Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published 29 March 2003
Young earth creation science advocate Michael Oard has written a good article (published in Technical Journal (TJ)) on the extinction of the dinosaurs (The Extinction of the Dinosaurs , look under “Overviews” section).1 He takes a good look at the presently debated theories, and then presents his view that the dinosaurs went extinct during or shortly after the Flood of Noah. By this model, it had to be shortly after the flood, after all, you had to kill off those dinosaurs that were on the ark.
Let's take a closer look at this theory from a common sense approach.
The basic model that Oard uses to explain the dinosaur extinction is Noah's Flood. The claim is that the dinosaurs were buried rapidly by sediment during the global flood, as evidenced on page 142 (page 6 of the Adobe Acrobat file) of his article. According to Dr. Oard, that is why we find dinosaur fossil sites that look like mass burial sites, with hundreds of dinosaurs that were quickly buried by the rising waters of the flood. He states "it is no surprise that water is closely associated with the burial and fossilization of the dinosaurs."1 This is acceptable, since many of the dinosaur fossil sites do appear to be mass graveyards buried by fluvial sediments.
To summarize this model, here is what you should see in the geologic record. As the flood waters rise to ten, twenty, thirty feet above the land, all the dinosaurs would have died, which would have happened sometime during the first 40 days of the flood. As the water passed 30 feet, most species would be dead, and their bodies would accumulate in one spot, assuming the herding instinct that Dr. Oard mentions is correct. After all these bodies are covered in sediment, the sediment continues to build up, until deposition stops and the flood waters recede. What you should see in the geologic record is this...one single layer of strata containing the mass dinosaur graves, topped by other layers of rock.
However, here is where the creation science model of the Flood causing the dinosaur extinctions falls apart. Earlier in the article, Dr. Oard briefly explains the fact that there have been many extinctions in the geologic record. In fact, the alleged extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago is not the first extinction event for the dinosaur family, nor the largest. What Dr. Oard does not do, is go back and discuss these extinctions as separate events. He cannot do this, because then he would sink his own dinosaur extinction theory. In fact, these dinosaur extinctions are at different levels of the geologic record, and are clearly separated by millions of years. There is no way the young earth creation science model can explain two mass graves at different levels of the rock strata. As the waters rose, all the dinosaurs would have been killed at nearly the same time, and deposited in the same rock layer.
The only way to explain this is that there was a fluctuating water level, temporarily exposing the rock above the dinosaur graveyard. Then more dinosaurs moved in, and the waters rose again, killing them in the same spot. Unfortunately, this cannot happen in the worldwide flood model proposed in young earth creationism.
Lack of Coordination
Dr. Oard did this research article under the auspices of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). You would think that they would reference any new publications with previously released material, to see if there were any conflicts. Obviously, this is not the case here.
One of the leading global flood models is the one proposed by ICR, in their book Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe. Let’s look at this, from a Biblical and scientific perspective.
The authors propose the early part of the Flood deposited the horizontal rock layers we see in the Grand Canyon area, which are dated by geologists as being Paleozoic, or 240-570 million years old. They go on to state that the receding flood waters deposited the rocks above this point, which are the Mesozoic and Cenozoic.
All the dinosaur bearing rock strata are above the Grand Canyon, and are Mesozoic in age. Genesis 7:21-23 clearly states that after the waters reached their maximum level and prevailed upon the earth, all creatures on the earth were killed. Genesis 7:24 says the water prevailed on the earth for 150 days…it stayed at its maximum level. If, during the first 150 days all animal life died (Genesis 7:21-23), then how were the dinosaurs still around, laying eggs, making footprints, leaving dinosaur excrement, when they were already dead! Remember, they are in the layers of rock laid down by the receding flood waters, during the last phase of the flood.
Even a glance at one of the dinosaur graveyards gives compelling evidence against the Flood model. At one site, there are the bones of plant-eating dinosaurs, and right beside them, are tiny teeth from baby therapod (meat-eating) dinosaurs (and adults also). The bones of the plant-eaters show chew marks from these teeth. Now, we have the Global Flood killing these 20-foot tall plant eaters, then a five-foot tall baby therapod swims down to them and chews on the bones!
On page 144, Oard addresses the existence of carnivorous teeth, and teeth marks on the bones in the mass graveyards, and claims they are further proof of their end during the flood! He explains that tectonic uplift, or falling sea level, as responsible for exposing these bodies to air. However, if these dinosaurs were killed in the Flood, why did T-Rex survive the Flood? He should have perished along with the others in the mass graves! The sea level could not be falling AND rising, because there are rock layers on top of these rock layers where the mass graves are. In the Flood of Noah, the water rose, and the water receded...that's it...no fluctuating. But, to get this young earth creation science model to work, you must have rising, falling, rising, falling, etc...many times, to produce what we see in the geologic record. Wow, I guess the next theory from the young-earth camp will be that T-Rex was an excellent swimmer! Also, note that Oard fails to mention the presence of the baby teeth!
Yes, it is a mystery as to why only one type of dinosaur is in these mass graves, but that in no way proves anything when related to a young earth creation science model (unless you want to say it proves T-Rex was an excellent swimmer who could tread water for months). Of course, they can’t do this, because Genesis 7:21-23 states all the animals were killed.
Dr. Oard briefly touches on the problem of eggs appearing at different stratigraphic levels (p.145). He explains this away because "However, in one instance the 'different levels' are many tens of kilometres apart. Since outcrops (exposure of rocks at the surface) are isolated, the stratigraphy could easily be a little confused, due to facies changes or erosion that could have stripped more strata from one area than the other. In these cases, the eggs could be at the same time horizon.
That is not a problem at Como Bluff in Wyoming, because the dinosaur bearing strata are stacked on top of each other, so as to remove any possibility of them being deposited at the same time. The egg sites here must be from different time periods, and since the flood would have only left one graveyard, there must be multiple events differing in time, not in location. And, since these eggs are in the receding portion of the flood, there should be no dinosaurs around to lay them anyway!
What are we to conclude? Its obvious from the geologic record that there are multiple dinosaur graveyards, separated by thousands of feet of rock. By the model of the Flood extinction, this cannot happen, because if you killed all the dinosaurs in a few day period, you would only have one layer of dinosaur fossils...yet we have layer upon layer. The upper layers should not be there, according to the flood model, because all the dinosaurs were already killed in the first layer! Obviously, all the dinosaurs were not killed by the Flood of Noah, but millions of years ago.
One other thought. The author mentions the fact that there were no juveniles in the mass dinosaur graveyards. While this is nice to know, it has nothing to do with proving the Flood killed all the dinosaurs, because...if the Flood model can't lay down multiple dinosaur beds, it doesn't matter how young or old the dinosaurs were, it just clouds the issue.
The same thing goes for dinosaur footprints, eggs, nest-sites, etc. They are all secondary issues to the one overlying logical conclusion that the multiple layers are from multiple death events.
The author concludes with a discussion of the K/T boundary at the end of the Cretaceous. While interesting, it has little to do with disproving the flood theory...we have already done that above with simple logic.
1 Michael J. Oard, The Extinction of the Dinosaurs, page 6. This is page 6 of the Adobe Acrobat file, which is an excerpt from CEN Technical Journal, vol. 11, Number 2, 1997, page 142. On the web at answersingenesis.org/home/area/magazines/tj/tj_v11n2.asp
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