Dr. Marcus Ross explains the incredible complexity found in the lowest levels of the fossil record.
DEL: Marcus, Stewart and I were talking about the complexity, the design of the creatures. Do you as a paleontologist see that in the fossil record as well?
MARCUS: Absolutely. We see complexity at two levels. One level is in the integration of the ecosystem. The first time you find these communities destroyed that the ecosystem itself is complex but you start digging down and the complexity levels actually increase. They don’t decrease. So in the Cambrian with the first layers of rock that have lots of fossils in them called the Cambrian explosion you have things like trilobites that show up for the first time looking from the bottom up. It has an eye like a dragonfly. There’s dozens of little lenses on it that allow them to see all over the place – behind them, in front of them, on the sides. These eyes in some of these trilobites are the most complex eyes in the entire world. These are levels of complexity that far exceed any of our engineering capabilities. We can make drones and we can put a camera on a drone but none of the cameras that we have built are anywhere near as complicated as some of the first eyes that we see in the lower most ecosystems. It tells us that when these ecosystems were destroyed they were fully complex structures, fully complex organisms with fully complex components. The complexity just keeps going all the way down.