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Cambrian explosion

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Middle Cambrian fossils showing the vast differences between multiple organisms


The Cambrian explosion serves as one of the most significant evidence supporting God's creation of the world while discrediting the theory of evolution. Although this event was recognized among secular scientists as a huge obstacle for evolution even back in Darwin's day, none were able to find sufficient evidence to explain through natural processes. It seems inevitable that only through God's creation can this geological event could be explained.

What is the Cambrian explosion?

Depiction of missing ancestors of the animals in the Cambrian fossil layers
Forty major animal groups appear out of nowhere at the bottom of the fossil record[1]

This sentence essentially explains what the Cambrian explosion is. Even 150 years ago, geologists recognized that there are thousands of feet of rock containing no fossils at all under the Cambrian rocks. The transition from this fossil-less layer known as Precambrian to the fossil abundant Cambrian is referred as the "Cambrian explosion" in a sense that the appearance of fossils were like an explosion. [1]

When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, he regarded the Cambrian explosion as the most significant challenges to his entire position. In Darwin's view of evolution, individual species arise from other species in small steps over vast periods of time. The more different two animal species were, the more evolutionary steps and the more time would be required to connect them. He also thought that all animals evolved from a single ancestor along an animal family tree. [1]

Animals found in the Cambrian rocks, such as the trilobites and brachiopods showed an enormous difference in their features which Darwin inferred as requiring many generations of species before them. However, we do not find any ancestors of these animals as fossils in the Precambrian. Darwin had suggested that those fossils had been formed but eroded as time passed. Many paleontologists had put great amounts of effort in order to find these fossils for 150 years after Darwin's time but they only found more variety in species among the Cambrian.[1]

The branching tree of life which textbook writers present as a matter of non-controversial fact seems to not have any sort of trunk nor even branches that connect the various organisms. John D. Morris rather describes the tree as being turned upside down starting with complexity which continues into the present with some extinction along the way. [2]

Recent foundings

The members of the two different phylums, vertebrata and echinodermata, have not much of a similarity

Although these missing rock layers were found in about a dozen sites around the world and fossils were finally found in Precambrian rocks, the fossils were not as expected. These Precambrian fossils included bizarre organisms too different from Cambrian animals to be their ancestors, as well as fossils of bacteria and even microscopic animal embryos. If rocks were able to preserve single cell organisms, they must have been able to preserve the ancestors of animals found in Cambrian fossils. With no such fossils being found, one could easily suspect that there were never such thing as Cambrian ancestors.[1]

As researchers continued on their search of fossils, they unearthed more Cambrian fossils which presented yet another problem. These fossils they found included echinoderms and even vertebrates which are classified as "crown groups", groups most different from each other - being most distant parts of the animal family tree. With the perspective of these animals evolving from a common ancestor, this discovery proclaims that all the animals must have evolved before the Cambrian. However, aside from the lack of fossil evidence, the short time span claims such event impossible. [1]

Evolutionists attempt on explaining the Cambrian explosion

Diagram demonstrating punctuated equilibrium

A strange, mushroom-shaped species was discovered alive on the deep seafloor, more than 3,000 feet below sea level, near Australia. While investigating its anatomy, researchers were not able place it in an existing phylum, giving it a genus named Dendrogramma. They also noted that its features resembled certain fossils found in Ediacaran rocks, which are beneath the Cambrian strata or rock layer. If this mushroom-shaped creature is indeed represent the ancient fossils, why have not it evolved throughout the 550 million years? [3]

In 1972, evolutionary scientists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge attempted on resolving this contradiction by proposing a theory of punctuated equilibrium. The theory claims that species are generally stable, changing little for millions of years. This leisurely pace is "punctuated" by a rapid burst of change that results in a new species and that leaves few fossils behind. Ironically, this model of evolution is painfully similar to saltation which was what Darwin had assumed incorrect and developed his model of slow and gradual change in evolution in the first place. [4]

Biblical explanation

The lesson Cambrian explosion teaches is not about the evolution of life but about catastrophic death. The plethora, or overabundance, of soft tissue in fossils must have come from a history of rapid burial on a massive scale. According to the Bible, the floodwaters during Noah's time was not just from rain but also from the opening of the "fountains of the great deep" (Genesis 7:11), an apparent reference to violent undersea activity. It is not surprising that marine invertebrates and vertebrates are found prevalent among the Cambrian rocks regarding this fact. As the flood caused the sea levels to continually rise, there would have been more burials of organisms that formed different layers of sedimentary rock over the ones previously formed, creating the fossil record we see today not over millions of years, but early in the Flood year. [5]

The global flood that Bible accounts also resolves all the contradictions and complications the theory of evolution faces when trying to interpret the fossil records. As mentioned above, soft tissues could only be preserved in fossils through rapid burial, preventing the process of decay from taking place or scavengers from devouring them. Also, the mysterious fossil graveyards can be simply explained as remnants of organisms buried altogether in short period of time. [6]


Icons of Evolution :: The Cambrian Explosion
Explains in detail how Darwinian evolution contradicts with the fossil records


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Wise, Kurt. One: Life's Unexpected Explosion Answers in Genesis. Web. last updated on January 1, 2010
  2. Morris, John.What Grows on Evolution's Tree?. Institute Creation Research. Web. Accessed on January 5, 2017.
  3. Thomas, Brian 550 Million Years of Non-Evolution? Institute Creation Research. Web. Published on December 8, 2014
  4. Punctuated Equilibrium Evolution. Web. Accessed on January 5, 2017. Unknown author
  5. Mitchell, Elizabeth. Cambrian Explosion or Creation Week - Key to Vertebrate Success?. "Answers in Genesis". Web. Published on March 12, 2015.
  6. Morris, John.Are Fossils the Result of Noah's Flood? . Institute Creation Research. Web. Accessed on January 5, 2017.