In “Fossil shows daddy longlegs remain unchanged” (Jennifer Welsh, MSNBC, August 23, 2011), we learn: “Scientists amazed 3-D images show harvestmen nearly still same after 300 million years”:
“It is absolutely remarkable how little (that) harvestmen have changed in appearance since before the dinosaurs,” study researcher Russell Garwood, of Imperial College London, said in a statement. “If you went out into the garden and found one of these creatures today, it would be like holding a little bit of prehistory in your hands.”
The two species fell into the Dyspnoi and Eupnoi suborders of harvestmen. Their physical appearance suggests they evolved from a common ancestor about 305 million years ago, the researchers said. This data support previous genetic studies of past harvestmen.
The researchers admit they don’t know why this arachnid never changed much in all that time.
Evolutionary biologists have been engaged in defending Darwin for so long that most of the picture of evolution is missing – because most of evolution isn’t really about Darwin or his theory.
They are trying to fit the system into Darwin’s frame. Thus, what should not be a surprise is forever a surprise.
There are three related processes of life: Evolution, stasis (nothing happens for maybe a hundred million or oh, maybe a billion years), and extinction. When the Darwin bores finally die off, there is a lot of work to do understanding them.
Here are five notable examples of stasis (among many):
Spider in amber is 49 million-year-old member of living genus
“If it ain’t broke … ” Cricket shows no change in 100 million years.
Living fossil eel survives from 200 million years ago.
Stasis in hemichordate for a half billion years …
800 million year old shelled fossil found in Yukon, Canada