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Ordivician Radiation–Another Strike Against Darwin

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The Cambrian Explosion, demonstrated time and again to be an ‘explosion,’ is a problem for Darwinian theory. Darwin postulated gradualsim; in fact, he insisted upon it when pressed by supporters to modulate this position of his.

The problem is that multiple life forms are required to “build” new life forms. You need lots of species for higher taxa to accumulate over time. But we see almost the complete opposite in the Cambrian Explosion. Steven Meyer wrote a book about this: Darwin’s Dilemna.

Now there’s more. Another ‘explosion’ during the Ordivician. The authors of a study published in Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology had this to say:

The early evolution of animal life on Earth is a complex and fascinating subject. The Cambrian Explosion (between about 540 to 510 million years ago) produced a stunning array of body plans, but very few separate species of each, notes Stigall. But nearly 40 million years later, during the Ordovician Period, this situation changed, with a rapid radiation of species and genera during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event.

The triggers of the GOBE and processes that promoted diversification have been subject to much debate, but most geoscientists haven’t fully considered how changes like global cooling or increased oxygenation would foster increased diversification.

A recent review paper by Stigall and an international team of collaborators attempts to provide clarity on these issues. . . .

In their paper, Stigall and colleagues demonstrate that the main pulse of diversification during the GOBE is temporally restricted and occurred in the Middle Ordovician Darriwilian Stage (about 465 million years ago). Many changes to the physical earth system, including oceanic cooling, increased nutrient availability, and increased atmospheric oxygen accumulate in the interval leading up to the Darriwilian.

“Main pulse” of diversification? Yes, around 10 million years. Just like the Cambrian Explosion. Shall we call this “pulse” the Ordivician Explosion—to go along with the Mammalian Explosion and the Bird Explosion, etc.

The authors give away the store: the Cambrian Explosion produced a whole host of “body plans,” but few “species”—the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of Darwinian expectations, and, then, 80 million years later a whole host of species ‘explode’ onto the scene. No ‘gradualsim’; just a huge amount of diversification out of nowhere in an incredibly short amount of time. So, in the Cambrian: body plans, but not a lot of species. In the Ordivician: a lot of species, but no new body plans.

To an intellectually honest person, these facts should cause serious concerns about the scientific validity of Darwinian theory, to the point of abandonement. Most who have thoroughly studied the foundations of Darwinian theory and compared it to actual facts end up untethering themselves from this sinking ship.

Robert F. Shedinger is the latest to take this voyage.

Bob O'H@25 Here's the abstract (the rest is behind a paywall):
Microscopic animals that live among and between sediment grains (meiobenthic metazoans) are key constituents of modern aquatic ecosystems, but are effectively absent from the fossil record. We describe an assemblage of microscopic fossil loriciferans (Ecdysozoa, Loricifera) from the late Cambrian Deadwood Formation of western Canada. The fossils share a characteristic head structure and minute adult body size (~300??m) with modern loriciferans, indicating the early evolution and subsequent conservation of an obligate, permanently meiobenthic lifestyle. The unsuspected fossilization potential of such small animals in marine mudstones offers a new search image for the earliest ecdysozoans and other animals, although the anatomical complexity of loriciferans points to their evolutionary miniaturization from a larger-bodied ancestor. The invasion of animals into ecospace that was previously monopolized by protists will have contributed considerably to the revolutionary geobiological feedbacks of the Proterozoic/Phanerozoic transition.
It seems to me that this research doesn't do anything to resolve the enigma of the sudden appearance of most modern animal phyla at the beginning of the Cambrian. These microscopic fossils are from late Cambrian beds, 50 million years later. It's just the authors' guess that they might just have originated in the Precambrian, no evidence. But this "guess" conflicts with the absolute absence of any sort of transitional fossils going from the putative guessed-at Precambrian microscopic sand-grain inhabiting animal organisms to the much larger invertebrates and vertebrates of the early Cambrian. At some point in this transition the transitional organisms should have been fossilized. Then there are the so-called small shelly fossils. These have been found near the start of the Cambrian beds and just shortly before the appearance of the large-bodied fossils like the trilobites, so they are not and apparently have not been suggested to be a candidate for origins. See the chart of the Cambrian and Ediacaran Precambrian periods at https://i0.wp.com/www.palaeontologyonline.com/wp-content/uploads/Butler_Fig_2.jpg?ssl=1 (from the article at https://www.palaeontologyonline.com/articles/2015/fossil-focus-place-small-shelly-fossils-cambrian-explosion-origin-animals/?doing_wp_cron=1566313559.4762060642242431640625 ). And the existence of numerous small and soft-bodied animals in the Precambrian strata undermines one of the most popular responses that these missing transitions can be accounted for by them being too small and too-soft bodied to be preserved. As noted in the paper, the minute fossil organisms described in this paper were probably derived from larger-bodied forms - and the only candidates for this are the earliest Cambrian larger-bodied animals including early arthropods that appeared then in the fossil record with no precursors. So the same problem of the Cambrian Explosion remains: there still are no transitional fossils found after 150 years of digging, even though conditions of the Precambrian allowed fossilization. doubter
Earth to Bob O'H- it is all moot as you don't have a mechanism capable of producing any fauna or flora. So perhaps you should focus on that. But we all know why you won't... ET
Doubter @ 12 - That paper is a News & Views piece about this paper. The relevance is summarised by this from Kristensen's paper:
However, the most interesting aspect of the finding of both meiofaunal deuterostomes and now more than a hundred specimens of adult loriciferans from the Cambrian is that there was not an early animal invasion of the meiobenthos. All the 35 modern phyla were there, perhaps as early as the Precambrian, but the animals had already evolved from a possibly large ancestor to become small.
Bob O'H
Doubter @22: Good point. Thanks. PeterA
The fossil record is best characterized as 'top down' rather than the 'bottom up' pattern that Darwinists imagine:
disparity [dih-spar-i-tee] noun, plural disparities. 1. lack of similarity or equality; inequality; difference:
Not only is the fossil record discordant with Darwinian claims of gradualism, but the fossil record is now also shown to display an overall pattern of disparity preceding diversity. A pattern that is completely at odds with Darwinian thinking and turns, as some paleontologists have put it, 'evolution on its head'.
Cambrian Explosion Ruins Darwin’s Tree of Life (2 minutes in 24 hour day) – video (2:55 minute mark) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vA2LDiWeWb4
, as Dr. Wells points out in the preceding video, Darwin predicted that minor differences (diversity) between species would gradually appear first and then the differences would grow larger (disparity) between species as time went on. i.e. universal common descent as depicted in Darwin's tree of life. What Darwin predicted should be familiar to everyone and is easily represented in the following graph.
The Theory - Diversity precedes Disparity - graph http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/JOURNEY/IMAGES/F.gif
But that 'tree pattern' that Darwin predicted is not what is found in the fossil record. The fossil record reveals that disparity (the greatest differences) precedes diversity (the smaller differences), which is the exact opposite pattern for what Darwin's theory predicted.
The Actual Fossil Evidence- Disparity precedes Diversity - graph http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/JOURNEY/IMAGES/G.gif Timeline graphic on Cambrian Explosion - from 'Darwin's Doubt' (Disparity preceding Diversity) - infographic http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/07/its_darwins_dou074341.html Investigating Evolution: The Cambrian Explosion Part 1 – (4:45 minute mark - upside-down fossil record) video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DkbmuRhXRY Part 2 – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZFM48XIXnk Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish Excerpt: "In Chen’s view, his evidence supports a history of life that runs opposite to the standard evolutionary tree diagrams, a progression he calls top-down evolution." Jun-Yuan Chen is professor at the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology http://www.fredheeren.com/boston.htm “The record of the first appearance of living phyla, classes, and orders can best be described in Wright’s (1) term as ‘from the top down’.” James W. Valentine, “Late Precambrian bilaterians: Grades and clades,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 91: 6751-6757 (July 1994). “Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas." James W. Valentine - as quoted from "On the Origin of Phyla: Interviews with James W. Valentine" - (as stated at 1:16:36 mark of interview) "In other words, the morphological distances -- gaps -- between body plans of crown phyla were present when body fossils first appeared during the explosion and have been with us ever since. The morphological disparity is so great between most phyla that the homologous reference points or landmarks required for quantitative studies of morphology are absent." Erwin and Valentine (p. 340) Erwin and Valentine's The Cambrian Explosion Affirms Major Points in Darwin's Doubt: The Cambrian Enigma Is "Unresolved" - June 26, 2013 "Taxonomists classify organisms into categories: species are the very lowest taxonomic category. Species are classified into different genera. Genera are classified into different families. Families are classified into different orders. Orders are classified into different classes. And classes are classified into different phyla. Phyla are among the very highest taxonomic categories (only kingdom and domain are higher), and correspond to the high level of morphological disparity that exists between different animal body plans. Phyla include such groupings as chordates, arthropods, mollusks, and echinoderms. Darwin's theory would predict a cone of diversity whereby the major body-plan differences (morphological disparity) would only appear in the fossil record following numerous lower-level speciation events. What is interesting about the fossil record is that it shows the appearance of the higher taxonomic categories first (virtually all of the major skeletonized phyla appear in the Cambrian, with no obvious fossil transitional precursors, within a relatively small span of geological time). As Roger Lewin (1988) explains in Science, "Several possible patterns exist for the establishment of higher taxa, the two most obvious of which are the bottom-up and the top-down approaches. In the first, evolutionary novelties emerge, bit by bit. The Cambrian explosion appears to conform to the second pattern, the top-down effect." Erwin et al. (1987), in their study of marine invertebrates, similarly conclude that, "The fossil record suggests that the major pulse of diversification of phyla occurs before that of classes, classes before that of orders, orders before that of families. The higher taxa do not seem to have diverged through an accumulation of lower taxa." Indeed, the existence of numerous small and soft-bodied animals in the Precambrian strata undermines one of the most popular responses that these missing transitions can be accounted for by them being too small and too-soft bodied to be preserved." Jonathan M. - Jerry Coyne's Chapter on the Fossil Record Fails to Show "Why Evolution is True" - December 4, 2012
Dr. Meyer holds that there are 'yawning chasms' in the 'morphological space' between the phyla which suddenly appeared in the Cambrian Explosion,,,
"Over the past 150 years or so, paleontologists have found many representatives of the phyla that were well-known in Darwin’s time (by analogy, the equivalent of the three primary colors) and a few completely new forms altogether (by analogy, some other distinct colors such as green and orange, perhaps). And, of course, within these phyla, there is a great deal of variety. Nevertheless, the analogy holds at least insofar as the differences in form between any member of one phylum and any member of another phylum are vast, and paleontologists have utterly failed to find forms that would fill these yawning chasms in what biotechnologists call “morphological space.” In other words, they have failed to find the paleolontogical equivalent of the numerous finely graded intermediate colors (Oedleton blue, dusty rose, gun barrel gray, magenta, etc.) that interior designers covet. Instead, extensive sampling of the fossil record has confirmed a strikingly discontinuous pattern in which representatives of the major phyla stand in stark isolation from members of other phyla, without intermediate forms filling the intervening morphological space." Stephen Meyer - Darwin’s Doubt (p. 70)
Moreover, this top down pattern in the fossil record, which is the complete opposite pattern as Darwin predicted for the fossil record, is not just an anomaly of the Cambrian Explosion, but this 'top down', disparity preceding diversity, pattern is found in the fossil record subsequent to the Cambrian explosion as well.
Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013 Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form. Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories. ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,, Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on. Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,, http://phys.org/news/2013-07-scientific-evolution.html “A recent analysis of disparity in 98 metazoan clades through the Phanerozoic found a preponderance of clades with maximal disparity early in their history. Thus, whether or not taxonomic diversification slows down most studies of disparity reveal a pattern in which the early evolution of a clade defines the morphological boundaries of a group which are then filled in by subsequent diversification. This pattern is inconsistent with that expected of a classic adaptive radiation in which diversity and disparity should be coupled, at least during the early phase of the radiation.” – Doug Erwin What this admits is that disparity is a worse problem than evolutionists had realized: it’s ubiquitous (throughout the history of life on earth), not just in the Cambrian (Explosion). - In Allaying Darwin’s Doubt, Two Cambrian Experts Still Come Up Short – October 16, 2015 “The lack of ancestral or intermediate forms between fossil species is not a bizarre peculiarity of early metazoan history. Gaps are general and prevalent throughout the fossil record.” R.A. Raff and T.C. Kaufman, Embryos, Genes, and Evolution: The Developmental-Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1991), 34. “In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.” TS Kemp - Fossils and Evolution,– Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999 “What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.” Robert L Carroll (born 1938) – vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians "Rather than showing gradual Darwinian evolution, the history of life shows a pattern of explosions where new fossil forms come into existence without clear evolutionary precursors. Evolutionary anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz summarizes the problem: “We are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus — full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin’s depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations. . .”98 – Casey Luskin - Problem 5: Abrupt Appearance of Species in the Fossil Record Does Not Support Darwinian Evolution - January 29, 2015 “The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.” Paleontologist, Derek V. Ager, “The Nature of the Fossil Record,” 87 Proceedings of the British Geological Association 87 (1976): 133. (Department of Geology &; Oceanography, University College, Swansea, UK) “The record certainly did not reveal gradual transformations of structure in the course of time. On the contrary, it showed that species generally remained constant throughout their history and were replaced quite suddenly by significantly different forms. New types or classes seemed to appear fully formed, with no sign of an evolutionary trend by which they could have emerged from an earlier type.” Peter Bowler, Evolution: The History of an Idea (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1984), 187. “It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution…This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.” G.G.Simpson – one of the most influential American Paleontologist of the 20th century “The facts of greatest general importance are the following. When a new phylum, class, or order appears, there follows a quick, explosive (in terms of geological time) diversification so that practically all orders or families known appear suddenly and without any apparent transitions. Afterwards, a slow evolution follows; this frequently has the appearance of a gradual change, step by step, though down to the generic level abrupt major steps without transitions occur. At the end of such a series, a kind of evolutionary running-wild frequently is observed. Giant forms appear, and odd or pathological types of different kinds precede the extinction of such a line.” Richard B. Goldschmidt, “Evolution, as Viewed by One Geneticist,” American Scientist 40 (January 1952), 97.
Moreover, much contrary to Charles Darwin's belief that increasing resolution of the fossil record would alleviate his problem with the fossil record, the fact of the matter is that increasing resolution of the fossil record has only made this disparity preceding diversity 'problem' worse for Darwinists since Darwin's day
“Now, after over 120 years of the most extensive and painstaking geological exploration of every continent and ocean bottom, the picture is infinitely more vivid and complete than it was in 1859. Formations have been discovered containing hundreds of billions of fossils and our museums now are filled with over 100 million fossils of 250,000 different species. The availability of this profusion of hard scientific data should permit objective investigators to determine if Darwin was on the right track. What is the picture which the fossils have given us? … The gaps between major groups of organisms have been growing even wider and more undeniable. They can no longer be ignored or rationalized away with appeals to imperfection of the fossil record.” Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma 1988, Fossils and Other Problems, 4th edition, Master Books, p. 9 “The evidence we find in the geological record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be …. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much. The record of evolution is surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin’s time … so Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated”. David Raup, Curator of Geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History “With the benefit of hindsight, it is amazing that paleontologists could have accepted gradual evolution as a universal pattern on the basis of a handful of supposedly well-documented lineages (e.g. Gryphaea, Micraster, Zaphrentis) none of which actually withstands close scrutiny.” Christopher R.C. Paul, “Patterns of Evolution and Extinction in Invertebrates,” K.C. Allen and D.E.G. Briggs, eds., Evolution and the Fossil Record (Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989), 105. “It must be significant that nearly all the evolutionary stories I learned as a student from Trueman’s Ostrea/Gryphaea to Carruthers’ Zaphrentis delanouei, have now been ‘debunked’. Similarly, my own experience of more than twenty years looking for evolutionary lineages among the Mesozoic Brachiopoda has proved them equally elusive.’ Dr. Derek V. Ager (Department of Geology & Oceonography, University College, Swansea, UK), ‘The nature of the fossil record’. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, vol.87(2), 1976,p.132. “No one has found any such in-between creatures. This was long chalked up to ‘gaps’ in the fossil records, gaps that proponents of gradualism confidently expected to fill in someday when rock strata of the proper antiquity were eventually located. But all the fossil evidence to date has failed to turn up any such missing links . . . There is a growing conviction among many scientists that these transitional forms never existed.” Niles Eldredge, quoted in George Alexander, “Alternate Theory of Evolution Considered,” Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1978. Does Lots of Sediment in the Ocean Solve the "Mystery" of the Cambrian Explosion? - Casey Luskin April, 2012 Excerpt: I think the Cambrian fossil record is surprisingly complete. I think it may be more complete than we realize. The reason for that is, for instance, if you look at the stratigraphy of the world, if I go and collect Cambrian rocks in Wales and find certain fossils, if I then go to China, I don't find the same species but I find the same sorts of fossils. If I go into Carboniferous rocks, I go to Canada, they are the same as what I find in this country. So there is a clear set of faunas and floras that take us through geological time. The overall framework is falling into position. - Simon Conway Morris http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/04/lots_of_sedimen059021.html “It is hard for us paleontologists, steeped as we are in a tradition of Darwinian analysis, to admit that neo-Darwinian explanations for the Cambrian explosion have failed miserably. New data acquired in recent years, instead of solving Darwin’s dilemma, have rather made it worse. Meyer describes the dimensions of the problem with clarity and precision. His book, (Darwin's Doubt), is a game changer for the study of evolution and points us in the right direction as we seek a new theory for the origin of animals.” -Dr. Mark McMenamin – 2013 Paleontologist at Mt. Holyoke College and author of The Emergence of Animals “Gradualism is a concept I believe in, not just because of Darwin’s authority, but because my understanding of genetics seems to demand it. Yet Gould and the American Museum people [i.e., Eldredge] are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils. As a paleontologist myself, I am much occupied with the philosophical problems of identifying ancestral forms in the fossil record. You say that I should at least ‘show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived.’ I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.” Colin Patterson to Luther Sunderland, April 10, 1979, quoted in Luther .D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems, 4th ed. (El Cajon, CA: Master Book Publishers, 1988), 89.
To extend my summary of expert evolutionary biologist opinions on this issue. Here's one by leading theorist Gerd Muller. This was covered at https://evolutionnews.org/2016/12/why_the_royal_s/:
The opening presentation at the 2016 Royal Society conference on the problems of the modern neo-Darwinist synthesis by one of those world-class biologists, Austrian evolutionary theorist Gerd Müller, underscored exactly Meyer’s point. Müller opened the meeting by discussing several of the fundamental “explanatory deficits” of “the modern synthesis,” that is, textbook neo-Darwinian theory. According to Müller, the as yet unsolved problems include those of explaining: - Phenotypic complexity (the origin of eyes, ears, body plans, i.e., the anatomical and structural features of living creatures); - Phenotypic novelty, i.e., the origin of new forms throughout the history of life (for example, the mammalian radiation some 66 million years ago, in which the major orders of mammals, such as cetaceans, bats, carnivores, enter the fossil record, or even more dramatically, the Cambrian explosion, with most animal body plans appearing more or less without antecedents); and finally - Non-gradual forms or modes of transition, where you see abrupt discontinuities in the fossil record between different types.
But wait a minute - this is the most important part of evolution: how major innovations came about. This is devastating for anyone who wants to think that, on the great questions of biological origins, orthodox evolutionary theory has got it all figured out. This quite well confirms the contentions of both the ID and the "Third Way" groups. It demonstrates Muller's continued recognition of one of the major problems of neo-Darwinism. He concedes that conventional evolutionary thinking “largely avoids” the big question of where the major innovations of evolution came from, in other words, macroevolution. It is a damning indictment. Since this conference not long ago there doesn't seem to have been much to resolve the problem. Of course that is to be expected - there simply can't be, as long as only blind unintelligent and purposeless causal mechanisms are considered per the dogma. doubter
PavelU apparently doesn’t realize that some authors seem to take the common approach of puffing up very modest results. PeterA
When we pursue the line of reasoning PavelU suggests, we find that there isn't such a line. Instead, the subject is changed. And, finally, nothing but questions remain. There does not seem to be a way forward; at least, not now. The Cambrian Explosion is far from being explained in 'gradualist' terms. PaV
PaV, Here’s an interesting article: On the evolution of bilaterality
The bisection experiments discussed above suggest the presence of a signalling centre in the animal hemisphere of the Nematostella embryo capable of instructing naïve cells in the vegetal hemisphere.
https://dev.biologists.org/content/144/19/3392.supplemental “signaling center capable of instructing”? PeterA
PaV, Check this out: Old Questions and Young Approaches to Animal Evolution
Animal evolution has always been at the core of Biology, but even today many fundamental questions remain open. The field of animal ‘evo-devo’ is leveraging recent technical and conceptual advances in development, paleontology, genomics and transcriptomics to propose radically different answers to traditional evolutionary controversies.
https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-18202-1#toc Look at the chapters. PeterA
PaV, The September 2017 paper you linked to @13 is cited by 21 newer papers according to ResearchGate. For example, here’s this very recent paper: Introduction: Young Approaches to Animal Evolution
Animals are fascinating in many ways. For centuries scientists have tried to understand animal evolution. How did animals first evolve? How are they related to one another? How is the genotype—the genetic information contained in their DNA—translated into form and function? How do embryonic cells build tissues and organs? What is the biological basis for animal diversity? This book, which stems from the symposium “Old questions, young approaches” that we organised during the sixth meeting of the European Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology, aims to capture how technical and conceptual advances in biology are providing a fresh view into these long-standing questions.
https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-18202-1_1 PeterA
BobRyan, I see your point, but I wanted to let PavelU find that out himself. He seems to react to headlines that he apparently takes at face value without carefully analyzing the contents. We all have some learning ahead. But PavelU may have to realize at some point that the research literature is increasingly bringing bad news for the Darwinian paradigm. I still think the guy might figure it out at some point. It’s a matter of time, though I agree that some folks may never see it, for some mysterious reasons beyond our full understanding. PeterA
PeterA @ 14 No paper, outside of fiction, will ever show evidence, since evidence must come from a basis in fact. Darwinists are too delusional to realize they worship at the altar of a fiction writer. BobRyan
PaV, The open pdf you linked to is more recent than the paper PavelU cited, but it doesn’t seem to provide any supporting evidence for Darwinian macroevolution.
Conclusion A combination of molecular and palaeontological information can be used to improve our understanding of the physiological capabilities of extinct animals. This approach has been demon- strated here with reference to the Cambrian ecdysozoans, where we demonstrated polychromatism for the trilobites based on phy- logenetic bracketing and inferred the existence of a variety of stem arthropod lineages capable of dichromatic and trichromatic vision. New and diverse body plans emerge in the Cambrian, implying a drive for different lifestyles. These are reflected in diverse visual systems [14,15,51,63–65,67]. We show a shared narrative where extinct taxa with more complex eyes are also pre- dicted to have more opsin genes, suggesting that morphological and molecular changes in the ecdysozoan visual systems were, at least to some extent, coupled and demonstrate the power of combining molecular and palaeontological data in a molecular palaeobiological approach to the study of the evolution of life.
PavelU may want to look for another paper that provides better arguments for the ideas he’s trying to advertise here. PeterA
Doubter: Here's the only link to an open pdf I could find that includes the lead author of the papr PavelU cites. Here's further links associated with Kristensen. Finally, here's a paper on the ecdysozoa from September 2017. Kristensen's paper was in January of 2017. [Click on the "pdf" button to open in your pdf browser] PaV
PavelU@5 This is interesting. More details please. The obscure paper you cite came out in Jan. 2017. It's hidden behind a paywall, and the abstract is exactly the one sentence quoted. If it really was a revolutionary discovery wiping out the mystery of the Cambrian Explosion, you would think all the Darwinists would have jumped on it and crowed about it by now. But there hasn't been a peep. There has been exactly one citation of it, in another short paper on microscopic wormlike Loricifera organisms from the North East Pacific Region. No mention of the paper anywhere else, even Wiki, at least according to Google. doubter
Seversky@8 Here's just the tip of the iceberg (for more detail on these topics see https://evolutionnews.org/2013/07/the_quiet_passi/ and https://evolutionnews.org/2014/01/millers_biology/.) : A number of evolutionary biologists and paleontologists have recognized that the continued lack of many transitional fossils represents a serious, major problem for Darwinism. Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge recognized this. Eldredge wrote: "No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seemed to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields … a rate too slow to account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the fossils did not evolve elsewhere!" Evolutionary biologist Jeffrey Schwartz wrote in 1999 that "We are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus — full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin’s depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations." Another expert opinion, in a textbook by C.P. Hickman, L.S. Roberts, and F.M. Hickman: "Many species remain virtually unchanged for millions of years, then suddenly disappear to be replaced by a quite different, but related, form. Moreover, most major groups of animals appear abruptly in the fossil record, fully formed, and with no fossils yet discovered that form a transition from their parent group." On the Cambrian explosion, evolutionary biologists admit that they can't explain the rapid appearance of diverse animal body plans by classical Darwinian processes, or other known material mechanisms. Paleontologist Robert Carroll states that “The extreme speed of anatomical change and adaptive radiation during this brief time period requires explanations that go beyond those proposed for the evolution of species within the modern biota.” Another paper: “microevolution does not provide a satisfactory explanation for the extraordinary burst of novelty during the Cambrian Explosion” and concludes “the major evolutionary transitions in animal evolution still remain to be causally explained.” (https://evolutionnews.org/2015/01/problem_5_abrup/) A new book was published in 2013 by two of the leading mainstream paleontological authorities on the Cambrian explosion, Douglas Erwin and James Valentine. The book is a review of the current state of the art in the study of this phenomenon: The Cambrian Explosion: The Construction of Animal Biodiversity (Roberts and Company, 2013). The book acknowledges that the Cambrian enigma is unresolved. The book admits that the Cambrian explosion was a real event, and is not merely an artifact of an imperfect fossil record. The book correctly observes that explaining the Cambrian explosion requires explaining the origin of many diverse types of animal forms and body plans, and Erwin and Valentine observe that standard neo-Darwinian mechanisms of repeated rounds of microevolution are not sufficient to explain the explosion of life in the Cambrian. Of course being good Darwinians they still believe that animal body plans somehow arose via unguided evolutionary processes. They say at the end of the book: "The nature of appropriate explanations is particularly evident in the final theme of the book: the implications that the Cambrian explosion has for understanding evolution and, in particular, for the dichotomy between microevolution and macroevolution. If our theoretical notions do not explain the fossil patterns or are contradicted by them, the theory is either incorrect or is applicable only to special cases." (https://evolutionnews.org/2013/06/erwin_valentine_cambrian_explosion/) Please explain exactly how recent discoveries have radically changed this picture, so as to make all these expert evaluations now invalid. doubter
the Cambrian Explosion is no longer such a problem for Darwin’s theory
Wow. Please never make fun of the grit-your-teeth blind faith of a snake-handling, ultra-fundamentalist bumpkin. The hypocrisy would be unbearable. Barry Arrington
But since there is now some evidence of pre-Cambrian life-forms, the Cambrian Explosion is no longer such a problem for Darwin’s theory
BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Unfortunately no one knows of any mechanism that is capable of producing the Cambrian explosion from those pre-Cambrian life forms. There may not be any requirement for any fixed rate but there is definitely a requirement for a testable mechanism. And that is still absent. ET
Barry Arrington @ 3
Are you suggesting that Darwin did not understand that the Cambrian explosion was a HUGE problem for his theory? If so, you should go back and read Origin (hint: He did). He thought (hoped) that further exploration of the fossil record would solve the problem. He was wrong. It has only gotten worse. I suggest that Darwin (unlike many of his current followers) was honest (and courageous) enough that if he had known what the state of the record would be 160 years later, he would have rejected his own theory
We both know that Darwin was well aware that the absence of pre-Cambrian fossils was a problem for his theory:
Consequently, if the theory be true, it is indisputable that, before the lowest Silurian or Cambrian stratum was deposited long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Cambrian age to the present day; and that during these vast periods the world swarmed with living creatures… To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods, I can give no satisfactory answer… the difficulty of assigning any good reason for the absence beneath the Upper Cambrian formations of vast piles of strata rich in fossils is very great. It does not seem probable that the most ancient beds have been quite worn away by denudation, or that their fossils have been wholly obliterated by metamorphic action, for if this had been the case we should have found only small remnants of the formations next succeeding them in age, and these would always have existed in a partially metamorphosed condition. But the descriptions which we possess of the Silurian deposits over immense territories in Russia and in North America, do not support the view, that the older a formation is, the more it has invariably suffered extreme denudation and metamorphism. The case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.
But since there is now some evidence of pre-Cambrian life-forms, the Cambrian Explosion is no longer such a problem for Darwin's theory although it does still require an explanation for what conditions could have given rise to such a rapid diversification over such a relatively short timescale. As for gradualism, as I said, Darwin stressed that evolution in his theory had to proceed by short, incremental steps but that the rate could vary. There was no requirement for a fixed rate:
I have attempted to show that the geological record is extremely imperfect; that only a small portion of the globe has been geologically explored with care; that only certain classes of organic beings have been largely preserved in a fossil state; that the number both of specimens and of species, preserved in our museums, is absolutely as nothing compared with the incalculable number of generations which must have passed away even during a single formation; that, owing to subsidence being almost necessary for the accumulation of deposits rich in fossils and thick enough to resist future degradation, enormous intervals of time have elapsed between most of our successive formations; that there has probably been more extinction during the periods of subsidence, and more variation during the periods of elevation, and during the latter the record will have been least perfectly kept; that each single formation has not been continuously deposited; that the duration of each formation is, probably, short compared with the average duration of specific forms; that migration has played an important part in the first appearance of new forms in any one area and formation; that widely ranging species are those which have varied most frequently, and have oftenest given rise to new species; that varieties have at first been local; and lastly, although each species must have passed through numerous transitional stages, it is probable that the periods, during which each underwent modification, though many and long as measured by years, have been short in comparison with the periods during which each remained in an unchanged condition.
PavelU- you need a mechanism capable of transforming said meiofauna into what we observe in the Cambrian. And you don't ET
The first biological explosion that hasn’t been explained yet was the appearance of the biological cell. Without the biological cell, the Avalon, Ediacarian, Cambrian, Ordovician explosions couldn’t have occurred. We know the bacteria cell exist, it’s a fact. But we don’t know how to make it. Perhaps now with the $10 million prize offered the patentable solution could be figured out? :) PeterA
What about this? Palaeontology: Darwin's dilemma dissolved Reinhardt Møbjerg Kristensen Nature Ecology & Evolution volume 1, 0076 (2017)
New microfossils suggest that a rich meiofauna was already present in the early Cambrian, offering a solution to the problem that the Cambrian explosion appears to have sprung out of nothing.
Has Dr Stephen Meyer commented on this yet? PavelU
Darwinists will never admit this to be a problem. They would have to admit the flaws of evolution, which would open the door for reason to slip in. The moment Darwinists start to question evolution is the moment they stray from the cult. BobRyan
Darwin stressed that his theory depended on change occurring in small, incremental steps but he had no problem with the rate of change varying over time.
Are you suggesting that Darwin did not understand that the Cambrian explosion was a HUGE problem for his theory? If so, you should go back and read Origin (hint: He did). He thought (hoped) that further exploration of the fossil record would solve the problem. He was wrong. It has only gotten worse. I suggest that Darwin (unlike many of his current followers) was honest (and courageous) enough that if he had known what the state of the record would be 160 years later, he would have rejected his own theory. If that is not what you are suggesting, your comment seems pointless. Barry Arrington
Darwin didn't have a mechanism capable of producing the transformations required. And we still don't. Imagination isn't a mechanism. ET
The Cambrian Explosion, demonstrated time and again to be an ‘explosion,’ is a problem for Darwinian theory. Darwin postulated gradualsim; in fact, he insisted upon it when pressed by supporters to modulate this position of his.
Darwin stressed that his theory depended on change occurring in small, incremental steps but he had no problem with the rate of change varying over time. Seversky

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