Re: Insect origin

Dick Fischer (
Tue, 11 Feb 1997 19:17:51 -0600

Jason, wrote:

>I am the moderator for Biola University's "Origins Forum," a folder on
>Biola's network that houses the discussion of the origin of life. A
>student asked my if I could explain, from an evolutionary point of
>view, the origin of the Insects. I looked it up in my Zoology book,
>and all it said was that there is evidence that the insects were
>present on land long before the Amphibians were. Is there anyone who
>can clarify where they came from?

Life on land dates to the Upper Silurian period 435 million years ago.
Plants emerged from the seas, and began to colonize river banks and basins
where some degree of nutritious soil was available. The first primitive
fish with jawbones (Acanthodii) dates to this period. Animal life to
first venture on land included earthworms, gastropods, myriapods, and
arthropods, which included primitive scorpions and the precursors to
insects that would be needed for pollination.

Also from Genesis 1:20,21: "And God said, Let the waters bring forth
abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above
the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

The Hebrew word 'op that has been translated "fowl," is a "flying creature,"
the same basic word for "insect" which probably would have been a better
translation. Flying insects appear to date to 300 million years ago in the
Carboniferous period, and were useful for pollinating some of the vegetation
springing forth at about that time. Also, why would "fowls" be mentioned
three times in three consecutive passages (Gen.1:20-22)? If birds had been
intended in all three instances it would be a curious redundancy.

The English translation of the Septuagint is less confusing. "Then God
said, 'Let the waters produce moving creatures having life; and winged
creatures flying above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And it
was so."

If "winged creatures" includes or means insects than Genesis harmonizes
quite well with what is commonly believed about the time of arrival of
our insect populations.

Dick Fischer