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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Back to Fossils and Fossil Rocks Kill Off Evolution! - Part Four

I will remind readers that we did a YouTube-heavy series on Creation versus Evolution recently and the series was compiled and reposted by a couple of readers.  Thanks, guys!   Here is a quick reminder of that series...

From the previous series.
What is Creation and Evolution and who cares? The beginning…
What is Creation and Evolution…part two
What is Creation and Evolution and who cares? Part Three
What is Creation and Evolution and who cares? Part Four!
What is Creation and Evolution and who cares? Part Five!
What is Creation and Evolution and Who Cares? Part Six
What is Creation and Evolution and Who Cares? Part 7!
What is Creation and Evolution and Who Cares? Part 8!
What is Creation and Evolution and Who Cares? Part 9! The Chinese three wise men edition.
What is Creation and Evolution and Who Cares? Part 10!
What is Creation and Evolution and Who Cares? Part 11!
What is Creation and Evolution and Who Cares? The End?

Also well worth mentioning quickly is this set of posts on related subjects:



Back to scrutinizing the fossil record with Sean Pittman.  We took a big detour and now we are back on the main highway of evidence from the fossil record for Creation and Noahic Flood rather than Evolution:

All references are found at that site.  But I did include three at the bottom of this segment.

Added September, 2011
There are many who argue that dinosaur eggs clearly falsify the concept of a recent global Flood of Noachian proportions. However, as far as I've been able to tell, it seems like dinosaur eggs actually lend greater support to the worldwide Flood model.  I certainly don't see how dinosaur eggs definitively undermine this model as many suggest.

Consider, for example, certain general features of dinosaur eggs: 111, 112
  • Of the hundreds of thousands of eggs that have been preserved in the fossil record it seems likely that over 99% of them contain no embryo.
  • Essentially all of the eggs that have been found were buried by water-born sediments around the world.
  • Many examples of egg beds were laid as sediments were being actively deposited - to include striking examples of eggs within the same "nest" being deposited on multiple levels of sediment (see picture above).
  • Most asymmetrical eggs (eggs with a pointy end) were unexpectedly preserved with the pointy end pointed downward and the larger end pointed upward with a symmetrical inward or outward leaning orientation - consistent with being laid in semi-liquid sediment (like very watery mud).
  • Those eggs that are found with "hatch windows" often contain the shell fragments from the window within the egg itself - a feature not expected from hatched eggs where the shell fragments should be on the outside of the egg following hatching.
  • The overall arrangement of eggs in a nest with "hatch windows" is not disturbed as would be expected from the hatchlings moving the light eggshells around after hatching from their eggs.
  • Trackways of young or baby dinosaurs are extremely rare relative to adult trackways and the trackways that are found (of the adults) are generally found in lower sedimentary layers compared to the body fossils (Leonard Brand).
  • Extremely well preserved embryos from Auca Mahuevo (Argentina), to include the preservation of very delicate embryonic bones and skin, suggests very rapid burial in a supersaturated watery environment. 
  • Commonly identified double layered egg shells suggesting the existence of a stressful environment worldwide (see discussion below).

Now, I do recognize that embryos, though very rare, are sometimes identified (both within and outside of their eggs).  I'm also aware that they show fairly advanced development, to include fully formed skeletons and occasional teeth.   However, this is not entirely unexpected given the Biblical Flood model (on a worldwide scale).  As originally proposed by Leonard Brand (Link), cases are known were reptiles, like the Komodo Dragon for example, will withhold the laying of fertilized eggs until a more favorable opportunity arises or until they are put into very stressful conditions of "fight or flight".  Of course, if eggs are held for too long before being laid, they will develop a "second shell" which suffocates the embryo.  Dinosaur eggs have often been found with such a double shell, suggesting that they were able to avoid laying their eggs for some time in the hopes of more favorable conditions.

Healthy, well-adjusted chickens and marine turtles have only one shell round their eggs. Give chickens a hard time, says Sally Solomon of Glasgow university, and they react in a tell-tale way. 

"They retain the eggs in the reproductive tract and, in retaining it, it either gets an extra coating of calcium or sometimes it actually shoots back up the reproductive tract and it gets an extra layer of shell," she says.  "If you take a busload of tourists on to a beach when turtles are trying to come ashore to lay their clutches of eggs in the sand, they will abandon the process and move back into the sea. When they are in the sea, the eggs are held and an extra layer of calcium is laid down. So you end up with a very thick shell."

What was true for birds and reptiles today must have been true for the ancestors of both birds and reptiles. When Frankie Johnson, a paleontologist working in Montana, sent her samples of eggs from fossil nests of Troodon, Professor Solomon recognized the symptoms immediately. The shells were double.

"It's a huge step to say it's stress in dinosaurs. But they must have had it, what with their world collapsing about them. Here we have a phenomenon common to dinosaurs, extant reptiles and birds. And we know for a fact that stress is instrumental in causing double shelled eggs in turtles, poultry and many wild birds.  Is it too big a step to suggest that dinosaurs, despite their size, also experienced stress? Those shells are abnormal: they were retained in the oviduct for longer than normal.  Why? What was there in that environment which was inclement? These are questions we are looking at." 113

I've read counter arguments suggesting that dinosaurs were warm blooded and therefore could not retain their eggs for very long, but this is debatable and is essentially falsified by the fairly common finding of thickened or doubled dinosaur egg shells within the fossil record.

I've also read arguments where the suggestion is made that dinosaurs likely laid only one or two eggs per day.  Yet, this is clearly mistaken in many cases where there is evidence of many eggs being laid in a very symmetrical pattern within the same day.  Also, I don't agree with the concept that the Flood would have had to kill off all the dinosaurs by the 40th day.  I think that the Flood was complex, not a uniform increase of water over the globe.  It seems to me at least possible that animals could have survived the initial months of the Flood - perhaps close to 150 days from the beginning of the Flood.  Noah was on the Ark, after all, for over a year.   
(Back to Top)

Feathered Dinosaurs
Added April 10, 2012
Modern scientists have long believed and taught that modern featured birds originally evolved from theropod dinosaurs.  After all, birds and theropod dinosaurs, or reptiles in general, share many of the same or similar features.  For example, like all other reptiles, birds have scales.  Also, birds lay eggs as do reptiles.  Certain anatomical features, such as the overall musculatures, brain, heart, and other organs, as well as the skeletal system, are fairly similar.
 In short, ancient birds shared the following major skeletal characteristics with many certain dinosaurs (especially the Maniraptora, which includes Velociraptors):

  1. Pubis (one of the three bones making up the vertebrate pelvis) shifted from an anterior to a more posterior orientation, and bearing a small distal "boot".
  2. Elongated arms and forelimbs and clawed manus (hands).
  3. Large orbits (eye openings in the skull).
  4. Flexible wrist with a semi-lunate carpal (wrist bone).
  5. Hollow, thin-walled bones.
  6. 3-fingered opposable grasping manus (hand), 4-toed pes (foot); but supported by 3 main toes.
  7. Reduced, posteriorly stiffened tail.
  8. Elongated metatarsals (bones of the feet between the ankle and toes).
  9. S-shaped curved neck.
  10. Erect, digitgrade (ankle held well off the ground) stance with feet postitioned directly below the body.
  11. Similar eggshell microstructure.
  12. Teeth with a constriction between the root and the crown.
  13. Functional basis for wing power stroke present in arms and pectoral girdle (during motion, the arms were swung down and forward, then up and backwards, describing a "figure-eight" when viewed laterally).
  14. Expanded pneumatic sinuses in the skull.
  15. Five or more vertebrae incorporated into the sacrum (hip).
  16. Straplike scapula (shoulder blade).
  17. Clavicles (collarbone) fused to form a furcula (wishbone).
  18. Hingelike ankle joint, with movement mostly restricted to the fore-aft plane.
  19. Secondary bony palate (nostrils open posteriorly in throat).
  20. Possibly feathers... this awaits more study. Small, possibly feathered dinosaurs were recently found in China. It appears that many coelurosaurs were cloaked in an external fibrous covering that could be called "protofeathers."
Such similarities have long been recognized.  Many anatomists between the 1500s to 1800s noticed that birds shared various similarities to reptiles.  Then, in 1860, the first specimen of Archaeopteryx lithographica (pictured above) was discovered by a quarry worker in Germany.  For many, it was a beautiful example of a "transitional form" between reptiles and birds - and seemed to confirm Darwin's recently published expectations.  J. H. Ostrom's 1969 description of Deinonychus antirrhopus and its similarities to Archaeopteryx then provided the groundwork for the modern view of birds evolving the ability to fly with the use of feathers.  Then, Dr. Gautheir's cladistic work in the mid-1980's provided analytical systematic support for the dinosaur-bird evolution theory. 

Of course, there has been some disagreement among modern scientists as to the true evolutionary origin of birds.  Dr. Alan Feduccia, for example, has been an outspoken opponent of the dinosaur-bird evolution hypothesis.  During his 2004 talk at the San Diego History Museum on the origin of birds, he said, "Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it's not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of 'paleobabble' is going to change that."  (Link)  During this talk he especially emphasized the following points:
  • Archaeopteryx is a true bird.
  • "Dinofuzz" is nothing more than collagenic fibers found on many other fossils.
  • Today's highly touted "Feathered Dinosaurs" are a myth: some fossils (i.e. Caudipteryx) have flight-feathers but they aren't really dinos--they are secondarily flightless birds
  • Birds have digits 2-3-4, and theropods have digits 1-2-3. This is powerful evidence that birds couldn't have evolved from theropod dinos.
  • Also, the theropod --> bird hypothesis requires that birds evolved flight from the ground-up. If Caudipteryx has feathers but not for flight, Feduccia finds this explanation quite tenuous. Put simply, ground-up proponents say feathers were pre-adapted for flight but evolved originally for insulation. This is silly because feathers are perfectly suited for flight, and very energetically costly to produce. If insulation was all that was needed, hair would have done the job just fine and would not have been nearly so costly. It strains credibility to say feathers evolved for insulation.
  • Feduccia prefers Microraptor as an ancestor of birds because he likes the trees-down hypothesis, not the ground-up hypothesis.
  • If birds didn't come from theropods, this does leave a rather large time-gap where there is essentially no fossil documentation of exactly what sort of dinos or other reptiles from which birds would have evolved.
Of course, the fact that "quill knobs" have been shown on the arms of real dinosaurs like Velociraptors (pictured above) is quite difficult for many scientists to ignore.  How can the pro and con arguments for key similarities and differences be resolved?  

Well, some scientists are now arguing that dinosaurs evolved from birds, not the other way around.  That's right, birds came first with their complex feathers and flight adaptations and then theropod dinosaurs lost these specialized features when they took to the ground.
“Raptors look quite a bit like dinosaurs but they have much more in common with birds than they do with other theropod dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus,” Ruben said. “We think the evidence is finally showing that these animals which are usually considered dinosaurs were actually descended from birds, not the other way around.”ScienceDaily (Feb. 9, 2010)
So, we have yet another example of devolution in action – the same mechanism that produces flightless birds on windy islands or cavefish without eyes. This form of change over time is very easy to explain since it is far easier to break something via mindless mechanisms than it is to create a working complex system to begin with via any known mindless mechanism.
Again, look as you might, you will not find an example in literature of evolution in action beyond very very low levels of functional complexity (i.e., beyond the level of 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues), nor will you find a mathematical model that makes any useful predictions as to the success of the mechanism of RM/NS at various levels of functional complexity over a given period of time.

In short, faith in the RM/NS mechanism as the primary source of creativity in evolutionary biology for the production of higher level systems of function within gene pools is nothing but fairytale wishful thinking – not science.   Functionally complex differences between different groups of animals, such as the complexity of true bird feathers, can only be explained by deliberate intelligent design.
These are actually 111, 112 and 113 numbered references
  1. Bernhart, Walter R., Dinosaur Nests Reinterpreted, CRSQ Vol 41 No 2 September 2004 ( Link )
  2. Johns, Warren H., Dinosaur eggs and the post-Flood boundary, TJ 19(3) 2005 ( Link )
  3. Tim Radford, Shell shock shows how dinosaurs suffered stress, Science Editor, The Guardian, Thursday 18 February 1999 22.55 EST ( Link )

So in the Darwinist world, they cannot decide if dinosaurs evolved from birds or birds evolved from dinosaurs.   Technically, many of the organisms we commonly call "dinosaurs" are not officially dinosaurs from the point of view of Darwinist Scientism.  The Linnaean classification system was an attempt by Linnaeus to identify the "miyn" or "kinds" that were created by God aka "baramin."  

Baraminology is a modern scientific discipline that Creation Science is currently developing, with far better information to begin with, in order to classify the original kinds and then identify the branching off of organisms via speciation.   Creation tells us that basic kinds with very large genetic information stores were the basic organisms from which the vast and innumerable varieties of organisms of today have speciated.   The Creation/Flood model includes and expects to find myriad fossils in the sedimentary rocks as the rapid anoxic burials were unlikely in normal circumstances.   

Extinctions of organisms is also expected because of mutations and changes n ecosystems.   Some organisms were so overwhelmed by the Flood and the climatic changes thereafter that they no longer exist.   However, many organisms supposed to have become extinct and having supposedly evolved into other organisms have been found, the "Lazarus Taxa" discussed many times and in part three of this series.   Some organisms have remained unchanged other than perhaps not get as large or live as long as they did before the Flood.   The record of humanity recorded in the Bible is one of very long lives before the Flood and increasingly shorter life-spans afterwards.   The Bible does tell us that God declares a change in the lifespan of humanity after the Flood and this is apparently true for virtually all organisms.

A few surprising extinctions are noted - particularly the Trilobites.   Trilobites had some of the most advanced eyes in all of the animal kingdom. Yes, these "Cambrian" creatures were remarkably sophisticated and it is surprising they went extinct...if indeed they are extinct.   After all, mankind has not explored much of the ocean floor and there may well be Trilobites found alive, just as the Coelecanth was discovered.  Oh, and those lobed fins?  They are not precursors to legs, they are used by the organism for swimming mobility.  Another creature somewhat similar to the trilobite does remain, the Mantis Shrimp.  Mantis Shrimps also have extraordinary eyesight and very sophisticated attack weapons used to kill prey and open hard shells of their shelled dinner choices.    Mantis Shrimp are also found in the Cambrian rock layers.   We see no precursors to these organisms, with their highly advanced eyesight, supposedly among the more primitive of creatures.   The evidence is that they were designed that way and some survived the Flood and some did not.  

An interesting note about Baramin...there are multiple kinds that fill the same "niche" in the modern food chain.  Multiple kinds of carnivores, of carrion-eaters, of vegetarians, of omnivores.   Among fish, we often find both freshwater and saltwater versions of the same animal.   Studies have shown that both saltwater and freshwater fish can adjust to life in brackish water and many thrive in such an environment.   There is no problem for fish having survived the Flood, one reason being the nature of big floods in which flows of fresh water would be found within the Flood.  It is also likely the oceans before the Flood were less salty and have slowly added salt content since that Flood event.  Therefore saltwater fish and freshwater fish living successfully in brackish water with a very short period of adjustment makes sense.  

Furthermore, tests of carnivorous animals in today's world show that all of them can subsist on vegetables and insects.   For some it is difficult, but this is due to speciation that has caused, for instance, carnivorous cats to be very difficult to feed without adding flesh to their diets.   But then that is a subject for another post.

"To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." - Shakespeare

"... you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - Jesus Christ