Miscellany: gaps in evolution cause discontinuity (General)

by David Turell @, Friday, March 17, 2023, 18:22 (11 days ago) @ dhw

The latest finding of an Ichthyosaur with no predecessors:


"Textbooks have been teaching impressionable students two things about ichthyosaur evolution: (1) it began after the big bad Permian Extinction, and (2) the fish-lizards started simple and diversified into big ones over millions of years. Assuming Darwinism, that’s intuitive; early innovations are “primitive” and become “derived” (mature, complex, sophisticated) over long periods of time, as natural selection favors small, incremental variations.


"Now a team of Swedish and Norwegian palaeontologists has discovered remains of the earliest known ichthyosaur or ‘fish-lizard’ on the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen.” The press release uses six paragraphs to tell the usual evolutionary narrative. Then, the double surprise appears:

"Unexpectedly, these vertebrae occurred within rocks that were supposedly too old for ichthyosaurs. Also, rather than representing the textbook example of an amphibious ichthyosaur ancestor, the vertebrae are identical to those of geologically much younger larger-bodied ichthyosaurs…

"...and even preserve internal bone microstructure showing adaptive hallmarks of fast growth, elevated metabolism and a fully oceanic lifestyle.

"Geochemical testing of the surrounding rock confirmed the age of the fossils at approximately two million years after the end-Permian mass extinction. Given the estimated timescale of oceanic reptile evolution, this pushes back the origin and early diversification of ichthyosaurs to before the beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs; thereby forcing a revision of the textbook interpretation and revealing that ichthyosaurs probably first radiated into marine environments prior to the extinction event.

”'Excitingly, the discovery of the oldest ichthyosaur rewrites the popular vision of Age of Dinosaurs as the emergence timeframe of major reptile lineages. It now seems that at least some groups predated this landmark interval, with fossils of their most ancient ancestors still awaiting discovery in even older rocks on Spitsbergen and elsewhere in the world,” says Benjamin Kear, researcher at Museum of Evolution, Uppsala University. (my bod)

The oldest fossils of an ichthyosaur ever found indicate that these fish-like reptiles evolved earlier than we thought – perhaps even before the world’s worst mass extinction, which hit 252 million years ago. (my bold)

"The team carried out a series of analyses ranging from rock chemistry to microscopic bone structure. “The vertebrae turned out to be from a highly advanced, fast-growing, probably warm-blooded and fully oceanic ichthyosaur,” says [Benjamin] Kear [at Uppsala University]."

Comment: this is another example of sudden appearance in the fossil record. Highly complex in very early rocks. Will we find less complex older forms? And what prior species did it arise from?? Note my bolds indicating Darwiists alasays expect precursors. Wait and see.

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