25 December 2000
When the Wollemi Pine was discovered to be living in a remote canyon in Australia in 1994, it was nicknamed the ‘dinosaur tree’ as it had previously been known only from fossils ‘dated’ at around 150 million years old (Creation 17(2):13; 19(3):7; 23(1):6). Now another new species of Australian tree has been found further north—also previously unknown except for a fossilized nut found in 1875 and ‘dated’ at 15–20 million years old.
Not yet given a botanical name (though its finder has dubbed it the ‘Nightcap Oak’), the newly-discovered ‘living fossil’ species is apparently confined to a single stand of 23 adult trees. As with the Wollemi Pine, the exact location of these ‘primitive’ trees is being kept a closely guarded secret. Meanwhile, authorities are endeavouring to multiply large numbers of these trees from cuttings.
As with all ‘living fossils’, the discovery of the Nightcap Oak defies evolutionists’ expectations—but is right in accord with the biblical account.
Firstly, there has been no evolutionary change (ruling out any notion of ‘primitive’ vs ‘modern’).
Secondly, since the time of catastrophic fossilization (the Flood) was thousands of years ago, not millions—it is not surprising at all that some species previously thought to be extinct turn out to be still living. (The intervening layers of rock do not represent vast ages, but layers of sediment deposited rapidly during the Flood and its aftermath.)
As with the Wollemi Pine, no doubt there will be those eager to capitalize on the mystical appeal of having a ‘prehistoric’ tree growing in one’s own garden. Christians need to be ready to remind people that these trees are very much from the present, not the past, as by definition, no living tree can be ‘prehistoric’.