A recent article in PLOS One announced the discovery of a new dinosaur genus. Found in Thailand, this new dinosaur has been labeled Siamraptor suwati. The new dinosaur has been trumpeted in numerous popular science magazines as incredibly important, rare and valuable to science. However, as usual, the popular science magazines are vastly distorting the facts, with aide and abetment from the professional scientific class.
The bare facts of the finding are mostly accurate. The fossil was not purchased, as most fossils from the far east are. Instead, the paleontologists did their own leg work and excavated the dinosaur from a location in Thailand. The bones they found were dinosaur bones. The bones were found in sandstone and were impregnated heavily with pores, leading the researchers to conclude the bones were lightweight. However, this is where the facts end in the popular science media and the storytelling begins.
The biggest and most glaring error in the popular science articles is the statements about the teeth. They are claimed that the teeth closely resemble those of modern sharks. The trouble with that claim is, none of the bones they found included teeth. Siamraptor was not found to have any teeth. Yet these popular science journalists claim that this dinosaur had teeth like a shark. And sadly, many people will buy into this claim because they will only read the headline, not bother to educate themselves on the facts.
Evolutionists have made much of this new find. National Geographic quoted Dr. Steve Brusatte, one of the studies reviewers, as saying “It’s one of the most important Thai dinosaurs ever found.” I somehow find that statement hard to believe, even with the relatively few dinosaurs that have come out of Thailand, given that they found less than a dozen fragments of bone. Yet, despite this paucity of evidence, the researchers believe Siamraptor was in the neighborhood of twenty-five feet long. Since they found only one fragment of legbone, two of the backbone, and one of tailbone, this estimate beggars belief. The creature could have been twenty-five feet long. It also could have been ten or fifty feet long. Making this kind of estimate with so little evidence is utterly specious and should not be presented as fact for public consumption.
Of course, this is hardly a surprise to anyone who closely follows the scientific literature. Dinosaurs are described with heavily fragmented skeletons, or only partial skeletons dozens of times. Rugops, which I’ve discussed previously, is one such example. The scientists found one skull, which was remarkably complete, and erected an entirely new genus around it. Does it deserve a new genus? Probably no more than Siamraptor deserves one.
Unfortunately, Rugops and Siamraptor are symptoms of a wider problem. There is an epidemic of very similar dinosaurs and other extinct organisms being placed in different genera, sometimes even when they closely resemble living organisms. I own fossil leaves that look remarkably similar to modern leaves. Yet, because they are found in “millions of years old” strata, they are named as different organisms from their present doppelgangers.
This decision is made based on the assumption of descent with modification. After all, if there were millions of years of change over time, you would expect that things that existed millions of years ago to have undergone change and thus not be the same species as those that exist in the present. The nomenclature, therefore, reflects that. This of course completely ignores the fact that many relics from the fossil record have been found alive after they were found fossilized. That is irrelevant to their dogma, because they are not trying to be intellectually honest, merely trying to promote their dogma.
Of course, intellectual honesty is not required to be an evolutionist. If you accept the evolutionary dogma, why be honest? If it benefits you to lie, why not? There is no God to punish your actions nor is there any eternal judgment to which to look forward, why be honest? If it benefits your agenda to edit a few facts or present them in such a way that your agenda looks to be true when it is not, then why not do it? Christians labor under a much more stringent level of moral authority, given we accept an eternal God with the right to judge us for our actions. This difference in ideology is what defines us and explains why evolutionists make outlandish statements about fossils like Siamraptor.
image credit Science News