The Intriguing Ichthyosaur--an Evolutionary Fish Story?

The ichthyosaur, a fascinating marine reptile of the pre-Flood world, was created on Day Five of the six-day creation.

Darwinists do not know from which creatures these reptiles evolved, hypothesizing that “early” ichthyosaurs were lizard-shaped, and the fish-shaped ichthyosaurs supposedly evolved from them. But not only has their supposed evolutionary history been recently rewritten, their fossil deposition with ankylosaurs, clams, and ammonites reflects an altogether catastrophic event.1

The typical Ichthyosaurus suddenly appears in Jurassic sedimentary layers as 100 percent Ichthyosaurus. In 1974, Barbara Stahl said, “The origin of the ichthyosaurs is a problem which remains wholly unresolved.”2 Ten years later, Michael Denton shows ichthyosaurs suddenly appearing via “hypothetical unknown transitional species.”3 The late Edwin Colbert stated, “The basic problem of ichthyosaur relationships is that no conclusive evidence can be found for linking these reptiles with any other reptilian order.”4 And recently Ivan Schwab of UC Davis said, “Their descent remains enigmatic and controversial.”5 Zoologist Kenneth Kardong added, “From deposits from the early Triassic, the first ichthyosaurs appear already to have been aquatic specialists.”6

In all cases, they just appear in the sedimentary rocks as predicted by the creation model. In 1982, Nachio Minoura discovered an alleged “240 million-year-old” fossil ichthyosaur (Utatsusaurus) in Japan.7 He and lead author Ryosuke Motani maintain Utatsusaurus shows features midway between the terrestrial and “more evolved ichthyosaurs.” This is incorrect. Michael Benton said “It shows typical ichthyosaurian characters,” and he literally calls it an ichthyosaur.8 If Utatsusaurus was midway (i.e., a “transitional form”), why don’t evolutionists collectively champion it as such? Zoologist Michael Allaby doesn’t.9 Nor do biologists Michael Thain or Michael Hickman.10

A rather amusing description of ichthyosaurus supposedly evolving from an “ancient terrestrial reptile” is presented by palaeontologist David Martill in a German reference:

This sea-going reptile with terrestrial ancestors converged so strongly on fishes that it actually evolved a dorsal fin and tail in just the right place and with just the right hydrological design. These structures are all the more remarkable because they evolved from nothing—the ancestral terrestrial reptile had no hump on its back or blade on its tail to serve as a precursor.11

An appeal of any structure evolving “from nothing” is absurd and quite unscientific.12 In addition, Martill referred to convergence, but creation scientist Gary Parker said, “Convergence, in the sense of similar structures designed to meet similar needs, would be expected, of course, on the basis of creation according to a common design.”13 From its massive eyes to the reverse heterocercal tail, the awesome ichthyosaur is a clear testament to biblical creation.


  1. Thomas, B. Marine Reptile Fossil Rewrites Evolution. Creation Science Updates. Posted on January 18, 2012, accessed April 13, 2013.
  2. Stahl, B. 1974. Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution. New York: McGraw Hill, 297.
  3. Denton, M. 1985. Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Bethesda, MD: Adler & Adler, 166.
  4. Colbert, E., et al. 2001. Colbert’s Evolution of the Vertebrates. 5th ed. New York: Wiley-Liss, 159.
  5. Schwab, I. 2012. Evolution’s Witness. New York: Oxford University Press, 158.
  6. Kardong, K. 2012. Vertebrates, 6th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 112.
  7. Sanders, R. “Fish-Lizards” Turn Out to be More Lizard than Fish. Berkeleyan. Posted on July 15, 1998, accessed April 13, 2013.
  8. Benton, M. 2005. Vertebrate Paleontology. 3rd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 151-52.
  9. Allaby, M. 2009. Oxford Dictionary of Zoology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  10. Thain, M. and M. Hickman. 2004. Dictionary of Biology. 11th ed. New York: Penguin Books.
  11. Martill, D. M. 1993. Soupy Substrates: A Medium for the Exceptional Preservation of Ichthyosaurs of the Posidonia Shale (Lower Jurassic) of Germany. Kaupia - Darmstädter Beiträge zur Naturgeschichte. 2: 77-97.
  12. Johnson, J. 2008. The Evidence of Nothing. Acts & Facts. 37 (4): 4.
  13. Parker, G. 2006. Creation: Facts of Life. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 46.

* Mr. Sherwin is Research Associate, Senior Lecturer, and Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Sherwin, F. 2013. The Intriguing Ichthyosaur—an Evolutionary Fish Story? Acts & Facts. 42 (6): 13.

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