Dinosaurs for Everyone

As you’ve probably heard, Ken Ham’s Creation Museum has recently acquired it’s very own Allosaurus skeleton. Ham boasts that it “is believed to have one of the four best-preserved Allosaurus skulls ever discovered.” He elaborates:

The new allosaur, as today’s news release states, “probably stood 10-feet high and 30-feet long. It stands out for a few reasons. It was found with its bones arranged in their correct anatomical positions relative to each other rather than in a scattered assortment of bones as is often the case. Also, much of the spine and 97% of the skull were found. Lastly, the skull is much larger than the famous ‘Big Al’ dinosaur at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana.”

According to a quote by Andrew Snelling, “unlike the way most of the Morrison Formation dinosaur bones had been found scattered and mixed, the intact skeleton of this allosaur is testimony to extremely rapid burial, which is a confirmation of the global catastrophe of a Flood a few thousand years ago.” Of course, all the bones not found in this manner couldn’t possibly be evidence against the Flood.

Before putting the bones on display next year I suggest he takes a look the specimens tail: if they’ve only got “much of” the spine, how’s the rear end looking? Complete tails of fossil dinosaurs are almost never found. While palaeontologists might suggest that this is because the tail risks poking out of the region that gets best fossilised, or some similar explanation, a global catastrophe causing rapid burial like YECs envision would surely produce a few more intact specimens than we have. He’d better be prepared, least somebody ask him a difficult question.

Of course, Answers in Genesis are not the only ones with a dinosaur skeleton on hand. By apparent coincidence, an article by Tim Clarey called ICR’s Toddler Duck-Billed Dinosaur: Eddie was published in the October edition of their magazine, Acts & Facts.

In 2008, the Institute for Creation Research acquired Eddie, a rare juvenile Edmontosaurus (duck-billed hadrosaur). He currently resides in our offices in Dallas, Texas.

It’s not news, obviously – they’ve had it sitting around for a while. Clarey’s article attempts to calculate from the minimum circumference of the fossils femur (167 mm) the original animal’s weight (187 kg) and age (4 years old, right before it would have started a massive growth spurt to reach about 1500 kg). His conclusion is that hadrosaurs of this age would have perfect for the Ark, as they would have been (relatively) small and wouldn’t have eaten much.

Unfortunately, Eddie wasn’t on the Ark—he died by rapid and catastrophic burial in sediment during the great Flood, only to be found by paleontologists later and put on display as a witness to this judgment event.

As you can see, the fears of the likes of Dan Phelps that Ham’s fossil will not be available for research are completely unfounded – of course creationists are capable of cutting-edge scientific investigation! Ham might want to work quickly to avoid being outdone by the ICR, however: I’m guessing that they’re already hard at work calculating how many young olive trees it would take to grow a pair of juvenile dinosaurs by more than a ton each in just a couple of years in a world ravaged by global catastrophe.

The trimester is over, but exams are yet to come. I’ll find where I left my feet eventually.

10 thoughts on “Dinosaurs for Everyone

    • Sorry for the late reply Peter. I did some searching (including Google scholar) and was unable to find anything beyond the 1990 publication mentioned in Dr. Ritchie’s article I linked to.

      In the interest of intellectual honesty, something the Creationist movement is sadly lacking, I will link to Snelling’s reply to Ritchie’s article.

      Andrew Snelling answers Alex Ritchie

      TL;DR : It’s a going-along-to-get-along response, followed by a self-comparison to a biblical figure beleaguered by his enemies out to destroy his good works, and finishes with an additional non-sequitur about how this is not profitable for him.

      I guess we should ignore that his being “forced” to use the “hard-line evolutionist” terminology (i.e. ~ mainstream geology) had a useful application in the real world while the work of “Snelling 1” has no real application outside of spreading doubt of science and bolstering misguided faith.

    • So he’s just doing it for the money, except he isn’t. Snelling must be acting against his beliefs in one mode or another, but I don’t think #2 is the real version, if any are – cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing. At least he hasn’t been publishing so much as #2 recently.

  1. I’m curious as to how they acquired the specimen. I mean are there private fossil sellers for things of this size? If not, then how would a group like AiG or ICR get their hands on one? I admit I know nothing of it, but it seems crazy to me that such a good specimen would be allowed to be sold to a group like AiG…

    I liked your additional note on dinosaur tails. I hadn’t heard that one before. And, as you pointed out, all the fossils found not arranged neatly would have to provide evidence against the YEC interpretation, right? Why do they not anticipate that objection and answer it? It seems highly selective.

    • AiG say they go theirs from a sympathetic donor – the “Peroutka Foundation” – who had been cleaning it up for some time. The ICR don’t say, but private fossil sellers do indeed exist: the tale of the looted Mongolian Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton from earlier this year might interest you, but not all dinosaur auctions involve illegal activity.

    • I’m sure they will have to answer that objection in future, given the number of people that picked up on the exact same issue. I’m not sure that they actually have a good (or at least succinct) answer: while individually they can point out that having the bones together means catastrophic burial, or alternatively that scattered bones imply significant post-death disturbance, one argument negates the other.


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