The paper allegedly settles the case in favor of a more gradual pattern of appearance as predicted by Darwin’s theory. That would be big news indeed, if it were true. Darwinists bloggers are thrilled
To judge from the hype, you might expect that the authors of the new paper have discovered a well-dated temporal transitional series of fossils, documenting a gradual evolution stretched out over a long period of time, rather than an explosive event. Well, far from that. Actually, the article presents no new fossil evidence, no new phylogenetic studies, nor any new scientific results at all. Instead, it is just a review of other recent work. This is why it was published in the “Perspectives” section of the journal PNAS.
Instead of refuting the abruptness of the Cambrian explosion, Daley et al. (2018) confirm that the fossil record of euarthropods is even more abrupt than often believed. How so? Because the oldest body fossils from crown group arthropods like trilobites indeed predate (!) their alleged ancestors by about three million years. The authors recognize that this is a problem. They admit, “It may seem counter-intuitive that crown group euarthropods appear at 521 Ma, while the first appearance of stem lineage euarthropods is not until 518 Ma.” To solve this temporal paradox the authors have to postulate a ghost lineage of stem euarthropods that predate the oldest fossil trilobites but left no record of body fossils. Such hypothetical ghost lineages are required by the unquestioned assumption of universal common descent. Surprisingly, they also appeal to the artifact hypothesis (“… stem lineage euarthropods lack biomineralized exoskeletons and require preservation of soft tissues …”) even though they themselves show in their work that the Burgess-Shale-type (BST) conditions for soft tissue preservation existed all the way down to the Ediacaran period. More.
It appears that, even though Gunter Bechly disappeared from Wikipedia due to his sympathy for ID, the Cambrian explosion has not similarly disappeared. It has been characterized as an “unexplosion” in some quarters for PR reasons.
As of today, Darwin’s Doubt is still doing well:
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See also: Researchers: Cambrian explosion was not an explosion after all