Thursday, 9 January 2014

Oldest Living Fossil: Elephant Shark

New research suggests that the elephant shark is the oldest living fossil. Image courtesy of Fir0002/Flagstaffotos, via Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

It's a living fossil to beat all others. The elephant shark, Callorhinchus milii … has the slowest-evolving genome of any vertebrate.” This is how New Scientist begins an article on what is assumed to be the oldest living fossil.

The elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii), also known as the Australian ghostshark, is not actually a shark at all. Evolutionists believe that C. milii belongs to a group known as ratfish, which diverged from sharks about 400 million years ago.”

According to New Scientist, “a team led by Byrappa Venkatesh of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore compared its genome with those of other vertebrates, they found it had changed less from its presumed ancestral form than any other.

C. milii outstrips the coelacanth, the fish that previously held the slow-evolution record

The article admits that the elephant shark does not fit in well with evolutionary expectations. This is no surprise as evolution is supposed to be about change and many animals show little if any change during their entire existence.


Holmes, Bob. 2014. Elephant shark takes record for slowest evolution. New Scientist (8 January).