A TYPICAL creationist argument against evolution can be found at websites like Answers in Genesis, which publishes articles such as Exploding into life! That creationist article, written for “educating” children, declares:
When we look at fossils in Cambrian rocks, we find that not only did these animals have no ancestors, but all the main kinds of living creatures were already there. There were animals with backbones (fish), as well as those without backbones, like shellfish, crinoids (sea lilies), and starfish. Some of these Cambrian creatures have died out, but many types are still alive, and have changed little if at all. The ‘Cambrian explosion‘ destroys the idea that all living things evolved from simple ancestors. This evidence makes it much easier to believe in creation than in evolution.
Creationists will therefore be furious at the news from Ohio State University: EARLIEST ANIMAL FOOTPRINTS EVER FOUND — DISCOVERED IN NEVADA. It’s a press release, so we can excerpt freely, adding bold for emphasis:
The fossilized trail of an aquatic creature suggests that animals walked using legs at least 30 million years earlier than had been thought.
The tracks — two parallel rows of small dots, each about 2 millimeters in diameter — date back some 570 million years, to the Ediacaran period.
That precedes the Cambrian Period, so it should be troublesome for creationists. Continuing with the news release:
Scientists once thought that it was primarily microbes and simple multicellular animals that existed prior to the Cambrian, but that notion is changing, explained Loren Babcock, professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University.
“We keep talking about the possibility of more complex animals in the Ediacaran — soft corals, some arthropods, and flatworms — but the evidence has not been totally convincing,” he said. “But if you find evidence, like we did, of an animal with legs — an animal walking around — then that makes the possibility much more likely.”
How was this discovery made? In a manner totally alien to the creationist mind — scientists were doing science! The press release informs us:
Babcock was surveying rocks in the mountains near Goldfield, Nevada, with Hollingsworth in 2000 when he found the tracks.
“This was truly an accidental discovery. We came on an outcrop that looked like it crossed the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, so we stopped to take a look at it. We just sat down and started flipping rocks over. We were there less than an hour when I saw it.”
From the creationist point of view, this is an outrage! How dare those scientists go out into the world and look for evidence? And it’s even more outrageous that the evidence was found by looking in the right place. How long has this been allowed?
Here’s a bit more:
At approximately 570 million years old, this new fossil not only provides the earliest suggestion of animals walking on legs, but it also shows that complex animals were alive on earth before the Cambrian.
Not many macroscopic fossils exist from that time because soft-bodied creatures are not normally preserved.
But don’t worry about the creationists. They have considerable experience with this kind of thing. Their very predictable responses will be on this list:
1. So they found fossil tracks 30 million years earlier than any others like them? That means that those idiot scientists were lying to us all along. They made a 30 million-year error, and now they’re exposed as fools.
2. The fossil-tracks are a fraud, fabricated by the Darwinists in a desperate attempt to keep their failing theory alive.
3. The rocks containing those tracks are young, the result of the Flood. Any techniques proving otherwise are fraudulent.
4. The scientists don’t know what they’re doing, and their own words prove this. Just look at all he weasel-words they use!
They can find plenty of those “weasel words” in the press release, because that’s the way scientists talk. For example:
Babcock says that he is “reasonably certain — not 100 percent” that the fossil was made by a centipede-like arthropod or a leg-bearing worm. A fossil of the animal itself would be more definitive.
Be patient. In due course we’ll be seeing the usual creationist reactions to this discovery. They’ve been denying reality for 150 years.