Monday, 18 January 2010
Tiny living fossil found in Australia
Ischnura heterosticta is a common Australian dragonfly. Image courtesy of Fir0002/Flagstaffotos, Wikipedia. The recently discovered damselfly is much smaller and extremely rare.
The latest addition to the ever-expanding list of living fossils is a damselfly found in south-western Victoria in Australia. The tiny dragonfly has a wingspan of 22 millimetres.
Dubbed Ancient Greenling Damselfly, the dragonfly is the only surviving representative of the family Hemiphlebiidae. It does not have any living relatives but fossilized remains of similar damselflies have been found in Brazil and Russia in rocks that are estimated to be 250-300 million years old.
''It's not every day that you find a living fossil pretty much in your backyard,'' says Di Crowther, a senior scientist at the Arthur Rylah Institute according to The Age.
The Australian population of these tiny damselflies now totals a few hundred. They are listed as endangered.
Evolution is often defined as change but this tiny damselfly has remained a damselfly for aeons. Similarly, the fossil record shows us that a squid remains a squid, a Coelacanth remains a Coelacanth, a horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) remains a horseshoe crab and a tuatara (Sphendon punctatus) remains a tuatara throughout the time when dinosaurs were assumed to be turning into birds and early mammals into men.
Living fossils clearly support the Genesis model of after its kind. The biblical kinds are known for stubbornly resisting change into other kinds. Even the assumed millions of years of earth history have been unable to bring about change that would have bridged the enormous gulf between the biblical kinds.
Smith, Bridie. 2010. Found: fossil-linked, listed damselfly. The Age (5 January)