The Classification of Living Things Fossils Reject the "Tree of Life"
The Burgess Shale Fossils Molecular Comparisons Deepen Evolution's Cambrian Impasse
Trilobites vs. Darwin The Origin of Vertebrates The Origin of Tetrapods
Speculations About Cœlacanth Physical Obstacles to Transition from Water to Land
The Origin of Reptiles Snakes and Turtles Flying Reptiles Marine Reptiles

 Fossils Reject the "Tree of Life"

The "tree of life" drawn by the evolutionary biologist Ernst Haeckel in 1866.

Let us first consider the Darwinist hypothesis. As we know, Darwinism proposes that life developed from one single common ancestor, and took on all its varieties by a series of tiny changes. In that case, life should first have emerged in very similar and simple forms. And according to the same theory, the differentiation between, and growing complexity in, living things must have happened in parallel over time.

In short, according to Darwinism, life must be like a tree, with a common root, subsequently splitting up into different branches. And this hypothesis is constantly emphasized in Darwinist sources, where the concept of the "tree of life" is frequently employed. According to this tree concept, phyla-the fundamental units of classification between living things-came about by stages, as in the diagram to the left. According to Darwinism, one phylum must first emerge, and then the other phyla must slowly come about with minute changes over very long periods of time. The Darwinist hypothesis is that the number of animal phyla must have gradually increased in number. The diagram to the left shows the gradual increase in the number of animal phyla according to the Darwinian view.

According to Darwinism, life must have developed in this way. But is this really how it happened?

Definitely not. Quite the contrary: animals have been very different and complex since the moment they first emerged. All the animal phyla known today emerged at the same time, in the middle of the geological period known as the Cambrian Age. The Cambrian Age is a geological period estimated to have lasted some 65 million years, approximately between 570 to 505 million years ago. But the period of the abrupt appearance of major animal groups fit in an even shorter phase of the Cambrian, often referred to as the "Cambrian explosion." Stephen C. Meyer, P. A. Nelson, and Paul Chien, in a 2001 article based on a detailed literature survey, dated 2001, note that the "Cambrian explosion occurred within an exceedingly narrow window of geologic time, lasting no more than 5 million years."56


The theory of evolution maintains that different groups of living things (phyla) developed from a common ancestor and grew apart with the passing of time. The diagram left states this claim: According to Darwinism, living things grew apart from one another like the branches on a tree.



But the fossil record shows just the opposite. As can be seen from the diagram left, different groups of living things emerged suddenly with their different structures. Some 100 phyla suddenly emerged in the Cambrian Age. Subsequently, the number of these fell rather than rose (because some phyla became extinct).

Before then, there is no trace in the fossil record of anything apart from single-celled creatures and a few very primitive multicellular ones. All animal phyla emerged completely formed and all at once, in the very short period of time represented by the Cambrian explosion. (Five million years is a very short time in geological terms!)

The fossils found in Cambrian rocks belong to very different creatures, such as snails, trilobites, sponges, jellyfish, starfish, shellfish, etc. Most of the creatures in this layer have complex systems and advanced structures, such as eyes, gills, and circulatory systems, exactly the same as those in modern specimens. These structures are at one and the same time very advanced, and very different.

Richard Monastersky, a staff writer at ScienceNews magazine states the following about the "Cambrian explosion," which is a deathtrap for evolutionary theory:

A half-billion years ago, ...the remarkably complex forms of animals we see today suddenly appeared. This moment, right at the start of Earth's Cambrian Period, some 550 million years ago, marks the evolutionary explosion that filled the seas with the world's first complex creatures.57

The same article also quotes Jan Bergström, a paleontologist who studied the early Cambrian deposits in Chengjiang, China, as saying, "The Chengyiang fauna demonstrates that the large animal phyla of today were present already in the early Cambrian and that they were as distinct from each other as they are today."58

This illustration portrays living things with complex structures from the Cambrian Age. The emergence of such different creatures with no preceding ancestors completely invalidates Darwinist theory.

How the Earth came to overflow with such a great number of animal species all of a sudden, and how these distinct types of species with no common ancestors could have emerged, is a question that remains unanswered by evolutionists. The Oxford University zoologist Richard Dawkins, one of the foremost advocates of evolutionist thought in the world, comments on this reality that undermines the very foundation of all the arguments he has been defending:

For example the Cambrian strata of rocks… are the oldest ones in which we find most of the major invertebrate groups. And we find many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history.59

Phillip Johnson, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who is also one of the world's foremost critics of Darwinism, describes the contradiction between this paleontological truth and Darwinism:

Darwinian theory predicts a "cone of increasing diversity," as the first living organism, or first animal species, gradually and continually diversified to create the higher levels of taxonomic order. The animal fossil record more resembles such a cone turned upside down, with the phyla present at the start and thereafter decreasing.60

A fossil from the Cambrian Age.

As Phillip Johnson has revealed, far from its being the case that phyla came about by stages, in reality they all came into being at once, and some of them even became extinct in later periods. The diagrams on page 53 reveal the truth that the fossil record has revealed concerning the origin of phyla.

As we can see, in the Precambrian Age there were three different phyla consisting of single-cell creatures. But in the Cambrian Age, some 60 to 100 different animal phyla emerged all of a sudden. In the age that followed, some of these phyla became extinct, and only a few have come down to our day.

The well-known paleontologist Roger Lewin discusses this extraordinary fact, which totally demolishes all the Darwinist assumptions about the history of life:

Described recently as "the most important evolutionary event during the entire history of the Metazoa," the Cambrian explosion established virtually all the major animal body forms - Baupläne or phyla - that would exist thereafter, including many that were "weeded out" and became extinct. Compared with the 30 or so extant phyla, some people estimate that the Cambrian explosion may have generated as many as 100.61

INTERESTING SPINES: One of the creatures which suddenly emerged in the Cambrian Age was Hallucigenia, seen at top left. And as with many other Cambrian fossils, like the one at the right it has spines or a hard shell to protect it from attack by enemies. The question that evolutionists cannot answer is, "How could they have come by such an effective defense system at a time when there were no predators around?" The lack of predators at the time makes it impossible to explain the matter in terms of natural selection.

56 Stephen C. Meyer, P. A. Nelson, and Paul Chien, The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang, 2001, p. 2.
57 Richard Monastersky, "Mysteries of the Orient," Discover, April 1993, p. 40. (emphasis added)
58 Richard Monastersky, "Mysteries of the Orient," Discover, April 1993, p. 40.
59 Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, W. W. Norton, London, 1986, p. 229. (emphasis added)
60 Phillip E. Johnson, "Darwinism's Rules of Reasoning," in Darwinism: Science or Philosophy by Buell Hearn, Foundation for Thought and Ethics, 1994, p. 12. (emphasis added)
61 R. Lewin, Science, vol. 241, 15 July 1988, p. 291. (emphasis added)