Giant fish fossil found with pterodactyl, reported by University of Portsmouth news and PhysOrg 15 February 2021, ScienceDaily 16 February 2021, and Cretaceous Research published online 23 January 2021 doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2021.104768. 

Scientists from University of Portsmouth were asked to identify a fossil bony structure found with a group of wing bones from a pterosaur.  The owner of the fossil thought it might be a pterosaur skull, but close study of it showed it was a bony structure from a coelacanth fish.

David Martill, a palaeontologist at the university described it: “The thin bony plates were arranged like a barrel, but with the staves going round instead of from top to bottom. Only one animal has such a structure and that is the coelacanth—we’d found a bony lung of this remarkable and bizarre looking fish.”  From the size of the fossil bony structure, the researchers estimated it came from a fish between “3.65 m and 5.52 m total body length”.

The specimen was found in a phosphate deposit in Morocco and is the first evidence of the coelacanth in North Africa.  According to the University of Portsmouth news “It was found next to a pterodactyl which proves it lived in the Cretaceous era—66 million years ago.”

Links: PhysOrg, ScienceDaily, University of Portsmouth

Editorial Comment:  Being found next to a pterodactyl only proves that pieces of a pterodactyl and pieces of a big fish were buried together.  It seems no-one bothered to ask the obvious question: how did pieces of a deep sea fish and a flying reptile end up being buried in the same lump of rock?  This fossil is also a reminder that many creatures have shrunk since their ancestors were fossilised.  Living coelacanths max out at some two metres in length, less than half the length of the estimates for the fossil specimen reported here.  As such, the fossil is further evidence the world is going downhill, not evolving bigger and better.

In case you are wondering if coelacanths have lungs – they don’t.  They do have a structure with a distinctive multi-layered bony wall that evolutionary biologists claim to be a “vestigial lung”.  (See Nature Communications, However, living coelacanths are deep sea fish that breathe with gills like any other deep sea fish. 

And by the way – these finds do not prove the fossil fish was 66 million years old.  For more information about the Morocco phosphate formation and another fossil found there, see the article Buried Alive in Morocco by Joseph Hubbard.  PDF here. 

Creation Research News 25 February 2021

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