By Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published February 2003
An excellent question is posed on the young earth creation science website Answers in Genesis. The title of the article is "Where are all the human fossils?”1 The subtitle goes on to ask, "Why are human fossils not found with trilobites, for example? If humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, why aren’t their fossils found together? How could the Flood produce the order in the fossil record?"
The author, whoever it might be, tries to explain it. Those willing to accept his article without questioning its accuracy will be swayed by his arguments. But, if you apply a little common sense logic to it, his conclusions fall apart.
Here is the problem for the young earth creation science believer. Creationists believe that most of the fossils were formed during the year-long global Flood recorded in Genesis. This is a minor point, but...I'm an old earth proponent, and I'm a Creationist, but I don't believe this.
His first section is "Do the rock strata represent eons of time?" As an example of this, he chooses the ill-fated example of the Coconino sandstone. I've already proved that this sandstone cannot be formed using the Flood model (see my article on this by clicking here). He makes another mistake by claiming, "Other rock layers in the Grand Canyon indicate that they were rapidly deposited also, and without substantial time-breaks between the laying down of each unit." Exactly what is the definition of "substantial time-breaks?" In fact, there are multiple time breaks in the Grand Canyon strata, one of them lasting 230 million years. (see the article on Stratigraphy, click here)
The next section is "Evidence that dinosaurs and humans co-existed." The author mentions the "many historical accounts" of living animals, known as dragons. I didn't know that Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, and Anklyosaurus breathed fire! That would certainly make the front page of most newspapers (click here for an explanation of recent sightings and drawings). Then he mentions the behemoth of Job 40. Unfortunately, this is not a passage that people take literally, but figuratively. For instance, Job 39:9 states, “Canst thou bind the unicorn…” Seen any unicorn fossils lately? None have ever been recovered. Look at Leviathan in Job 41…have any "fire-breathing" leviathans of Job 41:18-21 been discovered. If every single verse of the Bible is to be taken literally, then EVERY Christian in the world would be crawling around with both their hands and feet chopped off, and their eyes poked out (Matthew 18:8-9).
Other claims in this section include:
Unmineralized (unfossilized) dinosaur bones. Could some even have blood cells in them? So what if they do! We have uncovered billions of bones. Odds are that some would be preserved much better than others!
Rocks with dinosaur fossils have very little plant material. Let's see, bacteria can break down plant material in a year, and how long will bones last...many years. Even so, depositional systems are mostly fluvial, the plant material mostly floating away.
Next the author talks about "What about the general pattern?" He states that rock strata follows a general pattern. Finally, we agree on something, but only the generalizations of the first two paragraphs. The author then states, "If there were, say, 10 million people at the time of the Flood and all their bodies were preserved and uniformly distributed throughout the 700 million cubic kilometres of fossil-bearing sedimentary rock layers, only one would be found in every 70 cubic kilometres of rock. Thus you would be unlikely to find even one human fossil."
He is forgetting something. Before the Tower of Babel, before the Flood, people all lived in one area in the Middle East! He can't assume they were uniformly distributed throughout all the fossil-bearing sedimentary rock layers worldwide. In fact, they propose that the mass graves of the dinosaurs indicated their end in the Flood. But if you have 10 million people in a small geographic area, they probably would have "huddled" together before they drowned, so where are these mass graves? None have been found! The authors' conclusion that we "would be unlikely to find even one human fossil" is a gross inaccuracy. But, he HAS to state this, because no evidence of these human fossils has been found to support the Flood.
The author then makes a startling statement..."On the other hand, land animals, such as mammals and birds, being mobile (especially birds), could escape to higher ground and be the last to succumb." Yes, he said "birds." Thanks for bringing this up! Exactly what "birds" of the Jurassic and Cretaceous period are you talking about? Nobody has ever found any modern day birds, buried in the same rock formation as the flyers of the Dinosaur Era, the Pteranadon and Pterodactyl. If they all fled the flood by air, why are they not buried together in the same rock layer??? We should see modern birds, buried with Pterodactyls...but we don't.
The author then states, "People would cling to rafts, logs etc. until the very end and then tend to bloat and float and be scavenged by fish, with the bones breaking down rather quickly, rather than being preserved. This would make human fossils from the Flood exceedingly rare." This theory won't float either. Even if they were scavenged by fish, the bones would merely need to last one year, since the Flood was only on the earth that long. After a few days of scavenging by fish, the meat gone, the dense bone would sink, and be buried rapidly, if we follow the model of the Flood proposed by young-earth creationists. So, where are the fossils...they should be there!
Then he claims more mobile, intelligent animals would tend to survive the longest and be buried last. Not sure what he is intending here, after all, studies of dinosaur brain cavities have not shown a lot of intelligence on their part, except for a few of the raptor types.
Interesting to note he refers to "Cope's Rule." This is another trick I've noticed in several young-earth creation articles. They like to use old, outdated research material to support their cause. Here, they rely on 19th century material.
The stratigraphic distribution of fossils shows increasing complexity as you get younger in the geologic column. This does not fit the flood model, and fits perfectly with the geologic explanation of millions of years. If you had all the land animals killed early on in the Flood, then their fossils would be mixed together in the oldest rock layers. In other words, you would see humans, dinosaurs, and all sorts of creatures buried together in the rock. That is not what the fossil record shows. It shows increasingly complex organisms as you progress up the geologic column.
While a valiant attempt, the author fails to make a logical, convincing theory for the lack of human fossils.
In conclusion, the author states "When God pronounced judgment on the world, He said, ‘I will destroy [blot out] man whom I have created from the face of the earth’ (Gen. 6:7). Perhaps the lack of pre-flood human fossils is part of the fulfillment of this judgment?" So, "If you can't prove it, just ignore it," is another way to state this summary. I guess God could have "vaporized" all the human remains after the Flood, but then, if He was going to do that, why even bother with a flood, just start "vaporizing" them. The fact is, He chose to drown them in a Flood, so the fossils should support this...but they don't.
Does this mean there was no Flood...of course not. It merely means you can't prove it by a lack of human fossils.
If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth. Click here for more.
Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism? Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life? If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.
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about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
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