School of Fish

Fossil school of fish found and described in Science Alert and Live Science 30 May 2019, and Proceedings of the Royal Society B 29 May 2019 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.0891.

Researchers from Arizona State University and Mizuta Memorial Museum have studied a 57cm x 37.5cm (22.4 x 14.8 inches) slab of “greyish limestone shale” containing the fossils of 259 tiny fish. The fossil slab was found ‘loose’ in a museum collection in Japan, but scientists identified it as from the Green River Formation USA, based on characteristics of the rock and the fish, identified as Erismatopterus levatus, an extinct bony fish known only from Lake Gosiute and Lake Uinta deposits of the Green River Formation. This rock formation contains huge numbers of fossil fish, plants, birds and animals, and is dated as 48 to 53 million years old.

Apart from two fish, all fish in the slab face the same direction in close formation. The research team carefully measured all fish and the way they were arranged, and after using a computer simulation to predict their movement, concluded the fish were swimming in school formation, just as fish do today, when they were suddenly buried. The research team suggested this happened “by sand dune collapse on shallow water, which can produce a bed in only seconds or minutes.”

They also claim their study method of these fish could be applied to other examples of mass death fossils “to better understand palaeoecology and achieve the reconstruction of the evolutionary process behind coordinated collective motion.”

Live Science, Science Alert

Editorial Comment: Time to sort fake facts from real ones! These tiny fish probably were swimming in school formation, but since most living fish do the same, it simply confirms fish have had this behaviour since before that rock formed. This is no surprise to us here since we accept that fish were created as fully functional according to their kinds, so their behaviour was built in from the beginning, as was their physical form and function.

The Green River formation, where they are believed to have come from, is often used as evidence that rock layers take long ages to form because the formation contains many layers of fine strata, claimed to have been laid down as a record of winter and summer pairs called varves. If these fossil fish did come from the Green River Formation, they are good evidence these rock layers did not take millions of years to form. Such excellent preservation with such fine details that enable such accurate measurement, cannot simply be explained by a “sand dune collapse on shallow water”. Both dunes and shallow water are full of air and microbes and rotting would be fast. These fish had to be suddenly and deeply buried in conditions that prevented any degradation of the individual fish as well as any disturbance of their distribution. Furthermore, our own experiments show that fine grained dark/light strata are made by flowing water in a process which happens in minutes. For more details see our report here.

The research team’s careful analysis of these fish may provide a better understanding of animal behaviour in mass death fossils, but we predict it will not reconstruct any evolutionary processes. Come on palaeontologists, admit that fossils of individuals or groups of animals can only tell us what they were like when they were buried! They cannot and do not reveal any evolutionary processes, either behavioural or physical. Furthermore, these fish are extinct – not an evolutionary success story at all! Fess up – real evolutionary changes have never been observed in living creatures, and can never be seen in fossils because fossils are dead.

Evidence News vol. 19, No. 10
12 June 2019
Creation Research Australia

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