Johan Lindgren, the lead researcher on this study published in Nature, states of the find:
This animal’s preservation is unusual, especially for a marine environment . . . This specimen has given us more evidence that these tissues and molecules can preserve for extremely long periods, and that soft tissue analysis can shed light on evolutionary patterns, relationships, and how ancient animals functioned in their environment.
If you’re not paying attention while you’re reading this story, you’ll probably miss Lindgren’s reference to “soft tissue analysis.” Looking back at the original journal paper, we read in the abstract:
Our analyses recovered still-flexible remnants of the original scaleless skin, which comprises morphologically distinct epidermal and dermal layers.
This supposedly 180-million-year-old fossil contained skin that was still flexible! This adds to the growing list of soft tissue finds in supposedly very old fossils. And yet the researchers just gloss over the insurmountable difficulty of explaining how soft tissue can last for tens of millions of years. We can observe in a lab that soft tissue breaks down quite quickly. It simply can’t last millions of years, even under ideal conditions—let alone the inconsistent conditions found in nature.
This ichthyosaur wasn’t buried 180 million years ago. It was buried during the global flood of Noah’s day about 4,300 years ago. The remarkable preservation isn’t difficult to explain from a biblical worldview; this creature was catastrophically and rapidly buried before scavengers, oxygen, and microbes could break down the remains.
What we see in creation confirms what we read in God’s Word!
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This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.