Harvestmen haven’t changed according to an article in BBC News 18 May 2005.
Jason Dunlop and colleagues from the Museum fur Naturkunde, Germany have found a “100 million-year-old arachnid, which looked like it might have died last year” preserved in amber. It is a harvestman, a spider-like creature with a small body and long thin legs, and scientists are excited about it because they hope it will give a clue as to how arachnids managed to survive the extinction of dinosaurs.
Dunlop commented: “You have a fossil of 100 million years ago and, at the end of the Cretaceous period about 65 million years ago, you have the end of the dinosaurs and the supposed mass extinction of all these animals. So this amber specimen gives us the first chance to really ask, ‘did this affect creepy-crawlies as well?'”
Paul Seldon, an arachnid expert from University of Manchester, UK commented to the BBC “whenever you find an arachnid from the Mesozoic era, you can nearly always place it in a modern family. This means there well may have been extinction of species, but overall the arachnids seem to have sailed through.”
This specimen is not considered to be the oldest fossil of its type, but whatever their age arachnids haven’t changed. “If you go back to very, very ancient fossils and look at the internal organs, you see it actually has reproductive organs just the same as a living one; it has a breathing system the same as the living one. So it looks like there hasn’t been any major change in the body plan,” said Jason Dunlop. He also commented: “If you go back to the period of about 300 to 400 million years ago, you actually have more arachnid fossils.”
The BBC article summarises the scientists’ conclusions with the statement: “The harvestman hit on a successful evolutionary ‘design’ fairly early on and has changed rather little over the past few hundred million years.”
Editorial Comment: This specimen and other arachnid fossils have as yet provided no evidence for how the dinosaurs died, but they do provide evidence that Genesis is correct about living things. If all fossil harvestmen have reproductive organs and a breathing system just like living harvestmen, that is good evidence they were created as separate fully functioning organism that have multiplied after their kind, just as Genesis says.
Furthermore, if there were more arachnids (and more dinosaurs) in the past, it is also evidence that the world of living things is going downhill, not evolving upwards. This also fits Biblical history, which describes a world that started out good but has suffered many disasters since then.
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