Fossil Antlion Intrigue

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Fossil antlion intrigue reported in New Scientist, 17 Dec 2005, p19. A beautifully preserved antlion fossil found in the Crato Formation in north-east Brazil has intrigued scientists. The wings of the insect are almost perfectly preserved, with the colour and pattern on them clearly visible. Preservation of colour in fossils is rare and scientists are not sure how it happens, but suggest that rapid burial and oxygen free conditions are involved. The other intriguing question about the fossil antlion is what it ate. Living antlions have this name because their larvae eat ants. The Crato formation fossil is dated a 112 to 125 million years old but, according to New Scientist, "since ants evolved some 10 million years after this antlion died, the hungry young insect must have feasted on something else."

Editorial Comment: Rapid burial in an oxygen free medium will prevent chemical breakdown and enable fine details to be preserved. To prevent breakdown by oxygen, or by micro-organisms that need oxygen, the insect had to be buried deeply as well as rapidly and had to stay buried until the fossil hunters found it. This fits well into Biblical history of a young earth that has undergone rapid catastrophic upheavals commencing at Noah’s Flood. The antlion diet is not a problem for Biblical creation either. Genesis states that all animals (which would have included antlions) originally ate plants. Only after the world degenerated due to the Fall of Man and God's judgement and the later loss of food sources after the Noah’s Flood, did carnivorous habits develop and antlion larvae took to eating ants. (Ref. insects, ages, fossilisation)

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