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Creation 41(4):36–37, October 2019

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Spider eyes shining in the rocks


image: 123rf.com/Hannu Viitanenspider-eyes-shining

Have you ever shone a flashlight into grassland at night, and seen pin-pricks of light like tiny bright jewels twinkle back at you? There’s a good chance they were spider’s eyes. Scientists recently discovered several rare spider fossils entombed in a geological formation in South Korea. The rock formation is allegedly 110 million years old, yet two of the fossil spiders have “quite remarkable” eyes that still reflect light—as brightly as today’s living spiders. This is the first time an eye still able to reflect light has been found in the fossil record.1

Shining crystal

Many spiders have an ingeniously-designed structure inside one pair of their eyes called the tapetum (Latin for ‘tapestry’), made of photonic crystals. The tapetum reflects light back through the retinal cells to aid night-time vision, and in spiders it is often shaped like a tiny canoe. Many other animals such as cats and dogs also have tapeta in their eyes, though these are of a different design.

A partially-‘evolved’ tapetum would make hunting for food difficult or impossible, and lead to starvation. Spider eyes appear in the fossil record already fully-formed and fully-functional with special features that meet all the practical vision needs of the spiders, with no sign of partial or transitional development. Indeed, although the fossils represent an extinct spider family, they are just the same as contemporary spiders in every respect, and there is no evidence whatsoever of any evolution having taken place.

Buried with fish and crustaceans

Spiders are delicate, soft-bodied creatures without hard shells and, as such, were with good reason regarded by Darwinian evolutionists as being most unlikely to become fossilized. Charles Darwin maintained that “No organism wholly soft can be preserved.”2 The thinking was that, with slow-and-gradual processes, soft-bodied creatures would deteriorate before being buried and petrified (turned into stone).

Yet many soft-bodied organisms have since been found fossilized in rock—even jellyfish.3 Spiders have usually only been found preserved in amber, but in this case they were discovered within the upper portion of a shale formation that extends 1.8 kilometres (over 1 mile) deep into the crust of the earth.

The spiders are so fresh-looking that they are astounding, with every fine detail still clearly visible, including their individual hairs, and shiny eyes—as if they were alive only minutes ago. Interestingly, the spiders were entombed in rock with their legs spread out. When spiders die, they usually curl their legs up close to their bodies. The outspread legs are a clear indication that the spiders were buried suddenly, while still alive. Furthermore, spiders washed into water normally float, but in this case they sank and were quickly covered with thick sediment.

The scientists found them intermingled in the rock with small crustaceans, fish, insects, bivalves and plants, including freshwater and marine fauna. All these were instantaneously buried together in clay mud, with the terrestrial species being mixed together with freshwater and marine species in a sudden transgression of the sea onto the land. Sediment-binding minerals present throughout the deposit, such as calcium carbonate, then rapidly hardened the thick formation into rock.

Evidence of the Flood

The prevailing secularist geological theory of shale formation, since the latter half of the 19th century, was that clay particles settled out of the water extremely slowly in placid lakes and seas over eons. However, it’s now recognized by geologists that clay particles clump together (flocculate) and can deposit rapidly from fast water currents.4 The Korean fossils are consistent with this, since very slow sediment deposition would have resulted in the spiders completely decaying and/or being scavenged long before enough sediment had covered them.

The scientists who discovered the fossils said that “a very special situation” had preserved them. The spiders were rapidly buried as part of a deposit of enormous depth and area. Nowhere on the earth are depositional events of such size occurring today.

These sedimentary formations of stunning magnitude, found everywhere and containing many exquisitely-preserved fossils, are clear, irrefutable evidence of a world-altering event—the biblical Flood that occurred around 4,500 years ago.

Posted on homepage: 7 December 2020

References and notes

  1. Ancient spider fossils, surprisingly preserved in rock, reveal reflective eyes, phys.org, 12 Feb 2019. Return to text.
  2. Darwin, C., On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, first published 1859, quote taken from p. 270 of the 6th Edition, 1872. Return to text.
  3. Catchpoole, D., Exceptionally preserved jellyfishes, Creation 30(4):21, 2008; creation.com/epjelly. Return to text.
  4. Walker, T., Mud experiments overturn long-held geological beliefs, J. Creation 22(2):14–15; creation.com/mud-experiments. Return to text.

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