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Apologetics Press :: Sensible Science

What Else “Living Fossils” Reveal
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
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Though the term “living fossil” sounds paradoxical, the expression is used widely to refer to living plants or animals which match fossils that evolutionists believe to be millions of years old. Plants and animals on the list of living fossils include cycads, horsetails, whisk ferns, dragonflies, opossums, crocodiles, tuataras, frilled sharks, horseshoe “crabs,” etc. Living fossils are an embarrassment to evolutionary theory for several reasons (see Butt, 2006). For one, “living fossils” show how various animals have remained virtually unchanged over long periods of time (allegedly millions of years). Dragonflies in the 21st century, though several inches smaller than their fossil counterparts, are still dragonflies. The horseshoe crab living today appears essentially the same as horseshoe crabs of “350 million years ago.” The existence of living fossils goes hand in hand with what Genesis 1 has taught for millennia: animals reproduce after their own kind.

Evolutionists seemingly overlook another major point when it comes to living fossils and the fossil record: plants and animals can live long periods of time (allegedly millions of years) without leaving behind fossil evidence. According to evolutionists, Gingko trees were thriving 240 million years ago, before dinosaurs evolved (see Krock, 2003). Interestingly, Gingko fossils are absent in rock layers reportedly representing many millions of years, yet they are alive today (Hodge, 2006, p. 183). Consequently, simply because they are absent in certain rock strata does not mean they were non-existent during the alleged millions of years it took those layers of rock to form.

Consider also the living fossil known as the coelacanth. From 1839 (when fossil coelacanths were first discovered—Perkins, 2001) to 1938, evolutionists alleged that this fish was the missing link in the evolution of fish to amphibians (“Diver Finds...,” n.d.). Supposedly, coelacanths had existed “for nearly 400 million years” (“Diver Finds...”). Evolutionists firmly believed that “the coelacanth became extinct about 70 million years ago [about the same time dinosaurs died out—EL] because their fossils are not found in any deposits higher than this” (Hodge, 2006, p. 183). Science News declared that coelacanths “disappeared from the fossil record 75 million years ago” (Perkins, 2001, emp. added). In 1938, however, a living coelacanth was brought to shore in South Africa. It was caught in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar, and since that time more than 200 other specimens have been sighted or caught (see “Coelacanth,” n.d.).

Evolutionists admit that the fossil record of the past “70 million years” shows no evidence of coelacanths. Yet, we know they lived during these alleged “70 million years,” because they are still alive today. Like Gingko trees, coelacanths’ absence in certain rock strata does not mean they were not living during the alleged millions of years it took the rock layers to form; it simply means that they were not buried and fossilized in those layers of rock.

More important, consider this truth we learn from living fossils in light of alleged human evolution. Evolutionists assume that humans were not alive in various past ages (purportedly millions of years ago) because human fossils have not been discovered in layers of rock dated many millions of years old. The truth is, however, we have just as much fossil evidence for humans living the past “70 million years” as we do coelacanths and Gingko trees. Could humans not just as easily have been alive when the various rock layers were formed, without leaving human fossils? Simply because human fossils are missing in certain layers of rock does not mean humans were not living at the time those rock layers were formed. Living fossils beautifully illustrate this truth, and cast serious doubt on the evolutionary geologic timetable.


Butt, Kyle (2006), “What is a Living Fossil?” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL:

“Coelacanth” (no date), American Museum of Natural History, [On-line], URL:

“Diver Finds ‘Living Fossil’” (no date), Science Now, [On-line], URL: coelacanth_010601.php.

Hodge, Bodie (2006), The New Answers Book (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).

Krock, Lexi (2003), “Other Fish in the Sea,” NOVA, January, [On-line], URL:

Perkins, Sid (2001), “The Latest Pisces of an Evolutionary Puzzle—Discovery of Coelacanth off Coast of South Africa,” Science News 159:282, May 5, [On-line], URL: http://www.

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