Recently, there have been reports in some media covering the discovery of a 170-million-year old fossil. What was notable about the story was not the remains dating back millions of years, but that the fossil was alleged to belong to a reptile-fish species, known as the ichthyosaur, and that the species was said to be a half-way life form between reptiles and fish.
This piece provides scientific evidence exposing the invalidity of these claims and documents how this life form, with its own unique physical features, cannot be such a transitional form.
You can find our previous response on the subject of the ichthyosaur on (http://darwinism-watch.com/lie-of-animal-evolution/evolution-propaganda-by-the-scientific-american-magazine/)
Ichthyosaurs were marine mammals that lived in the Mesozoic Era between 65 and 245 million years ago. At the time these creatures were living, there were large reptiles, mammals, birds and flowering plants on the land and in the sea.
The fossil record shows that ichthyosaurs were swimming and hunting in the oceans while there were as yet no dinosaurs on earth. Despite their being fully marine creatures, part of the media insists on trying to portray them as semi-reptilian.
In terms of appearance, ichthyosaurs bore a close resemblance to the dolphin, a marine mammal. The description of them as lizard-fish, despite their not resembling any reptile but having the features of a marine mammal, dates back to the early 19th Century. There were many arguments on this subject, and evolutionists even described the first fossil specimens discovered as a ‘fish.’ While it was about to be made part of the Cetecea class, which contains marine mammals such as whales and dolphins, Darwinists deliberately described it as a reptile-fish in order to fill the evolutionary gap they claimed existed between sea mammals and reptiles. (Ancient Marine Reptiles, Jack M. Callaway, Elizabeth L. Nicholls, Academic Press, 1997, p: 4) The fact is that the ichthyosaur is a complete marine mammal, with no characteristics suggesting life on land. It is a swimming creature that lived entirely in water and whose body structure is entirely compatible with the Archimedes force. That is why its vertebrae are disc-shaped, just like the spines of fish. (Sander, P.M., 2000, “Ichthyosauria: their diversity, distribution, and phylogeny”, Paläontologische Zeitschrift 74: 1–35)
One of the best known characteristics of this life form is that it lived in the depths of the ocean, having nothing to do with the land. No dorsal fin was discovered in the first fossils unearthed in the early 19th Century of this sea mammal that possessed fully formed fins and was successfully hurting in deep seas. Toward the end of the 19th Century, however, very well preserved fossils with traces of soft tissue were discovered in Holzmaden Lagerstätten in Germany. These fossils revealed the presence of a dorsal fin, just like those dolphins have, a crescent shaped, perpendicular – rather than horizontal – tail fin and downward facing, pointed fins along the sides. Some specimens showed that the fins were stiffened by four layers of collagen and connective tissues. (Lingham-Soliar, T., 1999, “Rare soft-tissue preservation showing fibrous structures in an ichthyosaur from the Lower Lias (Jurassic) of England”, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 266: 2367-2373)
It has clearly been understood that the skin structure of the animal bore no resemblance to reptiles. As is known, reptile skin is covered in scales. Detailed examination, however, showed that ichthyosaur skin was smooth and elastic, with no scales, just like that of dolphins. (Lingham-Soliar, T., 2001, “The ichthyosaur integument: skin fibers, a means for a strong, flexible and smooth skin”, Lethaia 34: 287-302)
The imaginary reptile-fish of which evolutionists dream would have had to have lived by the margins of fresh waters. Reptiles like the crocodile live along fresh water banks of rivers; Ichthyosaurs, however, were not coastal life forms, but lived in the depths of the open seas and oceans. (McGowan, C., 1978, “Further evidence for the wide geographical distribution of ichthyosaur taxa (Reptilia, Ichthyosauria)”, Journal of Paleontology 52: 1155–1162) That is the reason why Darwinist claims about the ichthyosaur remained a predicament to the myth of a return from land to water.
These creatures had the largest eyes of all life forms on Earth. The largest eye so far measured, with a diameter of 264 mm, belonged to Temnodontosaurus platyodon, itself estimated to have been 12 meters in length. The eyes of dinosaurs or whales are considerably smaller. The large eyes show that ichthyosaurs lived in very deep waters where little light was able to permeate and that the animal was able to use them to locate its prey.
As is known, all reptiles reproduce by laying eggs. Ichthyosaurs, however, are marine mammals, which grow their young inside an amniotic sac and give birth to them live.
Many ichthyosaur fossils with fossilized embryo inside were discovered. (Motani R, Jiang D-y, Tintori A, Rieppel O, Chen G-b (2014) Terrestrial Origin of Viviparity in Mesozoic Marine Reptiles Indicated by Early Triassic Embryonic Fossils. PLoS ONE 9(2): e88640. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088640)
Mammals’ entire reproductive systems, including metabolism, have totally different characteristics to those of egg-laying reptiles. There is a vast gulf between the organs and systems of the two classes.
Reptiles are cold-blooded, egg-laying animals. The surrounding temperature is the main factor affecting their metabolisms and activity. Ichthyosaurs, on the other hand, are regarded as having been warm-blooded, because they are known to have been fast-swimming hunters with fast metabolisms unaffected by the cold in waters such as those around the Arctic Ocean.
Another fact that refutes the claim of the theory of evolution is that ichthyosaurs appeared in many parts of the world at the same time. The evolutionist and paleontologist Prof. Ryosuke Motani describes the situation as follows:
“The first definitive records of ichthyosaurs appear suddenly and almost simultaneously over a wide range of the Northern Hemisphere, including Canada, China, Japan, and Spitsbergen, in the last ammonite-conodont zone of the Olenekian.” (Ryosuke Motani, “Evolution of Fish-Shaped Reptiles (Reptilia: Ichthyopterygia) in Their Physical Environments and Constraints,” Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 2005, Vol. 33: 400)
As can be seen from this evolutionist scientist’s own admission, ichthyosaurs appeared suddenly, fully and perfectly formed, in possession of fully functioning organs and systems.
There is no trace in the fossil record of any intermediate forms that might be posited as the ancestors of ichthyosaurs.
In their book Evolution of the Vertebrates, Colbert and Morales say the following about the origins of this life form:
The ichthyosaurs, in many respects the most highly specialized of the marine reptiles, appeared in early Triassic times. Their advent into the geologic history of the reptiles was sudden and dramatic; there are no clues in pre-Triassic sediments as to the possible ancestors of the ichthyosaurs… The basic problem of ichthyosaur relationships is that no conclusive evidence can be found for linking these reptiles with any other reptilian order. (E. H. Colbert, M. Morales, Evolution of the Vertebrates, John Wiley and Sons, 1991, p. 193)
There are no land or marine life forms resembling these creatures that can be proposed as their ‘ancestors’ with deficient systems. It is meaningless to claim that a life form with no possible ancestor evolved. On the other hand evolutionists’ attempts to compare this life form to lizards are completely prejudiced efforts. Ichthyosaurs are agreed to have been fast-swimming due to their muscular bodies, and nobody suggests they ever crawled on land or on the sea bed. It is meaningless to refer to them as reptile-fish even though they possessed no reptilian characteristics.
To summarize, the efforts made by Darwinists to use this extinct swimming marine mammal, almost identical to the dolphin, to cover up the illogicalities in that part of the myth of evolution concerning a supposed return to water from the land are quite senseless. Contrary to the impression that evolutionist publications seek to give, this fossil dating back 170 million years belongs to a typical sea creature, not a land-dwelling one or an intermediate life form.