The “Cambrian Explosion” Shows Wide Gaps in Fossil Record



The Cambrian Explosion is the term used to describe the sudden appearance of an extremely large number of diverse fossils in the fossil record. The Cambrian rock layer is at the lowest level of significant fossil bearing rock layers. The Precambrian rock layer, which is just below the Cambrian, has extremely few fossils. The Cambrian rock layer has billions of fossils. The transition from the Precambrian to the Cambrian rock layer has been called the “Great Nonconformity.” The Cambrian Explosion has been called the “Big Bang” of the theory of evolution.


Darwinian evolutionists have been puzzled and perplexed for more than a century in trying to explain how such a wide variety of marine invertebrates and other Cambrian organisms could suddenly evolve and be fossilized. This is alleged to have occurred during a 55 million year long “Cambrian Period.” The events of the Cambrian Period are alleged to have happened more than 485 million years ago. Cambrian fossils include clams and crabs that look very similar to clams and crabs that are alive today. There are Cambrian fossils of insects, worms and many other organisms.


Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) of the generation that preceded Darwin, discovered the first Cambrian fossils in Wales and wrote about them in 1835. Sedgwick gave the name “Cambrian” to the rock layer, deriving it from the Latin “Cambria” which was the Roman name for Wales. The Cambrian rock layers with the most high quality fossils have since been found in Canada and China.


If you do a search on the internet you can see many photos of Cambrian fossil clams. They look like clams you would find on the beach today. What you won’t find, no matter how hard you search, is a Precambrian or Cambrian ancestral clam. What did a clam supposedly evolve from? Where are the proto-clams?


Ask an evolutionist to explain the absence of fossil precursors to crabs. Crabs are crustaceans. They have exoskeletons, meaning the skeleton is on the outside of the soft tissue. How could an exoskeleton evolve by incremental favorable mutations over many generations and leave no transitional fossils in Cambrian and Precambrian rock layers?


Evolutionists do some clever storytelling and draw pictures of what transitional forms would look like but don’t produce the actual fossils. More than 90% of all fossils that have ever been dug up from all strata are marine invertebrates (clams, crabs, etc.). They form excellent fossils because their shells preserve very well. If clams and crabs evolved into existence there should be millions of transitional fossils. Precambrian worms are claimed to be the ancestors of Cambrian life. Where is a fossil worm/clam? Ask an evolutionist to show you a worm/crab fossil.


It’s not just creationists but leading evolutionist scholars have noted the glaring gaps in the fossil record. UCal Berkley Professor, Richard Goldschmidt (1878-1958) put forward his “hopeful monster” hypothesis to account for the gaps. This was the highly strained claim that evolution occurred in great leaps powered by macromutations that caused radical changes in organisms. Hopeful Monster is the claim that, for instance, a lizard laid an egg and out hatched a bird. Darwinian evolutionists largely rejected hopeful monster theory.


The science of genetics has shown that mutations are destructive errors that virtually never add useful information to DNA. Only a small minority of mutations are beneficial to the organism. One study has shown that beneficial mutations are less than one in two thousand mutations.  There are over five thousand human diseases that are caused by bad mutations of human DNA. There are only a few dozen beneficial human mutations being studied.


Genetic mutations are most often caused by radiation or toxic chemicals that interfere with the replication of DNA during the cell division process. Radiation and toxic chemicals don’t carry new nucleotide base pairs and add them to the DNA. Radiation and toxins damage DNA as it is being synthesized and rearrange the sequence of base pairs that already exist in the DNA.


Uphill evolutionary change, for instance changing a worm into a clam, would require the addition of millions of base pairs to the DNA of the worm. There is no mechanism observed in nature for the addition of new base pairs to DNA. Some may point to genetic duplication as a means to add base pairs. Genetic duplication, however, is simply the duplication of base pairs that already existed in the DNA.


Stephen J. Gould (1941-2002) was a very prominent evolutionist author and lecturer. He proposed the “punctuated equilibrium” hypothesis to try to explain the lack of transitional forms. Gould was very frank in his admission that there are wide gaps in the fossil record. Gould rejected Darwinian gradualism. Gould’s hypothesis was quite a bit different from Goldschmidt’s hopeful monster, but like Goldschmidt, Gould claimed evolution occurred in leaps. Gould’s hypothesis didn’t offer any new mechanism for uphill evolutionary change.


What of the fact that clams and crabs are essentially the same today as they were in Cambrian times? Evolutionists claim that the Cambrian explosion occurred over 485 million years ago. Are we to believe that thousands of varieties of marine invertebrates and insects rapidly evolved in the Cambrian Era and then essentially stopped evolving for 485 million years? If evolution is true, why the stoppage of evolutionary progress?


Insects have very short life spans and prolific reproduction rates making them the ideal laboratory for observing evolution. We see insect fossils essentially unchanged through all the rock strata from the Cambrian on up to today. We see fossils of flying insects in the fossil record without precursors or transitional forms. Insect wings are very complicated and if they evolved, they must have evolved over millions of generations. Why no precursors or transitional forms?


Darwinian evolutionists tend to focus on alleged human evolution because the remains of extinct apes do not fossilize well. Most of an ape carcass is soft tissue. Only the bones are fossilized and the major discoveries involve incomplete skeletons or fragments of bones. This limited evidence gives leeway for creative storytelling and extreme inferences on the part of the Darwinists. CAT scans of fossil skulls show the skulls to be either fully ape or fully human. Ape to human evolution is not supported by fossil evidence.


On the one hand we have great gaps in the fossil record and on the other hand we have great expanses of time of evolutionary stagnation. The bottom line is that the fossil record is consistent with the Bible’s claim that God created living things in the beginning, within the biblical timeframe, in the same forms as they are today.


Darwinian evolution is a nineteenth century theory. Evolution is falsified by the findings of twentieth and twenty-first century science. Charles Darwin saw cells through early microscopes. He saw cells as little sacks with dots in the middle. He thought cells were simple and could form by chance. Darwin saw the work of Sedgwick and others on Cambrian fossils. Darwin saw the gaps in the fossil record and thought further digging would fill the gaps. The gaps in the Cambrian fossil record have never been filled. There are wide gaps at all levels of the fossil record.


Darwinian evolution functions more as a pseudo religious faith than as a scientific hypothesis. Darwinists dominate our public educational system. They, whether deliberately or not, blaspheme the creator. They bet their souls that there is no God. That’s a losing bet!


The Bible is a book of revelation about God and contains moral teachings. The creation story in the Bible is consistent with what unbiased minds observe in nature. The Bible also contains hundreds of prophecies that have been fulfilled down through history. The prophecies and their fulfillments are like God’s signature on His holy book. The prophetic fulfillments give proof that the Bible is inspired by God. The miracles that Christ performed and the miracles that are performed by followers of Christ down through history and even today offer yet more evidence that the biblical faith is given by God.


God sent Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel, in fulfillment of over 300 prophecies that were written in the Old Testament hundreds of years before His birth. The prophecies foretold that He would suffer and die, taking the penalty of our sins upon Himself and that He would rise from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who repent and call upon Him. I invite you to turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins.

Steps to salvation:

Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

  • 1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
  • 2) Believe that Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of over 300 Bible prophecies to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
  • 3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
  • 4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
  • 5) Follow Jesus Christ as Lord (John 14:21).

Prayer to receive salvation:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:

“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

(C) 2016 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

One thought on “The “Cambrian Explosion” Shows Wide Gaps in Fossil Record

  1. Your points are all good. I have seen quotes that agree with your analysis.

    “Now the big question: where are the ancestors of the Cambrian fossils? We find no organisms with partially formed intestines, stomachs, bristles, spines, appendages, eyes, feelers and gills. Where are all the simpler creatures that should have led up to these complex forms, if ‘molecules to man’ evolution is supposed to be a scientific fact? This problem is so acute that even Darwin himself admitted that it ‘may truly be urged as a valid argument’ against evolution. Darwin hoped that more fossils would turn up these ancestors of the Cambrians, but a century later they are still missing.”
    – Dr Arlie J. Hoover. Historian. ‘Fallacies of Evolution’ p43.

    “The fossil record has caused Darwin more grief than joy. Nothing distressed him more than the Cambrian explosion, the coincident appearance of almost all complex organic design.”
    – Dr Stephen Jay Gould. Paleontologist. ‘The Panda’s Thumb’, pp238-239, 1980.

    “Darwin’s theory of evolution is the last of the great nineteenth-century mystery religions. And as we speak it is now following Freudians and Marxism into the Nether regions, and I’m quite sure that Freud, Marx and Darwin are commiserating one with the other in the dark dungeon where discarded gods gather.”
    – Dr David Berlinski. PhD in Philosophy from Princeton, post-doctoral fellow in Mathematics and Molecular Biology at Columbia University.

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