Friday, 15 May 2020

Unkind Monster Problem for Creationists

A reconstruction of the Tully Monster as it would have looked 300 million years ago, swimming in the Carboniferous seas. Notice the jointed proboscis, the multiple rows of teeth, and the dorsal eye bar.
Illustration by Sean McMahon / Yale University
Solving the mystery of the Tully Monster | YaleNews

The natural world can be so unkind to Creationists sometimes.

The case of the so-called Tully Monster, Tullimonstrum gregarium which has puzzled taxonomists for years might have been solved, according to a paper published today on Nature, which seems to end the debate, coming out firmly on the side of it being a vertebrate.

This is based on A combination of new evidence and modern approaches to phylogenetic analysis by a team from Yale led by Victoria E. McCoy of the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

Fossils of Tullimonstrum gregarium are found in the Mazon Creek fossil beds which have been dated to 309 million yeas ago. It had been variously classified as a molluscs, an arthropod, a conodont, a worm, and a vertebrate. About the only thing that could be agreed on was that it was a soft-bodied bilaterium.

The team describe: evidence for a notochord, cartilaginous arcualia, gill pouches, articulations within the proboscis, and multiple tooth rows adjacent to the mouth. This combination of characters, supported by phylogenetic analysis, identifies Tullimonstrum as a vertebrate, and places it on the stem lineage to lampreys (Petromyzontida)

The problem for creationists of course is that the Tully Monster is so bizarre and so unlike any other living or extinct species that it can't be stuffed neatly into any of their crude 'kind' classification and would have to be placed in a unique 'kind' of its own - a 'kind' that the intelligent [sic] designer made a mistake with apparently, since it has long been extinct like so many other of this putative omniscient designer's failures.

It's amusing to think that their supposed creator of all living things could only come up with the 'kind' classification system that is so poorly defined and nebulous that real biologists have had to replace it with a much more rational and useful system of taxonomy. An example of incompetent design as you could ever wish to see! But then, let's face it, it was invented by Bronze Age hill farmers who knew no more about biology than the average American uneducated fruitloop creationist.

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