Evolutionists Must Know Something That Algae Don’t

A recent study on algae supposedly sheds light on how aquatic life became terrestrial. So the story goes, “450 million years ago, alga from the earth's waters splashed up on to barren land. Somehow it survived and took root, a watershed moment that kick-started the evolution of life on earth,” according to Dr. Delaux of University of Wisconsin, Madison,1 or, well, any evolutionary scientist. But Dr. Delaux thinks they know the “somehow” now. This is significant, they think, because plants use carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, without which further life could not have evolved. Today, however, photosynthetic marine life like algae and microscopic phytoplankton make up most of the oxygen production, so it is questionable that plant life would need to migrate landward for evolution to move forward for the sake of gas exchange. But one must explain the existence of terrestrial plant life, too!

So, as with many evolutionary stories, the scientists and media brush off their hands and say “done” to another major evolutionary hurdle and sprint on toward the next one. But have any of the hurdles been truly cleared? The biggest hurdle that came before it would be abiogenesis. That should’ve stopped the notion of life without a designer cold (life needs heat . . . and a whole lot more than even brilliant scientists and expensive equipment have provided thus far), but it hasn’t.

How could burgeoning terrestrial plant life obtain moisture and nutrients that had been so freely available in the water?

This time, the hurdle was getting “early” plants to survive the harsh dry climate of land. How could burgeoning terrestrial plant life obtain moisture and nutrients that had been so freely available in the water? Many land plants accomplish this today via a fungus interacting with their root system. Similar fungi these precocious algae needed were also present in the fossil record conventionally dated at 450 million years ago. But how did they communicate in time while baking in the sun after splashdown? Well, turns out they already had the genes they needed for this symbiosis. Good thing they thought to plan ahead. In fact, Dr. Delaux said, “Our discovery shows for the first time that the alga already knew how to survive on land while it was still in the water.”2 The researchers examined the genetic content of plants considered primitive and compared them to algae. By assuming a primitive status on several plants they chose to study (based on evolutionary presuppositions and aquatic or moist habitats), they provided a list of genes that were present in “earlier” and “later” “primitive” plants like liverworts and mosses as well as fully terrestrial plants, thus a sequence of genes needed to set up initial symbiosis and then the genes needed to further establish land-dwelling.

So the “starter” genes were in place and the fungi were in place: problem solved, right? Wait, those fungi were already there? Those genes were already there? The complex biochemical pathways were there in both the algae and fungi, the symbiosis was able to be established in short order . . . but where did this ingenious system that would allow such intricate cooperation come from in the first place? Or for that matter, DNA, a genetic code, the algae, and the fungi? Those are the bigger questions that remain unanswered. Meanwhile, other answers are glaring but won’t even be considered because of the naturalistic bias prevalent in much of the scientific community.

Of course it was all there and it all works together beautifully, even if its extreme complexity boggles the imagination (and should blow the idea of unguided evolution out of the proverbial primordial soup!). And of course these fungi, algae, and symbiotic relationships haven’t changed much, since they’re only a few thousand years old and plants were created to reproduce after their kinds (Genesis 1:11–12). To assume these fungi, algae, and symbiotic relationships haven’t changed much in 450 million years of supposed evolution would seem to undermine the major changes needed to form coconuts and pineapples through random mutations during this same period—evolution is conveniently both static and progressive at the same time.

God . . . programmed the DNA of both aquatic and terrestrial plants and their symbiotic fungi.

But the algae didn’t “know” what to do, as Dr. Delaux proclaims, nor did evolution or a mindless god of deep time. Life did not “find a way.”3 God did and programmed the DNA of both aquatic and terrestrial plants and their symbiotic fungi. But algae weren’t in and of themselves getting a leg up on dry land and on their way to terrestrial forms of plants, as evolutionists would argue. Algae have been getting along just fine right where they are for 6,000 or so years, with the exception of those that do get stranded in a dry environment and quickly dry up. They simply share some of a common gene pool with plants, thus they have much of the same biomolecular toolkit. This is evidence of an intelligent Designer, our Creator God, who designed them all on Day Three of Creation Week as recorded in Genesis 1.


  1. John Innes Centre, “Ancient Alga Knew How to Survive on Land Before It Left Water and Evolved into the First Plant,” Science Daily, October 5, 2015, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151005151419.htm.
  2. Ibid.
  3. A phrase that has caught on somewhat from Jurassic Park, attributed to fictional character Dr. Ian Malcolm in regards to dinosaurs that overcame “bad” odds to survive and thrive.


Get the latest answers emailed to you.

I agree to the current Privacy Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA, and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390