The basic premise of evolution is that all life developed from one single cell that created itself in the primordial ooze.  That one cell kept evolving into more complex organisms until one day it hatched from an egg and became a shark.  Eventually the shark gave rise to other types of fish that began to crawl out on land and become amphibians.  Amphibians evolved into reptiles which in turn evolved into birds and mammals.  The first mammals were tiny rodents who eventually evolved into primates and from one ever so happy pair of primates came the first human.

Or so the story goes.  But believe it or not, that is what so many people today believe and a current news story just adds to that fairy tale.

Several researchers from the University of Chicago, which just happens to be one of the strongest pillars of evolution, have just claimed that they have found the common ancestor to sharks and all jawed vertebrates including you and me.  The subject of their excitement is a fish named Acanthodes bronni which supposedly lived over 420 million years ago in the Paleozoic era.

According to Michael Coates, professor of organismal biology and anatomy, and one of the researchers involved:

Unexpectedly, Acanthodes turns out to be the best view we have of conditions in the last common ancestor of bony fishes and sharks.  Our work is telling us that the earliest bony fishes looked pretty much like sharks, and not vice versa. What we might think of as shark space is, in fact, general modern jawed vertebrate space.

Although most members of the acanthodians are only known from fossilized scales and fin spines, they do have a preserved skull of Acanthodes bronni which they used for their study.  Coates and his colleagues were able to create very detailed latex molds from the fossils and used these molds to study the details of the skull, both inside and out as he explained:

We want to explore braincases if possible, because they are exceptionally rich sources of anatomical information.  They’re much better than scales, teeth or fin spines, which, on their own, tend to deliver a confusing signal of evolutionary relationships.

For the first time, we could look inside the head of Acanthodes, and describe it within this whole new context.  The more we looked at it, the more similarities we found with sharks.

After studying Acanthodes bronni and other acanthodian fossils, they determined that the main subject of their study still had connections to bony fishes while other members of the group were more shark-like.  John Finarelli, one of the team concluded:

The common ancestors of all jawed vertebrates today organized their heads in a way that resembled sharks.  Given what we now know about the interrelatedness of early fishes, these results tell us that while sharks retained these features, bony fishes moved away from such conditions.

There appears to be a fundamental distinction between the placoderms and all other vertebrates with jaws.

Maureen Kearney, program director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology summed up the research by saying:

This study is an example of the power of phylogenetics combined with the comparative morphology of living and fossil organisms.  It shows us important evolutionary transitions in the history of life, providing a new window into the sequence of evolutionary changes during early vertebrate evolution.

What I see from this research is that Acanthodes bronni is possibly a member of the original shark kind.  After the amazing discovery of the Coelacanth, I won’t say if Acanthodes bronni is truly extinct or not, but I can say that it existed at the time of the Genesis Flood when it was buried and preserved.

I do have to admit that they are correct when they say that Acanthodes bronni came before man.  Genesis 1 tells us that God created fish on Day 5 and man on Day 6.  However, if they want to believe that this fossil is their ancestor, then let them.  The only common ancestor I see between sharks and humans is the God who created us all in the beginning.


Where Humans Split from Sharks: Common Ancestor Comes Into Focus, Science Daily, June 13, 2012.

Creation Answers Book

Author: Dr Don Batten (with contributing editors Dr David Catchpoole, Dr Jonathan Sarfati and Dr Carl Wieland)

The Creation Answers Book provides biblical answers to over 60 important questions that everyone wants to know on creation/evolution and the Bible! Not only does it answer your own questions, but equips you to effectively respond to those that resist the Gospel due to worldly teaching on origins. This important work is a ‘must have’ for anyone’s library!

Includes answers to over 60 of the most-asked questions in the following 20 categories:


  • Does God exist?
  • Six days? Really?
  • What about gap theories?
  • What about carbon-14 dating?
  • How can we see distant starlight in a young universe?
  • What about arguments for evolution?
  • How did bad things come about?
  • Who was Cain’s wife?
  • Were the ‘sons of God’ and/or the ‘nephilim’ extra-terrestrials?
  • Was the Flood global?
  • What about continental drift?
  • What about all that water?
  • How did all the animals fit on the Ark?
  • How did fresh/saltwater fish survive?
  • Where are all the human fossils?
  • How could animals get to places like Australia?
  • Were there really ice ages?
  • How did the different races arise?
  • What about dinosaurs?
  • What can I do?

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