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Turtle Missing Link Found In Scotland

on November 22, 2008
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BBC News: “Ancient Turtle Discovered on Skye” For the second time in two months, a turtle “missing link” is in the news.

In this case, it’s actually missing links (plural): four complete and two incomplete turtle fossils found embedded in rock on a beach on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. (In October, we reported on an alleged turtle missing link found in New Mexico.)

The team concludes E. waldmani must have been aquatic.

According to BBC News, these fossils, from a species dubbed Eileanchelys waldmani, are “a missing link between ancient terrestrial turtles and their modern, aquatic descendants.” Why is that?

Paleontologist Jérémy Anquetin of London’s Natural History Museum explains E. waldmani would look like a modern freshwater turtle, “like the ones you can buy in the pet shop.” But there are small “but very important” differences in the cranial anatomy. Furthermore, the remains of other aquatic species—including sharks and salamanders—were found in the same location, while terrestrial species—such as lizards and dinosaurs—were rare. Thus, the team concludes E. waldmani must have been aquatic. But what makes it a missing link, as opposed to simply a new species of turtle?

BBC News provides us with what we think is the answer through its quotation of Yale University turtle evolution expert Walter Joyce:

“Keep in mind that a 65 million year gap used to exist in the fossil record between the oldest known turtles from the Late Triassic and basically modern turtles in the Late Jurassic.”

Could it be that scientists are motivated to “find” a missing link, whether it really is a missing link or not? Thus, a fossil that is otherwise similar to modern turtles is hailed as filling in a gap evolutionists need to fill. The evolution didn’t occur in the fossil; rather, evolutionary dogma in scientists’ minds colors their interpretation of this otherwise ordinary fossil find.


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