Ancestral fossil snake found, according a report in ABC (Australia) News in Science, and Nature, 16 Feb 2006.

Palaeontologists at the Riversleigh fossil site in Queensland, Australia have found two snake skulls of an extinct snake named Yurlunggur preserved in “soft freshwater limestone” dated at 20 to 25 million years old. Yurlunggur is an Arnhem Land Aboriginal term for “rainbow serpent” (a mythical dreamtime creature believed by tribal aborigines to have a role in creation). 

Snake skulls are very fragile and generally do not fossilise well but these fossils are “exceptionally preserved” and the researchers were able to recover them by dissolving away the limestone. Using the size of the skulls and some vertebral bones also found at Riversleigh as a guide, scientists believe the snakes would have been about 6 metres (20 feet) long with a body 30 cm (one foot) thick. John Scanlon, who described the fossils in Nature claims the fossils prove that snakes evolved from a large predatory lizards like goannas and mosasaurs because it has some lizard-like features not seen in “modern” snakes.

Editorial Comment: Actually, any theory that says snakes used to have legs and they have lost them and they are now just crawling along the ground sounds rather like the account in Genesis 3 where God cursed the serpent and condemned it to crawl in the dust for the rest of its days. We’ve said it before, but it’s obvious we need to say it again – losing limbs is actually the opposite of evolution. When thalidomide was the “in” drug in the 60’s, and children were born without limbs, nobody said they were evolving.  Everybody knew they were degenerating.  Snakes are no different. Let’s get some consistency into scientific reporting.

Most of the Nature paper is devoted to fitting the fossils into an evolutionary tree by comparing the minutiae of their bones to other snakes and reptiles. Although they comment on the size of the snake and the fact that it is extinct, none of the Riversleigh scientists suggest any reason for why snakes are no longer so large, and why this one has died out. This is explained by Genesis, which tells us the world was started very good, and even after sin came the environment was still good enough for man to live nearly 1000 yrs. In such a world, animals that grew all their lives, such as most of the reptiles, could have become much bigger than today. After he flood, Genesis records a degenerating environment and diminishing lifespan and therefore a smaller size for such creatures.

Although palaeontologists remark about how well preserved the skulls are none seem to ask how a snake could be exceptionally well preserved in limestone made from water dwelling shells. It would have to be drowned and encased in rapidly forming rock. Altogether these fossils provide more evidence for Biblical creation than they do for evolution.

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