Hagfish eyes reverse evolution, according to ScienceDaily 2 August 2016 and Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1151 3 August 2016. Hagfish are eel-like jawless fish with simple eyes that do not have a lens or eye muscles pigment granules in the retina. As such, hagfish eyes were considered to be an evolutionary intermediate between the primitive eyespots and the complex camera eye of vertebrates. Sarah Gabbott from the University of Leicester explained: “To date models of vertebrate eye evolution focus only on living animals and the blind and ‘rudimentary’ hagfish eye was held-up as critical evidence of an intermediate stage in eye evolution. Living hagfish eyes appeared to sit between the simple light sensitive eye ‘spots’ of non-vertebrates and the sophisticated camera-style eyes of lampreys and most other vertebrates”.
Gabbott and colleagues studied a fossil hagfish from Mazon Creek fossil bed, dated as 300 million years old, and found it had fully formed eyes with a lens and melanosomes (pigment granules) in the retina. The researchers studied the pigment in the retina using mass spectrometry, and found it was melanin – the same pigment found in any living vertebrate retina.
According to ScienceDaily, these findings show “fossil hagfish eyes were well-developed, indicating the ancient animal could see, whereas their living counterparts are completely blind after millions of years of eye degeneration – a kind of reverse evolution”. The scientists concluded, “Our data indicate that the eyes of extant (living) hagfishes are degenerate and are not an appropriate model for the evolutionary assembly of the vertebrate eye”.
Gabbott also commented: “Sight is perhaps our most cherished sense but its evolution in vertebrates is enigmatic and a cause célèbre for creationists. We bring new fossil evidence to bear on an iconic evolutionary problem: the early evolution of the vertebrate eye. We will now scrutinize the eyes of other ancient vertebrate fossils to see if we can finally build a picture of the sequence of events that took place in early vertebrate eye evolution”.
Editorial Comment: The eye certainly is enigmatic for evolutionists because evolutionists simply cannot explain how blind chance made a seeing eye. Any picture they build of an evolutionary sequence of eyes is based on faith, not observation, as no-one has seen a simple light sensitive eyespot change into a complex eye, but many have observed the loss of vision by degeneration.
They also face the dilemma that even if evolutionists are able to find vertebrate fossils with primitive eye spots and others with fully formed eyes, it actually does not show that one developed into the other, for it only ever proves palaeontologists can arrange fossils according to their already held belief that simple structures evolved into complex structures.
The research team’s conclusion that hagfish are degenerate is correct, but this is the opposite of evolution. The discovery of a fossil hagfish with a fully formed eye, when living hagfish are blind, fits perfectly with the Biblical history of the world. In the beginning the world was very good, filled with complex, fully formed, functioning creatures, but as the world has degenerated many creatures have lost structures and functions and many have died out altogether.
And don’t miss the line: “Gabbott also commented: “Sight is perhaps our most cherished sense but its evolution in vertebrates is enigmatic and a cause célèbre for creationists””. (Ref. cyclostomes, degeneration, optics)
Evidence News vol. 16 No. 15
17 August 2016
Creation Research Australia