February 26, 2024 | David F. Coppedge

Year of the Dragon: Real Dragons Lived

Scientists—not cryptozoologists—are
calling this beast a real dragon

 

 

Fossil reveals 240 million year-old ‘dragon’ (BBC News, 23 Feb 2024). Victoria Gill puts ‘dragon’ in quotes but this Triassic marine reptile fits the bill.

The creature dates back 240 million years and has been dubbed a “dragon” because of its extremely long neck.

It is called Dinocephalosaurus orientalis, a species that was originally identified back in 2003.

This spectacular new fossil has allowed scientists to see the full anatomy of this bizarre prehistoric beast.

The name means “dinosaur-headed lizard from the East.” Other sea monsters, like pliosaurs, plesiosaurs and mosasaurs are well known from fossils. This creature is not one of them.

“It had flipper-like limbs and its neck is longer than its body and tail combined,” he said.

The researcher speculated that a “long, bendy and flexible neck”, with its 32 separate vertebrae, might have provided a hunting advantage – allowing Dinocephalosaurus orientalis to search for food in crevices under the water.

“Speculating” (their word) that it “might have provided a hunting advantage” was Gill’s attempt to bring Darwinism into the picture. Natural selection, however, is under no obligation to fulfill imagined advantages. It would be advantageous for an employee to sprout wings to fly to work, but should he or she expect mutations to bring that about? The only way a flying commute will happen is by intelligent design.

The sight of a creature like Dinocephalosaurus by sailors would certainly have motivated tall tales. The clip of the sea serpent in Voyage of the Dawn Treader comes to mind, though the fossil is not as large as in the movie.

Dinocephalosaurus Fossil (Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing). Copyright: Nicholas C. Fraser

Paleontologists present a 240 million year old “Chinese dragon” (Stuttgart Natural History Museum, 23 Feb 2024). So was this a dragon, or not? It depends on how you define the term. The paleontologists thought it looked like the legendary beasts, but they would not believe it flew or breathed fire.

An international team of scientists from China, the USA and Europe, including Dr. Stephan Spiekman, paleontologist at the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart, has studied new fossils of the marine reptile Dinocephalosaurus orientalis. This research has made it possible to fully describe the bizarre, very impressive animal for the first time. Dinocephalosaurus orientalis had an unusually long neck and reminded the researchers of the snake-like representation of dragons in Chinese mythology. The research findings on Dinocephalosaurus orientalis have now been published in the journal “Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh” – just in time for the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Dragon.

This is the most complete of several specimens found of this species since 2003 in China. Did Dinocephalosaurus belong to other known marine reptile groups?

Despite superficial similarities, Dinocephalosaurus was not closely related to the famous plesiosaurs, which evolved around 40 million years later and served as the inspiration for the Loch Ness Monster.

To evolutionists, this speaks of “convergence” of two unrelated marine reptiles with exceptionally long necks. This animal was also not related to ichthyosaurs or mosasaurs, which had short necks. It resembled some aspects of Tanystropheus, a marine “archosauromorph” reptile, but Dinocephalosaurus had unique traits:

Dinocephalosaurus is unique in that it has many more vertebrae in both its neck and trunk than Tanystropheus. Dinocephalosaurus was viviparous (meaning it gave birth to live young rather than laying eggs) and obviously very well adapted to an oceanic lifestyle, as the fin limbs and the excellently preserved fish in its stomach area show,” says Dr. Stephan Spiekman, specialist on long-necked marine reptiles at the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart.

Have evolutionists gained understanding of Darwinism through this fossil? Yes—but only in the imaginary future:

The scientists hope to gain more insights into the evolution of this group of animals through further investigations in the future. In particular about the exact function of the long neck in marine reptiles.

Artist Marlene Donelly has created a lifelike illustration of Dinocephalosaurus orientalis swimming alongside a prehistoric fish called Saurichthys. Author’s note/copyright: Marlene Donelly. Note that colors and soft parts are not preserved in the fossil.

How the Sea Monster Got Its Brain

From a related but separate news item, evolutionists in Kansas City, Missouri are busy speculating, too. They think our brains came from blood-sucking sea monsters called lampreys. Maybe some people resemble that comparison, but that would have been by devolution, not evolution.

An awkward family reunion: Sea monsters are our cousins (Stowers Institute for Medical Research, 21 Feb 2024). If you have lamprey in your ancestry, you might want to join the family reunion with the Darwin Party. They’re having fun with divination games at the event.

Research from the lab of Investigator Robb Krumlauf, Ph.D., published on February 20, 2024 in Nature Communications offers a glimpse into how the brains of ancient animals evolved. The team unexpectedly uncovered that a crucial molecular cue is very broadly required during vertebrate hindbrain development.

“This study on the hindbrain is essentially a window into the distant past and serves as a model for understanding the evolution of complexity,” said co-author Hugo Parker, Ph.D.

Like other vertebrate animals, sea lampreys have a backbone and skeleton, but they are noticeably missing a feature of their heads—a jaw. Because most vertebrates, including humans, have jaws, this striking difference in sea lampreys makes them valuable models for understanding the evolution of vertebrate traits.

In an embedded video, a female novitiate in the lab begins, “I wanted to focus on evolution to try to understand where we come from.” The expected answer: not from Adam and Eve, but from blood-sucking, ugly sea monsters.

In that video, all the disciples of Dr Krumlauf, chief Darwin wizard at Stowers, strike me as looking like they are possessed. In a sense, they are. The aura of evolutionary imagination turns otherwise smart students and professors into mind-numbed groupies of the Spirit of Darwin, who promised them “understanding” of “where we come from.” The promised understanding never arrives. It is forever just out of reach, like the carrot dangled in front of the mule to make him keep going. And so, they gaze at molecules like retinoic acid and complex systems like hindbrains, thinking that similarities provide “cues” to get to the reward of understanding. But it was a lie, a ruse—a Michael Ruse at that—to keep them believing in the omniscience of Natural Selection—a magical Force that will bring them the knowledge of good and evil at the cost of their souls. They look right past the complex networks in the brain, full of evidence for creation, to search in vain for cues from the fairy spirits of Natural Selection, which they are told will teach them understanding. It’s a modern form of animism and rebellion against the innate knowledge of God we all have that is evident in the things that are made (Romans 1:18-23).

Regarding Dinocephalosaurus and other extinct animals, it’s a reminder that the fossil record is full of examples of bigger creatures than are alive today: mammoths, dinosaurs, giant dragonflies and more. This is opposite the expectations of the Myth of Progress that gave birth to Darwinism. Along that line, the updated book by Dembski and Ewert, The Design Inference, contains an epilogue that explains the deterioration of species diversity over time. In the epilogue about a law of Conservation of Information (the subject of their upcoming book), they show how every “evolutionary algorithm” they have analyzed, whether ev, Avida, or others, have all been found guilty of smuggling in information. The authors of these software simulations of Natural Selection, like magicians, sneak in tricks in the side door to make them appear to work evolutionary magic: getting something from nothing, new information created out of thin air. “Darwinian evolution requires getting more from less,” they say. “It requires a free lunch.” Sorry, Darwin. There ain’t no such thing. TANSTAAFL (search for that on the internet).

Back to our headline: did real dragons exist? We must define our terms. The word “dinosaur” did not exist before 1820, but many cultures have legends of fearsome reptilian beasts. Those certainly existed. Did humans ever see them? According to the evolutionary timescale, that would have been impossible. Discoveries of dinosaur soft tissue, however, collapse that timeline to recent millennia. The Biblical timeline certainly allows for humans to be familiar with the full range of extinct animals. Details such as wings and fire-breathing nostrils could be speculative adornments added by storytellers after the Flood to enhance the reputations of dragon-slayers. Or, depending on how literally passages in Job 41 should be taken, five verses speak of sparks, flames and smoke emanating from Leviathan’s mouth and nostrils. Is that possible? Never underestimate the creativity of God. If you only had a fossil skunk, would you know about its potent scent gland? If you only had a fossil bombardier beetle, would you know it could send a hot blast against intruders? If eyewitnesses saw dinosaurs and sea monsters, don’t rule out the possibility that their descriptions had a kernel of truth. Recall that God himself was describing Leviathan, and Job responded as if he knew what God was talking about.

Atheists have no hope of ever finding out such things. Bible believers, with their hope of heaven, can look forward to learning and “knowing fully even as we are fully known” (I Corinthians 13:12).

 

 

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