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Fossils of Australasian tree unexpectedly found in South America

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The giant coniferous tree’s fossils date from 52 million years ago. Current representatives of the tropical Agathis no longer thrive in (now) cold, wet Patagonia.

From ScienceDaily:

“These spectacular fossils reveal that Agathis is old and had a huge range that no one knew about — from Australia to South America across Antarctica,” said Peter Wilf, professor of geoscience, Penn State.

According to the researchers, the Argentinian fossil Agathis clearly belongs to the same natural group as those living today up to almost 10,000 miles away in the tropical West Pacific.

“Agathis is a very dramatic example of survival via huge range shifts, from the far south to the tropics, in response to climate change and land movement over millions of years,” said Wilf. “It is not clear that Agathis can adapt to the severely more rapid human-induced pressures it is experiencing now from deforestation, selective logging and climate change.”

24 Replies to “Fossils of Australasian tree unexpectedly found in South America

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    A few related notes:

    Oldest Fossilized Forest: Entire Fossil Forest Dating Back 385 Million Years Unearthed – March, 2012

    Professor Stein states in the following video at the 4:47 minute mark;

    “We are dealing with plants that are ‘impossibly old’, 387 million years old!”


    World’s Oldest Fossilized Forest Unearthed in NY – video

    Earliest fossil forests were complex – David Tyler – March 2012
    Excerpt: The most significant element of this complexity is the “bifacial vascular cambium” that is found in so-called ‘modern’ trees today. The term refers to the way the central cambium divides to give off water conducting wood towards the inside and food conducting wood towards the outside (the inner layers of the bark). Although Aneurophylates are already known from other Devonian deposits, this is the time they have been shown to have secondary wood typical of both hardwood and softwood trees. Therefore two important features of ‘modern’ trees – bifacial cambium and secondary thickening – were present in the Devonian Period.

    Flowering Plant Big Bang:
    “Flowering plants today comprise around 400,000 species,“To think that the burst that gave rise to almost all of these plants occurred in less than 5 million years is pretty amazing – especially when you consider that flowering plants as a group have been around for at least 130 million years.” Pam Soltis, curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

    Thank God for Flowers – Hugh Ross – August 2010
    Excerpt: Paleontologist Kevin Boyce and climate modeler Jung-Eun Lee,,, recently discovered that flowering plants contribute much more than romance and beauty to humanity’s wellbeing. They uncovered evidence suggesting that without flowering plants, human civilization would not even be possible. Boyce and Lee found that a world without angiosperms (flowering plants) would not only be drab and uninspiring but would also be much drier and hotter and lacking in species diversity. The researchers noted that angiosperms transpire water to the atmosphere about four times more efficiently than other species of plants.

    Another Notable Explosion: Has Darwin’s “Abominable Mystery,” the Origin of Flowering Plants, Been Solved? – Casey Luskin – January 2, 2014
    Excerpt: “Darwin famously characterized the rapid rise and early diversification of flowering plants (angiosperms) in the fossil record as an “abominable mystery.””
    (Well) did the researchers identify any specific, adaptive molecular changes that might help to resolve Darwin’s “abominable mystery”? No, they didn’t. Rather, by comparing DNA sequences in angiosperms to other plants, they found “1179 gene lineages (orthogroups) first appeared in angiosperms” and “The new gene lineages in flowering plants may have led to gene functions specific to angiosperms and crucial for their diversification and success.” In other words, a lot of crucial genes for producing flowers in angiosperms don’t seem to have orthologues (i.e., homologous genes) in other types of plants. This was contrary to Darwinian expectations.

    Carnivorous Plants – Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig, Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research,
    Excerpt: Moreover, it appears to be hard even to imagine clear-cut selective advantages for all the thousands of postulated intermediate steps in a gradual scenario, not to mention the formulation and examination of scientific (i.e. testable) hypotheses for the origin of the complex carnivorous plant structures examined above.

    Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig: The Origin of Carnivorous Plants, Pt. 2 – audio podcast

    6 Amazing Orchids That Look Just Like Animals! January 17, 2013

    Timelapse video of Flowers and Leaves – video

  2. 2
    Jaceli123 says:

    What are some of the problems for the natural selection and mutation arguments? Who are some famous scientists in our current time in the 21st century who disagree with this mechanism?

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Does intelligent design provide a plausible account of life’s origins? – Stephen C. Meyer vs. John Derbyshire – Jan-Feb 2014
    Science vs. Name Calling (Guess which side employs which method)

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Twenty-one more famous Nobel Prize winners who rejected Darwinism as an account of consciousness – Dr. VJ Torley – April 2012

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Jaceli123, though I am no lawyer, I am pretty sure that is not legal. If you send an e-mail to Casey Luskin, who has a law degree, via , and tell him of your situation and recording, he will give you advise on your legal remedies. I can assure you that he will seek to protect you first and foremost and will not get you in any trouble and will be, by far, the best person that I know of to help you, since he specializes in exactly this type of situation.

  6. 6
    Jaceli123 says:

    Ok I wonder if I can share the recording through a mp3 file.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    I don’t know how would be best to e-mail the recording. mp3 attachment should do the trick as far as I know.

  8. 8
    origin_surgeon says:

    Hey, Bornagain77, is it possible that mutation produces new information?

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:


    I have never seen any convincing evidence, that held up to rigid scrutiny, for non-trivial functional information (as opposed to mere Shannon information) produced above and beyond what is already present in life. In fact there is a null hypothesis that states purely material processes will never produce non-trivial levels of functional information:

    Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information – Abel, Trevors
    Excerpt: Three qualitative kinds of sequence complexity exist: random (RSC), ordered (OSC), and functional (FSC).,,, Shannon information theory measures the relative degrees of RSC and OSC. Shannon information theory cannot measure FSC. FSC is invariably associated with all forms of complex biofunction, including biochemical pathways, cycles, positive and negative feedback regulation, and homeostatic metabolism. The algorithmic programming of FSC, not merely its aperiodicity, accounts for biological organization. No empirical evidence exists of either RSC of OSC ever having produced a single instance of sophisticated biological organization. Organization invariably manifests FSC rather than successive random events (RSC) or low-informational self-ordering phenomena (OSC).,,,

    Testable hypotheses about FSC

    What testable empirical hypotheses can we make about FSC that might allow us to identify when FSC exists? In any of the following null hypotheses [137], demonstrating a single exception would allow falsification. We invite assistance in the falsification of any of the following null hypotheses:

    Null hypothesis #1
    Stochastic ensembles of physical units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #2
    Dynamically-ordered sequences of individual physical units (physicality patterned by natural law causation) cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #3
    Statistically weighted means (e.g., increased availability of certain units in the polymerization environment) giving rise to patterned (compressible) sequences of units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #4
    Computationally successful configurable switches cannot be set by chance, necessity, or any combination of the two, even over large periods of time.

    We repeat that a single incident of nontrivial algorithmic programming success achieved without selection for fitness at the decision-node programming level would falsify any of these null hypotheses. This renders each of these hypotheses scientifically testable. We offer the prediction that none of these four hypotheses will be falsified.

    Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins – Kirk K Durston, David KY Chiu, David L Abel and Jack T Trevors – 2007
    Excerpt: We have extended Shannon uncertainty by incorporating the data variable with a functionality variable. The resulting measured unit, which we call Functional bit (Fit), is calculated from the sequence data jointly with the defined functionality variable. To demonstrate the relevance to functional bioinformatics, a method to measure functional sequence complexity was developed and applied to 35 protein families.,,,

    The Law of Physicodynamic Insufficiency – Dr David L. Abel – November 2010
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”,,, After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided. The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction: “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”

    The GS (genetic selection) Principle – David L. Abel – 2009
    Excerpt: Stunningly, information has been shown not to increase in the coding regions of DNA with evolution. Mutations do not produce increased information. Mira et al (65) showed that the amount of coding in DNA actually decreases with evolution of bacterial genomes, not increases. This paper parallels Petrov’s papers starting with (66) showing a net DNA loss with Drosophila evolution (67). Konopka (68) found strong evidence against the contention of Subba Rao et al (69, 70) that information increases with mutations. The information content of the coding regions in DNA does not tend to increase with evolution as hypothesized. Konopka also found Shannon complexity not to be a suitable indicator of evolutionary progress over a wide range of evolving genes. Konopka’s work applies Shannon theory to known functional text. Kok et al. (71) also found that information does not increase in DNA with evolution. As with Konopka, this finding is in the context of the change in mere Shannon uncertainty. The latter is a far more forgiving definition of information than that required for prescriptive information (PI) (21, 22, 33, 72). It is all the more significant that mutations do not program increased PI. Prescriptive information either instructs or directly produces formal function. No increase in Shannon or Prescriptive information occurs in duplication. What the above papers show is that not even variation of the duplication produces new information, not even Shannon “information.”

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation)
    1) Mathematical Logic
    2) Algorithmic Optimization
    3) Cybernetic Programming
    4) Computational Halting
    5) Integrated Circuits
    6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium)
    7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics)
    8) Any Goal Oriented bona fide system
    9) Language
    10) Formal function of any kind
    11) Utilitarian work

  10. 10
    Joe says:

    Hi origin_surgeon-

    The argument is that blind and undirected processes cannot produce information from scratch- real information not just Shannon information. It also extends to increasing the amount of information.

  11. 11
    origin_surgeon says:

    Thanks, Bornagain77! especially about The GS (genetic selection) Principle.

    Hi, Joe, if I understand your argument correctly: Mutation doesn’t increase information but just complexity?

  12. 12
    Jaceli123 says:

    No @origin_surgeon it cant increase complexity either this was found by Doug Axe who found that its unlikley for mutations to account for new functions in proteins. The probabilty is about 10^70 power. If im not mistaken im not an expert on this stuff so dont take my word for it.

  13. 13
    tjguy says:

    Origen, the question was not addressed to me, but I stand with Bornagain on this. I’ve heard claims of beneficial mutations but usually these are due to a loss of genetic information. It is hard to conceive of random changes in a computer program adding function to the program. I am a creationist so this link is from a Creationist site, but the information is solid. If interested, please take a look.

    Sorry. I’m having trouble posting the link. Search for “Is it legitimate to demand of evolutionists an explanation for the origin of genetic information?” On

    This article is a response to this claim by evolutionists: “Charging evolutionists to describe a mutation which would ‘add information’ to an organism’s genome is an irrelevant question. In fact, there ARE actually such mutations, which will increase the volume of a genome and even add genes (they are due to the activity of some viruses and of translocons, and to chromosomal recombination).”

    Read the article to see the creationist response.


  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    TJG: Is this the link to the article, entitled: Dawkins and the origin of Genetic Information? KF

  15. 15
    tjguy says:

    Thanks KF. That’s the one.

    How did you do that? Enclose the link with your own words like that?


  16. 16
    mahuna says:

    Um, these people do understand that what we now call Antarctica used to be at the Equator, right? And so the climate in which these trees grew before they became fossils was probably the same as where they grow now.

    So what’s the big deal about finding evidence that lands that were part of the same land mass in the same climatic zone had the same plant life?

  17. 17
    Joe says:


    Hi, Joe, if I understand your argument correctly: Mutation doesn’t increase information but just complexity?

    In a design scenario all the information is already present and mutations are part of the design. With unguideed evolution/ blind and undirected processes, there isn’t any data which shows those processes can produce useful information.

  18. 18
    origin_surgeon says:

    One of the things that cause me to really doubt about Darwinian Evolution when Dr. Stephen Meyers said that evolution couldn’t produce new information but I had to be sure, So I went to here and they showed this diagram: Sequence A: TACACACCCAAGACC to Sequence B: TACACACCCAAGGCC, So to you guys response is this either recombination, degradation, or new information from genes? Just to be clear.

    @Tjguy, at the bottom of your comment it should say:

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes

    Copy & paste ?a href=”” title=””>type in the title you want ?/a> and that’s it.

  19. 19
    Joe says:

    origin_surgeon- changing one letter in a word could change the existing information. It has nothing to do with “new” information. Increase of information and information from scratch are what is being argued.

  20. 20
    Jaceli123 says:

    @Origin_surgeon Heres a anology take a page of a book and add a few letters to it. Does this change the story or what happened in the plot no. For a new story you need more sentences new plots different characters this is the same for a animal!

  21. 21
    origin_surgeon says:

    Okay, Thank you everyone, but we’re really off topic of the post.

    The conclusion is; evolution can’t provide “new” information rather increase information towards previously existent genes which mutated in that particular orgasm.

  22. 22
    origin_surgeon says:

    I ment “organism”! (Crap!)

  23. 23
    Jaceli123 says:

    @Origin_surgeon a good video to watch on the neo darwinistic mechanism is a video by Denis Noble a phsyoligist at oxford.

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    origin_surgeon, the major problem for Darwinists, with their ‘bottom up’ random variation/natural selection scenario, is not just to explain the origin of proteins and genes (as extremely difficult as that problem is turning out to be for them, Axe; Sauer), but the main problem for Darwinists is to explain the higher orders of information that arrange these proteins into a cohesive whole. Dr. Meyer puts the problem this way:

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video

    Dr. Stephen Meyer comments at the end of the preceding video,,,

    ‘Now one more problem as far as the generation of information. It turns out that you don’t only need information to build genes and proteins, it turns out to build Body-Plans you need higher levels of information; Higher order assembly instructions. DNA codes for the building of proteins, but proteins must be arranged into distinctive circuitry to form distinctive cell types. Cell types have to be arranged into tissues. Tissues have to be arranged into organs. Organs and tissues must be specifically arranged to generate whole new Body-Plans, distinctive arrangements of those body parts. We now know that DNA alone is not responsible for those higher orders of organization. DNA codes for proteins, but by itself it does not insure that proteins, cell types, tissues, organs, will all be arranged in the body. And what that means is that the Body-Plan morphogenesis, as it is called, depends upon information that is not encoded on DNA. Which means you can mutate DNA indefinitely. 80 million years, 100 million years, til the cows come home. It doesn’t matter, because in the best case you are just going to find a new protein some place out there in that vast combinatorial sequence space. You are not, by mutating DNA alone, going to generate higher order structures that are necessary to building a body plan. So what we can conclude from that is that the neo-Darwinian mechanism is grossly inadequate to explain the origin of information necessary to build new genes and proteins, and it is also grossly inadequate to explain the origination of novel biological form.’ –
    Stephen Meyer – (excerpt taken from Meyer/Sternberg vs. Shermer/Prothero debate – 2009)

    Talbott, with his unusual clarity, puts the problem to be explained this way:

    Excerpt: “If you think air traffic controllers have a tough job guiding planes into major airports or across a crowded continental airspace, consider the challenge facing a human cell trying to position its proteins”. A given cell, he notes, may make more than 10,000 different proteins, and typically contains more than a billion protein molecules at any one time. “Somehow a cell must get all its proteins to their correct destinations — and equally important, keep these molecules out of the wrong places”. And further: “It’s almost as if every mRNA [an intermediate between a gene and a corresponding protein] coming out of the nucleus knows where it’s going” (Travis 2011),,,
    Further, the billion protein molecules in a cell are virtually all capable of interacting with each other to one degree or another; they are subject to getting misfolded or “all balled up with one another”; they are critically modified through the attachment or detachment of molecular subunits, often in rapid order and with immediate implications for changing function; they can wind up inside large-capacity “transport vehicles” headed in any number of directions; they can be sidetracked by diverse processes of degradation and recycling… and so on without end. Yet the coherence of the whole is maintained.
    The question is indeed, then, “How does the organism meaningfully dispose of all its molecules, getting them to the right places and into the right interactions?”
    The same sort of question can be asked of cells, for example in the growing embryo, where literal streams of cells are flowing to their appointed places, differentiating themselves into different types as they go, and adjusting themselves to all sorts of unpredictable perturbations — even to the degree of responding appropriately when a lab technician excises a clump of them from one location in a young embryo and puts them in another, where they may proceed to adapt themselves in an entirely different and proper way to the new environment. It is hard to quibble with the immediate impression that form (which is more idea-like than thing-like) is primary, and the material particulars subsidiary.,,,

    As would seem obvious, Darwinists simply have no evidence whatsoever that the ‘bottom up’ process of random variation has access to the ‘top down’ information of the body plan organization:

    Response to John Wise – October 2010
    Excerpt: A technique called “saturation mutagenesis”1,2 has been used to produce every possible developmental mutation in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster),3,4,5 roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans),6,7 and zebrafish (Danio rerio),8,9,10 and the same technique is now being applied to mice (Mus musculus).11,12 None of the evidence from these and numerous other studies of developmental mutations supports the neo-Darwinian dogma that DNA mutations can lead to new organs or body plans–because none of the observed developmental mutations benefit the organism.

    Darwin’s Doubt (Part 8) by Paul Giem – developmental gene regulatory networks and epigenetic information – video;index=8

    A Listener’s Guide to the Meyer-Marshall Debate: Focus on the Origin of Information Question -Casey Luskin – December 4, 2013
    Excerpt: “There is always an observable consequence if a dGRN (developmental gene regulatory network) subcircuit is interrupted. Since these consequences are always catastrophically bad, flexibility is minimal, and since the subcircuits are all interconnected, the whole network partakes of the quality that there is only one way for things to work. And indeed the embryos of each species develop in only one way.” –
    Eric Davidson

    Darwin or Design? – Paul Nelson at Saddleback Church – Nov. 2012 – ontogenetic depth (excellent update) – video
    Text from one of the Saddleback slides:
    1. Animal body plans are built in each generation by a stepwise process, from the fertilized egg to the many cells of the adult. The earliest stages in this process determine what follows.
    2. Thus, to change — that is, to evolve — any body plan, mutations expressed early in development must occur, be viable, and be stably transmitted to offspring.
    3. But such early-acting mutations of global effect are those least likely to be tolerated by the embryo.
    Losses of structures are the only exception to this otherwise universal generalization about animal development and evolution. Many species will tolerate phenotypic losses if their local (environmental) circumstances are favorable. Hence island or cave fauna often lose (for instance) wings or eyes.

    In fact, ‘alternative splicing patterns’, which are part of extremely complex developmental gene regulatory networks, are now found to be very different even between humans and chimpanzees

    Evolution by Splicing – Comparing gene transcripts from different species reveals surprising splicing diversity. – Ruth Williams – December 20, 2012
    Excerpt: A major question in vertebrate evolutionary biology is “how do physical and behavioral differences arise if we have a very similar set of genes to that of the mouse, chicken, or frog?”,,,
    A commonly discussed mechanism was variable levels of gene expression, but both Blencowe and Chris Burge,,, found that gene expression is relatively conserved among species.
    On the other hand, the papers show that most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,” said Blencowe.,,,

    As should be clear by now, this ‘top down’ organizational information for distinct body plans is much more than just a minor problem for neo-Darwinists.

    Of somewhat related note to the brick wall Darwinists have run into trying to explain the origination of the large percentage of ORFan proteins being found in each new genome sequenced;

    A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature – Book Review
    Excerpt: They focus instead on what “Methinks it is like a weasel” really means. In isolation, in fact, it means almost nothing. Who said it? Why? What does the “it” refer to? What does it reveal about the characters? How does it advance the plot? In the context of the entire play, and of Elizabethan culture, this brief line takes on significance of surprising depth. The whole is required to give meaning to the part.

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