About a week ago at his blog Naturalis Historia Joel Duff discussed the recent discovery in Argentina of the 240 million year old fossilised remains of a communal dinosaur latrine [EDIT: silly me, they’re not dinosaurs but Dinodontosaurs]. I suggest you go there for the details, but the most important point is that we have a number of sites of ~900 square metres in area and containining tens of thousands of individual coprolites (fossil poop). When originally reading his post I thought to myself that if I ended up writing my own piece on the subject it would be called “giant steaming piles of dinosaur shit” – while I have clearly changed my mind since this will still do for a subtitle, for reasons that will become clear.
Duff asked: “how [do] young earth creationists (YECs) interpret this fossil find?” Timothy L. Clarey, in Digging Into a Fossil Outhouse, provides an answer. He opens his article:
A group of paleontologists reported the discovery of concentrated fields of fossilized dung, called coprolite, in northwest Argentina. The closely-spaced dung piles are seen as evidence of gregarious behavior from large herbivores. However, does the great Flood provide a better explanation? Continue reading →
An international research team claims to have found the world’s oldest big cat fossil in Tibet, publishing their findings in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Big cats include lions, tigers, jaguars, and even snow leopards from Asia. The team dated several snow leopard-like partial fossils at between 4.1 and 5.95 million years old and a complete skull at around 4.4 million years. But how did the authors obtain these large numbers?
Here’s a question that everyone seems to want an answer to: how did freshwater organisms survive a salty flood? A recent article at Your Origins Matter, Flood Survivors – derived from an Acts & Facts article by John Morris from 2011 called Fish in the Flood – tries to offer some solutions. After first acknowledging that survival would have been very difficult, and that most didn’t make it, Morris produces his first idea:
In the complex of events and conditions that made up the Flood, certainly there were pockets of fresh water at any one time. Remember, it was raining in torrents, and we can expect that the rain water was fairly fresh. Many studies have shown that waters of various temperatures, chemistries, and sediment loads do not tend to mix; they tend to remain segregated in zones. It would be unlikely for any one area to retain such zones for very long during the tumult of the Flood, but on a worldwide scale, some such segregated zones would have existed at any given time.
When you compress rock – and by “you” I really mean vast tectonic forces, and not your literal thumb and forefinger – it will tend to deform in such a way as to reduce its size in the direction of force. There are two broad categories of deformation. In brittle deformation the rock breaks and moves along the resultant fault. The scale of this movement varies considerably: while not produced from compression, the Alpine Fault in the South Island displaces the rock on either side by hundreds of kilometres and presently moves at a rate of tens of millimetres a year, but these processes go as small as individual tiny fractures in a rock. While the scales might be impressive, brittle deformation is not all that alien to our experience – everyone knows that rock breaks.
At the other end of the spectrum is ductile deformation, including the process of folding. In this case, when compression is applied the rock layer gains waves like the folds in a rug. The scale of these folds can range from mountains down to individual crystals. But this latter kind of deformation is more than a little counter-intuitive: in our experience, rock generally doesn’t bend.
John D. Morris, the ICR’s president and holder of a PhD in geology, writes a regular geological column in his organisation’s Acts & Facts magazine. Several of those articles have recently exploited this potential for incredulity to put forward an explanation of the observed folding of rock that is more consistent with his creationist beliefs. While faulting can potentially happen in an instant, folding takes time – something which young Earth creationists famously lack. Continue reading →
Here’s something that I intended to write back in August when the Acts & Facts article it comments on was new, but haven’t until now.
For me, one of the most interesting parts of what I do here is compare the description published by the ICR of a piece of “secular” research with the research itself and the other things that have been written about it. Even when I don’t write my own post on the ICR article – whether through a lack of time, or through boredom – I often take a look at the background to see how well the reality matches that which is presented by the ICR. One example has stuck with me for the last couple of months: Tim Clarey’s August Acts & Facts article, Hot Mantle Initiated Ocean and Flood Beginnings.
Thin, dense oceanic crust is formed at mid ocean ridges and destroyed a subduction zones. Around 130 million years ago the super-continent of Pangaea rifted apart, beginning the formation of the Atlantic ocean. Elsewhere over the same period pretty much all of the ocean floor has been replaced at least the once by the same process. Young Earth creationists obviously don’t believe that 130 million years has passed, but the reality of plate tectonics and its components continental drift and sea-floor spreading is so overwhelming that even they cannot deny it (though some do still insist that it is not happening today – here’s John Baumgardner countering some of Michael Oard’s claims to that extent). Indeed, they now incorporate the concept into their models of the flood in the form of “Catastrophic Plate Tectonics,” which posits that the last 100 million years plus of tectonic movements actually happened during the single Flood year.
The problems with this massive increase in the rate of geologic processes are legion, but not the topic of this post. Instead, we’re looking at what Clarey thinks a paper published online in March in Nature Geoscience means for the beginning of the Flood: Continue reading →
A new That’s a Fact video, Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark, jumped today to the head of the short queue of episodes that I have yet to present to you. This is a topic we’ve seen many times before (e.g. two days ago), but it’s always fun:
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.”
What with all the genetics articles lately we haven’t seen a soft tissue DpSU from the ICR in a while. For today, Brian Thomas writes The Incredible, Edible ‘190 Million-Year-Old Egg’. To nitpick, these eggs are 190-197 million years old, fairly unusual if not necessarily “incredible,” and almost certainly not edible. I cannot determine the origin of the image Thomas has put at the top of his article, but I doubt that it is of this find.
Their age places them in the “Lower Jurassic,” giving them the position of first-equal for oldest known dinosaur eggs with a South African find, and were found in China. It’s difficult to match fossils of the bones of adults with other fossils like eggs and tracks, but these eggs were probably of the early Jurassic sauropodomorphLufengosaurus. Thomas claims that there is evidence that they are not 190 million years old, but instead were fossilised as a result of the Global Flood: Continue reading →