Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Troubles for Macroevolutionary Hypothesis in Ediacara

The phrase "Cambrian Explosion" refers to the sudden appearance (geologically speaking) of all animal body plans (phyla) which ever existed on earth. With one minor exception which turns up a bit later, the fossil record goes from almost nothing in the way of multi-cellular animals to an ocean full of a diversity of such forms. To be sure, there were many variations on Cambrian themes later in the record, but the themes show up, in geological terms, right away.

This sudden appearance of all living basic body plans does not square with what one would expect if macro-evolution were true. Instead we might expect to see one or two forms arise, then more split from them, and latter on more split off from them, and so forth. The fossil record should have looked like a branching tree, not a landscape of numerous independent bushes.

For years, creationists have pointed to the Cambrian explosion as evidence for the idea that Intelligent Design is a better explanation for what has been found in the fossil record than macro-evolution. Evolutionists have for years attempted to down play the "explosiveness" of the Cambrian Explosion. They have been looking for any possible precursors to life forms in the Cambrian, with very little luck.

Up until today, many of them pinned their hopes on an enigmatic array of fossils called the Ediacarans. These strange fossils show up in rocks about the right age- a bit older than the 543 million years ago that marks the Cambrian Explosion. Here for example, is the Royal Ontario Museum's attempt to link Ediacaran life forms to some of the phyla which appear in the Cambrian. This period is also referred to as the Vendian, and Cal Berekley makes a more sutble suggestion connecting these fossile to the Cambrian animals here.

Not all evolutionists bought into the idea that Ediacaran, or Vendian, fossils represented the ancestors of Cambrian life. But a significant portion at least suggested it, not because the fossils were a good fit, but just because there was little else there to prevent the un-PC conclusion that the oceans went from empty of multi-cellar animal life to chock-full of a vast array of it in the blink of a geological eye. What else do they have, "worm tracks" that it turns out look just like formations made by living single-celled protists?

Now it turns out that the best explanation for the Vendian or Ediacaran fauna is that they were ancient lichen-type organisms which did not live in oceans or lakes at all, but on the surface of the dry earth. It turns out the Vendian "fauna" might be closer to "flora".

If this checks out, it appears that what ancient writers would consider land plants arose before the explosion of multi-cellular animal life appeared in the oceans. That order, along with the sudden appearance of animal phyla, lines up a lot better with the first chapter of Genesis than it does with Macro-evolutionary theory.

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