In a recent article in the science journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, scientists introduced the world to what they believe is a new species of sauropod dinosaur. The article claims that the new species is evidence for the origin of land animals in Africa, a continent that has surprising few fossils compared to its size. The scientists studying the newly discovered fossils claimed that they demonstrated that the population of African sauropods were not isolated from their Asian and European counterparts. This article will discuss the find, along with the implications it has for origins.
The find is a remarkably good one in terms of actual fossils discovered, particularly for Africa. Due to the nature of the continents geography, its political turmoil, and its climate, not many fossils have been pulled from its inner recesses. This is also a fairly good find when it comes to fossils. Numerous skeletal bones, such as ribs and vertebrae were found, along with a few teeth and some leg bones. Based on these bones, scientists have deduced that this is a new species of sauropod dinosaur, which has been christened Mansourasaurus shahinae. This plant eating dinosaur is believed to have had armored scales on its back and is thought to have been the size of a school bus or potentially somewhat larger.
The evolutionary scientists who made the discovery claim that the Mansourasaurus is a link between dinosaurs in southern Africa and their relatives in Asia. They believe that the Mansourasaurus lived approximately eighty million years ago and was thus among the last dinosaurs to exist on planet earth by their time scale. Thus to them, the Mansourasaurus is an extremely important find. One scientist referred to it as “the Holy Grail”.
Despite the hype, Mansourasaurus is not the “Holy Grail” of dinosaur finds. The very fact that evolutionists are calling it such demonstrates their desperation to support the theory. Let me explain why. First of all, the fossil is far from complete. Most of the neck, all of the tail and skull and sizable portions of the legs and vertebrae are missing, making the image I used at the top of the article, purely speculative. Things like height, head shape, tail length and so on can only be guessed at since there are no bones for those parts of the skeleton. Further, assigning an age of eighty million years to these bones is controversial at best. I’ve written about the issues with radiometric dating in a previous blog. You may read that here but in summary, dating anything using radiometric dating requires significant assumptions that completely undermine the validity of the dates. The age of these bones is potentially much younger than the claimed age. Further, claiming that Mansourasaurus had armored scales on its back is a bit of a stretch considering no skin was found with the fossil. The possibility exists that there was armored scales on Mansourasaurus’ back, but it is not something that can be proved and thus should not be stated as fact.
Perhaps the biggest issue with calling Mansourasaurus the “Holy Grail” of dinosaur finds is the implications. The scientist who called it such was partially referring to its supposed status connecting the Asian and southern African sauropods. However this status is completely open ended. Since we do not have a full skeleton to work with, nor proof that the bones we do have had young, calling the skeleton evidence of a link between Asian and African sauropods is specious at best. There is no hard evidence proving any connection between the two populations, beyond empty speculations. However, for once, evolutionists and creationists agree that the two populations likely had a common ancestor and Mansourasaurus was likely related as well. Where the difference comes in is belief in what the common ancestor was. Creationists believe that the furthest back this common ancestry would go is a sauropod. Evolutionists take it all the way back to a universal common ancestor. However, since there is no evidence that the population of sauropods in southern Africa evolved from Mansourasaurus, calling the Sahara skeleton the “Holy Grail” is an incredible reach.
Mansourasaurus is a great find from a fossil persepctive and from an origins one. It blatantly illustrates the desperation of evolutionary geologists and paleontologists to shoehorn every discovery into fitting their theory, whether needed or not. Mansourasaurus does not benefit evolution. It is clearly a sauropod dinosaur and shows no peculiar characteristics that would make it anything else.
PS: The image used above is from Smithsonian and is used under the Fair Use Act. Also, should anyone want to read the original article about the discovery, you may find it here