Cambrian explosion Intelligent Design News

“Gigantic” Cambrian creature (520 mya) found

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Tamisiocaris borealis/Bob Nichols, U Bristol

In Greenland. From Tia Ghose at LiveScience:

The species, dubbed Tamisiocaris borealis, used large, bristly appendages on its body to rake in tiny shrimplike creatures from the sea, and likely evolved from the top predators of the day to take advantage of a bloom in new foods in its ecosystem, said study co-author Jakob Vinther, a paleobiologist at the University of Bristol in England. More.

This is tremendous, but let’s all revise our expectations about “gigantic”:

These ancient sea monsters grew to about 70 centimeters (2.7 feet) long and “looked like something completely out of this planet,” with massive frontal appendages for grasping prey, huge eyes on stalks, and a mouth shaped like a piece of canned pineapple, Vinther told Live Science.

In term of size, this is not giant squid territory. Does anyone know why Cambrian creatures were comparatively small?

See also: What the fossils told us in their own words

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14 Replies to ““Gigantic” Cambrian creature (520 mya) found

  1. 1
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Does anyone know why Cambrian creatures were comparatively small?

    Because they came from unicellular organisms and evolution causes things to get bigger over time?

    If you flip those upside down and straighten out the tentacles as ears they look kind of like an underwater Cambrian rabbit.

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    OT, sort of: Scientific American January 2017 has this article that I read partially while at the newstand (pay access only online):

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-birds-evolved-from-dinosaurs/

    There’s a new story about the move from fuzz to feathers. It wasn’t because of flight but because of the need for better decoration. None of the thousands of articles that say otherwise need to be thought of as falsified, of course, because there is no real evidence either way.

  3. 3
    bb says:

    Looks like some type of baleen on the appendages. Maybe it fed on plankton.

  4. 4
    awstar says:

    From the source article:

    When predators evolve a filter-feeding strategy, they typically do so because of a new bounty in available food. For instance, whales evolved baleen when a water passage opened up between South America and Antarctica, causing an upwelling of nutrient-rich deep water and fueling a bloom of algae and krill, Vinther said. That suggests a similar surge in sea life may have allowed these filter-feeding giants to thrive in the ancient Cambrian oceans.

    How did this article slip past the “fake news” screening algorithms?

  5. 5
    goodusername says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    It wasn’t because of flight but because of the need for better decoration. None of the thousands of articles that say otherwise need to be thought of as falsified, of course, because there is no real evidence either way.

    Do you have an example of such an article?

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    “likely evolved from the top predators of the day to take advantage of a bloom in new foods in its ecosystem,”

    Actually, despite their apparent blind faith in the ‘just so stories’ that they themselves make up without a blink of the eye, a just so story that the creature ‘likely evolved’ to eat shrimp 🙂 , the math and empirical evidence, i.e. the science itself, tells us that its, or any other creature’s, evolution from, or into, any other creature, is not ‘likely’ at all.

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    “In light of Doug Axe’s number, and other similar results,, (1 in 10^77), it is overwhelmingly more likely than not that the mutation, random selection, mechanism will fail to produce even one gene or protein given the whole multi-billion year history of life on earth. There is not enough opportunities in the whole history of life on earth to search but a tiny fraction of the space of 10^77 possible combinations that correspond to every functional combination. Why? Well just one little number will help you put this in perspective. There have been only 10^40 organisms living in the entire history of life on earth. So if every organism, when it replicated, produced a new sequence of DNA to search that (1 in 10^77) space of possibilities, you would have only searched 10^40th of them. 10^40 over 10^77 is 1 in 10^37. Which is 10 trillion, trillion, trillion. In other words, If every organism in the history of life would have been searching for one those (functional) gene sequences we need, you would have searched 1 in 10 trillion, trillion, trillionth of the haystack. Which makes it overwhelmingly more likely than not that the (Darwinian) mechanism will fail. And if it is overwhelmingly more likely than not that the (Darwinian) mechanism will fail should we believe that is the way that life arose?”
    Stephen Meyer – 46:19 minute mark – Darwin’s Doubt – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vg8bqXGrRa0&feature=player_detailpage#t=2778

    Michael Behe – Observed (1 in 10^20) Edge of Evolution – video – Lecture delivered in April 2015 at Colorado School of Mines
    25:56 minute quote – “This is not an argument anymore that Darwinism cannot make complex functional systems; it is an observation that it does not.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9svV8wNUqvA

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations – Michael J. Behe
    Excerpt: Citing malaria literature sources (White 2004) I had noted that the de novo appearance of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was an event of probability of 1 in 10^20. I then wrote that ‘for humans to achieve a mutation like this by chance, we would have to wait 100 million times 10 million years’ (1 quadrillion years)(Behe 2007) (because that is the extrapolated time that it would take to produce 10^20 humans). Durrett and Schmidt (2008, p. 1507) retort that my number ‘is 5 million times larger than the calculation we have just given’ using their model (which nonetheless “using their model” gives a prohibitively long waiting time of 216 million years). Their criticism compares apples to oranges. My figure of 10^20 is an empirical statistic from the literature; it is not, as their calculation is, a theoretical estimate from a population genetics model.,,,
    The difficulty with models such as Durrett and Schmidt’s is that their biological relevance is often uncertain, and unknown factors that are quite important to cellular evolution may be unintentionally left out of the model. That is why experimental or observational data on the evolution of microbes such as P. falciparum are invaluable,,,
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9461

    “Shared Evolutionary History or Shared Design?” – Ann Gauger – January 1, 2015
    Excerpt: The waiting time required to achieve four mutations is 10^15 years. That’s longer than the age of the universe. The real waiting time is likely to be much greater, since the two most likely candidate enzymes failed to be coopted by double mutations.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92291.html

    When Theory and Experiment Collide — April 16th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Based on our experimental observations and on calculations we made using a published population model [3], we estimated that Darwin’s mechanism would need a truly staggering amount of time—a trillion trillion years or more—to accomplish the seemingly subtle change in enzyme function that we studied.
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....t-collide/

    Here are a few notes on the the art of making up ‘just so stories’ to fit the Darwinian narrative which Darwinists apparently believe is them ‘doing hard science’:

    Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
    Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=tRj7EyRFVqYC&pg=PA530

    “most hominid fossils, even though they serve as basis of endless speculation and elaborate storytelling, are fragments of of jaws and scraps of skulls”
    Stephen Jay Gould

    “Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science — the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain.”
    Ernst Mayr – Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought – Nov. 2009 – Originally published July 2000

    “The earliest fossils of Homo, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, are separated from Australopithecus by a large, unbridged gap. How can we explain this seeming saltation? Not having any fossils that can serve as missing links, we have to fall back on the time-honored method of historical science, the construction of a historical narrative.”
    Ernst Mayr – What Makes Biology Unique?, p. 198 (2004).

    “No fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way… To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story—amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.”
    – Henry Gee, In Search of Deep Time: Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life

    Dr. Pilbeam also wrote the following regarding the theory of evolution and paleoanthropology :
    “I am also aware of the fact that, at least in my own subject of paleoanthropology, “theory” – heavily influenced by implicit ideas almost always dominates “data”. ….Ideas that are totally unrelated to actual fossils have dominated theory building, which in turn strongly influence the way fossils are interpreted”

    EVOLUTIONARY JUST-SO STORIES
    Excerpt: ,,,The term “just-so story” was popularized by Rudyard Kipling’s 1902 book by that title which contained fictional stories for children. Kipling says the camel got his hump as a punishment for refusing to work, the leopard’s spots were painted on him by an Ethiopian, and the kangaroo got its powerful hind legs after being chased all day by a dingo.
    Kipling’s just-so stories are as scientific as the Darwinian accounts of how the amoeba became a man.
    Lacking real scientific evidence for their theory, evolutionists have used the just-so story to great effect. Backed by impressive scientific credentials, the Darwinian just-so story has the aura of respectability.
    Biologist Michael Behe observes:
    “Some evolutionary biologists–like Richard Dawkins–have fertile imaginations. Given a starting point, they almost always can spin a story to get to any biological structure you wish” (Michael Behe – Darwin’s Black Box).,,,
    http://www.wayoflife.org/datab.....ories.html

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    GUN

    Reference BA77’s posts on Just So Stories. If you’re looking for embarrassing claims from evolutionists, he can keep you busy for weeks.

    As for claims about the supposed evolution of feathers, this article offers a number of nice stories, none of which really require any evidence other than imagination.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/lost-worlds/2013/jun/05/dinosaurs-fossils

    “There are no weaknesses in evolutionary theory” as it has been said. The article explains: what prompted [feathers] to be maintained, grow larger and change over time? The exact answer is sadly unknown.

    This doesn’t stop evolutionists from pretending that they know the answer. This is has been the tactic of the evolutionary story-teller since Darwin. Throw any imaginable conjecture at it and see what sticks.

    If you’re an atheist/materialist, I’ll accept that you surrender the right to engage in rational discourse since it’s merely unintelligent evolutionary processes that cause you to think and express things – right?

  8. 8
    goodusername says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    Your post in #2 implied that there were thousands of articles claiming that the first feathers evolved for flight, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen. So I was curious to see what you were referring to.

    Most arguments I’ve seen is that feathers were either for insulation or display, as the link you gave explains.

    If you’re an atheist/materialist, I’ll accept that you surrender the right to engage in rational discourse since it’s merely unintelligent evolutionary processes that cause you to think and express things – right?

    However I got the ability to think and express things, I’ll continue to do so.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Removed by author

  10. 10
    polistra says:

    ” likely evolved from the top predators of the day to take advantage of a bloom in new foods in its ecosystem,”

    Isn’t this backwards by the usual evolutionist logic based mainly on energy expenditure? If the ocean is yielding a lot more small shrimp and other plankton, shouldn’t a predator be able to sit down and let the filter do its work? Seems like a good era for anemones and sponges.

    A predator needs more mobility and fancier appendages when the food is harder to find.

  11. 11
    Silver Asiatic says:

    GUN

    Your post in #2 implied that there were thousands of articles claiming that the first feathers evolved for flight, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen.

    The Scientific American article I referenced spoke of the belief that the first feathers evolved for flight. We’re talking about the history of evolutionary story-telling here. The story has changed since Darwin’s time.

    The Origin Of Feathers

    Transcript of a paper presented April 18, 1998 at Dinofest
    Sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences
    Philadelphia, PA

    The informational origin of feathers: an overview
    Thom Quinn

    Today, there exist two “main” feather origin hypotheses. The first suggests that feathers evolved directly for flight through a series of stages.

    That was written in 1998.

    If you’ve never seen that claim before then I’m guessing you never read through the papers written on the topic in the 70s and 80s (or before then) where it was claimed very often that feathers evolved because they were needed for flight.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1690052/pdf/DGNDAQ71K4W1T58Y_266_1259.pdf

    Page 2 of the above study lists 5 papers that hypothesize that the origin of feathers was due to flight.

    Here’s another study with 5 more papers going back to the 19th century:

    http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.e.....light.html

    The arboreal hypothesis, first suggested by March (1880), elaborated by Heilmann (1926) and Bock (1965, 1969), is also advocated by Feduccia (1980). It proposes that a bipedal ground-runner first became adapted to an arboreal life in which it took to jumping from limb to limb, then to gliding, and finally to flying. In this scenario, contour feathers became aerodynamically important at a jumping stage, and thence evolved directly into flight feathers.

    I think I’ve done enough to show you. Now aren’t you embarrassed to have asked me that question when you could have easily researched it yourself if you were really interested?

    Did you really think that evolutionists always knew that feathers existed before flight? That was a huge failure in “the theory” when it was finally validated in the 1990s.

    But as I said, nobody noticed or cared. You didn’t even know about it.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    of related note:

    Podcast: A Whale of a Tale: Cetacean Evolution, Pt. 1
    Posted on January 3, 2017
    On this episode of ID the Future, Ray Bohlin interviews Jonathan Wells about whale evolution. Wells describes various fossil finds, investigating whether the Darwinian story of land animals returning to the sea accords with the fossil record.
    Back in the day, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould found in whales “the sweetest series of transitional fossils an evolutionist could ever hope to find.” No doubt it honestly looked that way to him, but no longer.,,,
    the recent documenting of a 49-million-year-old Antarctic whale jawbone fossil that narrowed the window available for the evolution from a fully terrestrial ancestor to an unbearably rushed 1 million years.
    http://www.discovery.org/multi.....tion-pt-1/

  13. 13
    goodusername says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    The Scientific American article I referenced spoke of the belief that the first feathers evolved for flight.

    Well, they do discuss the flight vs display debate. But that isn’t regarding the origin of feathers. They are discussing the origin of features that appeared later (tens of millions of years later, or more) usually associated with flight feathers.

    Some quotes from the article:

    The first feathers must have therefore evolved for something else, probably to keep these small dinosaurs warm. For most dinosaurs, a coat of bristly feathers was enough. But one subgroup—the maniraptoran theropods—went for a makeover… Why did these dinosaurs convert their fuzz into wings? The intuitive answer is flight… The latest findings suggest that wings instead evolved to serve another, less widely recognized function: display.

    In other words, they aren’t claiming that feathers evolved for display, or flight, but rather for warmth, as pretty much everyone else does – then later for display, and then flight.

    So instead of the usual story of:
    feathers for warmth –> feathers for flight

    or the minority view of:
    feathers for display –> feathers for flight

    they propose:
    feathers for warmth –> feathers for display –> feathers for flight

    Page 2 of the above study lists 5 papers that hypothesize that the origin of feathers was due to flight.

    I found two of the papers, and again, not about the origin of feathers, but of flight – which was much, much, later.

    Here’s another study with 5 more papers going back to the 19th century:

    Here’s the quote you gave with added context.

    Protofeathers must already be in existence before flight can be attempted. Thus the question of the origin of flight is independent of the question of the origin of feathers. So far, three important hypotheses for the origin of flight in birds have been proposed: the arboreal, the cursorial, and the cursorial-predator hypotheses. We propose a new alternative: the display and threat hypothesis. It is, of course, consistent with the model we suggest for the origin of strong feathers, and requires no shift in selective mechanism.
    The arboreal hypothesis, first suggested by March (1880), elaborated by Heilmann (1926) and Bock (1965, 1969), is also advocated by Feduccia (1980). It proposes that a bipedal ground-runner first became adapted to an arboreal life in which it took to jumping from limb to limb, then to gliding, and finally to flying. In this scenario, contour feathers became aerodynamically important at a jumping stage, and thence evolved directly into flight feathers.

    Notice it this time? In other words, we’re no longer talking about the origin of feathers in this section, but of flight. Two different events perhaps 100 million years apart. And, BTW, this quote is from a 1982 textbook. (The “March” is a typo, should be Marsh.)

    There have been two major debates regarding feathers, going back to the 19th century. 1) The origin of feathers (For warmth? Display?) and 2) Origin of flight and flight feathers. Much later, once we have small creatures covered with feathers, how did they begin to fly? Did they glide from trees? (Arboreal hypothesis), or were they running on the ground and leaping? (“Running” hypothesis).
    You’re conflating the two.

    The Sci Am article is saying that there’s another step in between those two.

    Did you really think that evolutionists always knew that feathers existed before flight?

    Well, I don’t know how far back you want to go, but one of the surprises with the discovery of archaeopteryx in the 1860s was how unbird-like it was despite having feathers little or no different than those of a modern bird. It was pretty well agreed that if the feathers weren’t preserved that no one would have guessed that the creature had any. It was contentious whether archaeopteryx could fly, but I think most believed it couldn’t. But with how advanced the feathers were, it was believed by many that it surely had ancestors with less advanced feathers, on creatures even less bird-like. And so whether or not archaeopteryx could fly, it had ancestors with feathers that surely couldn’t. I haven’t read enough 19th century literature on the evolution of birds and feathers to know if that was the consensus view – but it was certainly a common one.

    That was a huge failure in “the theory” when it was finally validated in the 1990s.

    Which theory are you referring to? Darwinism? Why would natural selection mean that the first feathers had to evolve for flight?
    Or maybe you mean the theory that feathers originally developed for flight? In that case, yes, I agree that if feathers didn’t develop originally for flight than that’s a problem for the theory that feathers originally developed for flight.

    I’m sure if you google enough you’ll find an article claiming feathers evolved for flight – I wasn’t saying that they don’t exist – but you probably realize now that they aren’t as common as you thought. (Actually, it turns out that they are probably even rarer than *I* thought). Because they aren’t common, I was just curious if you had a particular article, or articles, in mind, and I was curious what they were. I thought it might be interesting. That’s all.

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    GUN

    Thanks for your reply. My point was merely an observation on the shifting nature of evolutionary claims. I think another good point we may have explored is that very few scientists or historians actually trace (or even compile) the catalogue of ideas that come under the guise of evolution. In this case, I think it would be difficult to trace the ideas about feather-evolution from Darwin to today. Theorists can propose ideas of any sort, with the barest of evidence.

    Why would natural selection mean that the first feathers had to evolve for flight?

    I made a mistake of trying to characterize the mind of the Darwinian theorist and that’s a no-win argument. Yes, any imaginable purpose could be the proposed-evolutionary cause of any thing. Selection can preserve traits for whatever various reasons, as it is claimed. With feathers, however, some evolutionists wanted to show a direct advantage and also try to explain how the beautifully engineered functions of feathers, specifically for flight, came about. I think the simplest answer regarding the supposed thermal-function of feathers is that fur does as good or better a job of warmth. Why the need for the diversity and complexity of feathers merely to fulfill the same function that all other animals have with fur or hair?

    But this is a distraction. The evolutionary claim on the evolution of feathers, much more, on flight itself is very weak.

    Because they aren’t common, I was just curious if you had a particular article, or articles, in mind, and I was curious what they were. I thought it might be interesting. That’s all.

    Fair enough. I think it’s interesting that there are very few studies on the history of evolutionary thought over time. Scientists and historians don’t seem to care about how various theoretical-claims come and go. As in this case, it’s difficult to trace back who said what and when.

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