The Missing Links Are Still Missing

by Frank Sherwin, M.A.
From Institute for Creation Research

In their 2010 zoology text, evolutionists Stephen Miller and John Harley present a clear summary of the current state of animal classification. They maintain, “There is little disagreement among zoologists about the taxonomic classification of animals”1, p. 156 Creation biologists agree.

We’re hardly opposed to “the taxonomic classification of animals” and find such grouping and ordering extremely helpful as we study God’s creation. We would hasten to add that the modern era of taxonomy was introduced by Swedish botanist and creationist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), who gave us the Linnaean system of naming plant and animal species.

Miller and Harley go on to say exactly what creationists have been pointing out ever since Darwin: “Great disagreement exists, however, about how the animal phyla are related to one another.”1, p. 156 The reason for this ongoing “great disagreement” is that the animal phyla are not related to one another in any Darwinian sense! In other words, what we see in the fossil record is great discontinuity among plant and animal groups—as predicted by the creation model—rather than the continuity evolution assumes.

Not only is there a healthy disparity among the proposed evolutionary interrelationships of animal groups, but common ancestors, the missing links, are still unknown over 150 years after the publication of Darwin’s infamous book.

Occasionally, evolutionists protest that it would be extremely rare to find any soft-bodied creatures that would link groups together. But in recent years, more soft tissues in fossils are being unearthed.2 Impressions of soft tissues in sedimentary rock continue to be discovered and indicate that 1) soft tissue can be fossilized,3 2) the process of fossilization must be quite rapid (as in a flood!), and 3) these creatures have always been the same throughout supposed “geologic history” (with the possibility of extinction).

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This article will address some of the more popular invertebrates (animals without backbones). Sometimes beautiful, sometimes deadly, they are creatures designed with exceeding complexity. They appear in sedimentary rocks complete and fully formed, and there is no sign that they have evolved from ancient ancestors.

Phylum Arthropoda

Arthropods—insects, spiders, and crustaceans—are members of the largest animal phylum, the Arthropoda. These creatures make up almost 85 percent of living animals and represent the majority of the fossil record.4, p. 168 God designed arthropods with jointed, paired appendages and an external skeleton (exoskeleton) composed of a unique compound called chitin. No evolutionist would expect chitin to survive in “primordial” fossils due to its chemical degradation, and yet “evidence of vestigial chitin” was recently found in a fossil scorpion and a fossil eurypterid.5 This is hardly amazing if these sediments, supposedly deposited “millions of years ago,” were actually laid down by the Genesis Flood 4,500 or so years ago.

Evolutionists dismiss creation and maintain that arthropods evolved from a non-arthropod ancestor sometime before the Cambrian period in the distant past. But because arthropods were created as arthropods just thousands of years ago, the evolutionary community must resort to “a highly speculative interpretation of arthropod phylogeny [evolution].”1, p. 268 In 2009, evolutionists Larry Roberts and John Janovy wrote:

As might be expected from arthropods’ long evolutionary history and extreme diversity, establishment of evolutionary relationships, especially among the more inclusive taxa, is a challenge that has occupied many scientists ever since Darwin’s time.6, p. 529

The “arthropod phylogeny problem” continues unabated. Gonzalo Giribet and Gregory Edgecombe state, “The exact sister group relationship of arthropods is, however, still debated.”4, p. 171 A current biology textbook acknowledges that “arthropod evolution and classification are controversial.”7, p. 662

The authors of another textbook state only that arthropods “may have evolved” from an extinct group called the lobopods.8, p. 684 God designed the Lobopodian as a complex multicellular animal with bilateral symmetry, a gut, and coordinated legs. There is no indication that anything evolved from it. A fossil Lobopodian displays no evolution for the supposed “200 million years” of its existence, and four evolutionists recently wrote, “The morphology has not changed in any significant aspect.”9 If the tardigrades (the water bear addressed below) and velvet worms of today are allegedly counterparts of Lobopodia, then where is the evidence of evolution? There has been no change from the lower Cambrian onward.

Darwinists have put increasing faith in novel molecular approaches and techniques to answer the vexing problem of arthropod origin and evolution. But such research often exposes as many mysteries as it supposedly solves, not only with the arthropods, but throughout the living world.

Here are just a few representative arthropods God has created.

Phylum Tardigrada

The plump, short water bear (tardigrade) looks positively amusing with its four pairs of stubby legs attached to a cylindrical body. These segmented, water-dwelling animals are less than a millimeter long and are often found lumbering on moist mosses and lichens. The hundreds of species of tardigrades were designed by the Creator to undergo a fascinating process called cryptobiosis (suspended animation), extending their lifespan up to 65 years.

Where did the water bear come from? In their zoology text, Cleveland Hickman and his fellow authors are diffident, stating, “Evolutionary relationships among ecdysozoans [e.g., Phylum Tadigrada and Arthropoda] are not well understood.”10, p. 402 Claus Nielsen states that Tardigrada “relationships to other groups has been debated.”11, p. 267 It would seem that tardigrades have always been tardigrades, with “fossils from the Middle Cambrian [that] strongly resemble living tardigrades.”11, p. 265 As predicted by creation scientists, there is nothing simple regarding these curious creatures. Nielsen writes that they are “complicated,” “complex,” and have “extraordinary abilities.”11, p. 265

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