Caught in the Act —Turtles Fossilized While Mating
More evidence of the sudden burial of ancient animals is surfacing.
Summary: In an “extraordinary discovery,” German scientists say they have found the first known pairs of mating vertebrate fossils. "Just finding these couples is completely unique worldwide," said lead study author Walter Joyce from the University of Tübingen. Nine pairs of the extinct Allaeochelys crassesculpta turtle species were discovered in Messel Pit in Germany, once the site of a tropical lake and now a “spectacular place for fossils.”
The prehistoric lake “somehow” killed numerous animals and preserved the bodies in volcanic sediments which have turned to oil shale. The researchers were able to determine that each of the nine couples were male-female, in part because male turtles are about 20% smaller than females and have longer tails. Also, two couples had tails positioned for mating.
The find does not add to what scientists know about the extinct species. "Turtles have been around a long time, and they [mate] pretty much now like they did then," said Columbia University's Mark Norell. However, the researchers think the discovery may help them decide which of two theories can best explain how Messel Pit killed so many ancient animals — fossils of land animals are also found near the former lake. One theory holds that sudden, occasional upwellings of carbon dioxide poisoned the lakes. The other maintains toxic bacteria at the surface was to blame.
Joyce believes the deaths can be attributed to natural causes. He tends to favor the carbon dioxide hypothesis because of the mating-turtle fossils. These turtles would have engaged in sex only in non-poisonous water, begun sinking during the process as many turtles do, and at about 30 feet started taking in the gas through their permeable skin. That would have killed them.
But Joyce admits the case isn’t closed. "This is science. Most of the time you can't technically prove anything.”
(Photo of Allaeochelys crassesculpta turtle from Wikipedia, by Daderot.)
Comment: Creationists have often noted how fossils are not kind to a theory of evolution that depends upon slow and gradual processes. To become fossilized, animals and plants must die and be covered rapidly. Otherwise they would decay or become food for scavengers.
Evidence of sudden burial is common. We know of examples of animals such as trilobites which became fossilized with their soft parts preserved, even their eyes, and animals that became fossils with undigested food still in their stomachs and, my favorite, a marine reptile known as an ichthyosaur which was buried at the moment it was giving birth. Now we have some turtles which didn’t have enough time to break off their amorous activity before being covered.
The secular scientists in this story appear to be genuinely puzzled by the discovery of the turtle fossils and all the other nearby fossils. The prehistoric lake “somehow” killed a lot of animals, we are told. The proposed solutions appear to be not much more than educated guesses. Mr. Joyce admits the case is not closed. "This is science. Most of the time you can't technically prove anything.”
Nobody was around to take notes on how these fossils came to be. However, we do know of one historical event that certainly had the capacity to have created most of the fossils we find around us. Unless one subscribes to the notion that Noah’s Flood was a tranquil affair, an idea that appears to be at odds with Scripture and certainly is not logical, then as a global event the Flood surely was a major tectonic affair that had the power to cause sudden and major changes to the earth, changes that would have included sudden burial of plants and animals. Today’s earthquakes, volcanoes, and major floods have shown the ability to be very destructive. Isn’t it reasonable to conclude that the global flood accompanied by tectonic activity and possibly even hypercanes and submarine volcanoes could have even been much more destructive? It likely wasn’t a prehistoric lake that killed the turtles; it likely was Noah’s Flood.
Adam and Eve’s sin was what brought death into the world in the first place. The death of Jesus Christ on a cross for our sins has reversed that and brought the prospect of eternal life back into the world. “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17) . This gift of eternal life is available for everybody, but it must not be ignored or rejected.
Gerhold L. Lemke wrote: Everything about the Messel site contradicts the notion of "sudden burial." Anybody reading this should find a February 2000 National Geographic for a wonderful report on what Messel is all about. Of course, there's no scavenging of the bodies sinking to the dead (anoxic) bottom of a crater lake! This is why hydrocarbons could build up here in the first place. Other creationists know better than to claim that "the Flood did this." Of course, there's no way that this subtropical Eocene ecosystem (entirely loaded with extinct species) could have happened post-Flood. That's why logic has to conclude: All Created As Such, with an apparent "age." Possibly, even, if you can suppose that an all-knowing, truth-loving God would want to provide himself ahead of time with a site so self-evidently correcting today's fundamentalists wanting to "walk by sight" in the matter of fossils supposedly proving the Flood.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Editor wrote: GLL, you continue to beat the drums for your idea of “created fossils.” I believe you are sadly mistaken though if you think you are convincing anybody. To accept your idea, a person must arrive at the following unacceptable conclusions.
(1) God created billions of ready-made fossils during the creation week but hasn’t shared with us the reason why He would do such a strange thing. (2) God wasn’t concerned about His credibility even though He seems to have misled us when He created fossils that look just like the remains or traces of once-living animals. (3) The fossils survived Noah’s Flood just fine, but the remains of the creatures that did die in the Flood mysteriously disappeared without leaving a trace. (4) God doesn’t want us to use the subject of fossils, which provide a strong rebuke to the theory of evolution, in countering the attacks upon our faith by this dangerous worldview.
Gerhold, you are wasting your time and ours by continuing this senseless debate over fossils.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Gerhold L. Lemke wrote: Warren - Thanks for including the "examples of animals" link to Ken Ham's "Answers" posting. This reminds me that I have always said that a gracious God, looking far ahead to our own day, would have created an equal number of "problems" for the Deep Time scenario of evolution science. His purpose being to caution people against both 1) your Flood catastrophism (doing everything such as a post-Flood Ice Age in no time at all), and 2) evolution's endless ages, which contradict Bible History time. You should tell people about WELS leaders & scholars for whom the creation of Virtual Time (created fossils) is acceptable! Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers."
Having cited Ham's list of fossil "graveyards" worldwide, you could have invited people to study these to see what evidence for special conditions of preservation might be claimed. The Messel site is a perfectly obvious argument for slow layering, seasonally, under anoxic conditions below the first 30 feet of Eocene lake water (brown peat coal having been the first, surface deposit to be removed at least a century ago). The Green River deposits have their own argument against Flood deposition.
At your conference, please discuss this major point supporting my position. We agree that a wind storm moving through a junkyard couldn't have built a jet plane - so evolution could never create the complexity & life of a living cell. We disagree where you suppose that the Flood, working only on the basis of God's created natural laws, could have assembled the complex specificity such as one finds most wonderfully at Messel. Great floods produce only great chaos (as an American, Grabau, told the world more than a century ago in his "Principles of Stratigraphy"). If God's Flood had anything at all to do with the Messel fossils (all exactly "proper" for their specific Eocene "time"), then God was creating a great deception for future evolutionists at a time when he knew that the "evil imagination" of human hearts ould continue to our modern day. But God doesn't lie. So Chriatians doing "science" ought to try to do their best in every case to claim only what could be true for a credible and convincing apologetic.
I also could stop writing for you. Perhaps, from time to time, I could just remind anybody finding your blog to Google for such as: LSI blog Nutcracker Lemke. This turns up previous individuals who once made it their concern to correct patent pseudoscience. Sorry to be blunt here, but I'm having trouble trying to picture how fossils "provide a strong rebuke to the theory of evolution," as True Believers are always telling each other, and the whole world. GLL
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The opinions expressed here are those of The Editor and do not necessarily represent the views of the Lutheran Science Institute. Please note that links in older posts may be broken.
Decades ago I attended a so-called Lutheran university where I could have lost my faith. The science professors promoted the theory of evolution and made fun of anybody who believed in the account of creation as presented in the book of Genesis. Thanks be to God, some creationist literature and the Bible soon helped get me back on the right track. Ever since then I have taken an active interest in the creation/evolution controversy.