The Coelacanth is in the news again. In an article titled, “Extinct Fish Species That Existed Over 420 million Years Ago Found Alive in the Indian Ocean,” the report claimed the Coelacanth has been “rediscovered.”
The Coelacanth was first “rediscovered” in 1938 when a recently caught, but badly decomposed, specimen was examined by Rhodes University ichthyologist J. L. B. Smith. Familiar with fossilized remains of the Coelacanth, Smith readily recognized the recently caught fish as a Coelacanth. Thought to be extinct the Coelacanth was soon dubbed the “living fossil.”
Christians do not doubt the past existence of those life forms represented in the fossil record, but we do take issue with how evolutionists interpret that record. The Coelacanth is a case in point.
The Coelacanth was a well-known ancient fish because it was widely represented in the fossil record beginning 420 million years ago, but thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. Interpreting the fossils of Coelacanths, paleontologists believed the Coelacanth was an intermediate life form between fish and amphibians.
Ergo, it was believed to live in coastal areas and also had lungs to breathe during brief forays on land even though sarcous tissues like skin and internal organs do not survive fossilization. It was thought to be capable of walking on land with its three pair of ventral fleshly lobed fins while searching for food.
But Christmas came early for creationists on December 22, 1938, when a native fisherman caught a supposedly extinct Coelacanth off the southwestern coast of Madagascar. Evolutionary theories about the Coelacanth collapsed faster than a house of cards hit by a leaf blower when that native fisherman hauled up a net full of facts.
Here is the first mistake made by scientists, and it is a big one, the Coelacanth is not extinct. Not only were there several colonies in the waters between south Africa and Madagascar but other colonies exist in the Indian Ocean and waters of Indonesia.
The Coelacanth is a pelagic, it is a deep-sea fish, it is not a coastal dweller. It swims everywhere it goes and does not attempt to walk even on the ocean floor as observed in an expedition by Hans Fricke funded by National Geographic. It is a true fish with gills and does not have lungs.
Scientists were amazed that the Coelacanth had remained relatively unchanged for more than 400 million years. This is why ichthyologist Smith so easily identified the specimen he examined because it was almost identical to the fossil record. This confirms the biblical account that living things reproduce “after their kind,” Genesis 1:21.
This is why Paul warned Timothy, about the false interpretations made by those who say they are scientists, because scientists do not always know what they claim to know. “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding…oppositions of science falsely so called; which some professing have erred concerning the faith,” 1 Timothy 6:20-21 (KJV).