'Totally Strange' Hurdia a Hurdle for Evolution | The Institute for Creation Research
   
'Totally Strange' Hurdia a Hurdle for Evolution

Cambrian rock layers contain fossils that represent almost every modern phylum of animal, plus many that are now extinct. One animal fossil in particular would win the weird prize, if there were one. Paleontologists have been piecing together this strange creature’s body parts, which look as though they were taken from an array of totally different sea animals. This variety of features eludes an evolutionary explanation.

The parts of this particular fossilized animal had previously been described separately and given different names, as though they belonged to different creatures. But a recent study revealed that all these parts came from just one “totally strange” sea creature.1 Named Hurdia, this animal had features that resembled those “scattered through at least eight Cambrian taxa,” according to the report published in the journal Science.2 And some of those taxa, or kinds, were even from totally different phyla, the broadest classification level for animals. Its initial discoverer thought that “the mouth parts were a jellyfish, the front legs were shrimp, the main body a sea cucumber, and a tear-drop shaped shell, another animal.”1

And yet, this odd creature’s various physical features appeared in the fossil record fully integrated into one extraordinary design. Because of its strange conglomeration of parts, it would be very difficult to interpret what Hurdia evolved from and what it evolved into, since jellyfish, shrimp, and sea cucumbers are very different creatures. But it makes sense as a created animal with mosaic features, which are shared among otherwise disparate organisms. None of its features are transitional, but are instead found fully-formed in other creatures today that have no relationship to one another in any evolutionary scenario.

A better known example of a mosaic creature—one that is in no way a transition but instead represents an evolutionary enigma—is the duck-billed platypus. As its name implies, this mammal has a bill like a duck, but also has spurs on its hind legs like a rooster. Duck-billed platypuses lay leathery eggs like reptiles, and yet they have fur. And platypus fossils from South America and elsewhere reveal that they always have been platypuses, with no evolutionary ancestors.

Hurdia was appropriately assigned its own unique phylum name. However, mosaic creatures like this can be fitted into many different phylogenetic trees, or diagrams showing evolutionary relationships, based on the resemblance their body parts may have to other creatures. If their evolutionary history is unclear and promises to remain as ambiguous and contentious as that of other oddball animals, one wonders if they evolved at all.

Although mosaic creatures are impossible to fit into a universally agreed-upon evolutionary phylogeny, they fit just fine with the idea that God created animals to reproduce after their own kinds.3 Their various unusual body parts—each of which adequately fulfills its task yet all of which are integrated into a whole, functioning organism—would indicate that they were made by a Creator who pays attention to details, as well as One with a radical imagination.

References

  1. Gorski, C. Spectacular Fossil Discovery: 100 Years Later. Inside Science News Service. Posted on LiveScience.com, August 20, 2009, accessed August 29, 2009.
  2. Daley, A.C. et al., 2009. The Burgess Shale Anomalocaridid Hurdia and its Significance for Early Euarthropod Evolution. Science. 323: 1597.
  3. Thomas, B. Why Can Moss Process Human Genes? ICR News. Posted on icr.org June 16, 2009, accessed August 24, 2009.

Image Credit: Science/AAAS

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on September 9, 2009.

The Latest
NEWS
God’s Plan Is Best: Salmon Need Saltwater Acclimation
Once again, results are better when aquaculture imitates the natural life cycle of Atlantic salmon.1,2 In other words, the closer fish farmers...

NEWS
After 30 Years, Red Kites Soar in British Skies
Good news is always welcome. So, it’s good to learn of another conservation comeback. This time it’s the red kite happily soaring in Great...

CREATION PODCAST
Meet Dr. G
Hear the history and heart of ICR’s newly appointed President and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Randy Guliuzza. He has served as ICR’s National...

ACTS & FACTS
'Doing Business' in Good Times and Bad
No doubt many of you, like me, have been earnestly looking for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. He called all believers to be godly “salt”...

APOLOGETICS
Sentinels Are Needed in Perilous Times
Watch out! Dangers lurk everywhere—these are surely perilous times.1 One of the apologetics-exhorting themes in Jude’s epistle...

ACTS & FACTS
Why Don't Raindrops Bomb Butterfly Wings?
Okay, I admit most folks have probably not thought to ask this creation question. But a bigger question gets answered when we examine the fantastic...

ACTS & FACTS
Believe Anyway
by Scott Arledge and Brian Thomas, Ph.D. Some within the creation community make the claim that they would believe God’s Word about the age...

DISCOVERY CENTER
The ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History Updates*
Plan your trip at ICRdiscoverycenter.org, where you’ll find ticket information, discounted rates for nearby hotels, and links to other...

ACTS & FACTS
Human Activity and Vertebrate Evolutionary History
God gave humans a dominion mandate1 and expects us to exercise responsible stewardship “over all the earth.”2 After...

ACTS & FACTS
Biological Bounceback at Mount St. Helens
Early one bright Sunday morning, Mount St. Helens looked as picturesque as it had for hundreds of years. Suddenly, an earthquake shook loose the north...