Oldest lamprey larvae found, according to a report in ScienceDaily 14 October 2014, Fossil Science 5 November 2014, and PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1415716111. Lampreys are jawless eel-like fish that have a three phase life cycle, starting out as a larva, then going through a metamorphic stage, and finally becoming an adult. Each of these stages has a different anatomy. Fossils of adult lampreys have been found in Devonian rocks (dated as 360 million years) but fossils of the larval and metamorphic stages had not been found until Chinese palaeontologists found some in Early Cretaceous rocks in Inner Mongolia.

The new fossils are dated as 125 million years, making them the oldest fossil of larval and metamorphic stages of this creature. Lamprey larvae are small and soft, with no hard parts, which means they do not fossilise easily. The new fossils were found in fine grained shale, which has preserved very fine detail, so the paper reports the fossils have been identified as a fossil lamprey species Mesomyzon mangae, and show the three-phase life cycle “emerged essentially in its present mode no later than the Early Cretaceous”.

The larvae and metamorphic lampreys look just like living specimens. Desui Miao, University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute, who was involved in studying the fossils, explained: “Our larvae look modern. The developmental stage is almost identical to today’s lamprey. Before this, we didn’t know how long lampreys have developed via metamorphosis. Now, we know it goes back 125 million years at least. In other words, lampreys haven’t changed much – and that’s very interesting”.

Fossil Science, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Since these Cretaceous fossil lamprey larvae are identical to living lamprey larvae, and the Devonian adults are likewise identical, we have further rock solid evidence that lampreys have not evolved since they were fossilised. As such, lampreys are another example of “living fossil”. Ironically, this term was coined by Charles Darwin who believed that fish, such as lampreys, evolved into amphibians, which moved onto land and eventually turned into people. Darwin admitted in Origin of Species: “Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory”, but he believed evolution would eventually be revealed in the fossils. Darwin’s ‘faith’ prediction that fossils would show his needed change has not been fulfilled. Fossil hunters have simply found more living fossils, showing more creatures that have stayed the same. Better to put your faith in the Revealed Truth of the Genesis record, which tells us living things were created as separate distinct kinds that reproduce after their kinds, because that is what the facts, both fossil and living, actually show. (Ref. ichthyology, jawless fish)

Evidence News vol. 14 No. 19
12 November 2014
Creation Research Australia

For more examples of living fossils see the Creation Research article “Living Fossils” here.