by Frank Sherwin, M.A.
Everyone is familiar with porcupines, beavers, rats, squirrels, and, of course, mice—common representatives of the order Rodentia or the rodents. They are defined by zoologists as having a single pair of constantly growing upper and lower jaw incisors. Over 40 percent (about 1,700) of mammal species are rodents.
They suddenly appear in the fossil record—as rodents. There is no trace of any ancestry linking them to non-rodent ancestors. The fossils are reasonably common, but they show no expected evolutionary progression. Paleontologist Michael Benton states, “The phylogeny [evolutionary history] of rodents is controversial.”1 Edwin Colbert writes:
Dr. A. E. Wood, one of our leading students of fossil rodents, has said, “The current status of rodent phylogeny and classification is such that anyone can point out inconsistencies in anybody else’s classification.”2
Some of the latest evolutionary candidates for rodent ancestors are the Eurymylidae, from the early Tertiary of Asia. Recently, evolutionists suggested that a creature called Heomys may be the possible ancestor of rodents, although it is too advanced and its appearance is too late to be an ancestor. Other eurymylids such as Matutinia, Rhombomylus, and Eurymylus are a side branch and not directly ancestral to rodents.3
In the pre-Flood and, possibly, post-Flood world, rodents achieved massive proportions. In 2000, scientists discovered Phoberomys, an extinct rodent discovered in Venezuela.4 Nicknamed Mighty Mouse or Ratzilla, they estimate that it weighed in at over a half-ton (1,500 pounds or 700 Kg)! The largest rodent today is the capybara, weighing a modest 150 pounds. Regarding Phoberomys, Benton stated, “At the time of discovery, it was said that ‘if you saw it in the distance on a misty day, it would look much more like a buffalo than a rodent.’”5….
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