Last year I found this beautiful little Pacific Giant Salamander in a Chilliwack Creek.  I searched the area again this year but could see no sign of the elusive little creature.

Below is an article from Creation Ministries International and an article from the BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks.

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.Salamanders are ‘living fossils’!



You’ve heard of ‘living fossils’? These are usually announced (often with much media fanfare) when something known only from the fossil record, long presumed extinct for millions of years, is unexpectedly found living somewhere. Examples of such living fossils include the coelacanth fish, the Wollemi pine tree (see Missing? or misinterpreted?), and the ‘Gladiator’ insect.1

But the latest animal to be pronounced a living fossil is one that has been familiar to generations of people for as long as anyone can remember; namely, the salamander.

So how can something long known to be living, suddenly be dubbed a ‘living fossil’?

Salamanders have always been salamanders.

The circumstances behind this, and the rationale for it, are described in a scientific paper in the journal Nature, by researchers who found fossils of juvenile and subadult salamanders in Inner Mongolia, China.2

The gist of the story is that these fossil specimens are from the Cryptobranchidae salamander family, which includes the modern-day Asian giant salamander (Andrias) and the North American hellbender (Cryptobranchus). Until this recent discovery, the earliest cryptobranchid salamander fossils were dated by evolutionists to around 60 million years ago, but these salamander fossils from Inner Mongolia are said to predate them ‘by a remarkable 100 million years’.3 And, with an assigned age of 161 million years, ‘the new cryptobranchid shows extraordinary morphological similarity to its living relatives’, which ‘underscores the stasis within salamander anatomical evolution’.2 Stasis means ‘a period or state of inactivity or equilibrium’.4 However, major evolution should have happened in 160 million years! That’s why the researchers conclude that cryptobranchid salamanders alive today ‘can be regarded as living fossils’.

Now that’s strong evidence for the biblical account of creation—living things were created to reproduce ‘after their kind’, i.e. salamanders have always been salamanders, which explains why living and fossil forms are identical.

One particular juvenile specimen shows such ‘remarkable preservation’ that even the amphibian’s eye, external gill filaments, tail keel and tail seam can be clearly seen.

But what about the ‘millions-of-years’ date assigned to the fossils; surely those ages are not consistent with the Bible? Indeed, they are not. For one thing, the universe is only around 6,000 years old according to the Scriptures, and secondly, there was no death of animals or man before Adam sinned, so these fossilized creatures must have died after that time, not before.

So how did the researchers come up with a date of 161 million years? They explained: ‘The assessment of the Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) age of the fossil beds is based on biostratigraphic analysis of insect and vertebrate assemblages.’2 This means that they assume that other fossils buried in these rock layers lived back then; therefore, so did the salamanders!

From a biblical perspective, we would say that these deposits were laid down during the global Flood, around 4,500 years ago. So the order in which organisms appear in the fossil record is not the order in which they supposedly evolved, but the order in which they were buried. And when we have a closer look at the actual evidence, it certainly fits a scenario of catastrophic burial.


Click for larger image

Consider this: the researchers didn’t find just one or two salamander fossils. Said one, ‘What excites us is that we’re not only seeing the earliest known salamanders in the fossil record, but we’ve thousands of them.’ Note: thousands! He continued, ‘There are whole bodies, impressions of soft tissue preserved, and stomach contents.’5 Note: soft tissue and stomach contents!

Such fantastic preservation fits with having been smothered by fast-moving water-borne sediment (Genesis 7:11). This buried them deeply enough that scavengers couldn’t eat them. Nor could they decay, because of restricted oxygen supply. One particular juvenile specimen described by the researchers shows such ‘remarkable preservation’ that even the amphibian’s eye, external gill filaments, tail keel and tail seam can be clearly seen. Take a look at the photo—you can even see the folds in its tail! And the stomach bulging with clams shows that the normal digestive processes were obviously arrested quickly—evidence of rapid burial and death.

To summarize, while evolutionists misinterpret layers of sediment as evidence for millions of years, the evidence actually supports the biblical account:

  • Identical living and fossil forms—no evolution!
  • ‘Remarkable preservation’—consistent with catastrophic burial in the Flood!

So, salamanders now officially join a long list of ‘living fossils’. I wonder which animal (or plant) will be next?




EXCERPT  from Province of British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks

Why are Pacific Giant Salamanders at risk? Although the Pacific Giant Salaman-

der is found along the west coast of North America from northern Cali- fornia to southern British Co-

lumbia, it has an extremely limited range in this province. Its range extends into British Columbia only in the Chilliwack River watershed and imme- diately adjacent areas, about 100 kilo- metres east of

population size is not known, and would be very difficult to determine.

Human activities, such as the drain- age of Sumas Lake and land develop- ment for farming and settlement along Vedder Mountain and in the Cultus Lake area, may have reduced the British Columbia distribution range of the Pa- cific Giant Salamander. Other activities, such as logging, have probably had det- rimental effects in some areas, particu- larly where all streamside forest has been removed and small creeks are choked with debris. Poor logging prac- tices can result in more variable

streamflows, erosion and siltation of stream habitats, removal of streamside cover, and increased water temperature. These effects are all detrimental for salaman- ders and for many of the species they depend on for food.

A major cause of mortality of Pacific Giant Salamanders is probably predation. Reported predators in the United States in- clude garter snakes, River Otters, weasels and Water Shrews, species that also oc-

cur here. Other likely preda- tors include Mink, trout, and Dolly Varden Char. The natural reproductive rate is normally high enough to overcome such losses. In good habitat, enough salaman- ders survive to breeding age to maintain the population, despite some losses caused by predation.

Extreme climate events, such as summer drought and resulting desiccation, severe winters, or de-
bris torrents down streams during record rainfall, can adversely af-
fect salamander habitat. However,
to persist in this area, the salamanders have obviously been able to recover from these periodic natural events.

What is their status?

Like most other wildlife in the prov- ince, the Pacific Giant Salamander is protected from killing or collecting under the Wildlife Act. Using criteria such as the limited extent of its distribution, its low reproductive rate, and the rate of habitat loss, it has been classified by BC Environment as a “spe- cies at risk” and placed on the Red List – the category of greatest concern. Red- listed species are those being considered for legal designation as “Threatened” or “Endangered.” It is designated by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada () as “Vulnerable.”

The Pacific Giant Salamander has the most restricted distribution range of any of the 18 species of amphibians that are native to British Columbia. It is a good example of a “peripheral” species – one that is relatively widespread out- side of this province but only barely ex- tends into it.

This salamander is more widely dis- tributed in Washington, Oregon, and northern California, occurring in suit- able habitats from the coast inland to the crest of the Cascade Range. Closely related species, which were until re- cently considered to be varieties of the Pacific Giant Salamander, occur along the central coast of California, on the Olympic Peninsula, and in Idaho.

WLhat do they look like?
ike most salamanders, the Pacific Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) has gill-breathing larvae that live entirely in water, and ter- restrial (land-dwelling) adults. In Brit- ish Columbia, transformation from

larva to adult occurs at about five to six years of age, when the larvae have reached a size of 15-20 centimetres. However, some larvae continue to grow to adult size and become sexually ma- ture without losing their gills. This proc- ess is called neoteny, and these individu- als are referred to as neotenes. Neoteny is common in this spe-

cies in British Columbia.
As its name implies, this is a

large salamander; in fact, it is the largest salamander in British Co- lumbia. Adults and neotenes are stout-bodied and may reach 30
cm or more in total length. Like all salamanders, this one has four
toes on the front feet, five toes on
the hind feet, and a tail. The tail, about 40 percent of the total length, is laterally compressed (from side to side, like an eel) as an aid for swimming.

Although secretive and seldom seen, adults are readily identified by their col- ouring. The head, back, and sides have a distinctive marbled or reticulate pattern of dark blotches on a light brown or brassy-coloured background. The belly is a uniform slate or tan colour. The

The Pacific Giant Salamander can reach 

broad head has a shovel-like snout, and a fold of skin (the gular fold) across the throat. The eyes are me- dium-sized and have a brass-flecked

or more iris and large black

in length.

pupil. Adult-sized neotenes have a uniform brown col-

ouring on their heads, backs and sides in contrast to the marbled pattern of trans- formed adults, and they retain their

Present distribution of the Pacific Giant Salamander in Canada and the United States

external gills. Colour varies consider- ably throughout the range of this salamander.