Marsupials among the dinosaurs, according to reports in ScienceDaily 19 February 2019, and Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, published online 14 February 2019, doi: 10.1080/14772019.2018.1560369. Researchers from the University of Colorado and University of Alaska Fairbanks have found over 60 fossils of the world’s northernmost marsupial. The marsupial has been named Unnuakomys hutchisoni. The fossils are mainly jaw bones and teeth and from their size the scientists estimate the animal was the size of a mouse and fed on a diet on insects and plants. The fossils were found in the Prince Creek Formation cropping out along the Colville River on the North Slope of Alaska, a region better known for dinosaur fossils. The fossil site is dated at 69 million years ago – near the end of the Cretaceous period in the evolutionary timetable. Marsupial fossils are well known in mid-latitude North America in the dinosaur deposits, but these fossils are the first evidence of fossil marsupials to be found in high Arctic Alaska, above the present Arctic Circle.
Editorial Comment: These fossils, along with the dinosaur fossils found in this region, are a good reminder of a massive global cooling in the past i.e. high Arctic regions have not always been a frozen wilderness. The dinosaurs found in this region are mostly plant eaters, so there must have been lush vegetation in their day for them to feed from, and enough for these small creatures as well. Marsupials and dinosaurs in the Arctic are a good reminder earth’s climate has changed a lot more significantly in the past compared with the small changes we are experiencing now.
These days marsupials are mostly found in Australia, but these new finds are a reminder that they are not and were not unique to Australia. Living marsupial opossums are found in various parts of North and South America. Fossil marsupials have also been found in Asia. There have been various theories about how and where marsupial evolved, but the distribution of fossil and living marsupials can better be explained by the dispersal of small groups of animals after Noah’s flood, rather than by evolution. After the three pairs of each marsupial plant eating kinds left the ark, it seems most of their descendants went east into what is now Asia. Many then went south east, crossed over land bridges that connected what are now the many islands of South East Asia, and ended up in Australia. Some marsupials continued east and north and eventually crossed into North America via a land bridge that joined Alaska and Siberia. Some died out, but a few, such as the opossum, survived in the Americas.
For more on animal migration see the question: ANIMAL MIGRATION: How did animals populate the world after the flood? Answer here.
Evidence News vol. 19, No. 6
11 April 2019
Creation Research Australia
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