Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to the Future: the Fishy Story of Four-Legged Evolution

The latest Evolutionary news: fish went back in time 17 million years to crawl onto land!

According to standard Evolutionary theory, tetrapods, or vertabrate animals having four legs, evolved from fish. This story has evolved over the last 200 years in more and more detail, as you can tell from the Wikipedia article on tetrapods

Colin Brown, a creation scientist in the UK, uncovers an inconvenient piece of evidence for this theory in a recent edition of Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal (2010, 46(4):314).

Brown noticed a BBC News article titled Fossil tracks record 'oldest land-walkers', where evolution scientists have found:

"the oldest evidence of four-legged animals walking on land ... discovered in southeast Poland. Rocks from a disused quarry record the 'footprints' of unknown creatures that lived about 397 million years ago. Scientists tell the journal Nature that the fossil trackways even retain the impressions left by the 'toes' on the animals' feet.... The animals were probably crocodile-like in appearance and lived an amphibian-like existence (although those specific animal forms did not appear until many millions of years later). The dimensions of the prints suggest some individuals were more than two metres long."

"How one of the Devonian animals might have made the tracks"
 All most interesting.
"'This place has yielded what I consider to be some of the most exciting fossils I've ever encountered in my career as a palaeontologist,' said team member Per Ahlberg from Uppsala University, Sweden. '[They are] fossil of footprints that give us the earliest record of how our very distant ancestors moved out of the water and moved on to the land and took their first steps.'"
"The team says the find means that land vertebrates appeared millions of years earlier than previously supposed."
But Brown points out a most vital flaw in the story line. These Polish tetrapods lived 397 million years ago (according to the evolutionary way of measuring time). But tetrapods supposedly evolved from tetrapodomorphs, a type of lobe-finned fish. According to Wikipedia's retelling of the evolutionary tale (as of 20-Aug-2010), the earliest tetrapodomorphs date from 380 million years ago:
Brown's argument is that the newly discovered tetrapods would have needed to go Back to the Future (?) 17 million years somehow to evolve. Brown says they are "so old that they came before the main lines of the lobe-finned fish, making it impossible for evolution to have ever occurred!... This renders the theory of evolution stone dead and creation spot on."
"The crossopterygians apparently took two different lines of descent and are accordingly separated into two subclasses, the Rhipidistia (including the Dipnoi or lungfishes, and the Tetrapodomorpha which evolved into the Tetrapoda) and the Actinistia (coelacanths).... Two of the earliest tetrapodomorphs, dating from 380 Ma, were Gogonasus and Panderichthys."

Brown goes on to say that, Yes, four-leggers and fish have common features. But that's because during Creation Week, our Creator God created both to have similarities. All-life forms remain within their respective kinds, and do not evolve into each other. That's the Biblical story of creation, supported by evidence properly interpreted.

Anything else is a fishy story.

... (Oh, and you should expect that evolution scientists will soon "adjust" their dates to counteract this flaw in their story line. Again...)

{Original version of this blog post with all pictures is available at}.

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