Jurassic glider found, according to reports in Science (AAAS) News and ScienceDaily 9 August 2017.
Scientists in China have found two fossils of gliding mammals, similar to living flying squirrels and gliding possums. Both fossils are exquisitely preserved showing the folds of skin between the body and limbs that could be extended for gliding flight. They had long limbs that were suitable for spreading the flying membrane and long toes and claws suitable for gripping branches. They also had mobile shoulders that allowed them to spread out their forelimbs.
One of the fossils has been named Vilevolodon, meaning “toothed glider” and is about the size of a mouse. The other is named Maiopatagium, meaning “mother with skin membrane”, and is similar in size to a modern day flying squirrel.
The fossils are dated at 160 million years old, placing them in the Jurassic period of the evolutionary timetable. This is believed to be a time when the world was dominated by dinosaurs which were just starting to evolve, so the scientists were surprised to find such highly specialised mammals. Zhe-Xi Luo, one of the researchers, explained: “With every new mammal fossil from the Age of Dinosaurs, we continue to be surprised by how diverse mammalian forerunners were in both feeding and locomotor adaptations. The groundwork for mammals’ successful diversification today appears to have been laid long ago”.
There has been much speculation as to what these creatures ate. Most gliding mammals today feed on fruits, berries, flowers and other foods derived from flowering plants. The teeth of the fossil mammals are fitted for this kind of diet, but the scientists believe flowering plants had not yet evolved. Therefore, they suggested the Jurassic mammals ate the soft shoots of ferns, seed ferns and conifers, and soft parts of cones of conifers and cycads.
Editorial Comment: Finding highly specialised mammals anywhere in the fossil record is no surprise to any creationist since Genesis tells us that God created all the land animals as fully functional creatures in separate kinds. Therefore, flying mammals have always been fully formed animals, complete with all the features needed for living in trees and gliding from branch to branch regardless of when and where they become fossilised.
Furthermore, there is no need to speculate as to what these creatures ate. Genesis tells us that all animals were created to eat plants, and that God had already made all the different kinds of plants, including flowering plants, before He created the animals. Therefore, there was plenty of fruit, berries, flowers and other plant foods for these creatures to eat, using their well-designed teeth.
Evidence News vol. 17, No. 16
23 August 2017
Creation Research Australia
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