August 22, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

Fossil Marine Reptile Buried with Last Meal Intact

Here is another example of an ichthyosaur that was buried rapidly. This one didn’t have time to digest its lunch.

Ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs are classes of extinct marine reptiles known only by fossils around the world. Some famous fossils on display show them in the process of eating or giving birth (see photo at, indicating that they were buried almost instantaneously, surprising them in the acts of everyday life. Now another has been found with the undigested contents of another large animal in its stomach.

Ichthyosaur’s Last Meal Is Evidence of Triassic Megapredation (UC Davis). The scientists describe this as the first instance of a large reptile inside the stomach of another marine reptile. The prey was about 4 meters long inside the 5-meter predator.

Megapredation: one large beast eats another large beast.

Some 240 million years ago, a dolphinlike ichthyosaur ripped to pieces and swallowed another marine reptile only a little smaller than itself. Then it almost immediately died and was fossilized, preserving the first evidence of megapredation, or a large animal preying on another large animal. The fossil, discovered in 2010 in southwestern China, is described in a paper published Aug. 20 in the journal iScience.


Extraordinary fossil shows ancient marine reptile swallowing huge prey (New Scientist). Michael LePage tells what the scientists think happened: the ichthyosaur bit off the head of a thalattosaur, then could not hold up its head and died soon after. He doesn’t say how the beast could fossilize so quickly after eating.

The body of the thalattosaur shows no sign of being broken down by digestive juices and its bitten off tail was found just 23 metres away in the same rock layer. That suggests the ichthyosaur died almost immediately after swallowing it.

Fossilized ‘ocean lizard’ found inside corpse of ancient sea monster (Live Science). Laura Geggel includes a series of photos of the fossil inside the rock layer in China where it was found. She shares another possible scenario that the ichthyosaur scavenged the remains of the prey, but she also ignores the question of how it was buried rapidly enough to preserve the large predator and its stomach contents.

Fossilized skin forming the trailing edge of the right pelvic fin (Image: Johan Lindgren)

Interesting, isn’t it, how evolutionists focus on some questions but ignore others? When water is inferred on a small moon, they immediately focus on the possibility of life, but ignore how the water could survive for billions of years. When a fossil like this is found, they focus on the beast’s size, what it ate and how its teeth look, but ignore the problem of how such a large animal became buried almost instantly. And when dinosaur soft tissue is found, they focus on the ecology of the period but ignore how soft tissue could survive for 80 million years or more.

This is a classic study on the sociology of science. Their worldview colors what questions they find interesting. If they really tried to answer the questions creationists bring up about rapid burial and decay of soft tissue, their worldview based on Darwinism and millions of years would collapse. That is too big a price to pay for their career safety and job security, so they stay safely within their peer group’s belief system by ignoring such questions. The silent fossils, though, speak loud and clear: a flood buried them quickly before they could even react.

Incidentally, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and pterosaurs all appear in the fossil record fully formed, without ancestors. Where was the evolution?


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