A Very Old Worm

The Great 2013 Catch-upIn Ancient Fossil Looks Like Today’s Acorn Worms (8 April 2013) Brian Thomas makes a living fossil claim – sort of. “Acorn worms” are more formally known as “enteropneusts,” which is a taxonomical class containing four families and around 90 living species. The rediscovery of a collection of old finds from the Burgess Shale apparently pushes the age of the earliest acorn worms back 200 million years to around 500 million years ago, i.e. the Cambrian explosion. Continue reading

Bone-Eating Zombie Worms

Osedax roseusThe DpSU for Friday turned out to be called ‘Zombie Worms’ Ate Mediterranean Fossil.

The situation here is that we have some worms of the genus Osedax that bore into bones to get at trapped lipids. Idea is that:

…then all those large, bony marine creatures—and birds—that were fossilized alongside dinosaurs must also have been deposited, buried, and mineralized rapidly to avoid destruction by Osedax.

(The quote makes slightly more sense in context, but then that reduces its explanatory usefulness). What he’s trying to prove is that the fossilisation process must be much faster than generally thought, so as to allow in the rather short timescales of young-Earth creationism which otherwise would be impossible. Continue reading