(Photo: Xiaoya Ma; inset: Nicholas Strausfeld)

A fossil Cambrian arthropod shows a large complex brain, prompting evolutionists to propose that evolution ran backwards from there.

Complex brains evolved much earlier than previously thought, 520-million-year-old fossilized arthropod confirms” is how PhysOrg headlined a press release from University of Arizona that found “remarkably well-preserved brain structures” in a fossil from China.  A similar headline is found on Science Daily:  “Cambrian Fossil Pushes Back Evolution of Complex Brains.”  Science Now announced, “Spider ancestor had big brain.”  The press release continued the un-Darwinian refrain:

The remarkably well-preserved fossil of an extinct arthropod shows that anatomically complex brains evolved earlier than previously thought and have changed little over the course of evolution.  According to University of Arizona neurobiologist Nicholas Strausfeld, who co-authored the study describing the specimen, the fossil is the earliest known to show a brain.

Cambrian arthropods, including trilobites, clearly had brains, but this one preserved the imprint of soft brain matter so clearly that scientists were able to trace the neural pathways from the brain to the eye stalks.  The press release states that it “represents an extinct lineage of arthropods combining an advanced brain anatomy with a primitive body plan.”  They must mean “primitive” with respect to age on the evolutionary timeline, else why would a “primitive” animal need a complex brain?  One of the researchers, Nicholas Strausfeld, said, “In principle, Fuxianhuia’s is a very modern brain in an ancient animal.”  Live Science suggested “primitive” equates with “simple” – “The rest of the animal is incredibly simple, so it’s a big surprise to see a brain that is so advanced, as it were, in such a simple animal,” Strausfeld told Live Science.

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