Thursday, 8 September 2016

Hagfish – The Strangest Living Fossil Hasn’t Changed in “300 Million Years”

Eptatretus polytrema. Image courtesy of J. H. Richard, Public Domain.

Joel Kontinen

There’s probably only one living fossil that can tie its body in a knot and still survive.

Discussing the bizarre features of the hagfish in a BBC Earth article, Colin Barras seems to be overwhelmed by the creature’s uniqueness. He says they are vertebrates, but

They do not actually have bony vertebrae in their backs: they are literally spineless. They have several hearts, and at least twice as much blood in their bodies as other fish. On top of that, they have only half a jaw, yet they can still tear through tough flesh.

But the strange features don’t end here:

What's more, hagfish have skin so floppy that it should seriously compromise their swimming. They lack scales, they can absorb some of their food straight through their skin – bypassing their half-jawed mouths altogether – and they have an almost unrivalled ability to turn seawater into thick gloopy slime.

Put simply, hagfish are like nothing else in the animal kingdom. But it is possible that many of their unusual traits can be explained by one final feature. These fish can tie their bodies into tight knots

While evolutionists might describe them as primitive, modern hagfish haven’t given away the features their “300 million year old” ancestors had.

In other words, Darwinists would acknowledge that hagfish were around before the heydays of the dinosaurs and other dino-age creatures.

Stasis or the absence of evolution is a not-so-rare element in the fossil record, often more common than change that always occurs after its kind, just like Genesis shows us.


Barras, Colin. 2016. Hagfish are a strong contender for the strangest fish alive BBC Earth (8 September).