The Devonian: Did Fish Become Amphibians?

Hall of Life—Reptile and Amphibian Exhibits

on May 2, 2016

Evolutionists suggest that it was during the so-called “Devonian” period that fish evolved into amphibians. The museum may even have a picture of the famous fish that crawled out onto the land.

However, another interpretation better explains the creatures found in this fossilized formation. Rather than viewing the fossils in a step-by-step evolutionary fashion, think of them as a group of animals that were buried together in the Flood, 4,300 years ago.

Paleontologist Dr. Kurt Wise believes that a massive (sub-continent to continent size) pre-Flood floating forest was buried in stages during the beginning of the Flood, and that this explains the Devonian animals (the “Devonian” was a location in the floating forest, not a place in time).

“Living among the flora of the floating forest was an associated fauna. This fauna would have ranged from fish which lived in the pools in the forest floor, to amphibians which inhabited the aquatic/terrestrial interface, to insects and small animals which lived in the terrestrial environment of the understory and canopy. The permanent destruction of the floating forest biome would explain why virtually all Paleozoic ‘land’ animals are extinct. It would also provide a reasonable explanation for the stratigraphic position, the environment, and the morphology of the animals which appear to be fully functional morphological intermediates between fish and amphibians (e.g., Ichthyostega).” (K. Wise, “The Pre-Flood Floating Forest,” Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, 2003, p. 376)

In the next three quotes, creationist geologist Paul Garner elaborates.

The Devonian tetrapods are thought to have lived a predatory lifestyle in weed-infested shallow water. They were therefore equipped with characteristics appropriate to that habitat (e.g., crocodile-like morphology with dorsally placed eyes, limbs and tails made for swimming, internal gills, lateral line systems). Some of these features are also found in fishes that shared their environment.

Were these creatures “transitional forms”?

The mosaic pattern makes it difficult to identify organisms or groups of organisms that possess the “right” combination of characters to be considered part of an evolutionary lineage. Consider the tetrapod-like lobe-fins Panderichthys and Elpistostege. Despite their appearance, these fish have some unique characters (such as the design of the vertebrae) that rule them out as tetrapod ancestors. At best, evolutionists can only claim that they are a model of the kind of fish that must have served as that ancestor. … Another example is Livoniana, a so-called “near tetrapod” known from two lower jaw fragments. It possesses a curious mixture of fish-like and tetrapod-like characteristics, but it also has up to five rows of teeth, a feature not seen either in the fishes from which it is thought to be descended nor the tetrapods into which it is said to be evolving. That the mosaic distribution of characters can cause great confusion is exemplified by the recent discovery of Psarolepis, a fish from the Upper Silurian/Lower Devonian of China, which combines characters found in placoderms, chondrichthyans, ray finned fishes, and lobe-fins.

Consider also the changes needed to go from fish to amphibians.

… in fish the head, shoulder girdle, and circulatory systems constitute a single mechanical unit. The shoulder girdle is firmly connected to the vertebral column and is an anchor for the muscles involved in lateral undulation of the body, mouth opening, heart contractions, and timing of the blood circulation through the gills. However, in amphibians the head is not connected to the shoulder girdle, in order to allow effective terrestrial feeding and locomotion. Evolutionists must suppose that the head became incrementally detached from the shoulder girdle, in a step-wise fashion, with functional intermediates at every stage. However, a satisfactory account of how this might have happened has never been given.

(Paul Garner, “The Fossil Record of ‘Early’ Tetrapods: Evidence of a Major Evolutionary Transition?” TJ 17:2, 2003, pp. 111–117, available online at

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