How Can a Lizard Be Its Own Ancestor?
It looks like a lizard. It walked like a lizard. It ate like a lizard.
But evolutionists are calling parts of it ancestral to lizards.
When is a lizard not an ancestor of lizards? When it is part modern.
The labeling of body parts as “primitive” gives evolutionists leeway to make up stories of evolution and ancestry over deep time. It would be like calling your backbone primitive because similar vertebrae were found in alleged human ancestors. Pondering the fact that you also possess modern or “derived” features, they could claim you are your own ancestor. It’s like the old Ray Stevens’ song, “I’m My Own Grandpa.”
Fossil shows what lizards’ ancestors looked like 167 million years ago (New Scientist, 26 Oct 2022). Look at the artwork in the article and identify what the animal is. It has the splayed legs of a lizard. It has the head shape of a lizard. It has the scales of a lizard. On and on we could go, justifying the claim that this is a lizard, like one you might pick up in a wild area near you. But no. Evolutionists insist it is a lizard ancestor. It lived too early in Darwin Years to be a real lizard. Riley Black explains,
Despite its superficially lizard-like appearance, B. gracilis represents an older form of reptile closer to the origins of the squamate group, which today includes more than 10,000 species of lizards and snakes, the study found. Palaeontologists call their early ancestors “stem squamates”.
The reptile’s shoulders and braincase, and the way the skull bones could flex against each other, resemble later squamates, while aspects of the reptile’s spine and palate more closely resemble more primitive reptiles from more than 240 million years ago.
The combination of old and new traits indicates that B. gracilis was something of a relic from when the first squamates evolved, like the ancestral form still surviving alongside the descendants.
You are your own grandpa, they say. Since you have a combination of new and old traits, you too are a relic of when the first humans evolved, just like this lizard proves.
Black admits that fossils of the transition of lizards over deep time are rare, making the story hard to prove. He quotes a Darwinist storyteller from the University of Bristol who says, “The thing with many Middle Jurassic squamates is that they are so poorly known that interpretations regarding their relationships are often a guess.” But it doesn’t stop the Darwin Party from guessing anyway.
If the anatomical interpretation is correct, then primitive squamates survived for tens of millions of years after the first lizards and snakes evolved and lived alongside them. “Bellairsia is changing out views on the expansion of lizards in Mesozoic ecosystems,” says Tałanda.
The study hints that early squamates spread into a profusion of species early in their history. “There are probably many more stem squamates to discover,” says Bolet, from across millions of years of reptilian history.
When you think like an evolutionist, any combination of traits can fit into an evolutionary story. The first trick is to arrange them in imaginary deep time so that they form some kind of sequence. When the “derived” or “crown” traits in the story appear later than expected, the fossil becomes a “relic” of its ancestral past. When the “primitive” or “stem” traits appear earlier than expected, the Darwinist says that they “appeared earlier than thought.” Either way, Darwin always wins.
New Scottish fossil sheds light on the origins of lizards (University of Oxford, 27 Oct 2022). As is customary when a new Darwin paper is published, one or more of the Darwin Party members who played a part in the story get their 15 minutes of fame in a press release. The same artwork adorns this tribute to three evolutionists who found or analyzed the lizard bones at the Island of Skye near Scotland. In Act One, the discoverer finds the lucky fossil:
Co-author Dr Elsa Panciroli (Oxford University Museum of Natural History and National Museums Scotland) who discovered the fossil, said: ‘It was one of the first fossils I found when I began working on Skye. The little black skull was poking out from the pale limestone, but it was so small I was lucky to spot it. Looking closer I saw the tiny teeth, and realised I’d found something important, but we had no idea until later that almost the whole skeleton was in there.’
For Act Two, a Darwin Party specialist puts the “important” fossil into the tale:
First author Dr Mateusz Tałanda (University of Warsaw and UCL) said: ‘This little fossil lets us see evolution in action. Bellairsia has some modern lizard features, like traits related to cranial kinesis – that’s the movement of the skull bones in relation to one another. This is an important functional feature of many living squamates.’
For Act Three, an operator of a CT Scan device confirms the bones:
Co-author Professor Roger Benson (Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford), said: ‘It used to be almost impossible to study such tiny fossils like this, but this study shows the power of new techniques including CT scanning to image these non-destructively and in great detail.’
The play ends with an encore: a News and Views announcement from Nature, 26 October 2022: “An exceptional fossil lizard from the Jurassic period.” What makes it exceptional?
Lizards and snakes belong to the highly successful group of reptiles called squamates, but a poor fossil record has obscured their early evolutionary history. A discovery now sheds light on this enigmatic portion of the tree of life.
As reporter Arnau Bolet begins exciting the audience about the discoverers being “intrepid characters” like Indiana Jones, reporters in the room frantically write on their notepads and then rush out of the theater to announce this wonderful confirmation of evolution for the popular press.
After the curtain calls, the lizard sneaks out behind the curtain and whispers, “Pssst. I’m just a lizard, but they tell me I’m my own grandpa!”