8 March 2006
by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
The recent discovery of the largest mammal ever to be found in Triassic age sediments in China has now come to the attention of young earth creation science ministry Answers in Genesis. Dr. Kurt Wise has written a daily feature on the implications of this find to the creation debate.1
To give you some background, the new fossil species is called Castorocauda lutrasimilis, and it apparently is an underwater mammal, with water-proofing hair, vertebrae designed for swimming, a broad tail, and webbed hind feet. Dr. Wise calls this an example of divine design. I agree, but non-Christians merely see arguments such as this as emotional appeals (a "God of the Gaps" type argument).
How does this impact the creation debate? Wise says that finding a well-designed mammal "among the dinosaurs is not a great surprise to creationists." He then says it is a challenge for evolution...at least that's what the young earth establishment would like its followers to believe. As proof, he offers the fact that it has no known living descendants, thus evolutionists must believe that features, such as the beaver-like tail and others, developed on two different creatures millions of years apart. Evolution has no problem explaining this convergent evolution. It is only a problem in the minds of young earth creationists.
His next argument is even worse. He states "A further problem is the fact that such a specialized mammal is found so low stratigraphically. Similar specializations aren't seen in fossil mammals until much further up the stratigraphic column." All this means is that this animal developed before the later animals. This is not a problem for evolution (again, an imagined problem in the minds of young earth creationists). It is, however, a huge problem for Dr. Wise. Why are there no fossil mammals below this point stratigraphically? In this time period in the United States (Jurassic), the flood had already deposited 8,000 feet of sediment (see my series on Stratigraphy). Why are there no mammals (or dinosaurs) in the lower 8,000 feet of sediment deposited by Noah's Flood? The young earth model fails completely when you consider the distribution of fossils in the rocks.
Dr. Wise continues by mentioning several other items which evolutionists must work out. They are not problems, they are just questions that will be answered with more study. The final result of this claim is that this mammal provides no evidence for a young earth.
1 Swimming with the dinosaurs, published at answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0308dinosaurs.asp
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