Hummingbirds Get "Older" and a Little Wider

June, 2004
Jeff Gift PhD

According to secular scientists, two German fossils recently identified as "amazingly modern-looking" hummingbirds are 30-million years old. This find pushes the fossil record for hummingbirds back an alleged 29 million years. The discovery was made by Dr. Gerald Mayr of the natural history museum Forschungsinstitut Senkenberg in Frankfurt and reported in the journal Science. 1 Mayr found the fossils in storage in a Stuttgart museum. They had been donated by a private collector who uncovered them in a clay pit near Frauenweiler in southern Germany. Mayr said he recognized particular features of the birds' anatomy in the fossils, which are less than five centimetres long. "I'm convinced they're hummingbirds," he said. "They're very, very distinctive in the wing bone, which is adapted to hovering and nectar feeding." The bone and shoulder joint allow the wings to beat in a figure-eight pattern. One of the fossils also has a long beak, like modern hummingbirds. The only other fossils of modern hummingbirds are about 1 million years old. Assistant Professor Margaret Rubega of the University of Connecticut told Science she was "amazed" by the find. "The amazing thing about this fossil is that it's essentially a modern hummingbird," she said. "My mind is a little blown."

A Bug's Life

There are other creatures alive today which are "mind blowing" in the way they are virtually identical to fossil forms believed to have lived 'millions of years ago.' The insect fossil record is particularly remarkable for its evidence of stasis (no change). Evolutionists had long said that no insect fossil exists that can be matched with a living representative. It has now been conclusively documented by many, including Dr. Joachim Scheven 2 that the reason they were not found is because they were not looked for. Dr. Scheven alone has found many examples of insects fossilized in amber that are identical to their living counterparts.

Evolutionists also acknowledge this fact about the fossil record. Dr. Betty Faber, entomologist, American Museum of Natural History says:

"Several cockroach fossils...from the Carboniferous Period of Earth's history make one thing clear. Even back then, about 350 million years ago, the cockroach looked disgusting. It hasn't changed much since." 3

Gladiators for God

Recently, swarms of insects thought to have been extinct for millions of years have been found on a stony mountain top in Namibia, near South Africa. 4 These insects have been nicknamed 'Gladiators' because of their 'fearsome' appearance and the armor that covers them as young nymphs. The insects were first noted from specimens fossilized in amber 'dated' at 45 million years. 5

News reports described the find as 'totally unexpected,' likening it to the discoveries of the Coelacanth, a 'prehistoric' fish thought to have died out with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, and the Wollemi Pine, 'the dinosaur tree,' previously known only from fossils dated at 150 million years. 6

Why have these life-forms stayed the same for all that time? Are "chance" and "luck" the answer?  Some believe the cockroach (reputed to have remained virtually unchanged in the fossil record for 250 million years) demonstrates that the key to success is to "be abundant and live everywhere." 7 However, many "living fossils" are in fact highly specialized, such as the Coelacanth, superbly suited to living in deep-sea caves. Scientists suggest that the Coelacanth remains unchanged because its habitat has not changed. But this applies also to many other species, living and extinct.

To Christians, there should be no mystery about these so-called "living fossils." We have an eyewitness account of how these creatures were created to be fruitful and multiply after their kind. So the fact that modern creatures have "stayed the same" as their fossilized ancestors is no surprise at all. The next time you hear a news report like the hummingbird or the 'Gladiator' story, remember that these "living fossils" are much more consistent with the Bible than with the secular belief in evolution and millions of years. No matter how long the time that has passed, no evolution has taken place. Rather, in accordance with the Bible (Genesis 1), these so-called "living fossils" have been happily reproducing "after their kind," just as they were designed to do.

  • 1. Mayr, G. Old world fossil record of modern-type hummingbirds. Science 304 (May 7):861-864, 2004. Abstract available at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/304/5672/861.
  • 2. Wieland, C. Creation Ex Nihilo, March-May, Volume 15(2); 1993.  Scheven, J Creation 21(3):26-27, June 1999. (See articles by Dr. Scheven online at answersingenesis.org.)
  • 3. Kusinitz, M. Science World,  4 Feb. pp. 12-19, 1983.
  • 4. "Extinct" insect found on peak, Sydney Daily Telegraph, p. 34, 22 March 2002.
  • 5. A new insect order?, Science 297(5582):731,2002.
  • 6. The Wollemi Pine of the insect world, ABC News in Science, 17 Oct. 2002.
  • 7. Dicks, L., The creatures time forgot, New Scientist, 164(2209):36-39, 1999.