Synapsids Went Extinct, but Did They Evolve?
Evolutionists call them “mammal-like reptiles,” but a very large fossil synapsid upsets evolutionary ideas.
It was as big as a hippo, and apparently very successful as an animal. New Scientist writes, “Ancient hippo-like reptile was a giant to rival the dinosaurs.” Science Magazine writes, “Giant mammal cousin rivaled early dinosaurs.” What was this creature, exactly? And why are evolutionists so startled by it?
Imagine if you crossed a rhino with a giant turtle and then supersized the result: You might get something like Lisowicia bojani, a newly discovered Triassic mammal cousin that had a body shaped like a rhinoceros, a beak like a turtle, and weighed as much as an African elephant, about 9 tons. Paleontologists say this startling creature offers a new view of the dawn of the age of the dinosaurs. Researchers had thought that during the late Triassic, from about 240 million until 201 million years ago, early mammals and their relatives retreated to the shadows while dinosaurs rose up, growing to huge sizes. The new find means the story wasn’t quite so simple, suggesting the same evolutionary forces that favored giant dinosaurs were at work on other creatures as well.
(We pause to point out that evolution is not a force; that idea is a farce. Evolution is a narrative gloss painted on the observations after data are collected and placed into the prefabricated moyboy timeline. Isn’t it odd, too, that “the same evolutionary forces” made some animals larger and some animals smaller at the same time?)
Taxonomy is a curious beast when working with extinct animals. Synapsids were dubbed “mammal-like reptiles” by early evolutionary paleontologists, but could be as easily called “reptile-like mammals,” if it were not for the insistence by Darwinians that in the Triassic, mammals had not yet evolved. Since these creatures preceded the Age of Dinosaurs, they had to be reptiles, right? – even if they were “mammal-like.” Science Daily asks a pertinent question: “What makes a mammal a mammal?” The answer provided in the article is “our spine,” primarily its shape. None of the usual defining attributes of a mammal (hair, mammary glands, live birth) are mentioned. In fact, Wikipedia cannot be certain that some synapsids did not have hair and mammary glands. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Rare skin impressions show some horny coverings, but living pangolins and armadillos have those.
Synapsids (“fused arch”) are subdivided into other groups based on assumed phylogenetic relationships. But talk of anapsids, diapsids, therapsids, dicynodonts (“two dog tooth”), or which is ancestral to what can obscure a bigger topic of interest: these were big, successful beasts! Look at the fossil diagram of Lisowicia in New Scientist: it’s huge. It’s built like a tank. Look at the powerful legs, large skull, and five-digit feet. Think of all the muscle and nerves to move this animal. “The creature was 5 metres long, 3 metres tall and weighed 9 tonnes,” Michael LePage says. A lizard can’t ask Darwin, “supersize me!” and have this creature emerge. Gigantism requires lots of coordinated changes to multiple body systems. What’s more, the animal was “more closely related to mammals than dinosaurs“. Remember, this is from a period that evolutionists insist came before the dinosaurs had their heyday, and long before big mammals supposedly evolved. The Darwinians insist they were active for well over 50 million years! They thought synapsids were dying out, then this monster shows up. That implies that others of similar size existed, but have not been found yet.
In Science, Gretchen Vogel quotes paleontologist Steven Brusatte showing that the fossil from Poland is doing violence to Darwinian just-so stories:
Researchers had thought that during the Late Triassic, from about 240 million until 201 million years ago, early mammals and their relatives “retreated to the shadows while dinosaurs rose up and grew to huge sizes,” Brusatte says. “That’s the story I tell my students in my lectures. But this throws a wrench into that simple tale,” suggesting the same evolutionary forces that favored giant dinosaurs were at work on other creatures as well.
One co-author remarked, “How many surprises are still waiting for us in the rocks?” Fox News Science quotes one of the co-authors showing what a surprise this “rhino-elephant” was. Notice the damage a single fossil can do to a theory:
“Lisowicia is the youngest dicynodont and the largest non-dinosaurian terrestrial tetrapod from the Triassic. It’s natural to want to know how dicynodonts became so large. Lisowicia is hugely exciting because it blows holes in many of our classic ideas of Triassic ‘mammal-like’ reptiles.”
First begun in 2005 but only written up today, the excavation of the Lisowicia bojani in Poland reveals for the first time that mammal-like dicynodonts lived at the same time as the sauropodomorph group of dinosaurs, which includes the Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus species.
And for those interested in evolution, the excavation also proves that some characteristic anatomical features of mammals – such as upright limbs – were also present among dicynodonts and similar herbivorous reptiles.
It is therefore a significant finding, one that forces prehistorians and paleontologists to revise their theories on the Earth’s Triassic period and on the evolution of mammals.
Once again, we see evolutionists get excited about being falsified. And yet their tale-telling goes on, without any repentance for having misled students for a century about ‘mammal-like reptiles.’ Does the term really mean anything? Does calling this beast a ‘two dog-tooth’ member of the ‘fused-arch’ group mean they understand it?
The Science Daily article does its best to add a Darwin spin to the story, talking about changes to this or that part of the spine. But what about all the other body parts, especially the soft tissues of the organs that we cannot see? Just because synapsids went extinct doesn’t mean they evolved from something else and were evolving into mammals. “Dicynodonts were amazingly successful animals in the Middle and Late Triassic,” comments the co-discoverer from Uppsala University.
These fossils need some fresh eyes with the Darwin glasses off. It’s not clear from the reports whether the variety of animals lumped into the taxonomic categories really belong there. We have almost no soft tissue, and just bone fragments assembled by people who never saw the beasts. When animals fit the Darwin pattern, they call it divergent evolution. When they don’t, they pour on the Darwin Flubber and spin tales of convergent evolution or parallel evolution or ghost lineages. Then there is the Darwin spin called “mosaic evolution” where animals seem to have traits from different groups. Darwinists have built a system immune to falsifiability. No matter what happened, “it evolved” – end of story. Glimpses of trouble behind the facade come when you see them continually being surprised by “monkey wrenches” appearing in the “simple tale” told to students.
The fossil record clearly shows a world impoverished of many animals no longer living. If only a few survived the great catastrophe that creationists talk about, then it need not imply a long period of evolving ancestry. Darwinism distracts attention from the true wonder of these animals: the intelligent design evident in their powerful bones, organs, systems, and capabilities.