How to Catch an Extinct Fossil Fish

on May 26, 2007

It may not be breaking news, but Indonesian fisherman Yustinus Lahama’s capture of a rare coelacanth fish is a reminder of the perpetual fallibility of paleontologists (and much of what they say!).

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For those not familiar, the coelacanth was once only known from the fossil record. Paleontologists confidently pronounced that it went extinct some 65 million years ago, since no trace of it was found in more “recent” fossil layers. Imagine their surprise when, in 1938, a living coelacanth was found off the coast of Madagascar! This National Geographic News article notes that “[s]everal other coelacanths have been caught in recent decades.”

Ken Ham explains the significance of the coelacanth quite clearly in “Missing? or Misinterpreted?”:

Now here’s the point. No fossils of coelacanths have ever been found in the same layers as human fossils, but they have been found in the same layers as dinosaur fossils—yet we know coelacanths and humans do live together, because they do so in the present world.

In other words, just because we don’t find fossils of certain creatures (or plants) together with humans in the fossil record, it doesn’t mean they didn’t live together.

Evolutionists love to boldly declare that we “know” (or that science has “proven”) when certain animals arose and when they became extinct. Similarly, evolutionists smugly scoff at creationist claims that dinosaurs and humans lived together (or, for that matter, at any claim that their “facts” may be wrong). But, like other living fossils, the coelacanth goes a long way toward reminding us that these bold claims are based on unbiblical interpretations of the fossil record—interpretations that have, on many occasions, been proven wrong.

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