Scientist at Uppsala University Sweden have studied a well preserved trilobite fossil using an x-ray technique named synchrotron microtomography and found the remains of its last meal still in its digestive system.  The trilobite has been identified as Bohemolichas incola and was embedded in a siliceous rocky nodule found in the Czech Republic.  It is dated as 465 million years old.

The animal’s gut was full of shell fragments that were sufficiently intact to be identified.  They were a mix of small marine creatures including ostracods, stylophoran echinoderms (extinct sea urchins and starfish) hyoliths (extinct molluscs) and bivalves.  Until now there was no direct evidence of trilobite feeding behaviour.  Based on the preserved gut contents the research team suggest the mix of ingested organisms show the trilobite “was predominantly an opportunistic scavenger.” 

As the shells showed no signs of being dissolved the researchers also suggested the trilobite’s digestive system was neutral or alkaline throughout its length, making it similar to the digestive systems of living crustaceans. 

The x-ray technique used to study this fossil has the advantage of being non-destructive and non-invasive.  The scientists hope to use it on other fossils with undigested gut contents.  They claim such studies “will provide a window on the evolution of digestive physiology.”

References: Interesting Engineering 27 September 2023; Science Alert 28 September 2023; Nature Research Briefing 27 September 2023; Nature 27 September doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-06567-7

Editorial Comment: This is an excellent use of a non-destructive technique for studying the fine details of fossils but it won’t reveal anything about any supposed evolution of digestive system physiology.  This creature already had a functioning digestive system, complete with enzymes that worked in the right pH.  If it had an alkaline or neutral digestive system like that of living crustaceans then nothing has evolved since this trilobite was buried.

We look forward to seeing the results of further studies using these non-invasive techniques to view the internal structures of fossils.  We predict they will show complex fully functional internal organs and evidence of rapid preservation, i.e. further evidence of creation and Noah’s flood.

Creation Research News 11 October 2023

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