Oldest Brain

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Oldest brain found, according to Nature News 10 October 2012, ABC News in Science, and ScienceDaily 11 October 2012 and Nature DOI: 10.1038/nature11495. Palaeontologists from China, UK and USA have studied the fossil of an arthropod buried in Cambrian rocks in China, dated as 520 million years old. The fossil, named Fuxianhuia protensa, has multiple segments in its body, eyes on stalks, and is so well preserved that the outline of its brain can be seen. This makes it the oldest fossil proven to have a brain.

Gregory Edgecombe of the Natural History Museum in London explained: “We recognize it as a brain because its size, outline and position are comparable to those of a small brain in a crustacean such as a glass shrimp.” The brain is similar to that of modern day insects and crustaceans, and according to Nicholas Strausfeld, another of the researchers, "No one expected such an advanced brain would have evolved so early in the history of multicellular animals."

The scientists suggest that once a brain had evolved, its basic structure has remained the same over time, even though sensory organs that send information to it diversified greatly. Strausfeld went on to comment: "It is remarkable how constant the ground pattern of the nervous system has remained for probably more than 550 million years. The basic organization of the computational circuitry that deals, say, with smelling, appears to be the same as the one that deals with vision, or mechanical sensation." Some modern day arthropods such as spiders, scorpions and water fleas have simpler brains than the fossil brain and the research team suggest they underwent “evolutionary reduction and character reversal”.

ABC, Nature News, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Surely you can spot it too? If the oldest brain is fully formed and complex, and arthropod brains haven’t changed for 550 million years, then that truly represents a lot of non-evolution. This new fossil, added to what is observed in living arthropods, are exactly what you would expect to result if each kind of arthropod was created in a fully functional state, complete with the appropriate brain for its needs.

The belief that arthropods with simpler brains have undergone “evolutionary reduction” as they evolved from those with the original complex brains is pure speculation, since no-one has observed this supposed bugs’ brain drain, or any brain change in a living creature that would make such a drastic change feasible. But did you also spot it? Even if such a loss of brain power did happen, it would be a change from complex to simple, which is no help to a theory that claims brainless hydrogen gave raise to simple brains which evolved into more complex brains. Biblical history looks highly intelligent by comparison. (Ref. invertebrates, neurology, fossilisation)

Evidence News 18 October 2012

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