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Creation Factsheet No. 31: Insects and Evolution

Factsheet No. 31

INSECTS AND EVOLUTION

INSECTS are the most numerous of all living things, comprising about 85 percent of all known species. There are some to be 200 million insects for every person on earth! Although small, insects are not 'simple', but amazingly designed and often capable of remarkable achievements. Those who believe that insects are the product of evolution face a number of problems.

ORIGIN

Insects belonging to the phylum Arthropoda which includes spiders, crabs and the extinct trilobites. They possess many special design features, such as complex compound eyes, a complicated tracheal breathing system and hard outer skeleton, or armour-plating made of tough, cellulose-type material known as chitin. The best that evolutionists can say about the origin of the phylum is the 'arthropods probably evolved in the Cambrian period, 600-500 million years ago, from some form of worm.'1 However, the first arthropods to appear in the fossil record are highly complex trilobites, and they have no fossil ancestors. Neither are there any fossils to link them to other types; the first fossil insects, found in '400 million-year-old' Devonian rocks, are 100% insect, and give no hint of any precursors. These ancient insects showed the characteristic features which are recognise in insects today; the body was divided into three regions, the head bearing antennae, the thorax with three pairs of legs, and the segmented abdomen.2 These first fossils were of Collemboia (wingless insects). These are often described as 'primitive', yet identical forms, like silverfish, are living on earth today.

INSECT FLIGHT

Evolutionists believe that insects were the first living things to acquire the power of flight, but they cannot explain how insect flight originated: 'Nor is anything known of the origin of winged insects, which appear and become plentiful in the coal measures of the Carboniferous... There are no fossils to show how wings evolved.'3

Picture of a Insect Wing

There is no fossil evidence that the delicate wings of flying insects evolved.

Some of the 'earliest' winged insects were dragonflies with 30-inch wingspans, whose fossils have been found perfectly preserved. The wings of flying insects are very delicate structures, yet they are very strong, and they enable many insects to perform some impressive 'aerobatics'. Wing movement is controlled by special muscles, and insects with two pairs of wings often have hooks to link them in flight.

Picture of a Dragonfly

The only difference between modern dragonflies and the oldest fossils is that they were much larger in the past.

Dr. Robert Wootton, of Exeter University, wrote: 'The better we understand the functioning of insect wings, the more subtle and beautiful their designs appear... They have few if any technological parallels — yet.'4 Design points to a Designer; such complex equipment could never have evolved — and what use would partially-developed wings be anyway?

Picture of an Ancient Insect and an Identical Living Insect

The living insect (left) is identical to the fossil (right), preserved in 'millions-of-years-old' amber.

SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

The origin of social behavior in insects such as bees, ants and termites has been a problem for evolutionists ever since Darwin's time. How could they have changed from a solitary to a social life, and how could there be a half-way stage? One striking thing about insect communities is that they function as a single organism, with a complex caste system, and all members work instinctively, like parts of a machine. They appear to be 'programmed' to function as a unit. In each case, reproduction is controlled by one female. Ants preserved in amber, supposedly '100 million years old', are just like modern ants, and demonstrate that they have always been social. Some researchers had hoped that studying a 'primitive' ant known as Nothomyrmecia, which lives in Australia, and whose fossils have been found in '100-million-year-old' amber, would help solve the problem. Yet later, researcher Bert Holldobler wrote: 'I must admit I was somewhat disappointed with the behaviour of Nothomyrmecia... this ancient ant is fully social. She is not the hoped-for missing link between solitary and social behaviour.'5 Social insects display not only cooperation but altruism: the females sacrifice their own fertility in favour of the queen, and soldiers automatically risk their lives to defend the colony. This is not compatible with 'the survival of the fittest'.

Picture of an Ant Community

The evidence suggests ants have always been social insects.

CONCLUSION

There is a complete lack of fossil evidence for an evolutionary origin of insects, including the origin of flight. Furthermore, evolution cannot explain the behaviour of social insects. The wonderful design of these tiny creatures points to the work of the Creator!


REFERENCES:

  1. Christopher O'Toole (ed), Encyclopedia of Insects, George, Allen & Unwin, 1986, p.2.
  2. Walter M. Blaney, How Insects Live, Elseview-Phaidon, 1976, p. 7.
  3. David M. Burn (ed), Complete Encyclopedia of the Animal World, Octopus 1980, pp. 155-156
  4. Scientific American, November 1990.
  5. National Geographic, June 1984.

Acknowledgments to Ron Calals, USA, for helpful information used in compiling this factsheet.

Factsheets published regularly by: Creation Resources Trust, P.O. Box 3237, Yeovil, BA22 7WD.

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