Wonder Worm | The Institute for Creation Research

Wonder Worm

Spectacular details in a special worm fossil contradict even the longest age estimates for genetic disintegration. This worm should have gone extinct a thousand times over, but apparently it didn't die off even once.

The beard worm fossils recovered from deep-bore holes in Lithuania and Russia were assigned an age of over 550 million years. One problem with this is that these fossil worms look just like today's marine beard worms. They lived then, as they do now, in thin tubes made of chitin and protein. Living beard worms affix their sheaths to sea floor structures or sediments. Researchers from Sweden and France recently wrote in the Journal of Paleontology that their fossil worms identified so well with the modern so-called "vestimentiferan" beard worms that it qualifies them as a "living fossil."1

But is it even possible, considering how genetic decay works, that these worms could have lived in the same basic form for over a half a billion years?

Genes mutate non-stop because copying errors in DNA's precisely sequenced chemical parts occur every generation. None of the most genetically studied creatures—which include viruses, bacteria, roundworms, copepods, zebra fish, mice, and even humans—have presented an exception to the rule of slow, but steady, genetic breakdown. The universal tendency to relentlessly increase chaos in organized systems applies to biological systems, too.2

When enough DNA damage accumulates, the result is extinction. Few scientists have even dared to ask how little time would elapse, assuming reasonable decay rates, until extinction of a certain creature should occur. Like water in a bucket with a pinhole leak, DNA integrity eventually runs out.

Two researchers tracked the genetic decay history of human H1N1 flu virus, graphing its 2009 extinction due to expected DNA damage.3 Another researcher noted mutation's damaging effects to the human nervous system, and hence harm, to human intellect.4

DNA damage occurs in creatures from the tiny to the tall. No observable force thwarts genetic breakdown today, so wouldn't the same thermodynamic laws have applied in the past? Over the supposed course of 550 million years, it appears the number of DNA copying errors would be astronomical. No species could survive unchanged for even a fraction of that time.

One straightforward way to explain how these spectacular worms remained unchanged across the entire Phanerozoic rock record is to assign them an age of thousands, not millions, of years. If these beard worm fossils were deposited only thousands of years ago, then no wonder they have survived the onslaught of genetic decay and remain unchanged to the present day.

References

  1. Moczydlowska, M., F. Westall, and F. Foucher. 2014. Microstructure and Biogeochemistry of the Organically Preserved Ediacaran Metazoan Sabellidites. Journal of Paleontology. 88 (2): 224-239.
  2. Sanford, J. et al. 2008. Using Numerical Simulation to Test the Validity of Neo-Darwinian Theory. In A. A. Snelling, Ed. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Creationism. Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship and Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research. 165–175.
  3. Carter, R., and J.C. Sanford. 2012. A new look at an old virus: patterns of mutation accumulation in the human H1N1 influenza virus since 1918. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modeling. 9 (42).
  4. Crabtree, G. R. 2013. Our Fragile Intellect. Part I. Trends in Genetics. 29 (1): 1-3.

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

Article posted on April 23, 2014

The Latest
NEWS
Brainy Paper Wasps
Wasps (Family Vespidae) have a bad rap, but their benefits actually outweigh their painful sting—although many would disagree! What is the function...

CREATION PODCAST
The Secrets of the Cell | The Creation Podcast: Episode 29
Cells are the basic units of life, and in some forms they are actually organisms. What is a cell? What goes on inside of a cell? Did all life come from...

NEWS
Fossil Footprints Fit Flood Ice-Age Model
Anthropologists Thomas Urban (Cornell University) and Daron Duke (Far Western Anthropological Research Group) recently found preserved human footprints...

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...