especially the ones that mention living fossils.
There is probably as much variation within the sea pens as within sloths (see The sloth: slowest mammal on Earth). However, sea pens are still sea pens and sloths are still sloths. The claimed time frame for the sea pens to remain the same kind is 'unbelievable', considering, as has been pointed out, that huge evolutioniary changes (change of one kind into entirely different kinds) have supposedly occurred in much less time. And the idea that the sea pen environment has not changed in the claimed timeframe is totally untenable, even just considering all the potential predators that have supposedly evolved 'since' sea pens appeared. I recommend the reading at Speciation questions and answers, especially the key articles. Hopefully your confusion will be removed.
Roseanne A.
Returned to this website after a long time ...I missed these beautiful articles as I was busy with my exams ..but now that I came back to see your articles I am very happy to see that more and more evidences are coming to our sight to crush evolutionary myths ....thank u CMI for sharing this important info with the world ..God bless
John P.
This BCE nonsense is indeed a common error. It will never give respectability to their mythical long ages. 6000 years is truly old when you think about it- 60 centuries and countless generations. These people with their mythical millions and billions of years will one day be forced to bow their knees to God and acknowledge Him as Lord but by then the chance for repentance will have passed. Jesus said if He were silent the stones would cry out witnessing His majesty. He may have been referring to the stones of the temple but also He may have meant the very fossils buried in Noah's Flood. The truth comes out and they can not ignore it for ever. Hopefully they find it before it is too late. It is obvious to all who have ears that kinds stay kinds as they have done ever since creation.They will speciate but never become something else.
Michael S.
There is quite a list of unchanged organisms. I can provide it, mostly it is compiled from CMI, I think Phillip Bell published it once in the readers comments, here it is again if CMI again want to show just how many types of organisms remain unevolved as seems appropriate for this article; (next to the names I have given the evolutionary timeline's 'earliest' example as a fossil, meaning that lineage would have had to have been unchanged between then and now;

The Coelacanth Fish (340 million years old)
Gingko Trees (125 million years),
Crocodiles (140 million years),
Horseshoe Crabs (200 million years),
The Lingula lamp shell (450 million years),
Neopilina Molluscs (500 million years),
The Tuatara Lizard (200 million years).
Avocets (65 million years)
Wollemi Pine (150 million years)
Ferns (180 million years)
Nightcap Oak (20 million years, based on fossilized nut)
Maple Tree (30-50 million years/ Eocene)
Jellyfish (500 million years)
Alligators (75 million years)
Gracilidris Ant (15-20 million years preserved in amber)
Turtles (110 million years)
Gladiator Insect (45 million years)
Lace Bugs (15 -200 million years, amber)
Starfish (500 million years)
Bats (48-54 million years)
Golden Orb-Weaver Spider (165 million years)
Pelican Spider (44 million years)
Shrimp - (100-300 million years)
Rabbitfish - (150 million years)
Gall Mites - (amber - 230 million years)
Sponge, Nucha naucum - (220 million years)
Octopus - (90 million years)http://creation.com/...octopus-fossils
Dragonflies. (can't find a date, but they were a lot bigger but that's all, I guess the Carboniferous)
Laonastes Rodent (10 million years up, can't find exact date)
Millipedes. (3-400 million years, aprox)
Sharks: (450 million years)
Vascular plants, land plants. (400 million)
Tardigrada (500mil)
Don Batten
Thanks for the list; great!. However, this is not exhaustive either; there are many more. Dragonflies go back at least 200 million years in evolutionary dating. The 'grandaddy' of them all would have to be the cyanophytes that formed stromatolites, which on evolutionary dating go back to 3.5 billion years!
Graham B.
560 million years BCE (Being Common Error)
Lester V.
To "piggy-back" on the comment by Martyn M., the "BCE" proves that it is a spiritual issue, motivated and promoted by Satan. On a scale of 560 million years, the 2,000 years since Jesus are insignificant, but they still feel compelled to try to strip away any acknowledgement that His life and death were the "tipping point" of human history. All they needed to say was "560 million years ago", but they chose to insult Christ by adding the "E" to the common "BC" (referring to "Before Christ"). How sad that they are so lost and deluded. They need prayer for salvation.
Barry B.
I very much value this website. I have learnt a lot from it, but to me this seems a weak argument against evolution. Surely an evolutionist could argue that some examples of 'Sea Pens' or other 'early' species could mutate into something else, but not all of them. If the Sea Pen successfully thrives in its ecological niche, some specimens would remain unchanged through their generations because not all examples would necessarily be mutated into something else. In my opinion you need to strengthen this observation.
Don Batten
Famous evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould and his colleague Niles Eldredge, once said that many evolutionists agreed that "stability within species [stasis, e.g. living fossils] must be considered as a major evolutionary problem." (Gould, S.J. and Eldredge, N., Punctuated equilibrium comes of age. Nature 366:223–224, 1993.) Books have been written on the 'problem'. Some evolutionists are even trying to disallow the term 'living fossils', because the concept is so contrary to evolutionary conceptions (e.g. Patrick Laurenti, an evolutionary biologist from the CNRS in France, in Yong, Ed, 'The Falsity of Living Fossils', April 2, 2013; www.the-scientist.com).
I suggest that you read the related articles on living fossils that were listed at the end of the article for a better understanding of living fossils, which are a powerful argument against microbes-to-man evolution. E.g. the idea that any environmental nice could be stable for 3/4 billion years is preposterous (think of the potential predators that 'would have' evolved, quite aside from physical changes to the environment that evolutionists themselves posit).
Michelle M.
I need to purchase the book "Living Fossils" by Dr. Carl Werner
Thankyou for this article...and Im thankful to God for Creation Ministries International
Dan M.
Actually, what we see, (observe) that fly's in the face of evolutionary story telling is the barrier between kinds that resists change from one kind to another while speciation within kinds happens too quickly for evolutionary thinking to be valid. From what I have read on the subject, it is a matter of programming not mutational change. God in His brilliance programmed us, (all creatures) to be adaptable to our chosen environments and programming demands a programmer. It is simple logic that the fossil record supports!
This is the real problem. Satin is a well accomplished deceiver thereby giving the evolutionary story respectability in the eyes of those who don't want to know the truth so they can live their lives in pleasure and sin. the problem occurs when that sinful life catches up to you, (pending death) and then the misery starts. That is when they begin blaming God, (who they don't believe in) for the misery in their lives instead of taking the blame and repenting. As you say, "a child understands and can know the truth".
I laugh every time atheists call Christianity a crutch. They have no idea how hard it is to resist that fallen nature we all have. The good news is as we develop our relationship with Christ in love and trust, He gives us the power to face the truth and resist.
God bless you at CMI by presenting the truth. I know it is not always easy.
Martyn M.
Great article. I have been neglecting to ponder the ridiculous idea that some creatures remain unchanged for eons while others in less time supposedly change from worm to wombat. Its amusing that the date "560 million" displayed in the museum has "BCE" at the end, as if such long ages needs such a reference point.

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