Early Cambrian eyes described in Nature Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/srep02751, 25 September 2013. Chinese and American scientists examining fossils from a rock formation named the Chengjiang Lagerstätte in China have found “exceptionally preserved non-biomineralized eyes, preserved together with the body, of a non-trilobite arthropod Cindarella eucalla from the early Cambrian Chengjiang biota, revealing the detailed structures of compound eyes”. The fossils are dated as early Cambrian, approximate 520 million years old. The fossil eyes have over 2,000 ommatidia (the visual units that make up a compound eye), indicating that these animals had highly developed vision.
According to the researchers, “This developed vision also indicates significant evolution of the overall nervous system, requiring decisions to be made rapidly and accurately.” The research team also carried out a survey of the Cambrian Chengjiang fossils, noting which ones had eyes and concluded: “Fossil specimens with eyes mostly belong to arthropods thus supporting the hypothesis that good vision triggered arthropod diversity and domination in early Cambrian ecosystems, and origin and evolution of good vision formed the foundation of modern benthic ecosystems in early Cambrian oceans”.
Editorial Comment: The scientists’ conclusion is another classic piece of evolutionary faith. Good vision cannot have “triggered arthropod diversity”. Good vision is a useful thing for arthropods to have, but it will not make new kinds of arthropods evolve. Such eyes can only help those that already have them to survive.
Finding creatures with eyes that are as complex as present day eyes is also a reminder that God created fully-formed, fully functional creatures, not incomplete, half-evolved creatures. The fact that some creatures, with their complex structures have since died out is another reminder that the real history of the world is from created perfection to degeneration. (Ref. vision, fossilisation, optics)