Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Complex Cambrian Brain Suggests Evolution Went the Wrong Way

Chengjiangocaris kunmingensis. Image courtesy of Jie Yang (Yunnan University, China).

Joel Kontinen

Cambrian fossils have presented evolutionists with more surprises than what they could have bargained for.

For Charles Darwin, the sudden appearance of Cambrian animals was a big dilemma. For some of his followers, it can cause a real headache,” as evolutionary biologist Matthew Wills (University of Bath, UK) put it in 2012.

Trilobite eyes were probably more sophisticated and hi-tech than the ones today’s creatures have.

And the headache has progressively worsened in the past few years, as researchers have dug up soft tissue and fossilised brains from animals assumed to be over 500 million years old.

In 2012 Nature published a paper on Fuxianhuia protensa.

The well-preserved fossil of this tiny invertebrate inspired interesting comments and headlines in science portals and publications:

· Science suggested that the creature presumably did a fair amount of thinking.”

· Last November, published an article entitled 520-million-year-old arthropod brains turn paleontology on its head. It was reporting on a study published in the journal Current Biology.

Evolutionists have attempted to find a cause for this biological big bang, but the solutions have been anything but convincing.

The latest discovery makes Darwin’s dilemma and its concomitant headache a whole lot worse, probably beyond recovery. A “520 million-year-old” fossil has a nervous system that is “more complex” than what today’s arthropods have. Yet, as New Scientist characterises it, the Chengjiangocaris kunmingensis has “the most ancient nervous system we’ve ever seen.”

Found in South China, the five Cambrian fossils belonged to a group of organisms that gave rise to the arthropods, including insects, spiders and crustaceans. The fossils are of Chengjiangocaris kunmingensis, a creature around 10 centimetres long, with a segmented body, multiple pairs of legs and a heart-shaped head.”

What the researchers found prompted New Scientist to say: “Evolution isn’t a one-way street to complexity.”

We would agree.

The article goes on to say:

But most interesting of all is its nerve cord and associated neurons. Together, the fossils show the entire nervous system of the organism, apart from its brain – making this the oldest preserved nervous system that has ever been found.

Surprisingly, the team found dozens of fine, subsidiary nerves fanning out across the entire length of the nerve cord, making this nervous system more complex than those seen in today’s descendants

What the fossil shows is the opposite of evolution, it is devolution. Darwinian thinking never predicted anything like this.


Coghlan, Andy. 2016. Exquisite fossils reveal oldest nervous system ever preserved. New Scientist (29 February).