Our family visited the Trilobite Quarry west of Delta, Utah. Last week. To the untrained eye the hillside is unremarkable in appearance. It looks like any other large mound of dirt and stone, but as quantum mechanics teaches us, things are not always as they seem. The hillside quarry is actually a large mound of Cambrian Era rock formations pushed up from below.

What is so special about Cambrian dirt you ask? What is special about Cambrian dirt is that dates back to the dawn of life (500 million years ago) when larger, diversified life forms suddenly appeared on the earth, a period referred to as the Cambrian explosion. One such creature, the trilobite, was abundant on the ocean floors of the Cambrian Era, which explains why fossilized remains of trilobites are everywhere are the Utah quarry which used to be at the bottom of a Cambrian sea.

It was a unique experience. I put on my safety glasses, grabbed a Home Depot “Homer’s” bucket and a chisel hammer, and head out with my kids to the pile of newly exposed rock. I started splitting hand-sized stones and in no time at all, started finding trilobites – first a few small ones or fragments of trilobites, followed by larger trilobite pieces, and then complete, larger trilobite fossils, museum quality fossils that make you say “Wow!” It was cool to think that I just uncovered a creature that laid untouched for hundreds of millions of years, and that my trilobites were older than dinosaurs.  

A few days later I took a sampling of my favorite fossils to a geologist friend. This friend of mine is a World War II vet and former chair of the BYU Department of Geology. After admiring my fossils and graciously accepting one of my better finds as a gift, he said something insightful. He said, “The trilobite is one of nature’s best evidences against evolution.” I asked “How so?” He explained that the trilobite is a very sophisticated creature that suddenly appeared on earth with little or no evidence for gradual development from lower species.”

I did some research on the modern seer stone known as Google, and he is right. Here is a sampling of what I found. It turns out that “it’s all in the eyes.”

Trilobite Eyes – very complex

Marine biologist Richard Ellis called the “compound eyes of trilobite… with their hundreds of lenses… far more complicated than the eyes of any vertebrates” (2001, p. 7). Scientists claim that the trilobite not only had “highly organized visual organs, but some of the recently discovered properties of trilobites’ eye lenses represent an all-time feat of function optimization… a very successful scheme of eye structure: the composite or compound eye.” (Levi-Setti, 1993, p. 29). Trilobite scientists have concluded that trilobites “possessed the most sophisticated eye lenses ever produced,” and their vision may actually have “been superior to current living animals” (Shawver, 1974, p. 72). 

Trilobite Eyes – oldest on record

The trilobite eye is the “oldest eye of which we have record” (Sinclair, 1985, p. 9). Trilobites lived, by evolutionist reckoning, over 500 million years ago.

Trilobite Eyes – creation required understanding of laws

The Darwinist’s explanation of the origin of the trilobite eye is that: “Through natural selection operating on chance variations” trilobites evolved a remarkably sophisticated optical system. For an optical engineer to develop such a system would require considerable knowledge of such things as Fermat’s principle, Abbe’s sine law, Shell’s laws of refractions, the optics of birefringent crystals, and quite a bit of ingenuity” (Stanley and Raup, 1978, p. 182).

Trilobite Eyes – no evidence of evolution exists

Trilobite eyes are an “impressive feat of early evolution,” but even though trilobites were the most prevalent animal in the Cambrian Sea, no evidence of trilobite eye evolution exists “in spite of an abundant fossil record dating back to the early Cambrian (1974, pp. 72-73). Lack of empirical evidence has forced scientists to speculate on the path of trilobite eye evolution and, for this reason, historically, “views on eye evolution have flip-flopped, alternately favoring one or many origins” (Fernald, 2006, p. 1917).

Trilobite Eyes – evidence of design

The “real surprise” is not that the eyes functioned according to the laws of physics, but that their “basic lens designs” were engineered “with such ingenuity” (Levi-Setti, 1993, p. 54).

Did that last quote say “design” and “engineered”!?

Oh my.

References available at

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