F Rosa Rubicondior: Creationism in Crisis - A Small Feathered Dinosaur Fossil with A Small Mammal Foot in its Stomach

Friday 23 December 2022

Creationism in Crisis - A Small Feathered Dinosaur Fossil with A Small Mammal Foot in its Stomach

The other paleo diet: Rare discovery of dinosaur remains preserved with its last meal - McGill University
Fossilized remains of a mammalian foot in the fossil of a <i>Microraptor</i>
Close up photograph of the mammal foot among the ribs of Microraptor.
© Hans Larsson.
Image may be used in any article in association with this story.
A paper published recently contains so many casual refutations of Creationist claims that it's hard to know where to begin.

First, and perhaps most obviously, is the age of the fossil, although that isn't relevant to the paper in question, which is about what it ate, not when it lived. Microraptor zhaoianus is one of three known species in the Microraptor genus previously dated to between 125 and 113 million years ago - over 100 million years before Earth was created, according to YEC superstition.

Secondly, there is the evidence of feathered theropod dinosaurs, supporting the idea that birds evolved from feathered dinosaurs and were not created as is, by magic.

And thirdly, there is the assumption by the palaeontologists that evolution is the explanation for the observations, giving the lie to Creationist claims that scientists are increasingly rejecting the TOE as the best explanation for the observable evidence, in favour of a Bronze Age origin myth with no supporting evidence and dependant on magic and an unproven supernatural entity.

The paper, by a team lead by Professor Hans Larsson of Redpath Museum, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, describes a fossil discovered at Liaoning, China, in the early 2000s. It is of Microraptor zhaoianus, with the fossilized remains of a small mammal's foot in its stomach.

From the McGill University press release:
Life reconstruction of Microraptor eating a small mammal.

© Hans Larsson.
Image may be used in any article in association with this story.
Microraptor was an opportunistic predator, feeding on fish, birds, lizards – and now small mammals. The discovery of a rare fossil reveals the creature was a generalist carnivore in the ancient ecosystem of dinosaurs.

Finding the last meal of any fossil animal is rare. When McGill University Professor Hans Larsson saw a complete mammal foot inside the rib cage of the small, feathered dinosaur, his jaw dropped. Of the many hundreds of carnivorous dinosaur skeletons, only 20 cases preserve their last meals. This new find makes 21.

At first, I couldn’t believe it. There was a tiny rodent-like mammal foot about a centimeter long perfectly preserved inside a Microraptor skeleton. These finds are the only solid evidence we have about the food consumption of these long extinct animals – and they are exceptionally rare.

Professor Hans Larsson, lead author
Professor of Biology, Redpath Museum McGill University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

We already know of Microraptor specimens preserved with parts of fish, a bird, and a lizard in their bellies. This new find adds a small mammal to their diet, suggesting these dinosaurs were opportunistic and not picky eaters. Knowing they were not specialized to any particular food is a big deal.

Knowing that Microraptor was a generalist carnivore puts a new perspective on how ancient ecosystems may have worked and a possible insight into the success of these small, feathered dinosaurs.

Professor Hans Larsson
Microraptor was not a picky eater

Fully feathered with wings on both its arms and legs, this dinosaur is closely linked to the origin of birds. Microraptor was about the size of a crow and one of the smallest dinosaurs. The first specimen was discovered in deposits in Liaoning, China, in the early 2000s.

According to the team of researchers, this could be the first evidence of a generalist carnivore in dinosaur ecosystems. Generalist predators are important stabilizers in today’s ecosystems, like foxes and crows, because they can feed among several species that may have differing population abundances.
The team’s paper was published recently in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, the journal of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology:

Gut contents are extremely important for inferring trophic interactions between extinct species. These are, however, very rare in the fossil record and it is not always possible to accurately identify both the carnivore and the consumed organisms. Here we describe the remains of a small fossil mammal foot preserved inside the body cavity of the holotype specimen of the small feathered dinosaur Microraptor zhaoianus. This adds to the known diversity of diet for this genus, which also consumed birds, fish, and lizards. Previous interpretations that Microraptor was an arboreal hunter of birds and adept hunter of fish are not supported. Although the various known stomach contents would be plausible prey items based on size, there is no clear evidence that any of them were predated rather than scavenged, and Microraptor likely did both and foraged in multiple habitats.

The question is no longer whether the TOE is correct, but for how much longer can Creationism survive in the minds of the scientifically illiterate, superstitious fools who have been duped by the frauds who pedal lies and disinformation for a living.

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