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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2006
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Claim CC211:

No fossils have been found transitional between invertebrates and vertebrates.


Morris, Henry M. 1985. Scientific Creationism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, p. 82


  1. There are Cambrian fossils transitional between vertebrate and invertebrate:
    1. Pikaia, an early invertebrate chordate. It was at first interpreted as a segmented worm until a reanalysis showed it had a notochord.
    2. Yunnanozoon, an early chordate.
    3. Haikouella, a chordate similar to Yunnanozoon, but with additional traits, such as a heart and a relatively larger brain (Chen et al. 1999).
    4. Conodont animals had bony teeth, but the rest of their body was soft. They also had a notochord (Briggs et al. 1983; Sansom et al. 1992).
    5. Cathaymyrus diadexus, the oldest known chordate (535 million years old; Shu et al. 1996).
    6. Myllokunmingia and Haikouichthys, two early vertebrates that still lack a clear head and bony skeletons and teeth. They differ from earlier invertebrate chordates in having a zigzag arrangement of segmented muscles, and their gill arrangement is more complex than a simple slit (Monastersky 1999).

  2. There are living invertebrate chordates (Branchiostoma [Amphioxus], urochordates [tunicates]) and living basal near-vertebrates (hagfish, lampreys) that show plausible intermediate forms.


Monastersky, Richard, 1999. Waking up to the dawn of vertebrates. Science News 156: 292.


  1. Briggs, D. E. G., E. N. K. Clarkson and R. J. Aldridge, 1983. The conodont animal. Lethaia 16: 1-14.
  2. Chen, J.-Y., D.-Y. Huang and C.-W. Li, 1999. An early Cambrian craniate-like chordate. Nature 402: 518-522.
  3. Monastersky, R., 1999. (see above).
  4. Sansom, I. J., M. P. Smith, H. A. Armstrong and M. M. Smith, 1992. Presence of the earliest vertebrate hard tissues in conodonts. Science 256: 1308-1311.
  5. Shu, D.-G., S. Conway Morris and X.-L. Zhang, 1996. A Pikaia-like chordate from the Lower Cambrian of China. Nature 384: 157-158.

Further Reading:

Speer, B. R. 2000. Introduction to the Deuterostomia.

Waggoner, Ben. 1996. Introduction to the Cephalochordata.
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