Tyrannosaur's Last Meal Evidence for Catastrophic Burial | The Institute for Creation Research


Tyrannosaur's Last Meal Evidence for Catastrophic Burial

Tyrannosaurs were large terrestrial predators after the Fall.1 Juvenile or not, they conjure visions of terrible, fearsome creatures of the pre-Flood world when the earth was “filled with violence.”2,3 Like all dinosaurs, their origin and evolution are an enigma to evolutionists.4

Recently, Dinosaur Park Formation in Alberta, Canada, revealed a juvenile tyrannosaurid skeleton allegedly “75-million-years-old.”5 A paper by Francois Therrien of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Canada, and three other scientists describes the significance of this discovery, "Here, we describe a remarkable specimen of a juvenile Gorgosaurus libratus [a type of tyrannosaur] that preserves the articulated hindlimbs of two yearling caenagnathid dinosaurs [genus Citipes] inside its abdominal cavity. The prey were selectively dismembered and consumed in two separate feeding events."6

The paleontologists found evidence that these tyrannosaurs significantly changed their diet, experiencing “a major ontogenetic dietary shift,” i.e., their feeding habits transitioned as they developed and grew older. The authors further stated, “This specimen represents, to our knowledge, the first instance of in situ stomach contents (i.e., preserved in proper anatomical position) for a tyrannosaur and provides direct fossil evidence of diet and feeding behavior in a young tyrannosaurid.”6

This is an admirable discovery that Therrien et al. believe contributed to the evolutionary success of tyrannosaurs, uniquely giving them a competitive advantage over other creatures. But this discovery has nothing to do with evolution. One should hardly be surprised by this ontogenetic change.

Therrien et al. also addressed and illustrated the dentition of G. libratus because such dietary shifts “are often associated with changes in craniodental morphology.”6 However, even though they spoke of “major changes in skull robusticity,”6 the ancestry and evolution of this tyrannosaurid’s dentition was not addressed.7

Indeed, the teeth of G. libratus are what one would expect for such a creature. Therrien et al. described the teeth of the juvenile compared with those of an adult.

Juveniles were gracile with narrow skulls, blade-like teeth, and long slender hind limbs, whereas adults were robust with massive skulls and large incrassate teeth and were capable of generating bone-crushing bites. These marked morphological changes suggest that tyrannosaurids underwent a major ontogenetic dietary shift, in which immature/juvenile and mature/adult individuals occupied different ecological niches.6

It’s interesting the researchers describe the stomach contents as “exceptionally preserved.”6 Creationists suggest the remarkable conservation is due to this dinosaur’s sudden, catastrophic, and recent burial under flood conditions.8,9

Fossils—particularly vertebrates—preserved in pristine condition are hallmarks of rapid burial and preservation expected from the catastrophic flooding that is described in Genesis.10

References

  1. Clarey, T. Tyrannosaur Ancestral Tree Remains Limbless. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org March 28, 2016.
  2. Genesis 6:11.
  3. Morris, J. 2010. Dinosaurs According to Their Creator. Acts & Facts. 39 (10): 16.
  4. Brusatte, S., and T. Carr. 2016. The phylogeny and evolutionary history of tyrannosauroid dinosaurs. Scientific Reports. 6: 20252.
  5. Gill, V. Tyrannosaur’s last meal was two baby dinosaurs. BBC News. Posted on bbc.com December 8, 2023.
  6. Therrien, F. et al. Exceptionally preserved stomach contents of a young tyrannosaurid reveal an ontogenetic dietary shift in an iconic extinct predator. Science Advances. Posted on science.org December 8, 2023.
  7. Moeller, D. 2003. Dental fossils and the fossil record. Journal of Creation. 17 (2): 118–127.
  8. Clarey, T. Flood Buried Dinosaurs with a Bang. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org December 7, 2020.
  9. Clarey, T. 2021. The Flood Explains the Missing Dinosaurs. Acts & Facts. 50 (10): 8–11.
  10. Thomas, B. Chinese Dinosaurs Were Fossilized by Flood. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org April 8, 2011.

Stage image: Specimen of Gorgosaurus
Stage image credit: Copyright © EarthCentre, 2014. Used in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holder.

* Dr. Sherwin is science news writer at the Institute for Creation Research. He earned an M.A. in zoology from the University of Northern Colorado and received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Pensacola Christian College.

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