Intelligent Design

Neural tissue preservation in a Cambrian arthropod

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Palaeontologists have been developing some highly sophisticated tools for analysing fossil specimens. Of particular interest are techniques that probe the details of soft tissue preservation. In the research considered here, the 30 mm specimen was found at the Chengjiang lagerstatte locality in southwest China. It had large, claw-like appendages on its head and many jointed legs. It is assigned to the arthropods and thought to be a probable extinct chelicerate. It is referred to as one of the megacherian (meaning “great hand”) species with the genus name Alalcomenaeus. To analyse the soft tissues, a 3-D model of the specimen was produced using a CT-scanner and, at the same time, an X-ray microscope documented the distribution of selected chemical elements. In particular, iron has been found to map out the nervous system of the animal. The findings are spectacular.
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For more, go here.
The take-home message:
So we have the interesting situation that both groups of arthropods have neural patterns that are essentially modern. Whereas morphology is used to argue the case for “stem” and “crown” organisms, complex specified information is more readily discerned in soft tissues: genetic systems, developmental gene regulatory networks and neural patterns. Research over the past decade has indicated that numerous core genes are common to a large number of phyla with the implication being that they preceded the Cambrian Explosion of animal phyla (here and here). The same applies to developmental pathways. The research considered in this blog shows that the neural pathways for arthropods must be dated at least to the Early Cambrian. This provides an additional dimension to the Cambrian Explosion phenomenon – in that an extraordinary accumulation of biological information is already in place by the Middle Cambrian.
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11 Replies to “Neural tissue preservation in a Cambrian arthropod

  1. 1
    julianbre says:

    OT: Interesting new paper out by Jeffrey P Tomkins on Human Chromosome Fusion.
    http://designed-dna.org/blog/f.....c29-86.php
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....ome-fusion
    Has anyone else read this paper yet? Any thoughts on it?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks Dr. Tyler and Julianbre

  3. 3
    julianbre says:

    Your welcome Bornagain77. Here are two videos you might find interesting on Chromosome Fusion that I believe are based off of Dr Tompkins paper.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-RWG6lawaM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJikA1gH7CY

    Telomeres and centromeres are not my specialty so I would love to hear someone else’s thoughts on this.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    No Problem Julianbre. Of related note to finding modern brains in the Cambrian arthropods:

    Complex Arthropod Eyes Found in Early Cambrian – June 2011
    Excerpt: Complex eyes with modern optics from an unknown arthropod, more complex than trilobite eyes, have been discovered in early Cambrian strata from southern Australia.,,, Here we report exceptionally preserved fossil eyes from the Early Cambrian (~515 million years ago) Emu Bay Shale of South Australia, revealing that some of the earliest arthropods possessed highly advanced compound eyes, each with over 3,000 large ommatidial lenses and a specialized ‘bright zone’. These are the oldest non-biomineralized eyes known in such detail, with preservation quality exceeding that found in the Burgess Shale and Chengjiang deposits. Non-biomineralized eyes of similar complexity are otherwise unknown until about 85 million years later. The arrangement and size of the lenses indicate that these eyes belonged to an active predator that was capable of seeing in low light. The eyes are more complex than those known from contemporaneous trilobites and are as advanced as those of many living forms. They provide further evidence that the Cambrian explosion involved rapid innovation in fine-scale anatomy as well as gross morphology,
    http://crev.info/content/11062.....y_cambrian

    The ‘Optimal’ Trilobite Eye – per Dr. Don Johnson – Programming of Life page 68-66 and appendix F:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TiZcs0eginyh6rijCGd3kwC3CeawjQV1AsC6Xvvnx44/edit

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Of note: Stability and Maneuverability in the Knifefish – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRHRZTIvg-w
    “Bad Design” Debunked in a Fish: It Actually Achieves the Impossible – November 7, 2013
    Excerpt: the team reported that these extra forces are not wasteful after all: they allow animals to increase both stability and maneuverability, a feat that is often described as impossible in engineering textbooks.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....78801.html

  6. 6
    selvaRajan says:

    The article says the evidence supports evolution

    Previously, researchers suggested megacheirans were related to chelicerates, since the extinct creature’s scissorlike claws and the fangs of spiders and scorpions have similar structures….one of the main theories for what ‘great appendage arthropods’ are is that they were related to chelicerates. Thus, our findings from the nervous system gave an injection of new data to support an existing theory

  7. 7
    selvaRajan says:

    julianbre @1, I got referred to those papers when commenting on some other article on this forum. The moment I show the article as proof to guys who support evolution, the first reaction is –“This is not a scientific paper.It is hosted on creationist website.” I have to show the ensembl archives(feb2012.archive.ensembl.org/Homo_sapiens/Location/Compara_Alignments?r=2:114251945-114426678) of the author and only then do they read the paper!

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: FLIGHT: The Genius of Birds – Starling murmurations – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GR9zFgOzyw

  9. 9
    Mapou says:

    bornagain77 @8,

    Thank you. It’s absolutely mesmerizing, the beauty of intelligent design in action. We can all rest assured that Darwinian evolution had nothing to do with it.

  10. 10
    julianbre says:

    Hi selvaRajan, I know the video links by Chapman I posted are not very well done. I actually had second thoughts about posting them but if he is correct along with Tomkins… Wow!
    What type of feedback have you received on the paper?
    Dr. Tomkins has a very good publication record. That why I’m taking it seriously.
    http://www.researchgate.net/pr.....y_Tomkins/
    http://designed-dna.org/resources/tomkins_vita.pdf

  11. 11
    David Tyler says:

    selvaRajan @ 6:
    “The article says the evidence supports evolution.”
    Beware of a flexible definition of the word evolution. There had been discussion of whether megacheirans were related to chelicerates, and the new research makes it clear that they were chelicerates. There is no reason why we should not accept this finding – which does not support universal common ancestry. At most, it is consistent with common ancestry of the chelicerate group, which is is no argument against ID (nor against creation-orientated biology).

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