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Cambrian Math

I was looking at some numbers concerning the Cambrian explosion.  The results were quite stunning to me.

Simple life, we are told, emerged 3.8 billion years ago, and the Cambrian Explosion occurred 550 million years ago.  In a single 10 million year period (taking the longest estimate), 95% of the animal phyla appeared.  The math:

For the first 85% of the history of life there was no significant animal life.

Almost all animal life arose in only the last 15% of the history of life.

Indeed, 95% of animal phyla arose in a length of time that is only one forth of one percent of the history of life (0.25%).

If the entire history of life were 3,800 years long, almost all of the animal phyla would have arisen in a single decade of those 3.8 millenia.

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27 Responses to Cambrian Math

  1. That concurs with my sense of the matter, Barry. One minor qualification: the “Cambrian Explosion” marked the emergence of 95% of those animal phyla that are still around today. That qualification is needed because there are earlier fossil indications of other phyla that have no contemporary representatives. Such is the case with the so-called “Ediacara fauna.” And of course there are traces of bilaterians prior to the “Cambrian Explosion” itself.

  2. I am on the fence when it comes to Young Earth or not. I have always leaned towards Young Earth, but I am too intellectual to just accept it outright. I am studying Hebrew right now, and one reason is so I can see for myself what Genesis really seems to be saying. I expect that will take me no more than say, 10 years. But I am doing it.

    So do you think the Cambrian explosion would be more supportive of a young earth than not? If not, why not?

    And someone asked why I had posted a link about Ron Paul earlier. I think Ron Paul’s campaign is very good for us ID proponents. He plans to abolish the Department of Education so they can not enforce a curriculum on schools. He’s also a Doctor. Though I have no proof, I would imagine Ron Paul would be very much in favor of ID being taught in schools as an alternative to origins. So I was not spamming the forum. So again, here’s a link to a video about him. And might I add, that I am NOT America, and can not vote, so I think I have some level of objectivity in the way I look at the current candidates that an American might not have. And I care, because I live here, even if I am not a citizen. It’s worth 9 minutes of your time to watch.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG2PUZoukfA

  3. iPod: While the Cambrian Explosion is an important aspect of the history of life, it just isn’t that important when it comes to determining the age of the Earth (at least when it’s 6,000 years vs. 4.3 billion). There are dozens (if not hundreds) of independent lines of evidence for an old Earth (and an even older Universe) that have nothing to do with fossils.

    Regarding Ron Paul, you are correct in that, as a Libertarian, his vision for America is one with little or no federal government involvement. But it is the courts are the ones blocking the teaching of ID as science in public schools, not the federal government. If all schools were private, I guess they would then be exempt, but I doubt that the states would abolish their public school systems just because the DoE was disposed of.

    In any case (a) Ron Paul won’t come close to winning and (b) that’s just as well since his brand of Libertarianism would be a disaster for this country.

  4. The definitive work on the Cambrian Explosion is James Valentine’s book the “Origin of the Phyla”, which he named to mimic Darwin’s book “Origin of the Species.”

    Valentine is on record several times saying that Darwinian processes could no account for the origin of the phyla. Instead he hypothesizes some process that made massive changes to the genome to create the various phyla. He is also on record that subsequent evolution is consistent with a Darwinian view point.

    To understand the implications of the Cambrian Explosion the terms “diversity and disparity” have to be compared.

    The fossils in the Cambrian are an example of disparity or complete unlikeness to other fossil examples. Darwinian processes would predict a common descendant and a gradual divergence from this common descendant but non exist in the Cambrian excavations. Even fossils of the same phyla are often widely different from each other and not slight variations within the phyla. These are all sea creatures since land animals did not appear for about 100 my later.

    All the current eyes appeared during the Cambrian Explosion and so did a lot of the irreducibly complexity in Behe’s book. All the hox genes and other genes necessary for laying out body parts appeared in the Cambrian Explosion and all happened in a very short time geologically speaking.

  5. Some quotes and thoughts on the overall fossil record:

    “Yet, here is the real puzzle of the Cambrian Explosion for the theory of evolution. All the known phyla (large categories of biological classification), except one, first appear in the Cambrian period. There are no ancestors. There are no intermediates. Fossil experts used to think that the Cambrian lasted 75 million years…. Eventually the Cambrian was shortened to only 30 million years. If that wasn’t bad enough, the time frame of the real work of bringing all these different creatures into existence was shortened to the first five to ten million years of the Cambrian. This is extraordinarily fast! Harvard’s Stephen Jay Gould stated, “Fast is now a lot faster than we thought, and that is extraordinarily interesting.” What an understatement! “Extraordinarily impossible” might be a better phrase! …. The differences between the creatures that suddenly appear in the Cambrian are enormous. In fact these differences are so large many of these animals are one of a kind. Nothing like them existed before and nothing like them has ever appeared again.” Evolution’s Big Bang; Dr. Raymond G. Bohlin, University of Illinois (B.S., zoology), North Texas State University (M.S., population genetics), University of Texas at Dallas (M.S., Ph.D., molecular biology).

    The “real work” of the beginning of the Cambrian explosion may in actuality be as short as a two to three million year time frame (Ross: Creation as Science 2006). If this blatant, out of nowhere, appearance of all the different phyla was not bad enough for naturalists, the fossil record shows that there was actually more variety of phyla at the end of the Cambrian explosion than there is today due to extinction.

    “A simple way of putting it is that currently we have about 38 phyla of different groups of animals, but the total number of phyla discovered during the Cambrian explosion (including those in China, Canada, and elsewhere) adds up to over 50 phyla. (Actually the number 50 was first quoted as over 100 for a while, but then the consensus became 50-plus.) That means there are more phyla in the very, very beginning, where we found the first fossils, than exist now.” “Also, the animal explosion caught people’s attention when the Chinese confirmed they found a genus now called Yunnanzoon that was present in the very beginning of the Cambrian explosion. This genus is considered a chordate, and the phylum Chordata includes fish, mammals and man. An evolutionist would say the ancestor of humans was present then. Looked at more objectively, you could say the most complex animal group, the chordates, were represented at the very beginning, and they did not go through a slow gradual evolution to become a chordate.” Dr. Paul Chien PhD., chairman of the biology department at the University of San Francisco, Dr. Chien also possesses the largest collection of Chinese Cambrian fossils in North America.

    http://members.cox.net/wwcw/q-evol4.html

    The evolutionary theory would have us believe we should have more phyla today due to ongoing evolutionary processes. The hard facts of science betray the naturalists once again. The naturalist stamps his feet and says the evidence for the fossils transmutation into radically new forms is out there somewhere; we just have not found it yet. To justify this belief, naturalists will often say that soft bodied fossils were not preserved in the Cambrian fossil record, so transitional fossils were just not recorded in the fossil record in the first place. Yet, the Chinese Cambrian fossil record is excellent in its preservation of delicate – ied fossils that clearly show much of the detail of the body structures of these first creatures. So the problem for naturalists has not been alleviated. In fact the problem has become much worse. As Dr. Ray Bohlin stated, some of these recently discovered fossils are extremely unique and defy any sort of transitional scenario to any other fossils found during the Cambrian explosion. In spite of this crushing evidence found in the Cambrian explosion, our naturalistic friend continues to imagine that all life on earth descended from a common ancestor and continues to imagine missing links with every new fossil discovery that makes newspaper headlines. Yet, the true story of life since the Cambrian explosion, that is actually told by the fossil record itself, tells a very different story than the imaginative tales found in naturalistic newspaper accounts. Where the story of life, since the Cambrian explosion, is extremely clear to read is in the sea creatures who fossilize quickly in ocean sediments. We find fossils in the fossil record that appear suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, fully-formed. They have no apparent immediate evolutionary predecessor. They, just, appear suddenly in the fossil record unique and fully-formed. This is exactly what one would expect from an infinitely powerful and transcendent Creator continually introducing new life-forms on earth. Even more problematic for the naturalists is the fact once a fossil suddenly appears in the fossil record it remains surprisingly stable in its basic structure for as long as it is found in the fossil record. The fossil record can offer not even one clear example of transition from one fossil form to another fossil form out of millions of collected fossils. Some sea creatures, such as certain sharks which are still alive today, have unchanging fossil records going back hundreds of millions of years to when they first suddenly appeared in the fossil record without a predecessor.

    “Now, after over 120 years of the most extensive and painstaking geological exploration of every continent and ocean bottom, the picture is infinitely more vivid and complete than it was in 1859. Formations have been discovered containing hundreds of billions of fossils and our museums now are filled with over 100 million fossils of 250,000 different species. The availability of this profusion of hard scientific data should permit objective investigators to determine if Darwin was on the right track. What is the picture which the fossils have given us? … The gaps between major groups of organisms have been growing even wider and more undeniable. They can no longer be ignored or rationalized away with appeals to imperfection of the fossil record.” Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma (1988), Fossils and Other Problems, 4th edition, Master Books, p. 9

    “The evidence we find in the geological record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be …. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin’s time … so Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated”. Evolutionist David Raup, Curator of Geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History

    “… Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” George Gaylord Simpson (evolutionist), The Major Features of Evolution, New York, Columbia University Press, 1953 p. 360.

    “No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It seems never to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change over millions of years, at a rate too slow to really account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.” – Niles Eldredge , “Reinventing Darwin: The Great Evolutionary Debate,” 1996, p.95

    “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.” Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Harvard University and the leading spokesman for evolutionary theory in America prior to his recent .

    As you can see, the fossil record is overwhelmingly characterized by suddenness and stability. For creatures who have lived in the ocean this fact is extremely clear, because their bones are fossilized in the ocean sediments very quickly. Unfortunately for land creatures, the fossil record is much harder to properly discern due to the rapid disintegration of animals who die on land. The large variety of hominid (man or ape-like) fossils that we do have piece-meal records of are characterized by overlapping histories of “distinctively different and stable” hominid species during the entire time, and the entire geography, each hominid species is found in the fossil record. There is never a transition between ANY of the different hominid species no matter where, or in what era, the hominid fossils are found.

    “If pressed about man’s ancestry, I would have to unequivocally say that all we have is a huge question mark. To date, there has been nothing found to truthfully purport as a transitional species to man, including Lucy, since 1470 was as old and probably older. If further pressed, I would have to state that there is more evidence to suggest an abrupt arrival of man rather than a gradual process of evolving”. Richard Leakey, world’s foremost paleo-anthropologist, in a PBS documentary, 1990.

  6. Isn’t amazing what natural selection can produce so quickly?!!

    Darwinists know that the Cambrian Explosion is anti-Darwinian by the simple fact that they are usually silent on that.

  7. bornagain77, thanks for the additional data.

    ellazimm wonders if I am trying to “provoke a certain reaction.” The answer is yes, of course I am. I am trying to provoke a sober reassessment of the NDS in the glaring light of data that is utterly irreconcilable with it. I suggest the numbers to which I refer on their face should provoke that reassessment. But those numbers, as bornagain77 points out, are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Cambrian Explosion problems for the NDS.

  8. Mats,

    You said: “Darwinists know that the Cambrian Explosion is anti-Darwinian by the simple fact that they are usually silent on that.”

    Au contraire, my friend.

    The literature in evolutionary biology is rich and expanding constantly with an active discussion on the Cambrian Explosion, including why some of the data are problematic for a Darwinian account. If we want ID to be taken seriously, we have to resist the unfortunate tendency to speak out before reading up.

    A good place to begin is here:

    Conway Morris, S (2006). Darwin’s dilemma: the realities of the Cambrian explosion. Phil. Transact. Royal Soc:Bio Sciences, Vol 361, No.1470, 1069-1083.

  9. I love this thread. Finally we are back into the science of it all.

    Ellazim:

    Barry, I’m guessing you’re going to say that seems like not enough time but you haven’t yet provided any data to make this more than just an argument from incredulity.

    This is an argument from incredulity. Does a scientific theory not have to be credible? When the neo-Darwinists can show a mechanism that makes this phenomenon credible, then the argument from incredulity will vanish.

    However, there is an additional issue here — that the phila event happened once, then nature seemed to have forgotten how to do phila. After that the class event happened. Nature unfolded top-down, rather than bottom up as the neo-Darwinian theory would surmise. This is consistant with an extensively forward-thinking designer. This is a positive case for ID.

    Michael Behe is being told by reviewers that he got some of the science wrong so let’s make sure to present the data fairly and not just try to provoke a certain reaction.

    I don’t care how careful we are, there will always be some who find “holes” in the argument. However, as mentioned in a previous thread, why are the critics just ignoring Behe’s primary case — that of the many generations of malaria that have been unable to produce an IC solution to man’s pesticides.

    We don’t need to be so scientifically perfect that someone can’t pick at nits — alas, we can’t be. If we are that afraid of criticism, we may as well give up.

  10. BarryA said,

    In a single 10 million year period (taking the longest estimate), 95% of the animal phyla appeared.

    I think maybe your sentence isn’t complete; it should read “…95% of the animal phyla appear in the fossil record,” no? It makes a difference, as there is no reason to assume that soft-bodied precambrian fauna would fossilize.

  11. Mickey writes: “It makes a difference, as there is no reason to assume that soft-bodied precambrian fauna would fossilize.”

    Are you suggesting that soft bodied fauna (whether pre or post Cambrian) don’t fossilize? If so, you are simply mistaken.

  12. Barry asked,

    Are you suggesting that soft bodied fauna (whether pre or post Cambrian) don’t fossilize? If so, you are simply mistaken.

    No, but soft-bodied organisms are far less likely to fossilize.

  13. BarryA,

    The math essentially tells us this: life evolved in 10 million years.

    All arguments that appeal to “deep time” and allow for 100′s of millions of years to develop what we see today are nonsense. The bricks and mortar of what physically makes us what we are was done in those 10 million years (chordates). The meat and potatoes of life was done, and it’s just been the addition of a little gravy since then.

  14. StuartHarris writes: “The meat and potatoes of life was done, and it’s just been the addition of a little gravy since then.”

    BarryA replies: I suddenly have the urge to go get a snack.

  15. Mickey Bitsko you stated:

    No, but -soft Bo^d^ied organisms are far less likely to fossilize.

    Naturalists/Evolutionists, such as Peter Ward in “Rare Earth”, have had to try to interpret the chemical signatures in the geologic record, prior to the Cambrian Explosion, to an evolutionary perspective, as a last defense of their assertion that evolution was happening prior to the Cambrian Explosion. But we have our own Chemical Signatures that support ID and soundly trump their fanciful conjectures:

    we will look at the evidence for the first appearance of life on earth. As well we will also look at the chemical activity of the first life on earth. Once again, the presumption of naturalistic blind chance being the only reasonable cause must be dealt with. It is commonly presumed in many grade school textbooks that life slowly arose in a primordial ocean of pre-biotic soup. Yet, there is absolutely no hard evidence, such as chemical signatures in the geologic record, indicating that a ocean of this pre-biotic soup ever existed. The hard physical evidence scientists have discovered in the geologic record is stunning in its support of the anthropic hypothesis. The oldest sedimentary rocks on earth, known to science, originated underwater (and thus in relatively cool environs) 3.86 billion years ago. Those sediments, which are exposed at Isua in southwestern Greenland, also contain the earliest chemical evidence (fingerprint) of “photosynthetic” life [Nov. 7, 1996, Nature]. This evidence has been fought by naturalists, since it is totally contrary to their evolutionary theory. Yet, Danish scientists were able to bring forth another line of geological evidence to substantiate the primary line of geological evidence for photo-synthetic life in the earth’s earliest known sedimentary rocks (Indications of Oxygenic Photosynthesis,” Earth and Planetary Science Letters 6907 (2003). Thus we have two lines of hard conclusive evidence for photo-synthetic life in the oldest known sedimentary rocks ever found by scientists on earth! The simplest photosynthetic bacterial life on earth is exceedingly complex, too complex to happen by even if the primeval oceans had been full of pre-biotic soup. (note: life at hydro-thermal vents is proven to require oxygen for metabolism, thus photosynthetic life which has produced free oxygen on earth is required to precede them by the evidence we now have available). Thus, naturalists try to suggest pan-spermia (the theory that pre-biotic amino acids, or life itself, came to earth from outer-space on comets) to account for this sudden appearance of life on earth. This theory has several problems. One problem is that astronomers, using spectral analysis, have not found any vast reservoirs of biological molecules anywhere they have looked in the universe. Another problem is, even if comets were nothing but pre-biotic amino acid snowballs, how are the amino acids going to molecularly survive the furnace-like temperatures generated when the comet crashes into the earth? If the pre-biotic molecules were already a life-form on the comet, how could this imagined life-form survive the extremely harsh environment of space for many millions of years, not to mention the fiery crash into the earth? Did this imagined super-cell wear a cape like superman?

    From 3.8 to .6 billion years ago photosynthetic bacteria, and to a lesser degree sulfate-reducing bacteria, ted the geologic and fossil record (that’s over 80% of the entire time life has existed on earth). The geologic and fossil record also reveals that during this time a large portion of these very first bacterial life-forms lived in complex symbiotic (mutually beneficial) colonies called Stromatolites. Stromatolites are rock like structures that the photo-synthetic bacteria built up over many years (much like coral reefs are slowly built up over many years by the tiny creatures called corals). Although Stromatolites are not nearly as widespread as they once were, they are still around today in a few sparse places like Shark’s Bay Australia. Contrary to what naturalistic thought would expect, these very first photosynthetic bacteria scientists find in the geologic and fossil record are shown to have been preparing the earth for more advanced life to appear from the very start of their existence by reducing the greenhouse gases of earth’s early atmosphere and producing the necessary oxygen for higher life-forms to exist. Photosynthetic bacteria slowly built the oxygen up in the earth’s atmosphere by removing the carbon-dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) from the atmosphere; separated the carbon from the oxygen; then released the oxygen back into the atmosphere (and into the earth’s ocean & crust) while they retained the carbon. Interestingly, the gradual removal of greenhouse gases corresponds exactly to the gradual 15% increase of light and heat coming from the sun during that time (Ross; PhD. Astrophysics; Creation as Science 2006). This “lucky” correspondence of the slow increase of heat from the sun with the same perfectly timed slow removal of greenhouse gases from the earth’s atmosphere was absolutely necessary for the bacteria to continue to live to do their work of preparing the earth for more advanced life to appear. Bacteria obviously depended on the temperature of the earth to remain relatively stable during the billions of years they prepared the earth for higher life forms to appear. More interesting still, the byproducts of greenhouse gas removal by these early bacteria are limestone, marble, gypsum, phosphates, sand, and to a lesser extent, coal, oil and natural gas (note; though some coal, oil and natural gas are from this early era of bacterial life, most coal, oil and natural gas deposits originated on earth after the Cambrian explosion of higher life forms some 540 million years ago). These natural resources produced by these early photosynthetic bacteria are very useful to modern civilizations. Interestingly, while the photo-synthetic bacteria were reducing greenhouse gases and producing natural resources that would be of benefit to modern man, the sulfate-reducing bacteria were also producing their own natural resources that would be very useful to modern man. Sulfate-reducing bacteria helped prepare the earth for advanced life by “detoxifying” the primeval earth and oceans of “poisonous” levels of heavy metals while depositing them as relatively inert metal ore deposits (iron, zinc, magnesium, lead etc.. etc..). To this day, sulfate-reducing bacteria maintain an essential minimal level of these metals in the ecosystem that are high enough so as to be available to the biological systems of the higher life forms that need them, yet low enough so as not to be poisonous to those very same higher life forms. Needless to say, the metal ores deposited by these sulfate-reducing bacteria in the early history of the earth’s geologic record are indispensable to man’s rise above the stone age to modern civilization. Yet even more evidence has been found tying other early types of bacterial life to the anthropic hypothesis. Many different types of bacteria in earths early history lived in complex symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationships in what are called cryptogamic colonies on the earths primeval continents. These colonies “dramatically” transformed the “primeval land” into “nutrient filled soils” that were receptive for future advanced vegetation to appear. Naturalism has no answers for why all these different bacterial types and colonies found in the geologic and fossil record would start working in precise concert with each other preparing the earth for future life to appear. -// Since oxygen readily reacts and bonds with almost all of the solid elements making up the earth itself, it took photosynthetic bacteria over 3 billion years before the earth’s crust and mantle was saturated with enough oxygen to allow an excess of oxygen to be built up in the atmosphere. Once this was accomplished, higher life forms could finally be introduced on earth. Moreover, scientists find the rise in oxygen percentages in the geologic record to correspond exactly to the sudden appearance of large animals in the fossil record that depended on those particular percentages of oxygen. The geologic record shows a 10% oxygen level at the time of the Cambrian explosion of higher life-forms in the fossil record some 540 million years ago. The geologic record also shows a strange and very quick rise from the 17% oxygen level, of 50 million years ago, to a 23% oxygen level 40 million years ago (Falkowski 2005)). This strange rise in oxygen levels corresponds exactly to the appearance of large mammals in the fossil record who depend on high oxygen levels. Interestingly, for the last 10 million years the oxygen percentage has been holding steady around 21%. 21% happens to be the exact percentage that is of maximum biological utility for humans to exist. If the oxygen level were only a few percentage lower, large mammals would become severely hampered in their ability to metabolize energy; if only three to four percentage higher, there would be uncontrollable outbreaks of fire across the land. Because of this basic chemical requirement of photosynthetic bacterial life establishing and helping maintain the proper oxygen levels for higher life forms on any earth-like planet, this gives us further reason to believe the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support intelligent life in this universe. All these preliminary studies of early life on earth fall right in line with the anthropic hypothesis and have no explanation from any naturalistic theory based on blind chance as to why the very first bacterial life found in the fossil record would suddenly, from the very start of their appearance on earth, start working in precise harmony with each other to prepare the earth for future life to appear. Nor can naturalism explain why, once the bacteria had helped prepare the earth for higher life forms, they continue to work in precise harmony with each other to help maintain the proper balanced conditions that are of primary benefit for the complex life that is above them. -// Though it is impossible to reconstruct the DNA of these earliest bacteria fossils, that scientists find in the fossil record, and compare them to their descendants of today, there are many ancient bacterium fossils recovered from salt crystals and amber crystals that have been compared to their living descendents of today. Some bacterium fossils, in salt crystals, dating back as far as 250 million years have had their DNA recovered, sequenced and compared to their offspring of today (Vreeland RH, 2000 Nature). Scientists accomplished this using a technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). To the disbelieving shock of many scientists, both ancient and modern bacteria were found to have the almost exact DNA sequence.

    “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.” Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland ; (The Paradox of the “Ancient” Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes)

    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../19/9/1637

  16. This post, along with DaveScot’s post about genetic entropy really strike at the heart of darwinism. It kills me when I see darwinists appealing to the magical time fairy when in truth, the majority of life has come about quite recently, so to speak. This is not hidden knowledge, yet darwinism still has the monopoly. Very disheartening to see science held ransom like this.

  17. Stuart Harris is right on the money!

    I never thought about the explosion that way.

    Its also good to note IDers disagree amongst themselves and use science *gasp* to help sharpen each other

  18. Mickey Bitsko, “No, but soft-bodied organisms are far less likely to fossilize.”

    I understand that the Chengjiang, China site contains vivid detail of soft body parts in the early cambrian. I also understand that the site crosses the boundary from precambrian to cambrian. This site, I believe, abolishes the “soft-bodied” argument.

  19. 19

    bFast,

    I don’t see a contradiction between what I wrote and the fact that soft-bodied organisms do fossilize.

  20. I’ll re-emphasize my point. So much happened in those 10 million pre-Cambrian years that it’s really the only period of evolution worth discussing.

    Anybody who avoids it is just admitting they don’t have a mechanism that can explain evolution.

  21. StuartHarris:
    To add to my previous post, it seems clear that a lot of stuff was “geochemically” happening on the earth immediately prior to the Cambrian explosion, which clearly seems to be in preparation for higher life forms to appear… (unless the bacteria and chemicals producing these changes are clairvoyant this preparation is impossible to reconcile to an evolutionary scenario)

    http://www.reasons.org/resourc.....0605.shtml

    Biological and geochemical causes of an increase in atmospheric oxygen before the Cambrian explosion reveal fine-tuning in Earth’s biosphere. The larger complex animals that arrived suddenly ~550 million years ago (during the Cambrian explosion) required an increase in atmospheric oxygen (which occurred around 600 million years ago) to survive. A team of scientists has provided evidence that a more abundant and diverse land-based biosphere fundamentally changed the weathering cycle of continental land masses. Consequently, an increase in clays provided more efficient burial of carbon, which otherwise reacts with oxygen. So, the production of these clays caused an increase in atmospheric oxygen immediately preceding the advent of larger complex animals. Such sequencing corroborates RTB’s creation model, wherein a supernatural Creator timed the geological, biological, and astronomical processes precisely to prepare Earth for advanced life, particularly human life

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/...../5766/1446

  22. Hi everyone,

    the discussion about Cambrian explosion does ever and ever point to the MAIN BASIC question. Does the darwinian mechanism have the inherent power to build new biological structures with a more than trivial addition?

    Apparently our “friend” PZ Myers seems to be more and more sure about. Have you looked at your last “achievement” about evolution of clocks? Speaking for myself I’ve found it quite silly: an useless example that is based on trivial improvements and the complete bypass of how something like reproduction could be actually done by the gears stuff. Anyway I would like to know your detailed opinions about his claims.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyn....._watch.php

  23. An interesting thing is that during the Cambrian period the earth was positioned in the galactic arm of the milky way and since that time has drifted out so that it in the relatively clear area between the galactic arms.

    During the Cambrian there was probably much more radiation hitting the earth then there is today since the solar system was surrounded in the galactic arm by a large number of other solar systems whereas today the earth is fairly isolated.

    I have no ideas how this affected life on earth but it may mean that mutation rates were much higher several hundred million years ago with this higher amount of radiation.

  24. Mickey Bitsko, if soft-bodied fossils were not found during the precambrian/cambrian transition, it would be reasonable to argue that we have a poor picture of this point of time because soft-bodies don’t easily fossilize. However, because these difficult to fossilize organisms happened to fossilize with high resolution in the Chengjiang site, we have a good picture of the transition. Because we have this picture, the “not good at fossilizing” argument is moot.

    BTW, it is rather amazing that the Ghengjiang site happens to exist. In “The Privileged Planet”, Gonzalez suggests that our planet was positioned for discovery. Could it be tha the Chengjiang site came to be because the designer wants us to be able to discover? This amazing few million years could be far more poorly documented.

  25. Can ID tell us anything about the Cambrian explosion? It would be nice to have some details that explain the observations.

  26. Thank you, Patrick, for the link to the article.

    I followed that link back to the original one on PLoS ONE and was a little confused by what it said versus the intent of this blog post. The linked article suggests that diversity and complexity of jellyfish existed before the Cambrian “explosion” and that they are quite older than previously thought.

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