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Creationists refute evolution claims about fossilcomment (0)

April 27, 2006

Not missing a beat, a leading creation science organization responded quickly to the latest well-publicized “missing link” claim by evolutionary researchers.

This time, The New York Times, USA Today and other media outlets trumpeted the discovery of fossils near the North Pole said to belong to a 375-million-year-old fish. The finding by a team of researchers, led by Neil H. Shubin of the University of Chicago, initially was reported in Nature magazine April 6.

In a preliminary response — titled “Gone fishin’ for a missing link?” on its Web site — Answers in Genesis called attention to the “cautionary words being used about this creature.”

“[W]hen you read other tentative wording (e.g., the use of the word ‘may’ in the headline ‘Fossil may link fish, land animal’), then the find is not as firm as evolutionists would lead you to believe,” Answers in Genesis noted.

The fish, known as “Tiktaalik,” “is a long-sought missing link in the evolution of some fishes from water to a life walking on four limbs on land,” as described by The New York Times. Shubin and his fellow researchers claim that Tiktaalik’s fins contain evidence of evolving limbs, digits, elbows and shoulders.

David Menton, an Answers in Genesis lecturer who was a biomedical research technician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., helped craft the creationist rebuttal.

“[Tiktaalik] is not an amphibian or a reptile,” said Menton, who holds a doctorate in cell biology from Brown University in Providence, R.I. “It belongs to a group of fish called lobe-fin fish.”

The lobe-fin fish have bones similar to other vertebrates. Tiktaalik, Menton said, is not unique in having these bones because other lobe-fish, such as “coelacanth” fish, also have them. Evolutionists say the lobe-fin fish became extinct millions of years ago.

Coelacanth, in particular, supposedly vanished 135 million years ago before its hyped 1938 discovery in waters near Madagascar, Menton noted. “It was known in the fossil record a long time before we found a living one,” Menton said. “They are a fish; they do not walk on the land; they use these fins to swim with.” None of the lobe-fin fish, including Tiktaalik, have bones attaching their fins to the axial skeleton, Menton said.

“This means that these limbs would not be weight bearing,” he said. “I don’t believe the fish walked because the fins that are attached to these bones are delicate.”  (BP)

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