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












 Trilobites vs. Darwin

One of the most interesting of the many different species that suddenly emerged in the Cambrian Age is the now-extinct trilobites. Trilobites belonged to the Arthropoda phylum, and were very complicated creatures with hard shells, articulated bodies, and complex organs. The fossil record has made it possible to carry out very detailed studies of trilobites' eyes. The trilobite eye is made up of hundreds of tiny facets, and each one of these contains two lens layers. This eye structure is a real wonder of design. David Raup, a professor of geology at Harvard, Rochester, and Chicago Universities, says, "the trilobites 450 million years ago used an optimal design which would require a well trained and imaginative optical engineer to develop today."69


Another illustration showing living things from the Cambrian Age.

The extraordinarily complex structure even in trilobites is enough to invalidate Darwinism on its own, because no complex creatures with similar structures lived in previous geological periods, which goes to show that trilobites emerged with no evolutionary process behind them. A 2001 Science article says:

Cladistic analyses of arthropod phylogeny revealed that trilobites, like eucrustaceans, are fairly advanced "twigs" on the arthropod tree. But fossils of these alleged ancestral arthropods are lacking. ...Even if evidence for an earlier origin is discovered, it remains a challenge to explain why so many animals should have increased in size and acquired shells within so short a time at the base of the Cambrian.70


Trilobite eyes, with their doublet structure and hundreds of tiny lensed units, were a wonder of design.

Very little was known about this extraordinary situation in the Cambrian Age when Charles Darwin was writing The Origin of Species. Only since Darwin's time has the fossil record revealed that life suddenly emerged in the Cambrian Age, and that trilobites and other invertebrates came into being all at once. For this reason, Darwin was unable to treat the subject fully in the book. But he did touch on the subject under the heading "On the sudden appearance of groups of allied species in the lowest known fossiliferous strata," where he wrote the following about the Silurian Age (a name which at that time encompassed what we now call the Cambrian):


Darwin said that if his theory was correct, the long periods before the trilobites should have been full of their ancestors. But not one of these creatures predicted by Darwin has ever been found.

For instance, I cannot doubt that all the Silurian trilobites have descended from some one crustacean, which must have lived long before the Silurian age, and which probably differed greatly from any known animalÖ Consequently, if my theory be true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Silurian stratum was deposited, long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Silurian age to the present day; and that during these vast, yet quite unknown, periods of time, the world swarmed with living creatures. To the question why we do not find records of these vast primordial periods, I can give no satisfactory answer.71

Darwin said "If my theory be true, [the Cambrian] Age must have been full of living creatures." As for the question of why there were no fossils of these creatures, he tried to supply an answer throughout his book, using the excuse that "the fossil record is very lacking." But nowadays the fossil record is quite complete, and it clearly reveals that creatures from the Cambrian Age did not have ancestors. This means that we have to reject that sentence of Darwin's which begins "If my theory be true." Darwin's hypotheses were invalid, and for that reason, his theory is mistaken.

The record from the Cambrian Age demolishes Darwinism, both with the complex bodies of trilobites, and with the emergence of very different living bodies at the same time. Darwin wrote "If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life all at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of descent with slow modification through natural selection."72-that is, the theory at the heart of in his book. But as we saw earlier, some 60 different animal phyla started into life in the Cambrian Age, all together and at the same time, let alone small categories such as species. This proves that the picture which Darwin had described as "fatal to the theory" is in fact the case. This is why the Swiss evolutionary paleoanthropologist Stefan Bengtson, who confesses the lack of transitional links while describing the Cambrian Age, makes the following comment: "Baffling (and embarrassing) to Darwin, this event still dazzles us."73

Another matter that needs to be dealt with regarding trilobites is that the 530-million-year-old compound structure in these creatures' eyes has come down to the present day completely unchanged. Some insects today, such as bees and dragonflies, possess exactly the same eye structure.74 This discovery deals yet another "fatal blow" to the theory of evolution's claim that living things develop from the primitive to the complex.

69 David Raup, "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology," Bulletin, Field Museum of Natural History, vol. 50, January 1979, p. 24.
70 Richard Fortey, "The Cambrian Explosion Exploded?," Science, vol. 293, no. 5529, 20 July 2001, pp. 438-439.
71 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, 1859, p. 313-314.
72 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, Harvard University Press, 1964, p. 302.
73 Stefan Bengston, Nature, vol. 345, 1990, p. 765. (emphasis added)
74 R. L. Gregry, Eye and Brain: The Physiology of Seeing, Oxford University Press, 1995, p. 31.