Fossil Octopuses

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Fossil octopuses found, according to reports in Eurekalert, 17 Mar 2009 and Live Science 18 May 2009. Living octopuses have soft bodies and when they die they rapidly decay into structureless blobs if they are not first eaten by scavengers. Therefore, “the preservation of an octopus as a fossil is about as unlikely as finding a fossil sneeze, and none of the 200-300 species of octopus known today has ever been found in fossilized form.” A group of European scientists have found five “extraordinarily well preserved” octopus fossils in Cretaceous limestone in Lebanon. Dirk Fuchs of the Freie University Berlin, who studied the fossils, explained to Live Science: "The luck was that the corpse landed untouched on the sea floor. The sea floor was free of oxygen and therefore free of scavengers. Both the anoxy (absence of oxygen) and a rapid sedimentation rate prevented decay." There are three different species in the collection and they are so well preserved there are traces of the suckers, internal gills and ink in the fossils.

The specimens have been classified as new species but are very similar to living octopuses. Fuchs commented: “these things are 95 million years old, yet one of the fossils is almost indistinguishable from living species." The age estimate of 95 million years put the origin of octopuses back about 10 million years in the evolutionary timetable. The EurekAlert article states: “This provides important evolutionary information.”

Fuchs went on to say: “The more primitive relatives of octopuses had fleshy fins along their bodies. The new fossils are so well preserved that they show, like living octopus, that they didn't have these structures.”

Editorial Comment: If the only difference between so called primitive octopuses and the present ones is the presence of fleshy fins then today’s octopuses may have lost them i.e. they have devolved. Furthermore, if these are the oldest octopuses, then for their total existence on planet earth, octopuses can only be proved to have reproduced after their kind, just as Genesis says.

Fuchs is correct about the fossils being preserved by rapid sedimentation in an anoxic environment, but that will not happen simply because a creature dies and falls to the sea bed. It has to be deeply buried right away. It is more likely these animals were preserved when they were suddenly swept up together with a mass of sediment and then dumped, so the sediments it is found in do not preserve evidence of vast time spans the evolutionist so loves. (Ref. cephalopods, invertebrates, catastrophe, preservation)

Evidence News, 6 May 2009

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