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Living Fossils: Name and Location, Please

Photo 163402566 © Nejron |

Some time ago, I was able to ask Dr. Werner, author of the book Evolution: The Grand Experiment, if anyone knows when the nautilus disappears from the fossil record. They are still alive but are said to have evolved to their current form 400+ million years ago. He hadn’t heard either.

I got the idea because the coelacanth [Seal-uh-canth] made the mistake of turning up in fishing nets even when scientists declared it had gone extinct 66 million years ago because the rocks said so. Unfortunately, we already knew the nautilus had survived, so no one tried to predict when it went extinct.

Anyway, there are two things I want to pass on to you today from this exchange.

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Here’s a great video from Dr. Werner that makes me wish it was my birthday so I could ask for the video and book that goes with it. You’ll need almost half an hour to catch it all. But the footage is lovely and you’ll learn a lot.

His main point is that these creatures are given different names when alive or fossilized, which is kind of confusing.

It makes sense to me, as rather different people would be discovering and naming the ones swimming around instead of trapped in the rocks. It happens. The question is, are people left with the impression that these are different creatures because they have different names? It’s possible. People are smart, but it’s likely to confuse your computer search engine. Whether this is left the way it is on purpose is something we can only guess about.

It’s also a great reminder that every living thing we see today is a survivor.

Now for a little more about the nautilus, coelacanth, and other creatures known from the fossil record and the world’s aquariums.

The habit of the nautilus to spend the day way down deep and then swim to the surface at night got me thinking.

Remember how creation scientists tell us the geologic column is mostly a record of ecosystems? Things were often buried based on how close they were to the ancient ocean. No wonder they say the nautilus evolved 500 million years ago. Their living descendants like to spend the day at depths up to 1,800 feet [550 m]. The ones caught napping got buried deep when the flood started. But not all of them were caught! We know they could get themselves out of a dangerous situation by going straight up pretty quickly. It’s not so surprising a few managed to make it through the whole mess.

What about the coelacanth? Where does it live? Check this out:

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“Coelacanths are elusive, deep-sea creatures, living in depths up to 2,300 feet (700 meters) below the surface.” National Geographic


There’s also the goblin shark, found at depths up to 4,300 feet [1,300 m]. We’ve found fossils buried deep enough to get labeled as over 100 million years old.

In fact, there are a whole bunch of creatures considered “living fossils” found in the deep sea. Here are some samples:

  • Deep Sea Crinoid discovered in real time Deep Sea News (another great picture). Crinoids [krih-noidz] are well-known in the fossil record
  • The Frilled Shark found at depths around 2,000 feet [600 m] and thought to have stayed the same around 100 million years old (cool 1 minute video)
    •This one is still rather mysterious, in fact, we still don’t know what Paleodictyon nodosum looks like, just its burrows (body parts?).

How many times do they need to be proved wrong to start wondering if their thinking is on the right track? Creationists aren’t surprised by finds like these!

And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. Revelation 5:13

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Cheri Fields Lake Michigan profile 2020

Written by Cheri Fields

Hi, I’m Cheri Fields: 2nd generation homeschooling mom of seven, wife, writer, and science lover. There is a wealth of information available to help people see how trustworthy God and His testimony in the Bible is. The key is to explain concepts simply so they can be understood by anyone. This is my goal, and I’ve had a lot of fun tackling areas where the world tests our faith.

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