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Creation Vs. Evolution: Geology

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Fishing Before the Cambrian Period?

by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

I always have wondered how commercial advertisers can get away with bold claims of manufacturing the biggest, strongest, freshest, cleanest, or sweetest product on the market. One can watch a thirty-second commercial on the “strongest” brand of paper towels, only to be immediately followed by another thirty-second spot making similar claims for a different brand. It often appears that manufacturers can claim anything they want, as long as they have the money to pay for the ad. Sadly, this same mentality has entered into the field of paleontology. Researchers frequently report the discovery of the biggest, oldest, rarest, and most valuable fossils found to date—only to have their discovery trumped the following month by yet another fossil find.

The latest fossil trying to claim its fifteen minutes of fame is a 2.56 inch “fishlike animal” that evolutionists believe to be at least 560 million years old. A CNN report on the discovery stated: “A tadpole-shaped fossil, believed to be the oldest vertebrate ever found, has been uncovered by a farmer in a rugged range of hills in southern Australia…”(see “Farmer Uncovers…”, 2003). South Australian Museum paleontologist Jim Gehling noted: “The fantastic thing about this specimen is that it’s at least 30 million years older than anything else that could be even vaguely related to vertebrates.”

In fact, if evolutionists were correct, this new fossil would have existed before the Cambrian period (allegedly 490-543 million years ago). That would put this “vertebrate” clearly in the Vendian (or Ediacaran) period, which, according to the University of California, Berkeley, existed 543-650 million years ago. This would put vertebrates living in the period of “primitive” creatures such as trilobites and brachiopods (which would require that textbooks be rewritten yet again to demonstrate a more accurate geologic column).

But textbook editors might be wise to hold off on those changes—at least for now. A closer inspection of this “oldest vertebrate fossil” reveals some contemptible admissions. The CNN report noted:

Referring to the new find, Gehling said, “While we say it has a backbone, there’s no direct evidence of a backbone. It’s the shape of the thing, and it’s the fact that it has these inclined sets of muscles and a head end...which makes it look like a little fishy tadpole-type thing, which is evidence that it’s something different to all the other fossils around it.”

Oh, and what about the obvious question of how researchers calculated the ancient age of this fossil? The article stated: “Bocson [South Australian Museum spokeswoman—BH] did not have details of how paleontologists established the fossil’s age and Gehling did not immediately return calls seeking comment.” The report goes on to note that the “exact location of the find is being kept secret.”

So let me review what we know about this “oldest vertebrate ever found”:

  • There is no direct evidence for a backbone
  • We have no idea what it is, other than calling it a “little fishy tadpole type thing.”
  • We have no details of how it was dated.
  • And its location is being kept a secret.

Well, that certainly clears things up, doesn’t it? I cannot wait to see the claims of next month’s “newest and best” fossil discovery.


“Farmer Uncovers ‘Oldest’ Fishlike Fossil,” (2003), [On-line], URL:

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