Oldest jet propulsion found, according to BBC News and Nature 465, pp427, 469, 27 May 2010. Palaeontologists at the University of Toronto and Royal Ontario Museum have studied a mysterious fossil creature originally found amongst the Burgess Shale fossils in Canada in 1976. Since then 91 fossils of the creature have been found and it has been identified as a cephalopod – a soft bodied animal like an octopus or squid. It has been named Nectocaris pteryx and is a kite shaped creature with external gills, two tentacles at its front end, eyes with well developed lenses located on short stalks, and below these a nozzle-like funnel. The Burgess shale is dated as 505 million years old, so this creature is the oldest cephalopod on the evolutionary timetable, and puts the origin of cephalopods back about 30 million years. The creature did not have an external shell, so it challenges the theory that cephalopods without shells evolved from nautilus-like creatures with shells, which in turn evolved from crawling shelled creatures. The researchers state in their report: “The presence of a funnel suggests that jet propulsion evolved in cephalopods before the acquisition of a shell. The explosive diversification of mineralized cephalopods in the Ordovician may have an understated Cambrian ‘fuse’.”
A “News and Views” article in Nature is illustrated with photos of a living octopus, a space shuttle launch rocket and an artist’s reconstruction of Nectocaris pteryx, with the caption pointing out that these are all equipped with nozzles for jet propulsion. The article contains this statement: “Cephalopods, uniquely among animals, have invented directed jet propulsion by the effective use of a funnel, or siphon, through which water can be expelled from a body cavity at high speed and in any direction.”
Editorial Comment: Did you notice that the writers of Nature News and Views cannot avoid using the language of creation when describing the origin of jet propulsion, i.e. “have invented”. However, octopuses and squids are well understood today and none have the ability to invent jet propulsion systems any more than present day space rockets invented their propulsion system.
This fossil also shows that there is nothing simple or half-formed about any Burgess Shale creature. They have the same complex features seen in creatures that are alive today. The fact that most of them are extinct does not mean they evolved into other creatures. It does indicate there has been significant degradation of the environment causing many creatures to die out.
The researcher’s comment about “understated Cambrian fuse” is another way of saying there is no evidence these fossilised creatures, shelled cephalopods and present day cephalopods evolved from anything else. All living and fossil cephalopods are fully formed functional creatures, with each kind having its own unique combination of features which fits well into the Biblical history of the world, and provides no evidence for evolution. (Ref. molluscs, invertebrates, design)
Evidence News, 23 June 2010