Almost a Dinosaur | God's World News

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Almost a Dinosaur
Science Soup
Posted: March 01, 2023
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    These reptiles could grow to the size of a bus! (Neil Kelley/Vanderbilt University via AP)
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    Museum-goers look at the skeleton of an ichthyosaur. (Christoph Schmidt/picture-alliance/dpa/AP)
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    A dolphin leaps while holding a fish in the Indian River in Titusville, Florida. Ichthyosaurs looked something like porpoises and dolphins. (AP/Phil Sandlin)
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    Salmon return to their birthplaces each year to spawn. Ichthyosaurs may also have had special birthing places. (AP/Becky Bohrer)
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The ichthyosaur lived at the same time as the dinosaurs. It seems to have a dinosaur’s name. But is it a dinosaur? Nope.

“Ichthyosaur” means fish lizard. Ichthyosaurs were marine reptiles. (Those are reptiles that live in the water, not on land. A few mostly marine reptiles still exist today. Think crocodiles, water snakes, and sea turtles.) To count as a dinosaur, an animal must have lived on land. Ichthyosaurs probably never visited land at all.

These extinct creatures looked a lot like porpoises. They swam with large, paddle-shaped flippers and hunted with long jaws full of teeth. Their massive skeletons boast vertebrae the size of dinner plates and flipper bones as thick as boulders.

Researchers think ichthyosaurs could swim fast. Flippers steered them. Tails propelled them. They likely ate fish and other sea animals.

Did the ichthyosaurs also have instincts to migrate? Many of God’s creatures have this built-in urge to move around at certain times of life. Salmon know to swim upriver every year. They return to the place they hatched. Then they spawn there and leave another generation of fish to hatch in the same spot. Millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles take a circular path through Africa every year to find grass to eat. Every spring, salamanders, frogs, and crabs slither, hop, and crawl across highways to reach water on the other side. There, they mate and lay eggs.

The new ichthyosaur study doesn’t prove that ichthyosaurs traveled to the Nevada spot to give birth. But it may have unlocked a bit more of the mystery.

All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. — John 1:3