It’s so simple. Life forms just evolved faster back then:
“These seemingly impossibly fast rates of evolution implied by this Cambrian explosion have long been exploited by opponents of evolution. Darwin himself famously considered that this was at odds with the normal evolutionary processes.
“However, because of the notorious imperfection of the ancient fossil record, no-one has been able to accurately measure rates of evolution during this critical interval, often called evolution’s Big Bang.
“In this study we’ve estimated that rates of both morphological and genetic evolution during the Cambrian explosion were five times faster than today — quite rapid, but perfectly consistent with Darwin’s theory of evolution.”
Darwin didn’t think so; he was very much the gradualist. That was the point of his idea. This new suggestion is more like with Stephen Jay Gould’s punk eek (punctuated equilibrium).
This is probably Darwin’s followers’ version of “The rocks aren’t really that old; God just put them there to fool ya.” In this case, it’s “Life just happened faster back then, that’s all.”
Nice try. An interesting facet is the intrusion of a note about “opponents of evolution” into the discussion. That is, one guesses, in part a way of sidelining people who are just plain dubious by slyly implying that they must be “opponents of evolution.”
Here’s Science on “Evolution’s Clock Ticked Faster at the Dawn of Modern Animals”:
The fact that genes and anatomy evolved at roughly the same rate suggest that pressures to adapt and survive in a world of new, complex predators drove both, the authors speculate. Innovations such as exoskeletons, vision, and jaws created new niches and evolution sped up to fill them. Wills agrees that the new research makes this explanation for the Cambrian explosion “look a lot more probable now.”
Here’s the abstract.