One day in the summer of 2013 I was driving on Highway 6 south of Delta, Utah. My family and I were on a geological adventure to the Trilobite Quarry. I wanted to give my kids a fossil hunting adventure that they would never forget. We turned off the highway and drove 20 miles of dirt road before reaching our destination.
The quarry is a teardrop shaped hill surrounded by mounds of broken, grey sedimentary rock. The scattered rock is Cambrian shale, an ancient sedimentary layer containing many complex fossilized creatures. This particular site south of Delta, Utah is famous for its abundant supply of trilobites, extinct arthropods that scurried across the ancient sea bed long ago. We were anxious to find our own treasure trove of trilobite fossils by breaking apart the sedimentary rock.
The Cambrian trilobites we hunted are unique in that they have a variety of advanced features like jointed limbs, heads, antennae, digestive tracts, and compound eyes. These complex creatures are conspicuously absent in layers predating the Cambrian layer. If the trilobites in the Cambrian layer evolved, there should be ancestral transitional fossils displaying gradual change in older layers. However no reasonable intermediate organisms linking Precambrian and Cambrian features have been found.
The fossilized creatures below the Cambrian layer are soft-bodied and small. Although there is an ongoing debate about their true nature, what is clear is that these simple creatures bear little resemblance to more advanced, exoskeleton creatures found in the Cambrian layer. Cambrian creatures like the trilobite represent a “quantum leap in organismal and ecological [complexity]” compared to Precambrian creatures. This quantum leap in complexity—sometimes called the Cambrian explosion—indicates that Cambrian creatures have no apparent ancestors in Precambrian layers as evolution supposes.
The absence of fossilized remains bridging Cambrian and Precambrian creatures troubled Charles Darwin. He acknowledged the problem posed by the absence of transitional fossils in The Origin of Species:
To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods prior to the Cambrian system, I can give no satisfactory answer. . . . [T]he difficulty of assigning any good reason for the absence of vast piles of strata rich in fossils beneath the Cambrian system is very great. . . . The case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.
The problem of absent transitional forms is an ongoing concern. Not long ago researchers reported that despite continued efforts to explain the Cambrian explosion through evolutionary processes, the issue continues to generate “recurrent confusion.” The absence of ancestral transitional fossils has recently been called “macroevolutionary lag,” appropriately named for the lack of evidence for macroevolutionary change linking Precambrian and Cambrian life forms.
After two fun-filled hours of splitting rocks and examining trilobite fossils, we were ready to go home. Everyone’s bucket was full. Even my four-year-old daughter had filled her bucket with fossilized remains. These she found by searching through broken stones tossed aside by previous fossil hunters, a common occurrence at the quarry as people find increasingly detailed specimens.
After arriving home I searched through our fossils and located my best specimen, an unbroken two inch trilobite. I planned on giving it to my friend Marion Millett, a World War II veteran and former chairman of the BYU Geology-Geography Department who had in times past given my children spectacular fish fossils. I was going to thank him with a fossil find of my own.
When I handed the fossil to Marion, he smiled and slid his fingers over its rough surface. He talked with uncanny familiarity about the Cambrian layer and trilobites. As in times past, he amazed me with his knowledge of rocks and fossils. Then he held up the fossil and said, “You know, trilobites are nature’s best evidence against evolution.”
I was curious. “How so?”
He went on to explain how the trilobite was a very sophisticated creature that suddenly appeared on earth with little or no evidence of gradual development from lower species. Having never heard of such a thing before, I decided to investigate further. I searched the modern day “seer stone” called Google. It turns out Marion was right, and that the evidence is all in the eyes.
Trilobites possessed the most sophisticated animal eye lenses ever produced at that time. Their eyes were a compound assembly of hundreds of lenses, suggesting that trilobite vision may have been superior to vision in modern animals.
Given that the trilobite was once a common creature, one would expect ample evidence of transitional life forms detailing gradual development of the compound eye. However, adequate transitional life forms have not been found. The absence of adequate transitional life forms leads to one conclusion.
The trilobite eye did not evolve. It was designed.
 Erwin Douglas, James Valentine, and David Jablonski, “The Origin of Animal Body Plans,” American Scientist, 85 (1997), 126–137.
 Gregory Retallack, “Ediacaran Life on Land,” Nature, 493 (2013), 89–92.
 Kevin Peterson et al., “The Ediacaran Emergence of Bilaterians: Congruence between the Genetic and the Geological Fossil Records,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 363 (2008), 1435–1443.
 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, 6th Edition (1872), Chapter 10.
 Simon C. Morris, “Darwin’s Dilemma, The Realities of the Cambrian Explosion,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society – Biology 361 (2006), 1069–1083.
 Erwin H. Douglas et al., “The Cambrian Conundrum: Early Divergence and Later Ecological Success in the Early History of Animals,” Science, 334 (2011), 1091–1097.
 Lisa J. Shawver, “Trilobite Eyes: An Impressive Feat of Early Evolution,” Science News, 105 (1974), 72–73.
 Shawyer, Trilobite Eyes, 72–73.