Chinese treasure trove of exquisite fossils found, according to reports in National Geographic 21 March 2019, BBC News 24 March 2019 and Science 22 March 2019 doi: 10.1126/science.aau8800.

Scientists in China have collected over 20,000 fossils including worms, jellyfish, sea anemones, small segmented invertebrates, and algae, preserved in rock near the Danshui river in Hubei province, and dated as 518 million years old, making them part of the “Cambrian explosion” – a period in the evolutionary timetable when they allege all major animal phyla came into being.  The fossils are exquisitely preserved, showing details of skin, eyes, and internal organs.

Robert Gaines, a geologist who took part in the study, told the BBC the fossils were remarkable because “the majority of creatures are soft-bodied organisms like jellyfish and worms that normally stand no chance of becoming fossilised”. The research team suggest the fossils were preserved by being rapidly buried in sediment during a storm which caused sediment carrying the creatures to flow down into a low oxygen (anoxic) environment.

A summary in Science reads: “The fossils are pristine and untouched by metamorphism or weathering, making them exceptionally good candidates for studying the fossilization processes that preserved the tissues in such extraordinary detail.”

One of the unexpected finds was specimens of kinorhynchs, small segmented invertebrates known as “mud dragons”. Today these are tiny creatures, approximately 1mm long that live in marine sediments.  The researchers found “at least three new kinorhynchlike taxa with lengths of up to 4 cm, which seem to have lived on the seafloor rather than buried within it.”

BBC, National Geographic

Editorial Comment: The scientists are correct about needing a rapid burial in a low oxygen environment to preserve the creatures found in this fossil bed.  Anyone who has seen soft squashy jellyfish stranded on the beach when the tide recedes will appreciate how quickly they decay and lose their structure.  Slow gradual processes will not preserve them with the exquisite detail intact as seen in these fossils.  Furthermore, it takes more than an ordinary storm surge to bury over 20,000 creatures deeply, even if they are relatively small.  It is interesting that evolutionary scientists are prepared to believe one storm event buried these creatures, but then claim the fossil site remained “pristine and untouched by metamorphism or weathering” for 518 million years.  A more recent flood deposit would be a more liable to survive untouched by metamorphism etc.

The giant mud dragons are also interesting. At 4cm (1.5in) they may not seem like giants, but compared with their present-day tiny descendants they are.  From 4cm to 1mm is a forty-fold shrinkage.  That is change, but it is not evolution, and fits with the overall shrinkage seen in many invertebrates when comparing living specimens with fossils.  In fact, the number and size of specimens in the so-called Cambrian Explosion strata is a reminder of how much the world is degenerating rather than evolving.  The Cambrian Explosion is given this name because Cambrian rocks contain enormous numbers of diverse and fascinating creatures that do not exist in rocks classified as Pre-Cambrian.  According to evolution these creatures evolved so fast that they appear as fully formed in the fossil record without any obvious ancestors.  This is a belief purely based on faith as any pre-Cambrian creatures then found in Cambrian rocks remain unchanged while the others have disappeared. A better explanation is that these are fossils of creatures made in separate kinds, as fully functional creatures, then exceedingly rapidly buried to preserve their soft parts.  Sadly, many have since died out.  Again, this is change, but not evolution.  Instead, it is a reminder that the original very good world that God made has suffered loss due to human sin and God’s judgement.

Evidence News vol. 19, No. 6
11 April 2019
Creation Research Australia

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