There seems to be a conspiracy theory amongst Creationists, at-least at the ICR, that dinosaur beds contain fossils of modern species as well. This conspiracy seems to be largely the result of the work of “Medical doctor Carl Werner”, and his Evolution: The Grand Experiment book and DVD series.
For today’s DpSU, Brian Thomas (who we haven’t seen for a few days), in typical Type AE (Misrepresented Study) style, uses a National Geographic article about an interview with a palaeontologist working in Madagascar to provide “More Proof That Dinosaurs Lived With ‘Later’ Creatures“.
Ignoring the references to Werner, which I will likely cover as part of my Noah’s Flood series (they appear elsewhere as well), Thomas’ article boils down to the number of non-dinosaur specimens dug up in Madagascar. However, as you can see, Thomas is either ignorant (which I doubt) or is trying to set up a straw man:
According to evolution, dinosaurs dominated certain “times” millions of years ago. But according to Scripture, all animals and plants had been created by the end of the sixth day. If the former is true, then dinosaur fossils should primarily be found by themselves. But if the latter is true, then dinosaur remains should be found mixed with those of birds, mammals, and all kinds of plants.
The “Time” of the dinosaurs was dominated by dinosaurs to a similar degree that the present day is the “Time” of mammals, and is dominated by them. As you are most likely fully aware, while there are a lot of Mammals around there are also Birds and Lizards and Fish and Insects and Slime Moulds, and also a few Plants as well (seriously, where did that come from?). The Mesozoic likewise had those groups, along with dinosaurs and a scattering of mammals (it might be added that birds are dinosaurs). Nobody is arguing that we would only, or even primarily find dinosaurs in Mesozoic sediments. But leaving that aside for the moment, what has been found that so excites the Creationists?
Not much that should, really:
Along with dinosaurs, the finds included an extinct bird named Rahonavis, a short-bodied crocodile-like creature called Simosuchus, and a toad that Krause and his colleagues named Beelzebufo. Other than having been about twice the size of today’s largest toads at 10 pounds, it was just like a modern toad.
An “extinct bird”, a “crocodile-like creature” and a toad.
Rahonavis is an extinct genus, part of an equally extinct Subfamily and Family, the latter of which includes Velociraptor, as it happens. Their classification as “birds” appears to come from when they were initially discovered, and before many of the more recent feathered dinosaur finds that had feathers. The National Geographic article calls them a “dromaeosaurid theropod, one that belonged to a particular group known as unenlagines otherwise known only from South America”. Awesome, yes, but not evidence towards Thomas’ premise. It’s hardly modern…
Simosuchus is frankly bizarre:
Simosuchus was based on an exquisitely preserved, articulated skull and most of the skeleton found in 1998 by a Malagasy graduate student, Louis Laurent Randriamiaramanana. It is an extremely unusual crocodyliform that seems to break many of the rules of being crocodile-like. Instead of having a long snout, it had a pug-nose. Instead of having long, conical teeth with which to capture prey, it had leaf-shaped teeth, probably used to eat vegetation. Instead of having a long, laterally compressed tail, it had an extremely short, uncompressed one. Instead of having a few rows of bony plates in its skin like most of its close relatives, it was enveloped in them, resulting in a tank-like body; it even had bony shields on its legs. And on and on. The phenomenal preservation of this specimen in particular, but also several more recently discovered skeletons, prompted us to thoroughly document the anatomy of Simosuchus and make inferences about its relationships and functional morphology in a recently published, large, multi-authored volume (Krause and Kley, 2010).
(From the N.G. article)
This “kind”, as it were, of creature (ie the crocodile and similar) has existed for a long time, longer even than the dinosaurs themselves. This find, while also awesome (this is palaeontology after all), again only helps Thomas if anyone actually did claim that you would only find dinosaur fossils with dinosaurs.
As for the toad? More can be found here. I don’t want to repeat myself, so go read the article yourself.
None of these showed any hint of transitioning from one form to another, as Darwinism predicts, but instead each was found fully formed. And who knows what other birds, amphibians, and possibly mammals were discovered by the team in Madagascar that have yet to be publicized.
What? Were you expecting transformers fossilised in the act? A toad with half a leg? Honestly… It might be added that the lines of both the ‘bird’ and the crocodyliform have died out. Few fossils are the direct ancestors of modern animals, more like the aunts.
So, nobody aside from Brian Thomas is claiming that there can only be dinosaur fossils in finds like this. And because of that, nobody is unduly surprised. If they found a bona-fide modern animal, then maybe he would be right. Until then…