By Greg Neyman
© 2010, Old Earth Ministries
First Published 14 July 2010
In the 13 July 2010 web article on the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) website, author Brian Thomas makes the claim that a "mega" dinosaur bonebed found in Canada is proof for a young earth.1 Claims that young earth creationism is supported by dinosaur bonebeds containing hundreds of fossil skeletons is nothing new, as Answers In Creation has provided many rebuttals to these claims in the past. Is there anything new in this one?
The bonebed in question contains mostly fossils of the species Centrocaurus.
Centrosaurus apertus, a ceratopsian from the Late Cretaceous of North America, pencil drawing, digital coloring (by Nobu Tamura. Picture Source)
Thomas expounds on the bonebed in grand descriptions, which is common among young earth literature. He quotes the author of the secular article about the dinosaur bonebed as saying "the scale of the carnage must have been breathtaking," and Thomas adds "as these and other creatures tried but failed to escape the onrushing waters." These are allusions to the young earth version of Noah's Flood, as the reader is supposed to imagine that the event that caused the graveyard must have been the worldwide flood. Such grand descriptions are meant to play upon the emotions of the reader, and are used frequently by YEC proponents, to make up for the fact that they have no scientific proof to back up their claims.
The key paragraph for understanding the young earth claims is this one:
The standard dinosaur fossilization story holds that the reptiles were crossing a stream and got caught in a rising river. But no rising streams today deposit fossil graveyards. Tropical storms, however, are known to drive water ashore and devastate landscapes, washing over whatever animals lie in their paths. The tropical storm model may be an improvement over the flooded stream scenario, but it is equally true that today's hurricane storm surges don't produce fossil graveyards either!
There is no "standard" dinosaur fossilization story, as Thomas claims. Each fossil find must be evaluated individually. It is true that many river floods have been the culprit behind multiple dinosaur skeleton graveyards. This is known from the rock layers in which the dinosaurs are found, as ancient riverbeds can be identified.
Next, he attacks the tropical storm model that is proposed by the secular scientists, however, he misrepresents it. If you look at the actual reports on the bonebed (click here), the authors propose not single hurricane storm surges, but monsoon-type rains over a coastal floodplain. In the article about this find, it states,
According to the team, coastal plain floods, like those that afflict modern Bangladesh, occur on a geographic scale that is so vast that they often kill large varieties and numbers of the larger terrestrial animals, regardless of whether they live solitary lives or spend their time in large herds. “Because of their size and the scale of the flooding, dinosaurs could not escape the coastal floodwaters and would have been killed in large numbers.
While the scientists are pointing to monsoon-type flooding that occurs from tropical storms, the young earth author is giving his readers the picture of a single storm surge from a single hurricane. Not only is this misleading, it doesn't even come close to what the actual scientific team is claiming. To learn more about flooding of this type, read about Bangladesh flooding. It is fascinating that up to 80 percent of Bangladesh is coastal flood plain, and it is not uncommon to have more than half the country flooded.
Thus we have a scenario where this part of Canada was a coastal flood plain. During the Late Cretaceous, the climate was warmer than it is now, and there was no polar icecaps. In addition, Canada was a little further south than it is now. These factors combine to make Canada subject to tropical storms. Thus, dinosaurs which would have been feeding on these flood plains would have been vulnerable to flooding.
Thomas also makes the argument that tropical storms would not "bury them deep enough to keep them from rotting before they could fossilize." YEC arguments frequently claim that an animal must be buried quickly in order to become a fossil. However, you don't have to bury an animal quickly to make a fossil. In the case of these dinosaurs, the scientists note that “The evidence suggests that after the flood, dinosaur scavengers trampled and smashed bones in their attempt to feast on the rotting remains.” Evidence for scavenging would include many broken bones and bite marks on the bones. Although scavenging would have been completed in a matter of weeks, it may have taken years for the bones to be completely buried. As the floods came the next year, it would be easy for the floodwaters to collect and move the bones so that they are all together in a small geographic area.
The dinosaurs in the bonebed were killed by
a flood event, just as the scientists claim, and just as young earth
The dinosaurs in the bonebed were killed by a flood event, just as the scientists claim, and just as young earth creationists claim.However, as we see each year, there are many floods, and the geologic record contains many examples of ancient floods that occurred millions of years ago. Couple this with the fact that the geologic record contains no evidence of a global flood, and we see that there is no proof at all that Noah's Flood was the one that killed these dinosaurs. Old earth creationists can rest assured that these dinosaurs were killed by a flood millions of years ago.
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1 Brian Thomas, Canadian 'Mega' Dinosaur Bonebed Formed by Watery Catastrophe, ICR website, 13 July 2010.
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