'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
Deep-Sea Lobster Microbiome
Research continues regarding complex and amazing microbiomes found on or within a variety of creatures.1 The microbiome is a microbial community...

NEWS
"Massively Exciting" Fossil Find
Now this is exciting: “Geologists have found the fossil of the earliest known animal predator. The 560-million-year-old specimen is the first of...

NEWS
Copulation Didn't Kill the Frogs, the Flood Did
Evolutionary scientists recently studied 168 frog fossils from central Germany, concluding that the frogs all drowned while aggressively mating. They claim...

CREATION PODCAST
What Can We Learn From Fossils? | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
Is evolution seen in the fossil record? Why are fossilized terrestrial animals found buried with marine creatures? What conditions were needed to form...

NEWS
Be Not Deceived: Spiritually Train to Overcome Secular Science...
Thorough instruction and discipline are the hallmark qualities of a strong military training program. Well-trained soldiers can think on their feet, adapt...

CREATION.LIVE PODCAST
Jurassic World: Dominion - Fun Movie, Bad Science | Creation.Live...
Covered in feathers, running faster than cars, and living in cold climates...these are just a few of the ideas introduced in Jurassic World: Dominion....

NEWS
CET Model in Plants Is Clearly Seen
Plant scientists have known for decades that plants aren’t just static entities. The half-million or more species of plants in the world display...

NEWS
Half-Billion-Year-Old Fossil Brains?
Once again, a recent and remarkable fossil discovery has been made challenging evolutionary theory. A strange arthropod (i.e. a radiodont) has been found...

NEWS
Stars Defy Big Bang
Recent measurements by astronomers at the University of Cologne (Germany) and Masaryk University (Brno, or the Czech Republic) have shown that a fast-moving...

CREATION PODCAST
Who Created the Universe? | The Creation Podcast: Episode 27
What is the Big Bang theory? Does it align with a biblical worldview? How do design and fine-tuning offer better answers? In this episode of The Creation...