Bavarian Turtle Fossil Supports Marine Mixing | The Institute for Creation Research

Bavarian Turtle Fossil Supports Marine Mixing

A new discovery of a foot-long marine turtle fossil was announced in central Bavaria, southern Germany.1 The species, dubbed Solnhofia parsoni, was unearthed from the famous Solnhofen Limestone, a rock layer that has also produced exquisitely preserved fossil specimens, including all of the specimens of the bird Archaeopteryx.1

Fossils of the turtle Solnhofia parsoni have been found at the site since 1975, but the latest version is one of the most complete and included well-preserved limbs.1 It was excavated from a 20-foot thick bed of fine-grained limestone within the Solnhofen unit.1

The science team from two German institutions published their results in PLoS ONE, writing:

Although the quarry has been operated since the 1950s, fossils have only come to light after 2001 when systematic excavations started, and over the last 20 years, a rich and diverse fossil assemblage has been unearthed comprising abundant [land] plant remains, invertebrates (including sponges, corals, crinoids, brachiopods, ammonites, coleoids [squids], gastropods, crustaceans and echinoderms) and vertebrates.1

And we can add theropod dinosaurs, fishes, marine reptiles, pterosaurs and the bird Archaeopteryx to that list, making one wonder, how did all of this flora and fauna get mixed together? And why in a thinly-layered (laminated) marine limestone deposit?

First, consider the evolutionary version, written by science writer, Laura Baisas, who attempted to explain its spectacular preservation:

S. parsonsi lived in a Bavaria that looked and felt quite different from the region today. About 150 million years ago, the region in southern Germany near Munich was a shallow tropical archipelago with spongey reefs around it. When animals like S. parsonsi died in these salty and low oxygen bodies of water, scavengers had a difficult, if not impossible, time picking apart their remains, leading to well preserved specimens like this turtle pancake.2

And the authors of the scientific paper added:

The abundance of plants and terrestrial vertebrates indicates that islands must have been located nearby, while the presence of coleoids [squids] demonstrate that the local basin (‘Paintener Wanne’) was connected to the open sea.1

But is this explanation reasonable? How do they know there was low oxygen, especially in a supposedly shallow sea? And how did these fossils become so perfectly preserved, down to the finest details of feathers and outlines of soft-bodied animals like squids?

A better explanation is simply that these animals and plants were mixed together in the global Flood, just 4,500 years ago. There is no need for fictitious low oxygen seas and ‘islands.’ This is just a convenient story fabricated to try and explain the near perfect preservation of so many types of organisms found together in the Solnhofen Limestone.

All fossils have to be buried rapidly and deep.3 And the tsunami waves of the Flood were violent enough to transport sea animals inland, mixing them with land animals and plants. The fast burial provided by transported lime muds during the Flood provide ideal conditions to preserve turtles, bird feathers, dinosaurs, and even delicate plants. In this scenario, there would be no opportunity for scavengers to consume these animals, as they would be buried, too.

And this evidence for mixing of land and marine fossils is not an isolated occurrence. It is a worldwide phenomenon!4-8 In fact, most Upper Cretaceous dinosaurs in Europe are found in marine rocks, like chalk and limestone.8 This is just what would be expected in a global Flood with ocean waves crashing across the land, transporting marine animals inland and inundating everything together in the same layers of sediment.

Evolutionary scientists often downplay these discoveries or make up unrealistic scenarios because they are difficult to explain in their worldview. By refusing to accept the historical reality of the global Flood, these scientists have no recourse but to use a rescuing device such as suggestions of low oxygenated water. They deliberately forget that only the Flood can explain the necessary transport of marine animals many hundreds of miles onto the continents and mix them with land animals and plants.

Verification of the truth of God’s Word is found on every continent around the globe.


  1. Augustin, F.J., et al. 2023. A new specimen of Solnhofia parsonsi from the Upper Jurassic (Kimmeridgian) Plattenkalk deposits of Painten (Bavaria, Germany) and comments on the relationship between limb taphonomy and habitat ecology in fossil turtles. PLoS ONE 18(7): e0287936. 
  2. Baisas, L. 2023. 150 million-year-old turtle ‘pancake’ found in GermanyPopular Science. Posted on July 28, 2023, accessed August 1, 2023.
  3. Clarey, T. 2020. Carved in Stone: Geological Evidence of the Worldwide Flood. Institute for Creation Research: Dallas, TX, pp. 90-113.
  4. Clarey, T. 2015. Dinosaurs in Marine Sediments: A Worldwide Phenomenon. Acts & Facts. 44 (6).
  5. Clarey, T. 2016. Fresh Water and Salt Water Don't Mix. Acts & Facts. 45 (11).
  6. Clarey, T.L. 2015. The Hell Creek Formation: the last gasp of the pre-Flood dinosaurs. Creation Research Society Quarterly 51:286-298.
  7. Clarey, T. 2017. Dinosaur fossils found in marine rocks…again. Creation Science Update. Posted on May 25, 2017, accessed August 2, 2023.
  8. Csiki-Sava, Z. et al. 2015. Island life in the Cretaceous-faunal composition, biogeography, evolution, and extinction of land-living vertebrates on the Late Cretaceous European archipelago. ZooKeys. 469: 1-161.

* Dr. Clarey is Director of Research at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his doctorate in geology from Western Michigan University.

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