Did the amphibians evolve from fish? This article looks at the theory of the evolution of certain water species. 

Source: The Outlook, 1987. 2 pages.

From Fish to Amphibian – Impossible

How did frogs, toads, newts and salamanders come into being? We know something about how amphibians produce offspring today and thus how the various species are perpetuated. So we know where today's amphibians originated. They came from their parents, and they in turn came from their parents. We can be confident that this is how things happened back in time for many years. But where did the first amphibians actually come from? How much do we know about that?

Our knowledge about the origin of amphibians is very limited. Basically there are only two ways of looking at this question. One way is to accept what God said about animal origins in Genesis. This tells us that God created them discontinuously and supernaturally by the Word of His Power. This is the position I take. To ask further ques­tions about how God did this, by which mechanism or natural process, is then, of course, out of place. Super­natural acts cannot be investigated. We accept that basic premise by faith, and then go on to other pertinent questions.

A second way to deal with the issue of the origin of the amphibians is to buy into the evolutionary framework which attempts to answer this question on a purely mechanistic basis. Evolution theory allows only for events to occur according to the physical laws of nature. Miracles or other supernatural events are ruled out because they cannot be investigated and therefore fall outside the domain of scientific activity.

Evolutionists look for a natural process which would ac­count for the appearance of amphibians from some pre-ex­isting organisms through a gradual sequence. The classic and most reasonable picture painted by most evolutionists has the amphibians developing from a fish, more specifi­cally from the lungfish. The latter are then thought to be the intermediate, or missing link, between fishes and amphibians.

Fishes have a unique structure and they function ac­cordingly. Only fishes are structured in that particular way. Characteristic of fishes are at least the following traits. Their skin is usually covered with scales; they have a two-chambered heart; they have external gills for respira­tion; their major anterior arteries are directly related to their gill structures; they usually have a spiral valve in their small intestine; their skeletal features include many ribs, and a unique arrangement of the bones in the fins. A detailed list of the many other features of fishes goes beyond the aims of this writing.

Lungfishes are fishes, too, and share the above charac­teristics. What makes them special is the fact that they not only respire by gills like other fishes, but they have lungs as well, which some use to survive when they are burrowed down in the mud during dry periods. These lungs are ac­tually swimbladders that connect with the esophagus, and are "well developed, highly vascularized, and used as a lung in respiration. Such swimbladders are more efficient respiratory organs than the lungs of many amphibians." 1

While the lungfish do have lungs as amphibians do, they should not at all be considered intermediate, because none of their organs are in an intermediate stage. All their organs are completely functional and cannot be con­sidered a transition in any way. All their traits are basic fish traits, and regarding their lungs, these are not con­sidered to be indicative of amphibian ancestry.

Comparing the proteins of lungfish with proteins of lamprey eels, other fish, and amphibians, and even of mammals, we find that they are equally different from all of these. How then could the lungfish be intermediate be­tween fishes and amphibians? Lungfish are tremendously isolated structurally from any nearest "cousin." Romer says that "the lungfishes are to be regarded as "uncles" rather than the actual progenitors of land vertebrates." 2

Amphibians are quite unlike fishes, not only structural­ly but developmentally as well. We know how tadpoles (pollywogs) metamorphose into adult frogs. Fishes do not metamorphose but gradually grow from fry to adult. Tad­poles do have gills, but these are external gills which are lost during metamorphosis when the lungs take over respiratory function. These external gills are very different from the internal gills of fishes. Tadpole gills are not inter­mediate stages between fish gills and tetrapod lungs.

Structurally amphibians are unique in their own way. They have soft skin, lacking scales, hairs or feathers; they have simple sac-like lungs for adult respiration, their heart consists of three chambers: two atria and one ventricle; their skeleton is typically amphibian, with hollow bones, short ribs, a pelvic girdle attached to the sacrum, and in­cludes the specific bone arrangement in their front and hind limbs.

As a class, the amphibians stand apart from the class of fishes on the one hand and the reptilian class on the other hand. The same is true for each of the subgroups, such as toads, frogs, newts and salamanders. Each group is discon­tinuous and is distinct from all other groups. There are no intermediates connecting all the various taxa. All are dis­continuous. Even at the molecular level we find not a single trace of the traditional evolutionary sequence from fish to amphibian. Neither are amphibians intermediate between fishes and reptiles.

At a molecular level there is no trace of the evolution­ary transition from fish — > amphibian — > reptile — > mammal. So amphibia, always traditionally considered in­termediate between fish and the other terrestrial ver­tebrates, are in molecular terms as far from fish as any group of reptiles or mammals!3

Evolutionists today don't agree on how evolution is sup­posed to have occurred. Gradualists and saltationists dis­agree on the basic mechanism that would account for evolution. Gradualists claim that small mutations accumu­late and eventually change one species into another, and this process then is said eventually to give rise to the various genera, families, classes and phyla. Saltationists, on the other hand, recognize that the fossil record clearly indicates systematic gaps between all taxa. They observe the constancy of a species and the abrupt separation be­tween species. These gaps indicate to them the time that an evolutionary jump (saltation) must have occurred. The nature of that jump is, of course, a mystery and cannot be explained.

Furthermore, some committed leading evolutionists openly state that evolution is not a known fact but remains a theory or hypothesis. They hold to that theory so firmly because that is where their faith lies. We know that nature does not correspond to the evolutionist paradigm. The origin of new organisms on earth "is still as enigmatic as when Darwin set sail on the Beagle." 4

One wonders, in light of the evidence from the created structure, why secular evolutionists still cling to the theory of organic evolution. The evidence in most cases is strong­ly contra-indicatory, yet they are unwilling to let go of the theory. Because they are unable to accept the Genesis creation account as an alternative, we can understand that there is no way out for them except to say that we do not and cannot know anything about ultimate origins.

But why do some, who are professing Christians and believe in a Creator, also go along with this unscientific theory of evolutionary descent from fish to amphibian? How much are they willing to sacrifice to buy the accep­tance of secular evolutionists? We must accept the evidence from nature that testifies against the theory of evolution. We must stand on the Word of God which gives such a clear and solid alternative to the false picture of secular evolutionism. Compromise in this area is both unnecessary and unacceptable. We are getting the facts straight, and God's Word stands as firm as ever.


  1. ^ Weichert, Charles K. 1970. Anatomy of the Chor­dates. McGraw-Hill, Inc. New York, N.Y., p. 27.
  2. ^ Romer, Alfred S. and T.S. Parsons 1977. The Ver­tebrate Body. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, PA., p. 53.
  3. ^ Denton, Michael. 1986. Evolution: A Theory In Crisis. Adler & Adler, Publ., Inc., Bethesda, MD, p. 285.
  4. ^ ibid., p. 359.

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