“Four legged fish” found, according to a report in BBC News Online, Nature vol. 453, p1199, and Uppsala University Press Release, 26 June 2008.

Palaeontologists from Britain, Sweden and Latvia have found “the most primitive Devonian tetrapod represented by extensive remains” in sediments in the late Famennian Ketleri Formation of Kurzeme, western Latvia. The fossil has been named Ventastega curonica and consists of most of a skull and parts of the shoulder and pelvic girdles. Per Ahlberg, from Uppsala University, Sweden, one of the scientists who studied the fossil, described the creature: “From a distance, it would have looked like an alligator. But closer up, you would have noticed a real tail fin at the back end, a gill flap at the side of the head; also lines of pores snaking across head and body.” He went on to say, “Ventastega fills the gap between Tiktaalik and the earliest land based animals. All these changes in these creatures are not going in lockstep; it’s a mosaic with different parts of animal evolving at different rates. Ventastega has acquired some land-animal characteristics, but has not yet got some of the other ones.”

According to the BBC, “Scientists say the 365-million-year-old species eventually became an evolutionary dead end.”

The scientists suggest the fossil was well preserved because the region in Latvia has had a “very quiet geological history” since then. Ahlberg commented: “We still find sediments not yet properly turned to rock. These fossils were found in compact, wet sand. It’s not sandstone, it’s sand; you dig it with a breadknife.”


Editorial Comment: Lots of interesting “evolution speak” shows up in reports on this find. The claim that the “wet sand” containing the fossil as being 365 million years reminds us that time does not make rocks. It takes the right chemicals to make sand into sandstone, not time. Furthermore, it takes great faith to believe that wet sand sat around for 365 million years undisturbed, unless it was deeply and rapidly buried, or is not really that old.

A fact also admitted that “Scientists say the 365-million-year-old species eventually became an “evolutionary dead end,” means that it is not a transition of any sort. It did not evolve into anything else. The BBC called this fossil a “four legged fish” and the authors of the paper in Nature did call it a “tetrapod” which means “four feet”. However, the actual fossil found had no bones for legs or feet, and it certainly does not have any remains of the tail fin, gill flap and pores described by Ahlberg. Although this creature is different from living and fossil aquatic creatures, that does not prove it was a fish in the process of changing into a land creature. “Transition” is an active process and cannot be proven unless the transformation from one form to another is observed. This is impossible in fossils of extinct creatures.

Per Ahlberg’s description of a “mosaic” of different parts is a more accurate assessment of the fossil. That, and the fact that the creature has died out, means it fits well into the Biblical history of the world. According to Genesis animals were created as separate kinds, each kind being a unique combination of characteristics. The fact that some characteristics are found in many different kinds does not mean one turned into the other. It simply means that these characteristics can work together in different ways to make a functioning creature. The fact that the creature is extinct does not prove it evolved into anything else either. The world has degenerated significantly since the original creation, due to Man’s sin and God’s judgement, and many creatures have died out due to loss of habitat, lack of food supply and being preyed upon. This loss of biodiversity is the opposite of evolution, not evidence for it.

Evidence News 9 July 2008

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