The Ediacaran fossils herald a watershed moment in the history of Earth – for the previous four billion years, the oceans had been the preserve of single-celled microbes, yet suddenly they were teeming with new complex life. And what strange life it was. The creatures look nothing like anything seen today.
Some, like the rangeomorphs resembled giant leafy ferns. Others had a bush, or cabbage-like appearance. Many looked like shapeless sacs, or thin, quilted pillows, while others bore a resemblance to enormous sea pens.
“Most Ediacarans are soft bodied and a bit squidgy,” says Simon Darroch, a paleontologist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. “The ability to form shells or skeletons didn’t evolve until the end of the Ediacaran period.”Jasmin Fox-Skelly, “What the earliest life on Earth looked like” at BBC Future
In reality, we don’t know that earlier Ediacarans didn’t “evolve” the ability to form shells or skeletons. True, we haven’t found any yet.
But some of us can’t help remembering the “bombshell” of Neanderthal art. Why was it a bombshell? Because Darwinians had staked a claim on the idea that Neanderthals couldn’t “do” art. Remember, in any Darwinian scheme, someone must be the subhuman. And, they swear, he MUST be back there somewhere…
Possibly, Ediacaran life forms had not evolved the ability to form shells. Alternatively, shells may have been possible but not needed in their environment. Did any Ediacarans have teeth or claws, for example?
The past can be as tricky as the future. Often, it is just as unknown. And Darwinian thinking, relying on Darwinism’s status as a Big Theory for interpreting reality, is always running ahead of the available facts.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips – origin of life What we do and don’t know about the origin of life.