Thursday, 21 June 2012

Fossilised copulating turtles

Palaeontologists are at a loss to come up with the mechanism of death in fossilised copulating turtles. The paired turtles had been known for some time and, while mating had been hypothesised, the confirmation that each of the pairs were male and female, as well as some specific positioning, has strengthened the theory.
Male turtles of this species, like many of their modern relatives, have longer tails than females, said Joyce. Also, males were typically smaller than females, a trend clearly seen in the fossils. Finally, in seven of the nine pairs, the turtles are in direct contact along the edge of their shells just above their tails - and in two of those pairs, the male's tail wraps below the female's shell in mating position.
What mechanism would cause the death of 9 (!) pairs during mating? Toxic algal blooms; carbon dioxide in the water; other toxic substances. The proposal is oxygenated upper lake water and saturation of the lower lake water with carbon dioxide or other toxins. They claim this causes death during the act followed by preservation in the oxygen poor water. This seems a bit of a stretch, and so many pairs. It would be interesting to know if turtles stop mating during forced suffocation.
I prefer the creationist proposal for fossilisation: burial in sediments such as mud and lava flows during flooding and volcanic activity. Rapid death and conditions for fossil formation occur together. This explains the mechanism of fossilisation which does not usually occur when animals die; fossil graveyards; and why animals are found in situations such as eating, or giving birth.

2 comments:

  1. I have always found it curious that Darwinists are so strongly opposed to rapid fossilisation. There is nothing about the process which directly contradicts Darwinism. Oh well. C'est la vie.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There seems to be a bias toward uniformatarianism. Catastrophism antedated this. Scriptural geologists of a couple of centuries ago ascribed fossils and geological features to the Noachian Deluge. Hutton and Lyell moved away from this.

    There is a swing toward some catastrophism in geology: the scablands of Washington are thought to have came from a dam breach; such thinking has not extended to the Grand Canyon. Though the claim is still for aeons with intermittent rapid processes; not a single event.

    ReplyDelete

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