Oldest amber arthropods found, according to articles in BBC News and Fossil Science 28 August 2012 and PNAS online, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1208464109.

An international team of scientists has discovered two species of mites preserved in amber found in the Dolomite Alps in northern Italy. Amber is fossilised tree resin, and small creatures can be trapped within it while it is still liquid. Such creatures are preserved when the amber goes hard and is buried. The Dolomite amber is dated as 230 million years old, making the mites the oldest arthropods preserved in amber. According to David Grimaldi of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, who studied the mites: “Amber is an extremely valuable tool for palaeontologists because it preserves specimens with microscopic fidelity, allowing uniquely accurate estimates of the amount of evolutionary change over millions of years”.

The mites are the oldest fossils of a highly specialised group called Eriophyoidea, or gall mites, but they are “surprisingly similar to ones seen today”. Grimaldi commented: “You would think that by going back to the Triassic you’d find a transitional form of gall mite, but no. Even 230 million years ago, all of the distinguishing features of this family were there – a long, segmented body; only two pairs of legs instead of the usual four found in mites; unique feather claws, and mouthparts”.

BBC, Fossil Science

Editorial Comment: Now come on folks. If the oldest gall mites have all the distinguishing features that mites have today then an accurate estimate of the amount of evolutionary change is zero. Gall mites have not changed from whenever these individuals were caught in their amber tomb until the present. These entrapped mites provide no evidence mites have ever been any other kind of creature, nor have they been evolving into anything else. The evidence from fossil and living mites is totally consistent with mites having been created fully formed and as a separate kind which have multiplied after their kind ever since, just as Genesis 1 says. (Ref. invertebrates, fossils, preservation)

Evidence News 26 September 2012

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