Mud Dragon Fossil

Mud dragon escapes explosion, according to BBC News, Science (AAAS) News, ScienceDaily and Scientific Reports, 2016 doi: 10.1038/srep35780 published online 10 November 2016.

The fossil of a sheep-sized theropod dinosaur was found by a Chinese construction crew who came close to blowing it to pieces when they were setting explosives at a construction site. Some of the fossil was destroyed by a dynamite blast, but most of it remained intact. The missing pieces included the ends of both forelimbs.

The fossil has been identified as being a member of “a family of feathered dinosaurs called oviraptorosaurs”. It was preserved lying on its belly with its limbs splayed out on either side of its body and its head and neck raised up. The scientists who studied it suggest it got trapped in mud and died while struggling to get up again. An artist’s reconstruction shows a hairy creature lying on a miry forest floor with outstretched arms covered in feathers and its head raised up looking towards the sky. The research team have named it Tongtianlong limosus, which means “muddy dragon on the road to heaven”.

BBC, Science, ScienceDaily 

Editorial Comment: Let us quickly review the evidence. All its bones, except for those damaged by the modern day explosion, are intact and connected to one another in the anatomical position. If it had died and then lay in the mud with most of its body above the surface it would have been destroyed by scavengers and decomposition processes. However, its head is not bent right back in the drowning death pose seen in many dinosaur fossils so it may not have drowned in water either. It is most likely it was buried suddenly in a large mass of muddy sediment, and technically ‘suffocated’ or drowned in a muddy mass which would account for the unusual splayed out position as well.

It is interesting to note that most reports about this fossil, including the Scientific Reports article, had the artist’s reconstruction showing its body covered in filaments and its forelimbs covered with feathers arranged like a bird wing. This is pure wishful thinking by people obsessed with the theory that dinosaurs evolved into birds. Although this dinosaur was described as being part of a “family of feathered dinosaurs”, this particular fossil did not have any feathers, or even any filaments that could be misconstrued as feathers.

Finally, here we have another example of the Chinese giving a dinosaur a name meaning dragon. They regularly name dinosaurs “something-dragon” and refer to dinosaur bones as dragon bones when talking about them in everyday speech. The Chinese recognise a dragon when they see one, because, unlike the fanciful feathers, somewhere in their history people have seen real dragons and described them.

Photo of fossil from: Junchang Lü, Rongjun Chen, Stephen L. Brusatte, Yangxiao Zhu, Caizhi Shen. A Late Cretaceous diversification of Asian oviraptorid dinosaurs: evidence from a new species preserved in an unusual posture. Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 35780 DOI: 10.1038/srep35780. Reproduced according to Creative Commons 4.0 licence CC BY 4.0.

Evidence News vol. 16 No. 23
6 December 2016
Creation Research Australia

Were you helped by this item? If so, consider making a donation so we can keep adding more answers. For USA tax deductible donations click here. For UK tax deductible donations click here. For Australia and rest of world click here.