March 14, 2023 | David F. Coppedge

Ichthyosaurs Did Not Evolve; They Appeared Suddenly

Evolutionists have a new falsification to deal with
and it packs a double punch


The Darwinians have two grand myths to maintain about the origin of giant sea creatures: the origin of whales and the origin of ichthyosaurs. Ichthyosaurs (“fish-lizards”), like whales, are thought to have started as land animals that found new niches to explore in the ocean. Over time, they lost their limbs and became obligate swimmers, coming up for air but otherwise doing everything in the water, including bearing live young.

The twin tales put evolution into reverse. Once upon a time, they say, sea creatures left the ocean and invaded the land. Millions of years later, some of them left the land and invaded the ocean. That’s because Darwin’s Stuff Happens Law allows happenings to go forward, backward or sideways. Whatever happens, it evolved.

The Ichthyosaur Just-So Story Narrative

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. One doesn’t expect a dinosaur to lay and egg and see a bird hatch out all at once.

But now, “new fossils discovered on Spitsbergen are now revising this long accepted theory” for the origin of ichthyosaurs. It’s a double whammy: the fossils date earlier than the Permian extinction, and (2) they already look mature and advanced for ichthyosaurs. Let’s see how the Darwinians handle this (*ahem*) little difficulty.

Artwork of ichthyosaur in the press release.

Oldest sea reptile from Age of Dinosaurs found on Arctic island (Uppsala University, 14 March 2023). “For nearly 190 years, scientists have searched for the origins of ancient sea-going reptiles from the Age of Dinosaurs. 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

Surprised enough yet? There’s more:

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

There it is: an advanced ichthyosaur appearing fully formed in rocks “too old” for ichthyosaurs—rocks dated 250 million Darwin Years, a time right after the great Permian extinction. Even if one accepts the dating scheme, this is bad news for Darwin. This specimen was not on the way to evolving into a mature ichthyosaur. It was a fully formed, fully aquatic, well-adapted, large-bodied ichthyosaur. If 90% of species went extinct during the end of the Permian, this advanced ichthyosaur didn’t have time to evolve.

Ichthyosaur skeletal diagram (Neil Kelley, 2022). They were large, air-breathing, fully adapted marine reptiles that may have been warm blooded.

Evolutionists assume that later on their timeline, whales took 9 million years to go from land animal to fully aquatic marine mammal (see this episode from Illustra Media’s documentary Living Waters for reasons that was not enough time).

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.

Any remorse for being proven wrong? Any apologies? No. Ichthyosaurs still evolved, they continue to believe. They just evolved “earlier than thought.” Isn’t that exciting? Excitement is a proven strategy for evolutionists to maintain job security after being falsified. It makes it look like they are on the right track.

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.

The irony is palpable. They were wrong about the timing, and now they have no ancestors for this mature, advanced, successful marine reptile family. But they’re excited about being proven wrong!

Oldest ichthyosaur fossil hints they evolved before mass extinction (New Scientist, 14 March 2023). Riley Black shares the excitement of Darwin being wrong again (May the king live forever). Ichthyosaurs evolved, do you understand? They evolved. It wasn’t evolutionary paleontologists who were wrong. Black speaks Tontologically to include all of us in the mistake. “We” were wrong. Ichthyosaurs appeared earlier than “we” thought. But they did evolve.

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.

Black tells how the discoverers expected the fossil vertebrae to be primitive, only to find that they belonged to an advanced, mature form of ichthyosaur.

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].

No apologies. No remorse. They just carry on, looking for the mythical ancestor of ichthyosaurs farther back in time. One Darwinist quoted by Riley Black thinks it is “reasonable” that ancestor fossils will be found earlier in the record, but he has such bold faith in the Stuff Happens Law, he thinks “it is also possible that this group rapidly evolved in the 2 million years after the mass extinction as life recovered” and then “ballooned to monstrous proportions” quickly. How many rare beneficial mutations did that take in rapid-fire succession? It’s almost like a miracle.

Earliest Triassic ichthyosaur fossils push back oceanic reptile origins (Benjamin Kear et al., Current Biology, 13 March 2023). This is the source paper announcing the fossil discovery.

Update 16 March 2023: Paleontologist Gunter Bechly writes about this fossil at Evolution News, agreeing that ichthyosaurs appear suddenly in the record.

Exercise: Turn on your Baloney Detectors and read the paper; it’s open access. Do the authors provide any empirical evidence that a large, fully aquatic and well-adapted marine reptile could have evolved from a four-legged land creature in 2.5 million years? Do they provide any reason to believe a credible primitive ancestor will be found? Do they explain how ancestors survived a mass extinction? Do they offer any apology for being wrong and clueless about this major transition that is necessary to their molecules-to-man worldview? Are they remorseful for teaching students falsified ideas for 190 years? Why do you think they believe a falsified story in spite of the evidence?

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