Misunderstood or Missing Link?

From Issue: Discovery 4/1/2002

For decades, evolutionists taught that coelacanths (SEE-la-kanths) became extinct about the same time dinosaurs did (supposedly 65 million years ago). Man was told that these fish gradually developed legs and began to live on Earth, and then sometime later became extinct. Evolutionists thought that these fish were the “the missing link” between water and land animals. Similar to the ape-like creatures that supposedly evolved into humans, these fish were said to have evolved into land animals millions of years ago. 

Until 1938, evolutionists believed that humans and coelacanths could not possibly have lived at the same time. These creatures were known only from the fossils that these same evolutionists claimed were many millions of years old. But then, on December 24, 1938, the scientific world was “rocked” when an unidentified fish five feet long and over 100 pounds was brought to shore in South Africa. It was caught in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar (an island off the eastern coast of Africa). The fisherman who netted the fish (having no idea what the creature’s proper name was) called it “the great sea lizard” because its pectoral fins looked more like little legs. Once scientists examined this strange creature, however, they confirmed what formerly was thought to be impossible—a coelacanth had been caught in modern times!

Since 1938, over 100 additional coelacanths have been caught. In 1952 they were seen swimming near the Comoro Islands in the Indian Ocean. Another population was found in 1998 off the coast of Indonesia. Surprisingly, local Indonesian fishermen were quite familiar with this fish, having been catching them for years—even though scientists were totally unaware they lived in that region.

Modern day coelacanths look exactly like their fossil counterparts (which are mistakenly dated as being millions of years old). The fact that these modern creatures have stayed the same as their fossilized ancestors is no surprise to Christians. The Bible teaches that animals reproduce “after their kind” (Genesis 1:21,24). No fish ever gradually developed over millions of years into land animals, any more than ape-like creatures ever developed into humans. Coelacanths are still coelacanths, and apes are still apes.


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