The ancient ancestral fish are not here? Modern fish are "quite different"? ... Coleocanth (sp?) Shark? Horseshoe crab?
A LOT of ancient species of fish are indeed NOT HERE. Relatively few of the most ancient known species still have living cousins on earth. Furthermore, the most abundant and diverse fish species today are not the same kinds of fish that were most abundant yesterday. New types of lighter, fast swimming non-boney fish have indeed conquered the seas that were formerly filled with first, jawless fish, then armored fish and boney fish.
Regarding the exact examples you cited above, google and ye shall find: "evolution of the coelocanth" "evolution of the shark" "evolution of the horseshoe crab" and other varieties of the same question, like, "coelocanth's evolved" but remember to use "quotation marks" for exact matches of phrases you are seeking. I have arranged and edited the quotations below for ease of digestion.
The most numerous species of fossilized coelacanth show up in the expected place in the evolutionary geological record, and also have anatomical features, that place them in the fish-to-tetrapod evolutionary bush. A long debate has gone on whether coelocanths or lungfish were the closest cousins to the species that eventually evolved from fish toward amphibians. But in April 2004 that tough question may have been cracked by a genetic comparison that makes a strong case that lungfish, not the coelocanth, has genes nearer to those of living species of tetrapods:
As for coelocanths remaining the same throughout geological time, not exactly. Living coelacanths found in Madagascar are neither the same type of coelacanth fossils that have been found in rocks that are 360 million years old, nor are they exactly the same type of coelacanth found in strata about 80 million years old; though the living species does resemble the younger fossil species more closely than it does the oldest known coelocanth fossil species. Hence differences are tracible through time as evolution would expect. The older coelacanth species, the ones that are known from before 80 million years ago, were far more diverse (more than 120 different known fossil species) smaller, lacked certain internal structures found in modern coelacanths and belonged to a different genera and suborder. Modern coelacanths also belong to a different genera than the 80 million year genera. See the book, Coelacanth. W. W. Norton and Company, New York and London, 1991, page 78:
"One point has to be emphasized; The living coelacanth is not a living fossil in the very strict sense that members of the species L. chaumnae itself have ever been found as a fossil. In fact, no other species assignable to the Genus Latimeria has been found as a fossil either. Latimeria and the Cretaceous fossil Genus Macropoma are quite closely related, and we could possibly include them in the same family. Beyond that, all fossil coelacanths belong to the order Coelacanthini."
Keith Littleton, New Orleans, LA
WHY NO COELACANTH FOSSILS FOR 70 MILLION YEARS? See:
Keep in mind that living coelacanths, Latimeria chalumnae,and Latimeria menadoensis are possibly the sole remaining representatives of a once widespread family of Sarcopterygian (fleshy-finned) coelacanth fishes (more than 120 species are known from fossils). That record dwindled down to only a single known fossilized Coelacanth species by the end of the Cretaceous, 65 million years ago. And likewise, only a single genus is known to still be alive today, and it more closely resembles the genus from 65 million years ago, not the over 120 different species know from 360 million years to 65 million years ago.
Sharks also once had their "golden age." The evolutionary record of their ancestors shows that the earliest shark-like species started out fairly small, and only grew larger over time, till the "golden age" of sharks, and then their diversity declined. Some nice discussion with some cool pictures at
Kasaoka City Horseshoe Crab (kabutogani) Museum (hakubutsukan) is the only horseshoe crab museum in the world. The museum opened March 16, 1990 with the purpose of protecting and promoting the breeding of this "living fossil." This museum holds the world's foremost collection of information on the evolution of this creature.
The ancestors of the modern horseshoe crab evolved from trilobite ancestors in the Early Cambrian period approximately 550 million years ago. It was not until the Carboniferous period (354 to 290 million years ago) that the horseshoe shape developed. True horseshoe crabs do not appear until the Late Jurassic period, with fossils discovered in the Solnhofen limestone of Bavaria.
The trilobite, a fossil dating to the Paleozoic Era, is the ancestor of the horseshoe crab. (So, not all trilobites stayed the same, some trilobites evolved. *smile*) The sea scorpion is the ancestor of the spider and the scorpion, and fellow descendants of trilobites. So the horseshoe crab's closest living cousins include spiders and scorpions. Path of Transcontinental Migration Horseshoe crab fossils have been found in Europe and North America. The horseshoe crab evolved on the Laurasian Continent during the Paleozoic Era. The horseshoe crab reached Asia parallel to the Thetis Sea, when the Atlantic Ocean was formed near the end the Mesozoic Era.
Species Distribution There are four distinct species of horseshoe crabs living on earth now. One lives on the beaches of the East Coast of the USA. Three others live in Japan and on the southeastern shore of the Asian continent.
Today there are only 3 genera and 5 species of Xiphosura (Horseshoe crabs and their extinct relatives) left alive, but they were much more numerous and diverse during the Palaeozoic era.
Surviving horseshoe crabs (Limulus) are 'living fossils', barely changed in some 250 million years (since early Triassic time)...The exoskeleton generally consists of three parts, the large, semicircular cephalothorax, or prosoma, the usually smaller, subtriangular and in earlier forms "trilobite"-like opisthosoma, and the long stout tail-spine or telson (which is actually the end part of the opisthosoma)...The compound eyes are small (and absent in some early forms), and there are six pairs of legs (in the living Limulus) but no antennae...Paleomerus and Lemoneites are very early forms that were either Aglaspids or transitional between the Aglaspida and the Xiphosura. The late Cambrian (Caerfai epoch) marine family Eolimulidae is generally considered a true Xiphosuran,but again more research needs to be done if more is to be known about the early history of this interesting group.
In the billions upon billions of generations through the millions of years that fruit flies have had to evolve, why have they not become or at least spawned something else?
www.pbs.org features wonderful pics of different fruit flies found only on the Hawaiian islands, a chain of islands whose oldest rose up from the sea approximately 8 million years ago.
Discussion about the evolution of new fruit fly genera at a Christian website: www.asa3.org
"Reading a book on Drosophilia, I discovered the answer to the question of why no new genera of fruit flies have evolved in Hawaii despite the hundreds of species. It is due simply to the classification approach used by Drosophilia workers. The Hawaiian lineage is apparently descended from within the genus Drosophilia, as presently defined. Based on cladistic terminology, one genus should not give rise to another genus. Rather than reclassifying the 2000 or so "Drosophilia" into multiple genera, fruit fly workers use a variety of subgenera and informal terms to group them. In fact, genus names have been proposed for some of the Hawaiian lineages."
Dr. David Campbell, Biology Department, Saint Mary's College of Maryland 18952 E. Fisher Road, St. Mary's City, MD 20686-3001 USA
firstname.lastname@example.org, 301 862-0372 Fax: 301 862-0996
Also, here's something interesting: "How to test that all Hawaiian fruit flies descended from one common ancestral population that began with a founder event," a question on an test:
www.bio.davidson.edu Add to this a creationist comment (!) about how Hawaiian fruit flies are larger and more brightly colored compared with the rest of the fruit flies on earth, and have even evolved a type of "song" that the mainland fruit flies never evolved. (!) Obviously, some new morphologies and behaviors peculiar to certain species of fruit flies have evolved on the Hawaiian islands:
About 25% of all fruit fly species worldwide are found on those tiny Hawaiian islands. Ecologists believe Hawaii has so many kinds of fruit flies because the islands were isolated for millions of years and the environment varies greatly from beaches to tall mountains and lush green tropical valleys. When the first fruit flies arrived, they were able to evolve quickly because there were few competing species of flies. When people first arrived at the islands centuries ago they also found that there were thousands of unique species of birds, plants, and other life forms. While it is the fruit flies that are the best known, many other insect groups have diversified also. Hawaii boasts a carnivorous caterpillar, the happy face spider and a whole host of other fascinating endemic arthropods, many of which are brilliantly illustrated in the book, Hawaiian Insects and Their Kin by Francis Howarth and William Mull. Lush, and also in the book, Remains of a Rainbow; Rare Plants and Animals of Hawai'i by David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton. Published by National Geographic. See also Hawaiian Natural History, Ecology, and Evolution by Alan Ziegler. Published by University of Hawai'i Press which traces the natural history of the Hawaiian Archipelago, such as island formation in a chain due to plate tectonics slowly moving over a lava spewing point in the ocean far below, as well as plant and animal evolution, flightless birds and their fossil sites.
Sadly, people have over time brought many new species with them to the islands, and the competition is driving most of the native species into extinction. Even the unique Hawaiian fruit flies are disappearing, replaced by flies from other parts of the world.
Consider dogs. We have St. Bernards, Chihuahuas, Great Danes, poodles, and hundreds of other breeds of dogs. But not only are those animals all mammals, they are all dogs.
Then what were the "dog-bears" of the Miocene? Dogs or bears?
Random Designer : Created from Chaos to Connect with Creator
by Richard G. Colling
Written in easy flowing personal narrative for working professional, pastors and religious leaders and people of all faith. It conveys the clear message that science is the friend of faith.
Dr. Colling, fundamentalist Christian and chair of Biology at a fundamentalist Christian college is O.K. with Darwinian explanations and has even composed a book on the subject titled, Random Designer: Created From Chaos To Connect With Creator. "It pains me to suggest that my religious brothers are telling falsehoods" when they say evolutionary theory is "in crisis" and claim that there is widespread skepticism about it among scientists. "Such statements are blatantly untrue," he argues. "Evolution has stood the test of time and considerable scrutiny...What the designer designed is the random-design process," or Darwinian evolution, Colling says. "God devised these natural laws, and uses evolution to accomplish his goals." "Random Designer" or "Divine Tinkerer?" Either way, Darwinism and God could be viewed as overlapping hypotheses.--E.T.B.
For the full story see, "Teaching Evolution at Christian College" by Sharon Begley, The Wall Street Journal (December 31, 2004)
Other pro-evolution books and websites by Evangelical Christians:
Perspectives on an Evolving Creation (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, September 1, 2003) by Keith B. Miller (a collection of 21 essays by theistic evolutionist orthodox Christians who are scientists).
God and Evolution (Nov. 2004) by David L. Wilcox (Ph.D. in Population Genetics, Professor of Biology, Eastern College, St. David's, PA.)
Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution by Kenneth R. Miller (Ph.D. biologist/evolutionist and orthodox Christian)
Darwinism Defeated? A debate between Phillip E. Johnson (I.D.ist) and Denis O. Lamoureux (Ph.D. biologist/evolutionist and Christian) Apparently Johnson does not offer copies of this debate book for sale at his website.
And these sites:
A number of academic Christians wrote the following to Tony Blair: