China has been one of the hotbeds for fossils over the past twenty years. It seems that several times a year one of the Chinese fossils prove to be a new and exciting find and this report is one of those special finds.
Paleontologists are all excited about the latest report published in the journal Science. A pterosaur, belonging to the genus Darwinopterus, was discovered in the famous Liaoning Province in China. What made this particular pterosaur fossil so great was that it lacked the crest on top of the skull and after further cleaning revealed a well developed egg. This has led the researchers to believe that a head crest among many pterosaurs is a male only characteristic known as sexual dimorphism. Along with the lack of a head crest, this fossil exhibited a wider pelvis that many of those with a head crest. This may help to identify the sex of other pterosaur fossils if it is proven that males have a head crest and a narrower pelvis and females lack a head crest and have a wider pelvis.
Due to the identification of this fossil as a female, the new fossil was affectionately referred to as Mrs. Pterosaur or Mrs. T for short.
While this is a great find and exciting news in the fossil world, it was another statement in the article that caught my attention. The statement reads:
She appears to have had some sort of accident as her left forearm is broken. The researchers speculate she may have fallen from the sky during a storm or perhaps a volcanic eruption, sunk to the bottom of a lake and then been preserved in the sediments.
I found it interesting that they speculate the injury to the wing had to be made while in flight. The reason being is that they had to explain how the pterosaur ended up in a lake, only to be preserved in the sediments. Regardless, I’ve seen many different types of dead animals in lakes and ponds and they all were floating. As an animal decomposes, there are a number of gases released inside the body. These gases make the body very buoyant resulting in a floating corpse. During this time, many lake dwelling animals, especially fish, will feed and scavenge on the body often ripping away various body parts and dismembering the carcass. After some time the gases are released and the body eventually sinks. The body then lies on the bottom for some time. During that time more lake critters continue to scavenge on the body, tearing it apart even more.
In most lakes, the siltation rates are not fast enough to cover the body in time to preserve it in such pristine condition as Mrs. T was found it. The only way Mrs. T could have been so well preserved would be for her to have been buried in a very short time before the scavengers could get to it. The only way possible that Mrs. T could have been buried quickly in a lake would have been for her to sink to the bottom immediately upon falling into the lake and then have some type of massive runoff or flood carrying a sufficient amount of silt to have buried her as she hit the bottom of the lake.
Additionally, the researchers indicate that Mrs. T must have been the victim of some type of sudden catastrophe (fallen from the sky during a storm or perhaps a volcanic eruption). In this they are partially correct. Mrs. T was the victim of a catastrophic event only it wasn’t anything as trivial as a storm or volcanic eruption.
Every creation geologist will agree that the Liaoning fossil bed from the time frame of the rock layer Mrs. T was found in (dated at 160 million years – their time frame not mine) is Flood deposit. There has never been any greater catastrophic event in Earth’s history than the Genesis Flood. The Flood would have presented many ways for Mrs. T. to have met a sudden demise. The massive turbulence of the flood carried tons and tons of silt and mud. Anything caught in this turbulence would easily have been rapidly buried and preserved before any of the scavengers had a chance to tear up the carcass.
If anything, Mrs. T is a great testimony to God’s judgment on a world that was filled with evil and corruption. It also serves as a reminder that there is another judgment to come only this time it will be a judgment of fire (2 Peter 3:10-13).
Amos, Jonathan, Fossil female pterosaur found with preserved egg, BBC News, Jan. 20, 2011.