Tree shrews evolve slowly, according to an article in Scientific Reports doi: 10.1038/srep18627, published online 14 January 2016. Two Chinese scientists have studied fossilised jaw fragments and teeth found in Yunnan Province, China, which they have identified as belonging to a tree shrew that is “strikingly similar” to a living tree shrew named Ptilocercus lowii. The fossils have been given the name Ptilocercus kylin. Kylin refers to the place where the fossils were found.

The fossils are dated as 34 million years old, almost twice as old as the previous oldest fossil tree shrew. According to the scientists, “It demonstrates that Ptilocercus tree shrews have undergone little evolutionary change in their morphology since the early Oligocene”. They go on to say, “This discovery provides an exceptional example of slow morphological evolution in a mammalian group over a period of 34 million years”. Their report is entitled: “An early Oligocene fossil demonstrates tree shrews are slowly evolving ‘living fossils’”.

Living Ptilocercus tree shrews inhabit the rainforests of southeast Asia, where they have a symbiotic pollinator relationship with the bertam palm. The fossils were found in a more northerly region and much colder region of Asia. The researchers suggest their fossil indicates rainforest environments were more widespread in the past.

Scientific Reports

Editorial Comment: These finds do not indicate tree shrews are evolving slowly. They are evidence that tree shrews are not evolving at all, and by calling them ‘living fossils’ the scientists are admitting this. The older the scientists want to claim the fossils to be, the more the fossils prove that tree shrews have multiplied after their kind, just as Genesis says.

The scientists are right in their comment about rainforests being more widespread in the past. The fossil record of plants indicates the world was once covered with lush vegetation. Genesis tells us the world was originally created very good, but the environment was devastated after Noah’s flood and extremes of climate set in after that, which meant there were fewer places for palm trees to grow, and therefore fewer places for an animal that lives on palm nectar and pollen to live. This is not the evolution of an environment, it is degeneration, and a reminder that we live in a world that is going downhill, not evolving upwards. (Ref. mammals, degeneration, after kind)

Evidence News vol 16, No.2
10 February 2016
Creation Research Australia