It’s always exciting when I learn of a new dinosaur discovery, so it’s with great pleasure that I’m writing about the carnivorous Lythronax argestes, a relative of the great Tyrannosaurus rex. Articles about this new dinosaur were reported at livescience, discovermagazine and The Verge.
Lythronax argestes (which means “Gore King of the Southwest”) was discovered in southern Utah in 2009 and is considered the oldest tyrannosaurid ever recovered. The skeleton is of a 24-foot long subadult, thought to weigh about 2.75 tons when it ruled parts of an island continent known as Laramidia, which existed in the Late Cretaceous (99.6-65.5 million years ago) and ran from Alaska to Mexico.
Other points to note is that the skeleton was dated at 80 million years old, which means that this “pushes back the evolution of the Tyrannosaurus-style skull” more than 10 million years, according to an article published in PLOS One. And since T. rex is about 69 million years old, according to some evolutionists, the “family must have split before 80 million years ago, earlier than once thought”, said Paleontologist Randall Irmis of the Natural History Museum of Utah, where the skeleton now resides. This implies that “There’s a whole slew of new tyrannosaurids waiting to be found out there”, Irmis said.
This is all very interesting and exciting. The name itself is very imaginative and speaks well of its meat-eating capabilities. But part of what I find interesting is the evolutionary and long-age assumptions.
We do know that the land masses on earth have changed over time, so there’s no problem accepting the description of Laramidia. But from a Biblical perspective, it’s exciting to see how much water surrounds such fossils in light of Noah’s Flood. The photos supplied by the Natural History Museum of Utah depicts Lythronax surrounded by water, and that’s exactly what we’d expect if there was a worldwide flood. In fact we’d expect the floodwaters to be primarily responsible for the organism’s death, burial and preservation.
The radioisotope dates used to arrive at the date of 80 million years cannot be confirmed because it’s impossible to observe what happened 80 million years ago. The dates are inferred based on what we can observe in the present, but then extrapolated back in time with no means to test it. If any of the underlying assumptions are wrong, then the dates assigned to the fossil will also be wrong. Some of the assumptions involved are: that the initial isotope amounts are known, the rate of decay is constant and doesn’t change over time, the sample has remained in a closed system, and that no amount of isotope has leached in or out of the sample. We do have evidence that these assumptions have been violated, so we can explain why we get such inflated dates without having to accept them as unquestionable truths.
It’s also interesting to note the long, evolutionary time frame separating Lythronax and T. rex. Ten million years is an incredibly long period of time, especially considering how similar they were. In fact it’s now recognized that it doesn’t take very long for new species to diverge. Examples of new species are reported with frequency, and scientists are genuinely surprised at how fast it happens. Yet we’re being told that it took around 10 million years for these two tyrannosaurids to diverge. That doesn’t make sense considering what scientists are actually able to observe happening in the real world during their own lifetime.
One thing that wasn’t mentioned in the research that I’d be interested to learn is if there was any original soft tissue left in the fossil. It seems that many dinosaur fossils still contain red blood cells and other soft tissue, and that speaks of a recent death rather than one that occurred tens of millions of years ago. It would be fascinating if they attempted to see if any could be recovered, however most paleontologists and scientists wouldn’t be looking for this because it’s not expected in fossils as old as they claim this is.
All in all it’s fun to see what new dinosaur has poked its head out of time and caught our attention.