by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published 16 Sep 2003
Old Earth Ministries Website
Young earth creation science models for the Flood of Noah claim that the sedimentary layers of the world were created during the Flood. The reason for this is their belief that there was no physical death before Adam’s sin. As a result, they must account for all the fossils in the rock record.
According to the young earth model, the flood created these rock layers, and killed the animals that we see in the rocks. However, the young earth creation science model has a problem…the distribution of animals in the rock layers does not lend itself to an easy fit with the Flood model. To demonstrate this, let’s look at young earth creationist Steven Austin, and the Institute for Creation Research book Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe. He explains that all the Mesozoic rocks (Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous, or 248 to 65 million years ago on the geologic time scale) were late-flood rocks, i.e., the rock layers were formed when the Flood waters were receding from the earth.1 However, the Mesozoic rock layers is where ALL the dinosaur fossils are found…none appear earlier or later. This presents insurmountable obstacles for the young-earth model, as we will see below.
Other young earth creationists, recognizing this flaw, oppose using the Mesozoic as “receding water” sediments. They simply identify the possible boundary of the Flood/Post-Flood sediments. Even doing it this way, they still have dinosaurs during the middle to late portion of the Flood, because they too must lay down the same rock layers.
Some young earth creation scientists explain away the fossil distribution problem, by stating the bodies floated around the globe, and eventually sank. To counter this possibility, we only have to look at the study done by young earth creationists Baumgardner and Barnette. In their study of the ocean currents for a globe completely covered by water, they showed that ocean currents would have been around 150 miles per hour, in cyclonic patterns above the continental land masses (where the dinosaur fossils would be). At this speed, no large objects, such as dinosaurs, would float, but would instead be battered by the current, and by other objects caught in the current. We would end up with small fragments, not entire bones. The bones would not fall out of suspension until they left the cyclonic area, and would be deposited in the ocean basins...never again to be found.
Even if any of the three above young earth creation science ideas were correct, there are several major, insurmountable problems this presents for the young-earth scientist, for which they have no answer.
Before we proceed, lets lay a little groundwork first. God made it rain upon the earth for 40 days. At the end of the forty days, the water would be at it’s highest. Therefore, it stands to reason that all land animals are killed before the end of this forty day period of rain. We see this in Genesis 7:20-23, which states,
“Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. 21And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man; 22All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. 23And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth; and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.”
It is obvious that all animals were dead at the end of this forty day period of rain.
However, the evidence we have of the dinosaurs indicates that they were alive and well when the Mesozoic rocks were being deposited, which, according to young earth creation science theory, is the receding phase of the flood, when the waters are decreasing. The time period for this receding phase can be deduced from Genesis. Genesis 7:24 states,
“And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.”
Couple this with the 40 days of rain, and we have 190 days until the waters started to recede from the earth. This is the point that the young earth model claims that the dinosaur-bearing Mesozoic rocks were deposited…a full 150 days after all the dinosaurs were supposedly killed. To answer this, they turn to the floating body theory mentioned above. However, as you will see below, the evidence does not support this theory.
Now that we have laid the groundwork, let’s look at the evidences from the Mesozoic rocks which completely shatter the young earth flood model.
Fossilized excrement in the rock record is called a coprolite. Many studies have been done on coprolites. You can examine them for evidences of what the animal was eating. As I write this, I have a piece of dinosaur poop on my desk as a paperweight. It’s a great conversation item…I have visitors pick it up and guess what it is first, before telling them it’s a 140 million year old piece of dinosaur poop. Coprolites appear throughout the dinosaur fossil record during the Mesozoic.
It is important to note that all of the fossilized dinosaur poop is found in Mesozoic rocks. According to Steven Austin and the young-earth proponents, these rocks were deposited in the receding phase of the flood, therefore to have dinosaurs pooping in these rocks, when they were clearly dead by the end of the 40 days of rain, is not possible.
The only possible young earth creation science model to explain fossil distribution (including coprolites) is the floating body model. As the bodies floated around, they gradually sank, giving us the fossil record we see today. However, let’s consider the poop. Even if the dinosaurs floated until the same time and then sank, how is it that their poop sank at exactly the same time as the bodies? No, this explanation is not feasible.
For the person considering old-versus-young earth creation, they must consider…why do we have dinosaurs laying down all this poop, right in the middle of sediments deposited by the receding waters of Noah’s Flood? By the young earth Flood model, all the animals died within the first forty days of the Flood, so why do we have massive amounts of coprolites in late-Flood sediments? The facts don’t add up to the young earth model for the flood. And, if we had dinosaurs living just before the flood, it stands to reason that dinosaur poop would be found in the earliest rocks of the flood as well. However, looking at the Grand Canyon alone, we have at least a mile of sediments laid down by the flood, with no dinosaur poop at all! (All Grand Canyon sediments are stratigraphically underneath the dinosaur fossil-bearing rock layers of the Mesozoic period.)
There is only one logical conclusion. This is direct evidence of a living, breathing animal, alive on earth in the latter part of the Flood, which is a direct contradiction of the young earth model. Therefore, the young earth creation science model must be incorrect.
With poop, we have indirect evidence of dinosaurs which were eating and eliminating food in the middle of the flood. Let’s move on to more direct evidence of living dinosaurs. To further complicate the issue for the young-earth model, the fossil record is full of the footprints of animals. Locations that have many of these prints are called trackways.
For example, let’s look at the Morrison Formation in Wyoming, which has yielded hundreds of skeletons of Apatosaurus. The Morrison contains many footprints of these magnificent beasts. However, if you believe the young-earth Flood model, these could not exist! How can animals that are dead be making footprints in rocks which are hundreds of feet underwater? It’s not possible.
To re-emphasize again, the dinosaur layers, including the Morrison, are Mesozoic in age, and, if you believe the young earth flood model, they were deposited after the animals on earth were killed, during the receding water phase of the Flood. It is not possible to have walking dinosaurs when the entire planet is under water! How could we have footprints from animals that should already be dead from the first 40 days of the flood?
Again, it is clear that the young earth model for Noah’s flood cannot explain why there are signs of living dinosaurs during the latter stages of the flood. However, there is more evidence awaiting us.
The Maiasaura is a beautiful dinosaur. The name means “good mother lizard.” It was so named because of the way it protected its nest, as can be seen in the fossil record. Fossils of this dinosaur are found, still sitting on top of their nests full of eggs.
Other dinosaurs are also found with their eggs, such as Oviraptor.2 It is important to note that these egg sites are at different stratigraphic layers. In other words, fossil eggs/nests are found in one site, and then several hundred feet of sediment below that site, more eggs/nests are found.
Young earth proponents look at the Maiasaura’s nesting sites and see this as evidence of the flood burying them rapidly as they nested. However, this does not fit the evidence. First, because they are at different stratigraphic layers, separated by hundreds, or thousands of feet of sediment, they cannot be from the same flood event.
Second, and more importantly, why do we have nests with eggs, in sediments that were supposedly deposited in the receding water phase of Noah’s Flood? Technically, the dinosaurs would have to survive the first 40 days of the Flood, then swim around until the water subsided, and then lay their eggs on dry land, only to be immediately buried again by the waters of the Flood. However, Genesis 7:20-23 makes it clear that all animals died during the first forty days of the flood…therefore who is laying these eggs? Obviously, there is mating going on between dinosaurs, right in the middle of Noah’s Flood!
Once again, the evidence directly contradicts the young earth creation science model for Noah’s flood. There is direct evidence of mating dinosaurs during the middle of the flood.
Many young earth theorists point to the mass dinosaur graves as evidence of catastrophic death and burial during the Flood. There is one critical piece of information that the young earth creationism overlooks in using these as evidence of a young earth.
Young earth proponents are eager to point to mass graves as proving that a great flood killed these dinosaurs, however, they fail to consider that there are other dinosaur fossils above and below the rock layers at these gravesites. If the flood killed them, then they would all be located in the same rock layer. In fact, we should see fossils of Tyrannosaurus Rex right alongside the fossils of Apatosaurus.
However, we don’t see this jumbled mix of species in these graves. The mass graves that have been found contain one type of dinosaur, such as the graves of hadrosaurs found in the western United States. If the young earth model were true, we would have one layer of dinosaur fossils, with all the species mixed together.
The fact that these graves contain single species supports the old-earth theory. Why? Think for a minute about the T-Rex and Apatosaurus. According to young-earth theory, they should be found together as a result of the flood…but they are not. Why not? Because they didn’t live at the same time! The Apatosaurus lived in the late Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago. The T-rex is a more recent dinosaur species, all living around 67 million years ago. The two species never interacted, never shared the same piece of real estate.
As you can see, the mass graveyards offer no evidence to support a young earth, and no support for the dinosaur’s end by the flood of Noah.
Finally, one piece of evidence often overlooked at mass gravesites is the teeth marks. Many of these bones show chew marks from carnivorous dinosaurs, as they fed on the carcasses of the dead animals. In several cases, right alongside the large teeth marks are small ones from the juvenile dinosaurs of the same species.
Dinosaur teeth are continually reproduced. As they break off during feeding, a new one is grown right underneath the older tooth. At these feeding sites, we have both adult and juvenile teeth that have been shed during the eating of these carcasses.
The young earth model fails to explain the existence of these teeth marks, and the shed teeth at these sites. It is obvious that carnivorous dinosaurs, both adult and juvenile, were feeding on the carcasses in these graveyards. So one must ask…why did the meat-eaters not die also during the initial flood event? How could they be alive, and eating at these all-you-can-eat dinosaur buffets, when according to the young-earth model they were dead also?
Clearly, the young-earth model cannot account for this evidence of feeding dinosaurs during the receding portion of the flood of Noah. The only way to explain it from a young earth creation science model is the following proposal…
…the plant eaters were killed by the flood. However, the carnivorous dinosaurs, who were adept at swimming in great currents of water, survived much longer. As they swam around, they dived down, persevering through the 150 mile per hour water currents, and reached bottom, where the bodies of the plant eaters were. They feasted, old and young alike, until their breath could not hold out, and then surfaced for air.
You can see how ridiculous this proposal is. However, if you want a young earth, this is what you have to believe.
The young earth creation science Flood model cannot explain all the evidences for dinosaurs that were living, pooping, walking, breeding, and eating, right in the middle of Noah’s Flood. By their model, they should have died in the first 40 days of the Flood, as God says in Genesis 7:20-23, but instead we have direct evidence that they survived the first 40 days of the Flood. The young earth model is in direct contradiction to the Bible in this matter.
The only plausible explanation is that the earth is billions of years old. These dinosaur rock layers were laid down millions of years ago, just like the geologist has said all along. The standard geologic explanation is the best one, and there is no need to try and squeeze all the fossil bearing rock layers into a year-long flood event.
God created the dinosaurs millions of years ago. There is no plausible evidence to suggest otherwise.
1 Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, Figure 4.1
2 Rocks, Fossils and Dinosaurs, page 312. Fog City Press, 2002
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