Scientists at the Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, have studied an extremely well preserved fossil insect found in the Green River Formation in Colorado, a rock layer consisting of many layers of fine grained shales, dated as 50 million years old.  The fossil is a katydid – an insect with long slender legs and wings, belonging to the genus Arethaea, which has many species living today. 

According to an article in University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign News Bureau, “50 million years ago in what is now northwestern Colorado, a katydid died, sank to the bottom of a lake and was quickly buried in fine sediments, where it remained until its compressed fossil was recovered in recent years.”

The researchers found the fossil had preserved internal organs, including intestines, a part of the digestive system called a ventriculus, thoracic muscles and a testis with accessory glands.  The preserved testis was a surprise. Sam Heads, a palaeoentomologist (expert in insect fossils) who led the study, dissected several specimens of the same living genus to confirm it was a testis. 

According to Heads the fossil and living katydids “look exactly the same.” He went on to comment: “The testis, the accessory glands and the ventriculus were all the same in the present-day katydids. I was just blown away by it. To my knowledge, this is the first example of this level of preservation.”

References: PhysOrg 26 June 2023; ScienceDaily 26 June 2023; University of Illinois 26 June 2023; Palaeoentomology, 2023; 6 (3) doi: 10.11646/palaeoentomology.6.3.10

Editorial Comment: The editors of this newsletter are not blown away by the finding that katydids have not evolved at all, and we don’t believe the story of an insect dying, sinking to the bottom of the lake then being buried fast enough to preserve the internal organs. Dead insects float on water.

John Mackay has many fossils from the Green River formation, and they all show exquisite preservation which required rapid burial deep enough to exclude oxygen.  This could only happen when live insects were caught up in a mass of flowing sediment, which also explains the enormous numbers of fine layers and vast numbers of fossils in the Green River formation.

The comment about the internal organs being the same as present day katydids is conformation that katydids have reproduced after their kind ever since this buried insect was alive, just a Genesis says they were created to do – another reason we are not blown away.

Creation Research News 5 July 2023

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