Remarkable fossils continue to come to science’s attention, yielding clues about past ecological conditions. Once in awhile, whole fossil specimens – even graveyards of many organisms – are uncovered, but most fossils are mere fragments. Placing fossils into interpretive stories requires knowledge of other fossils and comparisons with living species. Even then, the history of life is not directly observable. Fossils, being silent, can only show their current state; the lack of access to the past, combined with ignorance of all the clues, leaves room for alternative interpretations. Evolutionists, in their desire to fit fossils into a preconceived story, sometimes go far beyond what the actual fossil evidence is capable of saying – and some of their explanations border on the miraculous.
- Insect ancestors: Some beautifully-preserved imprints of bizarre insects have been found in South America. PhysOrg promised that these “Mysterious fossils provide new clues to insect evolution,” even though they look just as complex as living species, with wings and all: “Equipped with wing venation of a mayfly, breast and wing shape of a dragonfly, and legs of a praying mantis, these winged insects look like a patchwork of various animals.” The new species, named Coxoplectoptera, resembles living mayflies, but the article said they “however significantly differ from both mayflies and all other known insects in anatomy and mode of life,” even though their mode of life (a “major enigma”) is not observable; the “Mode of embedding and some of their characters clearly suggest a fluvial habitat,” they decided.
Somehow, these specimens also promised to “clues to the long-standing controversial debate of the evolutionary origin of the insect wing,” even though these fossil insects already had fully formed, functioning wings. Can evolutionists watch wings evolve in a fossil sequence? Apparently not; “The scientists presume that wings originated from thoracic backplates, while leg genes were recruited for their developmental control.” That’s a lot of beneficial mutations. “Overall,” the skeptical reader is reassured, “the exciting discovery of Coxoplectoptera contributes to a better understanding of insect evolution.” Live Science called the new insect “an ancient Frankenstein insect”; its coverage of insect evolution was filled with speculation, debate, and unanswered questions.
- Jaws: PhysOrg reported a claim that “Vertebrate jaw design locked 400 million years ago” (a case of theoretical lockjaw?). Dr. Phillip Anderson of the University of Bristol unraveled previous evolutionary assumptions:
“Surprisingly, our results indicate that long-held assumptions concerning the replacement of jawless fishes by newly evolved jawed forms are likely wrong. The variety of feeding mechanisms in early jawed animals appears to have had little to no affect on the diversity of jawless fishes, which shared ecological space with the jawed fishes for at least 30 million years before beginning to notably decline. When the jawless fishes do decline, we see no indication that their jawed cousins took up new functional roles, calling into question old ideas of ecological replacement….
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