Posted by: Rob Lester | March 7, 2011

Cambrian Explosion gives way to Ediacaran Explosion

The Cambrian Explosion refers to the apparently abrupt appearance of complex animals in the fossil record within the Cambrian Period, from about 542 to 490 million years ago. “In On the Origin of Species, Darwin posited that ‘during these vast, yet quite unknown, periods of time, the world swarmed with living creatures.’ But he admitted candidly, ‘To the question why we do not find records of these vast primordial periods, I can give no satisfactory answer.’” A NY Times Science News article from July of 2010 tells how new fossil discoveries may answer long-held questions about what might have happened before that period. In 1946, Australian paleontologist  Reginald Sprigg found the first fossils from what would come to be known as the Ediacaran Period. It stretches from 635 to 542 million years ago, and is the first new geological period to be named in more than a century. “Sprigg noticed some striking disc-shaped impressions up to four inches in diameter on the exposed surfaces of rocks nearby. He interpreted the patterns as the fossil remains of soft-bodied creatures like jellyfish or their relatives. But when Sprigg first showed the imprints to leading authorities, they dismissed them as artifacts made by the weathering of the rocks. Sprigg was excited by both the unusual appearance of the fossils and by their age…But despite their potential importance, Sprigg’s discoveries were ignored at an international geology meeting and his paper describing the fossils was rejected by the leading journal.”  So, we see the “reputable scientists” of the day dismissing new evidence and theories which contradict their comfortably held beliefs—much like Neo-Darwinism  today. Only here it is evolution that did the challenging. That kind of discovery would be heralded by evolutionists today, but not creation theories or evidence supporting it. Why the double-standard? The article admits more problems: “But finding these fossils has posed many new mysteries. Many of the creatures are so unlike modern forms that deciphering what they are and how they lived continues to challenge paleontologists. Prof. Andrew Knoll of Harvard University has likened the Ediacaran forms to a paleontological “Rorschach” test because different scientists often interpret the same fossil very differently.” Exactly the same problem we have today. Scientists each see what they want to see. Except this scientific disagreement and debate is glossed over in order to present a unified front against creation. “The Ediacaran fossil record thus stretches the origins of animals to well before the Cambrian Explosion. But it also raises the question of why, after more than 2.5 billion years during which microscopic life dominated the planet, larger, more complex, forms emerged at that time?” So we have only traded the Cambrian explosion for the Ediacaran Explosion. What came before that? And before that? Maybe one day they will get all the way back to Genesis.

 Carroll, Sean. “Translating Stories of Life Forms Etched in Stone.” New York Time Science News 7/26/10



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