Question Evolution Day 2023 – The Platypus and Coelacanth

Duck-billed platypus

Question Evolution Day 2023

Here we are at another February 12th, Question Evolution Day, where instead of presenting evidence for creation, we offer creation skeptics an opportunity to check their intellectual freedom and integrity. This is an opportunity to see if they are slaves to the evolutionary dogma or if they have the intellectual freedom and integrity to seriously consider the many challenges to Darwinian Evolution. It is an opportunity to observe that Darwinian evolution is not only internally inconsistent but the evidence does not support it. The evidence supports creation.

Today we’re running a two-for-one special. Thanks to one of my creation compadres who sent me a link to an interesting article just in time for Question Evolution Day, I thought I’d add it to the offering I had already intended to present. So, for this year, we’ll present two challenges to the evolutionary dogma. First up: the platypus

The Platypus

One of the first things noted about this creature, often called the duck-billed platypus, is how strange it is due to its unique mixture of features from many different animal types. It is so strange that, when the first platypus specimen reached England in 1799 (it was long dead), it was regarded as a hoax, a [1] “high frolic practised on the scientific community by some colonial prankster”.[2]  One zoologist who thought the duck bill had been sewed on tried to pry it off with scissors. It’s no wonder they considered the unknown creature a hoax. Consider its features:

  • Fur like most mammals
  • A bill like a duck
  • A flat tail like a beaver
  • Webbed feet in front for swimming
  • Otter-like feet in back
  • Venom. While both males and females have spurs on their feet, the males have sharp poisonous ones on their hind feet which deliver various venoms, three of which are unique to the platypus
  • Biofluorescence. In 2020 research in biofluorescence revealed that the platypus glows a bluish-green color when exposed to Black light[3]

And that’s just their bodily features. Consider their behaviors:

  • Females lay reptile-like eggs, then find the young to suckle them.
  • Milk is not produced through teats, but sucked through the skin.
  • Claws used for burring.
  • Though thought to be primitive, it was  discovered the platypus uses electrolocation to find food. They can detect faint electric fields put out by its favorite food, shrimp.

Platypus electrolocation. Its electroreceptors are arranged on its bill. It moves the bill from side
to side in saccades, quick head movements, as it swims,
so as to locate small electrical signals from
its prey as accurately as possible.[4]

The differences are not only to the external appearances and features. Dr. Rob Carter points out a number of “chimeric features”[5] found in the platypus genome that include:

  • Reptile-like features
  • Bird-like features
  • Mammal-like features
  • Marsupial-like features

Questions for evolutionists regarding the duck-billed platypus:
Darwinian evolution states that all life on earth evolved from a single common ancestor. This is depicted by what is referred to as the “tree of life.” Supposedly all creatures evolved from a “last universal common ancester” (LUCA) – branching out as they differentiate to different families and species.

Below is the “tree of life” as depicted at the Milwaukee Public Museum.
On this picture you’ll note I’ve highlighted in red boxes four different branches which represent the families of the different features exhibited by the platypus as noted by Rob Carter above.

Notice those families – platypus, marsupials, birds and reptiles are found on different branches of the evolutionary tree. Now here’s the question: How can one creature – the platypus evolve from four different families in different branches on the evolutionary tree?

If you want to claim the platypus evolved all those features by itself along its own family line using the standard beneficial mutations, selection and millions of years of time nonsense, then you have an even bigger problem: Where do you get the genetic information to build the new features? The mutations + selection + time mantra won’t work. Because as geneticist John C. Sanford points out:

“It has long been thought that since beneficial mutations happen and since natural selection happens, continuously increasing biological information should be inevitable. This paper shows that this oft-voiced historical perspective was naïve. Not only are there too few beneficial mutations for genome-building, but most of the information in higher genomes is encoded by nucleotides which individually are t0o subtle to have been selectively established. The few truly beneficial mutations that arise and have sufficient impact to be selectively amplified only arise independently and in isolation. This profoundly limits their potential impact. They can only accomplish fine-tuning of pre-existing biological information. Realistically, genomes cannot be built one beneficial mutation at a time.”[6](emphasis mine)

In other words, beneficial mutations can only enhance qualities that are already existing, (by eliminating information as demonstrated elsewhere[7]) they cannot create new features or information. So it is impossible for the platypus to have evolved those features on its own isolated line.

Confirmed again – this time with fish:
Evolution simply does not happen

An article in Science Magazine confirms (perhaps unwittingly) that evolution simply does not happen. The article is titled “A Mesozoic fossil lagerstätte from 250.8 million years ago shows a modern-type marine ecosystem.”  A “lagerstätte” is a “finely preserved fossil assemblage“, and the mesozoic era runs from about 230 to 62 million years ago in evolutionary reckoning. The paper reports:

“Here, we report an exceptionally preserved fossil assemblage named Guiyang Biota from Guizhou Province, South China, which is late Dienerian in age (~1 Myr after the PTME [Permian-Triassic mass extinction]) and is therefore the oldest known Mesozoic fossil lagerstätte. The Guiyang Biota represents a diverse and trophically complex marine ecosystem and partially fills the 3-Myr gap of complex marine faunas, indicating a rapid rise of modern-type marine ecosystems after the PTME despite global sea-surface temperatures remaining high.” [emphasis mine]

So essentially this paper is saying they’re finding modern looking creatures in early time periods where they’re not expected. Here is an artist conception of the life in the referenced ecosystem during the stated time period included with the article:

Notice the coelacanth prominently featured. Coelacanths were thought to have gone extinct some 350 million years ago. Until they found live groups of them living near places like Madagascar in the Indian ocean. 

Of course that is just another one of the many, many embarrassments that evolutionists must suffer since the facts are continuing to disprove this laughably false theory. But that’s not the question. The question concerns the fact that they see no evolution happening in 250 million years. They found “modern-type” marine specimens.

That is a shockingly long time for no evolution to be happening especially when you consider:

Primates were on the scene 10,000,000 years ago. (In evolutionary estimation)
Modern humans were on the scene merely 200,000 years ago, so 9.8 million years of evolution supposedly allowed development from a primate common ancestor to modern humans.

Or consider whales:
From an unknown four-legged land creature abstracted as an artiodactyl to a full sized ocean going whale took only 19 million years according to Richard Dawkins.

And now they want us to believe that over 250 million years of evolution, nothing changed for the creatures represented in these fossils! Even more unbelievable is the fact that evolutionists believe that evolution is unstoppable, happening at regular, consistent, measurable pace. They believe that using what they call a “molecular clock” they can measure the rate of mutations, and thus determine how much time passed between two creatures who supposedly shared a common ancestor as geneticist Mark Stoneking explains in the video below.[8] (Georgia Purdom points out problems with the molecular clock, which, like radiometric dating, is full of assumptions that make the method unreliable but I won’t consider that problem here.)

So mutations are supposed to be happening unrelentingly at a measurable rate. Mutations + selection + big time is supposed to equal evolutionary changes, even large scale changes, whatever change is necessary for the evolutionary story, from pond scum to primate or molecules to man. Evolutionists tell us modern humans evolved from a primate common ancestor in about 9.8 million years and whales from a four-legged land creature in 19 million years. But in 250 million years there’s not a single change in creatures like the coelacanth and other creatures in its “lagerstätte.”

So here’s the question:
How can there be no changes in creatures like the coelacanth and other fish in the Guiyang Biota over 250 million years, when humans supposedly evolved from a primate common ancestor in 9.8 million years, and whales supposedly evolved from a four-legged land creatures in 19 millions, and evolution is supposedly happening at a steady, measurable rate as is putatively demonstrated by the molecular clock?

Now here’s the fun part. Evolutionists make up stories in a futile attempt to answer the questions. None of the answers will fit both the evolutionary story telling and the known, demonstrable facts, but before you get tired of hearing the misdirections, straw man arguments, misunderstandings, outright deceptions and other fallacies, the evolution stories, when creative, can be briefly amusing.

Duane Caldwell | February 12, 2022 | Printer friendly version


1. Paula Weston, “The Platypus”,, publised in  Creation 24(2):40–43, March 2002

2. Moyal, A., Platypus, Allen and Unwin, New South Wales, Australia, p. xii, 2001.

3. “Platypus”, Wikipedia, accessed 11 Feb 2023,

4. Chiswick Chap (graphics); File:Wild Platypus 4 (cropped).jpg (background image), CC BY-SA 4., via Wikimedia Commons

5. Robert Carter, “Platypus thumbs its nose (or bill) at evolutionary scientists”,, accessed 11 Feb 2023,

6. John C. Sanford, Biological Information, New Perspectives, Waterloo NY: FMS Publications, 2013, p. 19
(summarizing paper: “Selection Threshold Severyly Constrains Capture of Beneficial Mutations” by John C. Sanford, John R, Baumgardner and Wesley H. Brewer

7. For beneficial outcomes resulting from a loss of genetic information see the paper:
“Getting There First: An Evolution Rate Advantage for Adaptive Loss-of-Function Mutations” by Michael J. Behe in: John C. Sanford, Biological Information, New Perspectives, Waterloo NY: FMS Publications, 2013, p. 24

8. Mark Stoneking ref. from Nova “Becoming Human: First Steps” PBS documentary, 2009

Featured: Wild Platypus,  Klaus, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Platypus electrolocation: Chiswick Chap (graphics); File:Wild Platypus 4 (cropped).jpg (background image), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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