January 22, 2023 | Frank Sherwin | ICR
The theory of evolution has been challenged yet again, this time over a unique mammal fossil discovered in East Africa. “A team of 14 international researchers…has published the full description and analysis of this opossum-sized mammal that lived among massive dinosaurs and crocodiles in the late Cretaceous period (145 to 66 million years) in Madagascar. » 1
“The animal is called Adalatherium and “new research describes [cet] strange 66-million-year-old mammal that provides new insights into the evolutionary history of mammals from the southern supercontinent Gondwana…”. » 1
But according to Dr. David Krause of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, “The bizarre features of this mammal leave scientists puzzled as to how it may have evolved; “it bends and even breaks a large number of rules”, and therefore does little “to provide new in-depth knowledge about the evolutionary history of mammals”. » 1,
Among its “bizarre” features are a greater number of trunk vertebrae than most other mammals, muscular hind limbs placed in a more spread-out position (similar to that of modern crocodiles) combined with sturdy, sprinting forelegs which were tucked under the body (as with most modern mammals), anterior teeth similar to those of a rabbit and posterior teeth totally different from those of any other known mammal, living or extinct, and a strange void in the bone at the top of the muzzle. 1
With such strange and unique characteristics, it is a daunting task to attempt to classify Adalatherium into an evolutionary tree. For example, “his skeleton is nothing short of extravagant” and his teeth are “beyond bizarre”.
Therefore, evolutionists determined that Adalatherium should be classified as a Gondwanatherian, a mysterious group quite different from other extant mammals. Evolutionists consider the position of Gondwanatheria in the mammalian family tree to be quite puzzling.
Gondwanatherians… were first discovered in the 1980s and until recently were represented by only a few isolated teeth and jaw fragments. But even these meager remains already indicated that Gondwanatherians were very different from other contemporary mammals. So many mysteries surrounded the Gondwanatherians that it was not known how they fit into the family tree of mammals1.
Evolutionary paleontologist Michael Benton also described these unique and mysterious mammals:
The affinities of Gondwanaths have been much debated (this is often the case with taxa represented by few, the weaker the evidence the wider the debate), but it seems more plausible that they are a unique Gondwana side branch of multituberculates [un ordre éteint de mammifères ressemblant à des rongeurs] 2.
Of course, the mammalian family tree is difficult to solve, because it rests on the mistaken assumption of evolution3.
Despite the strong interest in mammals, the evolutionary history of this clade has been and remains the focus of heated scientific debate. These controversies are partly due to the widespread existence of convergent morphological characters in mammals, which makes it difficult to distinguish homology from homoplasy in phylogenetic analyzes that are based solely on these characters4.
New York Institute of Technology evolutionist Dr Simone Hoffmann says: “Adalatherium is an important piece in a very large puzzle of early mammalian evolution in the Southern Hemisphere, a puzzle in which most other pieces are still missing”. 1 It is clear that there are many missing pieces in the evolution of mammals, whether early or not.
God created a host of very unique animals during creation week thousands of years ago. By denying this, evolutionists have attempted to explain how all of these creatures (including plants) evolved from an unknown common ancestor — a single cell that lived some 3.5 billion years ago. The fossil record says otherwise.
1. Scientific writer. The ‘mad beast’ that lived among the dinosaurs. Published on sciencedaily on December 18, 2020, accessed on November 12, 2022.
2. Benton, M. 2015. Vertebrate Paleontology. 4th edition. Wiley Blackwell. 349.
3. Sherwin, F. Evolving mammals? Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org on November 7, 2022, accessed on November 11, 2022.
4. Foley, N. et al. 2016. Mammal Madness: Is the Mammalian Tree of Life Not Solved Yet? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.V 371.
* Dr. Sherwin is science news editor at the Institute for Creation Research. He earned a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Northern Colorado and received an honorary doctorate of science from Pensacola Christian College.
Editor’s note: Articles published under the “Religious News” section come from sources outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church. BIA-ANN offers these articles for informational purposes only and does not commit the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
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