Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fossil Order - Exposed and Explained

Why is there an apparent order in the fossil record from simple life to more complex? A philosophical answer to this question is in chapter 12 of Rock Solid Answers ed. by Mike Oard and John Reed, is “Fossil Distribution and the Flood” by John Reed (pp. 207-215). A good summary on fossil order is found here. John Woodmorappe has shown that much of the fossil record is random.

There are places on the earth where ALL the geologic periods overlay the Pre-Cambrian (Pre-Flood). In fact, 23.2% of the Ordovician is directly on top of the Pre-Cambrian and 18.6% of the Devonian is directly on top of the Pre-Cambrian. [1]
How do we explain the order where it does exist (e.g. Grand Canyon and correlated deposits)? Harold Clark proposed his ecological zonation theory back in 1946 in his book The New Diluvialism - animals in habitats at higher elevations would be buried later during the Deluge. [2] Andrew Snelling deals with fossil order in chapter 31 of The Answers Book 2 as well as chapter 91 of Earth’s Catastrophic Past and explains these mechanisms:

· Pre-Flood Biogeography (Ecological Zonation)
· Early Burial of Marine Creatures (95% of all fossils are shallow marine organisms)
· Hydrodynamic Sorting (diameter, sphericity and density)
· Behavior & Higher Mobility of Vertebrates (instinct and intelligence)

How do creationists predict the fossil sequence? Birds are found later in the record since they can escape a Flood more easily. Creation Geology Theory predicts the initial strata would show great diversity – that’s what the Cambrian Explosion is all about. Another important factor is that there are Pre-Flood, Deluge and Post-Flood deposits. Snelling places the start of the Post-Flood era around the KT boundary. [3]

In the evolutionary narrative, life started as a single cell so we should find the following in the fossil record:
In fact, we do not find 2-20 celled life in the fossil record.

The Cambrian Explosion, where a wide diversity of life appears suddenly, is consistent with Global Flood Theory, but is a great headache for anti-creationists – Darwin’s Dilemma. As Stephen Jay Gould (d. 2002) stated, “… if the true ancestors of Cambrian creatures lacked hard parts, why have we not found them in the abundant deposits that contain the soft-bodied Ediacara fauna?” [4]
Vertebrates have been found in the Lower Cambrian. [5] In 1969, it was thought that the first vertebrate appeared in the Middle Ordovician. [6] According to The Complete Encyclopedia of Fossils, jawless fish (Pteraspis) appear in the Cambrian. [7] Wikipedia still places them in the Devonian! In 1988, The Washington Post reported on jawless fish found in Bolivia and dated at 470M (Early Ordovician), 20 million years older than previously dated. The BBC reported on a jawless fish found in the Lower Cambrian in China! Apparent bird tracks have been found in Carboniferous strata, over 150M before Archaeopteryx! [8]

It is often claimed that primitive and complex life are not found together in the fossil record. What is meant by “primitive?” If we mean trilobites (not-primitive, e.g. their eyes), then they do coexist. The first mammal has been dated at 260M and the most recent trilobite existed 251M – so they overlap by nine million years by consensus dating. We would not expect them to be in the same rock layer since they live in different habitats.

Are there mammals in lower layers? Yes! In 1969 it was thought that the first mammals began about 170 million years ago. [9] Now it is accepted that the first mammal existed 260 million years ago – that’s a difference of 90M! Mammal footprints have been found in rocks at least 275M and, in similar fashion, horse hoofprints have been found in strata at least 350M (this would put horses at 300 million years older than previously thought). [10] Likewise, cuttlefish were found in the Lower Cambrian in 1974 thus extending their range back 400M! [11] In 1958 echinoids were thought to go back as far as the Middle Ordovician, but since then have been found in the Lower Cambrian – a change of tens of millions of years! Before 1963, it was generally accepted that Belemnoids first appeared in the Triassic. Actually, they were discovered in the Devonian in 1843. [12]
The chart above shows how fossil tracks of animals consistently appear before their body fossils. [13] During the Global Flood creatures fled the oncoming surge of destructive waters and left footprints. Later these same animals were buried during a later stage of the Deluge.
The Laetoli footprints that Mary Leakey found are clearly human. They are assumed to be an upright hominid because of the dating of the beds (3.75M).
There are many examples where the appearance or lack of fossils do not fit the evolutionary view of fossil order:

· Living Fossils (e.g. Coelacanth, Wollemi Pine)
· Lazarus species· Stratigraphic Range Extension (both older & more recent)
· Out-of-Place Fossils

Empire Mountain exhibits a reversal in the accepted order where the Permian rests on the Cretaceous (out-of-order) with no evidence of a thrust plane, but actually having an unconformity which indicates erosion:
There is even a reversal at Heart Mountain (WY) where a period repeats:

If we consider this as an overthrust, then only catastrophism associated with the Flood can explain such massive rock movements. John Morris tells how 50 large carbonate blocks moved over 30 miles at an incline of less than two degrees. Catastrophic Plate Tectonics may help power this mass movement. [14]

There are fossil reversals where we find a change from type A to type B then back to type A. Marvin Lubenow, known for his work with alleged “ape-men,” has compiled a few examples [15]:

James Beerbower, the author of a mainstream paleontology text, freely admits that Dollo’s Law (evolution has no reversals) is not valid. [16] There are also “condensed” sequences where fossils from many ages are found in a thin layer. There are examples of this for ammonites in the Alps, Bosnia, Greece, the Himalayas, Hungary and Italy. [17] In one case, seven ammonite zones (7-10 million years) are found in a deposit that is only three feet thick! The standard explanation that sedimentation was slow is not reasonable. The better explanation is that the entire layer was deposited at the same time and that the various ammonites lived concurrently. Fossil order favors the Flood and contradicts Darwinism.  Does the fossil order support ID and who actually is the Intelligent Designer?
How old is the Earth?  Is Darwinism valid?  How does the Renaissance of Catastrophism relate to the age of the world?  Is your favorite planet thousands or billions of years old?  Discover the shocking evidence in this powerful new book, YES – Young Earth Science by Jay Hall (at Amazon.com). 

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Notes:
1) “The Essential Nonexistence of the Evolutionary-Uniformitarian Geological Column: A Quantitative Assessment” by John Woodmorappe, Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 1, June 1981, pp. 46-71, p. 67.
2) "ecological zonation" "global flood" gets 727 hits on Google, 12-14-10.
3) Earth’s Catastrophic Past by Andrew Snelling (Institute for Creation Research, Dallas, TX, 2009, Vol. 2), pp. 751-761.
4) Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould (W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 1989), p. 59.
5) Snelling, p. 352.
6) Historical Geology 3e by Carl Dunbar and Karl Waage, (John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 1969), p. 208.
7) The Complete Encyclopedia of Fossils by Martin Ivanov, Stanislava Hrdlickova, and Ruzena Gregorova (Rebo Intl., Netherlands, 2001, 2002 ed.), p. 244.
8) Snelling, p. 356.
9) Dunbar and Waage, p. 364.
10) “An Anthology of Matters Significant to Creationism and Diluviology: Report 1” by John Woodmorappe, Creation Research Society Quaterly, Vol. 16, No. 4, Mar. 1980, p. 211.
11) “Significant Fossil Discoveries Since 1958: Creationism Confirmed” by Marvin Lubenow, Creation Research Society Quaterly, Vol. 17, No. 3, Dec. 1980, pp. 155-157.
12) “The Cephalopods in the Creation and the Universal Deluge” by John Woodmorappe, Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 2, Sep. 1978, pp. 94-112, p. 101.
13) Snelling, p. 451.
14) “Catastrophic Superfaults and the Biblical Flood” by John Morris, Acts & Facts, April 2009, p. 23.
15) “Reversals in the Fossil Record” by Marvin Lubenow, Creation Research Society Quaterly, Vol. 13, No. 4, Mar. 1977, pp. 185-190, 230.
16) Ibid., p. 189.
17) “The Cephalopods in the Creation and the Universal Deluge” by John Woodmorappe, Creation Research Society Quaterly, Vol. 15, No. 2, Sep. 1978, p. 103.