Arthropod Brains

Fuxianhuia protensa from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang FaunaThe latest article from Brian Thomas is Cambrian Creature Had Complicated Brain. It relates to a study that found that a Cambrian arthropod, Fuxianhuia protensa, had a “modern” brain (at least for an arthropod). But first, here’s Brian’s conception of the Cambrian explosion:

In the evolutionary scheme, Cambrian fossils represent creatures from an ancient time when they had only recently emerged from unidentified sub-animal life forms. As such, evolutionists expect Cambrian creatures to be more complicated in structure than their supposed precursors, but simpler than their more “highly evolved” descendants.

“Unidentified sub-animal life forms”?

Anyway, the gist of this article is Thomas is crowing about how there has apparently been no evolution in arthropod brains.

Maybe few evolutionists expected such advanced animal structure in supposedly ancient deposits, but creationists certainly did. For example, the Institute for Creation Research reported in 2011 about the discovery of modern shrimp-like eye fossils: “Advanced eyes in Cambrian fossils are no surprise to Bible-believers, who understand that God made shrimp with fully formed eyes from the beginning.”

That article was recent enough to be covered here. The upshot of that story was simply that compound eyes evolved earlier than previously thought, nothing more. As an aside, Brian is now back to calling his old articles “creation science updates,” which may have something to do with a new ICR mobile app which uses the term.

The creation model, which takes its main historical input from the Bible, predicts that at its first appearance in the fossil record, any creature that is preserved will contain all of its core attributes. This follows from the third Tenet of Scientific Creationism, as described by ICR founder Henry Morris in 1980: “Each of the major kinds of plants and animals was created functionally complete from the beginning and did not evolve from some other kind of organism.”

The problem here relates to the fact that the fossil is in an entirely different class to any surviving group of arthropod, which would mean that creationists would need to classify it in a different “kind” unless they made the boundaries quite broad indeed. There are apparently three living groups of arthropods to consider here: the malacostracans (including crabs and shrimp) and hexapods (includes insects), which have more complex brains like this find; and the branchiopods. From an evolutionary perspective this find is important because it shows that the common ancestor to all three groups had a more complex brain, and that branchiopods then became simpler in that regard. The alternative would have been to have the other two groups evolving from the branchiopod, which appears to be a simpler explanation when only neurology is examined but other characteristics suggest against it. There seems to be no real reason to completely preclude the possibility of “modern” brains having arisen so early, and the fossil species is described as being primitive in other aspects.

The fact that the animal would need to be placed in a separate kind to the other groups is an inconvenient detail for Brian’s smug article. Because of this, creationists are really unable to make a prediction about what kind of brain this creature should have – it should be entirely independent of that of any other type of organism. At least some scientists, however, do seem to have at least partially predicted that this would be found at some point:

“There have been all sorts of implications why branchiopods shouldn’t be the ancestors of insects,” [University of Arizona neurobiologist Nicholas Strausfeld] said. “Many of us thought the proof in the pudding would be a fossil that would show a malacostracan-like brain in a creature that lived long before the origin of the branchiopods; and bingo! — this is what this is.”

Sure they didn’t think it would be found quite this early, but Strausfeld doesn’t seem to be fazed by that. Conversely Brian has taken the route where creationism apparently predicts whatever he thinks evolutionists wouldn’t like to see. This isn’t a particularly profitable position to take, I must say.

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One thought on “Arthropod Brains

  1. How wonderful of anti-evolution ICR YECists to tell their readership what evolutionists presently think, believe and claim (regardless of whether or not what they say actually reflects what evolutionists presently think, believe and claim); doing that (refuting or contradicting STRAW MAN current evolutionary thinking instead of what scientists preponderantly actually think, believe and claim) keeps things simple for their adoring faithful. Hard to imagine any genuine Almighty God being pleased with converts won and kept via misinformation, disinformation, and outright mendacity.

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