The Living Coelacanth

Biologists of the 19th Century had no radiometric methods of dating fossils. (In truth, fossils are not dated, even today, by potassium-argon or similar methods. Only carbon-dating can be done directly and it gives results—for only organic material—in thousands, not millions, of years old.) Did they allow the outward appearances (bony armor and potential leg-evolution) to influence their decision to categorize the Coelacanth fish as an ancient fish? Could the apparent non-existence of living Coelacanths have influenced their judgment? Of course.
The point is that the idea that the fossils of Coelacanths represent fish that lived many millions of years ago is traditional. The belief that this fish is ancient comes through intense indoctrination over many human generations. Now, what is ancient about the Coelacanth? This wonder can swim in all directions and has an electroreceptor in its head. (We humans have worked with electronics
for only a few generations.) What a fish! What a marvel of design! So why not consider it a modern fish? It lives now.
The recent findings on the complex
and sophisticated Coelacanth are like
recent findings on pterosaurs: These
wonders of flight had highly developed brains; they were not backward and
primitive creatures but extraordinary.
(See "Live Pterosaurs and Evolution")
But there’s something else: a major problem that G.T.E.-believers have with “living fossils.” For the General Theory of Evolution to be perceived as anything other than a fairy tale, there must be fossils of creatures that are significantly different from living creatures. Every discovery of an organism previously classified, from fossils, as “ancient” eliminates another example of something that fits the standard evolutionary model.
Why do supporters of Darwin’s philosophy (unlimited common ancestry) need fossils that differ from living organisms? Without fossils that are very different, the molecules-to-man evolution (GTE) is obviously pure speculation. It would not even remotely resemble science; it would, however, resemble the transformation superstitions of natives in remote islands.
If no fossil of a Coelacanth had been discovered until after the living fish had been found, a later discovery of a Coelacanth fossil would likely have resulted in dating it very differently: much younger, closer to modern times. After all, it’s a living fish.
Jonathan Whitcomb, author of the book "Searching for Ropens," is a living-pterosaur investigator. He explored Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, in 2004, searching for the ropen and interviewing native eyewitnesses. He has also reviewed books on cryptozoology and still interviews many eyewitnesses who believe they have seen a living pterosaur.
(He has also taught chess lessons in Long Beach, California)
"I’ve been told, by supporters of standard models, that
the discovery of a living pterosaur would not disprove 'evolution.' But my critics fail to see that it would further
erode the supposed evidence that Darwin himself saw threatened by 'living fossils.' Darwin knew: They do make
a difference; they do influence evolution's credibility."
Jonathan Whitcomb
To be enlightened by the lowly Coelacanth, look not at the anatomy of fishes but at the mentality of humans. What is
to be learned from a fish that is labeled a “
living fossil?” It’s a lesson from the mistakes of biology textbooks written long before the 1938 discovery of the Coelacanth, and those mistakes are far more significant than is commonly known.
Consider the mistake about “limb-like” fins. They were supposed to have gradually evolved into legs many millions of years ago. Since 1938, we've learned that the rather strange configuration and shape of the fins allow this fish to swim backwards and upside down. The usefulness of the fins is in swimming, not in evolving into reptile or mammal legs.
What about the bony Coelacanth armor? Medieval knights wore armor, and dinosaurs had tough skin; insects, also proclaimed as ancient, have a tough outer covering. Could this general idea—that tough outer covering relates to ancient life—have influenced those 19th Century biologists to classify the strange Coelacanth as ancient?