Brains Haven’t Changed

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Brains haven’t changed, according to reports in Nature News 16 July 2014 and ABC News in Science 17 July 2014. Scientists from China, UK and USA have studied three “stunningly well-preserved fossils” of strange creatures called anomalocaridids found in China. These were segmented arthropods with eyes on stalks and claw-like appendages projecting forward from either side of the mouth. The new fossils have been named Lyrarapax unguispinus, and were so well preserved the structure of their internal organs could be studied, including the brain.

One of the researchers, Nicholas Strausfeld, a neuroscientist at the University of Arizona, recognised the fossil brain had the same structure as a group of living creatures known as onychophorans, or velvet worms. Velvet worms are segmented land dwelling creatures with tubular unjointed legs that crawl around in the forest floors in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the southern hemisphere.

According to Nature news, finding the neural architecture of onychophoransin Cambrian creatures indicates this type of brain “has changed little over more than half a billion years of evolution”. (The Cambrian era is believed to have occurred between 541 million to 485 million years ago.) The nature news article is headed “Ancient fossils sport modern brains”.

Anomalocaridids are believed to be marine predators that hunted primitive fish, but the new fossil shows their brains were less complex than those of animals it may have hunted. Nicholas Strausfeld suggested that the threat of predation by creatures such as anomalocaridids may have resulted in prey animals developing more complex brains. He commented: “Predation may have in part contributed to the evolution of more elaborate brains that could process more complex ecological cues that might have offered camouflage or other protection”.

ABC, Nature News

Editorial Comment: Strausfeld’s comment is another example of evolutionary wishful thinking. Animals can only develop more elaborate brains if they acquire the right genes for making such brain cells and circuits. How can one creature threatened with being a main meal for other animals make/acquire/create genes for more elaborate brains? Those that avoid the predators must already have a sufficiently good brain to not get eaten, and those that are eaten have lost their only chance.

Furthermore, anything that has not evolved over half a billion years is stuck in a rut and is not going to evolve at all. Living onychophorans will, therefore, have to be satisfied with the only brain they have ever had (and ever will).

The fact that this kind of brain works well in a living creature indicates it was a fully functioning brain in the fossil creature, and is evidence these strange Cambrian creatures, such as Lyrarapax unguispinus, were not half evolved creatures, but were fully formed functioning creatures. This is exactly what you would expect from Genesis, which tells us that living things were separately created according to their kinds as part of fully functioning ecosystems. Sadly many wonderful creatures have died out as the world has degenerated, and suffered the effects of God’s judgment on human sin and man has done more than our share in helping many go the way of the Dodo. (Ref. neurology, arthropods, fossilisation)

Evidence News vol. 14, No. 13
23 July 2014
Creation Research Australia

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