January 22, 2024 | David F. Coppedge

Leviathan Was Real

They’re not just sailors’ tales.
Sea monsters really existed.

 

 

No, this is not about the Loch Ness Monster. It’s not about any other claims of living creatures that resemble dinosaurs. You can search on that subject elsewhere. Here, we report on huge sea creatures known from fossils.

This Japanese ‘dragon’ terrorized ancient seas (University of Cincinnati, 12 Dec 2023). “A mosasaur called the Wakayama ‘blue dragon’ ruled prehistoric waters.” Interesting that this press release calls the creature a “dragon.” It points out that the names we give things are human constructions. We call this species a “mosasaur” in modern scientific taxonomy [“lizard from the river Meuse in Germany”], but that is a made-up name, too, as much as is “dragon” or “leviathan.” Let’s learn about this mosasaur fossil:

Researchers have described a Japanese mosasaur the size of a great white shark that terrorized Pacific seas 72 million years ago.

Extra-long rear flippers might have aided propulsion in concert with its long finned tail. And unlike other mosasaurs, or large extinct marine reptiles, it had a dorsal fin like a shark’s that would have helped it turn quickly and with precision in the water.

The artist reconstruction resembles a large shark, but this was a reptile, not a cartilaginous fish. It had pentadactyl flippers like all other tetrapods, but did not resemble other marine reptiles. Takuya Konishi says that he is not sure how to classify the creature, named Wakayama Soryu (“blue dragon”).

[Konishi] has dedicated his career to studying these ancient marine reptiles. But the Japanese specimen has unique features that defies simple classification, he said. Its rear flippers are longer than its front ones. These enormous flippers are even longer than its crocodile-like head, which is unique among mosasaurs….

We lack any modern analog that has this kind of body morphology — from fish to penguins to sea turtles,” he said. “None has four large flippers they use in conjunction with a tail fin.”

Computer simulation of flow over the 3D model of an elasmosaur (plesiosaur). Credit: S. Gutarra Díaz. See our 7 June 2022 article.

Pliosaur discovery: Huge sea monster emerges from Dorset cliffs (BBC News, 9 Dec 2023). On the other side of the world from Japan, a nearly complete fossil skull of a pliosaur was found in England. This one, the media, says, swam the oceans 150 million Darwin Years ago—twice as far back in the Darwinian timeline as the Japanese sea monster. The artist reconstruction shows it biting a smaller marine reptile like it was enjoying a dagwood sandwich.

“Oh wow!”

There are gasps as the sheet covering the fossil is pulled back and the skull is revealed for the first time.

It’s immediately obvious that this pliosaur is huge and beautifully preserved.

There isn’t a specimen anywhere else to match it, believes local palaeontologist Steve Etches.

This pliosaur, like the Japanese mosasaur, had four paddle-like fins. It had 130 long and razor-sharp teeth. The skull was longer than most men are tall, the report says.

“The animal would have been so massive that I think it would have been able to prey effectively on anything that was unfortunate enough to be in its space,” says Dr Andre Rowe from Bristol University.

“I have no doubt that this was sort of like an underwater T. rex.

A photo of the location shows a high cliff where this animal had been buried in rock. It was carefully excavated by men on ropes dangling down from the top of the cliff. The exquisite preservation of the huge skull indicates that it had to be buried rapidly; the layers in the rock must not have taken a long time to form. Another photo in the article, though, says that “Dorset’s Kimmeridge Clay cliffs were once the bottom-muds in warm Jurassic seas.” That makes little sense. Whales that fall to the ocean bottom are picked clean by other creatures; they do not normally fossilize like this.

Mosasaur skull in display case at Fick Museum, Oakley, Kansas. (DFC)

Other extinct animals that qualify as “sea monsters” include the ichthyosaurs, that looked like tunas, and the plesiosaurs, with their long necks that defy comparison to any living animal. A plesiosaur fossil was announced last June by the University of Texas. And mosasaur fossils are well known from western Kansas. Like many other extinct animals, ichthyosaurs appear abruptly in the fossil record, fully formed and ready for aquatic life (14 March 2023).

These sea monsters are found as fossils all over the world. The only ocean-dwelling marine reptiles today are sea turtles and sea snakes. Alligators and crocodiles inhabit shallow waters; a few sea iguanas could be added. Why are all the ones mentioned above extinct? Not all of them were enormous. Surely the extinction event that killed off all the dinosaurs could have left some mosasaurs, plesiosaurs or ichthyosaurs behind. These are questions science cannot answer. Paleontologists can only suggest hypotheses because they were not there to see what happened. Certain clues can be gathered from the bones, but the line between science and divination becomes fuzzy without observation of living creatures and their behaviors.

The Bible mentions “Leviathan” not only in great detail the Book of Job ch. 41, but also in Psalm 74:14 and Psalm 104:26. These were not necessarily the same creature, since the creature described in Job seems to have lived in a river habitat, and the one in Psalm 104 lived “where the ships sail about, there is that Leviathan which You have made to play there.” Leviathan is used metaphorically for the enemies of God’s people in Isaiah 27:1. Notice Psalm 104:26’s reference to God having made Leviathan to “sport” or “play” in the ocean. He had purposes beyond man in the world, to fill the habitats of earth with living creatures that could thrive in their surroundings and even enjoy them (6 Jan 2015). Creation also explains the similarity of mosasaurs to sharks and ichthyosaurs to dolphins. It wasn’t “environmental pressure” that forced these animals to adopt similar shapes due to “convergent evolution” (a meaningless, circular term). An intelligent designer would be free to re-use working design plans in different products.

A Biblical flood model explains why the mosasaurs and other extinct marine reptiles were buried in rock. They had to be overcome by muddy deposits rapidly to be preserved, and not damaged afterward by bioturbation. It also explains why so many were destroyed all over the world at one time. The Biblical timeline, without a need for millions of years, might also explain the legends of “sea monsters” and “sea dragons” from around the world. Whales and giant squid might account for some of these legends, but perhaps not all.

There is much that science does not know about alleged sea monsters. Perhaps one will turn up some day, like the coelacanths did, that were thought to have been extinct, or the rich ecosystems around geothermal vents that surprised marine biologists only a few decades ago. Darwinists would undoubtedly be astonished, calling it a “living fossil” that “didn’t evolve for 150 million years.” Plan now to not be a sucker for that explanation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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