On Darwin's Birthday Big Fossil Find Deepens His Dilemma, says New York Times Bestselling Author of Darwin's Doubt

Feb 12, 2014, 17:55 ET from Discovery Institute

SEATTLE, Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A spectacular new discovery of Cambrian animal fossils has intensified a source of doubt that troubled Darwin about his theory, according to scientific researchers at Discovery Institute.

About 26 miles from the famous Walcott quarry, a new exposure of Burgess Shale fossils has come to light. Called the Marble Canyon quarry, this fossil assemblage, reported in Scientific American, Nature Communications, and elsewhere, appears to be larger and more detailed than its neighbor, famous as a World Heritage Site.

"This new location sheds no new light on what might have caused the origin of all these new animal forms," said Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, author of the New York Times bestseller Darwin's Doubt. "Instead, it intensifies the problem of the Cambrian explosion, because it contains fossils previously known only from China."

That is despite hopeful claims that this new outcrop "offers new insights" into "the initial diversification of metazoans" (a euphemism for the sudden appearance of entirely new animal body plans), it has provided no new insight into the causes of the Cambrian explosion.

"All of the animals, including the new ones, fit into existing Cambrian phyla," explained Meyer. "No transitional intermediates have been discovered."

"What's important to understand is how suddenly, geologically the new body plans emerge," said Casey Luskin, research director at Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture. "Even if one were to take the most generous evolutionary estimate for the length of the Cambrian explosion, it would not allow enough time for natural selection and random mutations to do the job."

All the animals are complex at their first appearance. The first trilobite is 100% trilobite, complete with jointed appendages, eyes, and internal organs. No "pre-trilobites" or "half-trilobites" are found. The same is true for all the other animals discovered there.

SOURCE Discovery Institute