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Creation 41(3):15, July 2019

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Baby fossil snake further frustrates evolution

Ming Bai/Chinese Academy of Sciencesbaby-snake-in-amber


A spate of fossil snakes has led to excited science news reports in recent years.1 The latest is a tiny snake fossil (5cm or 2 in long) from Myanmar, thought to be an embryo or a very young baby. According to a member of the research team, University of Alberta palaeontologist Prof Michael Coldwell, “This is the very first baby snake fossil that we have ever found.”2 Believing it to be 98.8 Ma (million years) old, “from the age of dinosaurs”, they named it Xiaophis myanmarensis.3

The young snake’s bones were beautifully preserved in amber, a plastic-like material that was formerly tree resin. The fossil shows 97 vertebrae and ribs but the skull was not found. Some nearby shed snake skin fragments are assumed to be from the creature. However, there was no trace of hind legs or even a pelvis (hip), though these are known from certain ‘younger’ fossil snakes. This is significant because evolutionists believe that ‘earlier’ snakes (older than 100 Ma in their thinking) possessed legs but that these were gradually lost. Therefore, as one moves through the fossil layers to more and more ‘recent’ times, they expect a reduction in the size of snake legs until they are lost altogether. The fossil record does not support this idea and Xiaophis further frustrates the neat evolutionary story. While it lacked hip or limbs, ‘younger’ snake fossils possessed them, such as Eupodophis at 94 Ma.4 Modern snakes lack limbs.

Therefore, applying standard uniformitarian/evolutionary reasoning to the fossil evidence as it stands, legs were lost, regained and lost again during evolution, but this violates an evolutionary precept called Dollo’s Law.5

Pranee Tiangkate © 123rf.comsnake

The findings were published in Science Advances and the scientists acknowledge that the anatomy of this creature is similar to the young snakes of two modern species, the Asian Pipe Snake and the common Grass Snake. In fact, “Xiaophis provides direct evidence that many aspects of snake vertebral ontogeny [the origin and development of snake spinal bones] have remained conservative for nearly 100 Ma…”3 In other words, the new fossil provides no evidence whatsoever that snake anatomy has altered during the alleged millions of years—hence the headlines about them being “frozen in time” and the admission that this represents, “A new chapter on early snake evolution.”6 The snake fossil record continues to say ‘No’ to evolution!

References and notes

  1. Bell, P., Standard snake evolution story stymied by spate of fossil discoveries, J. Creation 29(3):8–10, December 2015. Return to text.
  2. Briggs, H., Baby snake ‘frozen in time’ gives insight into lost world, bbc.co.uk/news, 19 July 2018. Return to text.
  3. Xing, L. et al, A mid-Cretaceous embryonic-to-neonate snake in amber from Myanmar, Science Advances 4(7), 18 July 2018 | doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aat5042; advances.sciencemag.org, accessed 9 October 2018. Return to text.
  4. Sarfati, J., Another leggy snake? What should creationists think? 29 April 2008. Return to text.
  5. Dollo’s Law disallows evolutionary reversals—see Bell, P., Evolution revolution, Creation 25(3):31, 2003. To be fair, many evolutionists have said it should not be regarded as a law in the same sense as e.g. gravity. Return to text.
  6. Simões, T.R., A new chapter on early snake evolution: the tale of the baby snake in amber, natureecoevocommunity.nature.com, 19 July 2018; accessed 9 October 2018. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments

David B.
Wow! You know you are in trouble when even the serpent tells you that you are wrong :)
Matthew T.
So in other words, more like snake oil rather than snake from the evolutionists.
Caleb W.
It's amazing how fluid evolutionary theory is; it really isn't science, since it doesn't appear to be falsifiable. Evolutionists are constantly saying how they base their interpretations on science, and that the fossil record fits evolution almost perfectly. However, there are actually lots of discrepancies, with "advanced" forms coming before "primitive" ones, or life forms appearing to die out, only to appear again millions of years later. Naturally, they can invent rescuing devices for all of these, like convergent evolution, the incompleteness of the fossil record, and the seemingly infinite branching of phylogenetic trees. However, this only begs the question: if the "theory" of evolution never makes successful predictions, and must be modified with every new discovery, shouldn't it be replaced with a better model? Now, yet another evolutionary story, that they were beginning to think they had solved, has become just as mysterious as ever. Once again, creation makes much better sense of the world, including the fossil record.
Hugh B.
It must be extremely frustrating for evolutionists to see their theories constantly, persistantly battered to pieces, forcing them to concoct completely new theories, not from observable evidence or operational science, but from their own personal bias. The incredible lengths they go to, to try to explain what they want to believe, without supporting evidence, is astounding. Truly they have been blinded by the religious fervor of evolutionary dogma!

Romans 1:22-23 says, "Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things." I believe this is a prophetic verse about evolutionists, who instead of giving God the glory for His creation, give credit to the idea of evolution in men, birds, four footed animals and creeping things.

The more we learn about the world around us, the more it declares the Glory of God!

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