I recently published an article detailing the spurious claim that whales had evolved from terrestrial ancestors. Though I specifically addressed the issue of vestigial structures in the whale pelvis, the belief in creatures returning to the water from land is not limited to whales. It is also found in Ichthyosaurs. Evolutionists claim that these marine reptiles evolved from terrestrial ancestors. This article will critically examine this claim to determine if the evolutionists have a leg to stand on.
Ichthyosaurs are marine reptiles that purportedly died out around 90 million years ago. They are first found in strata that are dated around 250 million years ago. Aside from the obvious issues with the dating methods, the Ichthyosaurs provide data that supports the idea that they were designed for the water. This is something even Stephen Jay Gould admitted in his book “The Panda’s Thumb”.
Before discussing why evolutionists insist that Ichthyosaurs is descended from a land reptile, let us examine the evidence they are designed for the water. They have massive eyes, in fact, some species have the largest eyes of any vertebrate. This has led some evolutionists to speculate that they were deep water divers. As Stephen Jay Gould recognized, the body shape is ideal for the water. It is designed for rapid swimming and ventral fins for steering at high speeds. It could easily have competed with sharks, plesiosaurs, and whales for the top predator in its ecosystem. However, its smaller mouth would have somewhat limited it in its diet. It has been found with a varied assortment of creatures in its stomach, ranging from marine invertebrates to fish and even birds.
Since the Ichthyosaur clearly appears designed for the water, why do evolutionists insist that it evolved from a terrestrial ancestor? There appear to be a couple of different reasons for this. The primary one is based on the evolutionary theory. They believe that life evolved in the water and eventually amphibians crawled out of it. These amphibians eventually somehow evolved into reptiles which lived on land. Thus, by this logic, it is perfectly reasonable that reptiles might decide to go back in the water for whatever reason, leading to the evolution of Ichthyosaurs. Obviously, there is no evidence for this but lack of evidence has never stopped evolutionists before.
One more tactile reason evolutionists cite for their reasoning is that an Ichthyosaur skeleton has been found in the act of giving birth. In fact, hundreds of these fossils have been found either in the act of giving birth or carrying embryos in their uterus. That is not remarkable, though the fact they are preserved is remarkable, but more on that below. What is remarkable is the method of reproduction. The Ichthyosaur pups on this fossil were born head first.
This head-first method of birth is rare in marine creatures. Obligate marine mammals like whales and dolphins give birth tail first. This makes sense since labor often takes hours in these marine mammals. If the infants were born head first, they could drown before the labor process was complete and they could get to the surface for breath. This same logic would seemingly apply to Ichthyosaurs since they are roughly the same size as modern marine mammals and equally would have required air to breathe. Thus having pups born head-first could have resulted in them drowning in birth. Finding this fossil led evolutionists to speculate that mortality rates in Ichthyosaur births were very high.
However, this evidence runs counter to the rest of what we know about Ichthyosaur reproduction. Other Ichthyosaurs have been discovered giving birth tail first. This makes sense in light of their water environment. This Ichthyosaur giving birth seems to be an outlier. The researchers in the study dismissed the possibility of a breech birth out of hand, but, based on the evidence of other members of the family, it would seem that a breech birth is actually the most likely possibility. A breech birth, or simply put, coming out the wrong way, would explain why a creature even a preeminent evolutionist such as Dr. Gould admitted was clearly designed for the water is found reproducing in a manner inconsistent with such a design. Creationists have no problem accepting the possibility of a breech birth because it lines up with the fall of man and the curse as narrated in Genesis 3.
One thing the researchers conveniently left out of their paper was that the hundreds of Ichthyosaur fossils found giving birth or with embryos are evidence for the rapid burial in the global flood. The embryos being fossilized while still partly inserted into the mother’s body could only happen if they were buried rapidly. Rapid burial of so many of these Ichthyosaur fossils such as we observe in the fossil record is consistent with a catastrophic worldwide flood. So evolution’s other “return to water” story, is a vacuous and empty as its first.