In a recent article published by the BBC, researchers from the University of Toronto announced the reinterpretation of an enigmatic fossil, Oesia disjuncta, now classifying this creature as a hemichordate.1 They also now think that tube-like structures, originally thought to be a type of seaweed, were made by Oesia.
This reinterpretation was based on the recovery of new fossil specimens from Marble Canyon in the Canadian Rockies. Oesia disjuncta is part of a fossil assemblage known as the Cambrian explosion, so researchers estimate the creature’s age to be around 510 million years old. (The Cambrian explosion refers to a dramatic event in life’s history in which 50 to 80 percent of all known animal phyla appear in a geological instant.)
According to lead researcher in the study, Karma Nanglu:
Hemichordates are central to our understanding of how deuterostomes evolved.2
I would partially agree with Nanglu: Hemichordate fossils are central to our understanding of life’s history; but instead of shedding light on evolutionary history, I would maintain that the appearance of this phylum during the Cambrian explosion creates problems for the evolutionary paradigm. (To learn why I hold this view see my article “Cambrian Flash.”) At the same time, this find adds to the evidence for the scientific credibility of the Genesis 1 creation account. (For details see my article “The ‘Great Unconformity’ and the Cambrian Explosion Conform to the Genesis 1 Creation Account.”)
For more on the Cambrian explosion, check out the following resources.
- “Cambrian Flash” (article)
- “The ‘Great Unconformity’ and the Cambrian Explosion Conform to the Genesis 1 Creation Account” (article)
- Burgess Shale Fossil Gallery (photos)
- Karma Nanglu et al., “Cambrian Suspension-Feeding Tubicolous Hemichordates,” BMC Biology 14 (July 2016): 56, doi: 10.1186/s12915-016-0271-4.
- “Sea Worm Fossil Gives Clues to ‘Common Ancestor,’” Science & Environment (blog), BBC News, July 7, 2016, https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36724562.