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Some fossil species are still living (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Some fossil species are still living (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CB930:

Some species, such as the tuatara, horseshoe crab, cockroach, ginkgo, and coelacanth, are "fossil species." They have not evolved for millions of years.

Source: Whitcomb, John C. Jr. and Henry M. Morris, 1961. The Genesis Flood. Philadephia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., pp. 176-180.


CreationWiki response:

Living fossils show more than just a lack of evolution. Many do not have a continuous fossil record, showing that a lack of an organism's presence in certain rock layers does not mean that they were not living when the rock was laid down. The entire evolutionary interpretation of the fossil record is based on these two assumptions:

  1. An organism's appearance in the fossil record shows when it first evolved
  2. An organism's disappearance from the fossil record shows when it went extinct.

Living fossils show that these assumptions are wrong and that other factors determine where an organism is found in the fossil record.


(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

  • The theory of evolution does not say that organisms must evolve morphologically. In fact, in an unchanging environment, stabilizing selection would tend to keep an organism largely unchanged. Many environments around today are not greatly different from environments of millions of years ago.

In pre DNA evolution theory this would be true, but the discovery of DNA changes this. Mutations occur in DNA even in an unchanging environment; natural selection would not weed out harmless mutations, so some would survive and accumulate. It some cases the theoretical time is hundreds of millions of years. Enough such mutations would have accumulated that there should be more differences than are actually observed. Furthermore, Talk Origins is implying only a few million years, while in some cases the theoretical time is 100+ million years. Even in the deepest oceans the environment would not be unchanging for 100+ million years.

  • Some so-called fossil species have evolved significantly. Cockroaches, for example, include over 4,000 species of various shapes and sizes.

The diversification of cockroaches into 4,000 varieties is insignificant in comparison to what is needed to go from microbes to man. Cockroaches are short-lived, compared to men, and have had more mutations than humans and our alleged ancestors.

Species may also evolve in ways that are not obvious. For example, the immune system of horseshoe crabs today is probably quite different from that of horseshoe crabs of millions of years ago.

And what evidence is there for this? This a totally evolutionary assumption with no basis in fact.

The problem of stasis is a major challenge to evolutionary theory: The Coelacanths show no change in the supposed 400 million years they have existed, while humans were supposed to have undergone radical evolution in reproductive systems and skeletal structures in less than 1 million years.

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