Fossils of any kind are fascinating and fun to collect. They are the preserved remains of plants and animals that lived only a few hundred to a few thousand years ago. Many fossils we find are of plants and animals that no longer exist. They give us a glimpse of the past. But did you know that many fossils are of plants and animals that are still living today? These are called living fossils.
Living fossils have been found all over the world and in many different layers of rock. There are even a number of fossils that have been found along with dinosaur fossils of plants and animals that are still alive today.
When I was working on a living fossil display for another creation ministry, I was shown a fossil of a sycamore leaf and asked if I could match it with a sycamore still living today. From all my years living in Arizona, I instantly knew of a living match to the fossil. I contacted a good friend back home and asked if he could collect about a dozen Arizona sycamore leaves and send them to me. They were a perfect match to the fossilized sycamore leaves as you can see here.
I now live in northern Kentucky and we have lots of marine fossils including crinoids in this area. According to evolutionists, these fossils are supposed to be around 450 million years old. If evolution was true and everything is constantly changing and evolving, then you would not expect to find any of these fossil animals alive today, but we do. Crinoids can still be found in today’s oceans.
Anadara Ark Clams
Another marine living fossil is the bivalve mollusk from the genus Anadara also known as ark clams. As shown here, one photo is of living Anadara and the other photo is of a fossil Anadara. Even though the fossil is supposed to be about 3 million years older than the living example they appear to be identical in every way. Can you tell the difference?
Do you like to eat shrimp or prawns? Some people like to grill them, others breaded and fried and some people like to quick boil and eat them plain. However you like to eat shrimp and prawns, they are delicious, aren’t they? Here is a photo of a living shrimp and a fossil shrimp that looks identical to each other. The fossil shrimp is supposed to be about 150 millions old
Nearly everyone fears being attacked and stung by wasps. When I was 4 years old, something crawled into my left ear. I couldn’t see what it was so I tried to pull it out. It turned out to be a yellow jacket wasp and it stung me inside my ear. I’ll never forget how much that hurt. Wasps may not be very interesting to most people but here we have a photo of a fossil Polistes wasps and a living Polistes wasp. The fossil wasp is supposed to be at least 2.5 million years old.
Ants can be quite an annoyance. They have ruined many a picnic by swarming to get all of the good food. Ants can climb picnic tables, walls in houses, fences and trees. Some ants that climbed trees have found themselves trapped in the sticky sap of the tree. The tree sap quickly covered the ant and hardened into amber. One particular ant that was trapped in amber (shown here) belonged to the genus Gracilidris was thought to be long extinct. However, an ant researcher discovered living members of Gracilidris in South America that looked identical to the ones trapped in the amber supposedly 15-20 million years ago.
Have you ever heard of the Dinosaur Tree? In 1999, the Wollemi pine was discovered to be alive and well in a remote canyon of the Blue Mountains of Australia. Before its discovery, the Wollemi pine was only known from fossils that supposedly date back to about 150 million years ago. When compared to the fossil, it was found that the living Wollemi pine was identical and had not evolved at all.
Cyanobacteria or Blue-green Algae
One of my favorite examples of living fossils is blue-green algae also known as cyanobacteria. According to evolutionists cyanobacteria are one of the oldest living organisms on the earth. If they are as old as evolutionists believe them to be (some as old as 3.5 billion years), you would expect that they would have evolved and changed so much that there wouldn’t be any living today that would anything like those living today. Take a close look at the photos below of cyanobacteria fossils compared to the same ones living today.
At one time, the Museum of Paleontology at the University of California Berkeley has this statement posted on their website:
Blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) “Oldest Living Fossils”
Scientists have found from microscopic examination of these fossils, dated to be 3.5 billion years old that they are essentially identical to the blue-green algae that are still living today.
One of world’s foremost authorities on microfossils is Dr. J. William Schopf. In the book Major Events in the History of Life, Dr. Schopf wrote:
But, based on the data currently at hand—evidence that is vastly improved over that available only a scant two decades ago—what can be said about the Proterozoic evolution of primitive prokaryotes? How did prokaryotes evolve over the nearly two billion years of Proterozoic time?
The answers: A lot can be said; even at present, a great deal is known. Surprisingly, however—in fact, absolutely remarkably—cyanobacteria in particular, and perhaps all prokaryotes in general, seem to have evolved hardly at all between early in the Proterozoic and the present day! That, indeed, is strange. The history of life, at least that of familiar Phanerozoic life, is one of change: Evolution, an unending progression of new forms of life . . . survival of only the fittest . . . the old supplanted by the new. But prokaryotic cyanobacteria seem to have played the evolutionary game by a different set of rules: What once succeeded, continued to succeed . . . survival of the already fit . . . if it’s not broken, don’t fix it! [emphasis mine]
When you look at these pictures of fossils and their living twins it helps to show that many plants and animals haven’t changed one bit. According to Dr. Joachim Scheven, a zoologist and paleontologist in Germany:
Fossils never show any significant ‘evolution’—rather, they show that fossil creatures have no remaining living counterparts (extinction), or that they have stayed essentially the same (stasis), or have degenerated (lost information).
Living fossils help show us that plants and animals don’t evolve into other plants and animals. What they do show is that they were created to reproduce after their own kind as we are told in Genesis 1, the first chapter of God’s Word.
There are hundreds of examples of living fossils that we could look at but we don’t have room here to look at them all. For more information on living fossils go to Fossils Questions and Answers and scroll down to Do fossilized plants and animals really look all that different from animals we see today? There you will more information on some of the living fossils shown above along with others we didn’t look at.