Amazing Fossils, Dead and Alive
Australia’s oldest bird tracks with dinosaurs, “living fossil” sponges and other strange and wonderful findings accentuate the news on natural history.
Cretaceous bird tracks: The oldest bird tracks in Australia, claimed 105 million years old, were reported by Science Daily. Anthony Martin (Emory U) commented, “These tracks are evidence that we had sizeable, flying birds living alongside other kinds of dinosaurs on these polar, river floodplains, about 105 million years ago.” The tracks show skidmarks of landing, as if made by large birds like herons or egrets. Martin said, “I immediately knew what it was — a flight landing track — because I’ve seen many similar tracks made by egrets and herons on the sandy beaches of Georgia.” Megan Gannon at Live Science noted a conundrum: “The bird tracks were found very close to another footprint that looks like it was left by a non-avian theropod, possibly one of the coelurosaurs, the group of dinosaurs most closely related to birds that includes beasts like the Tyrannosaurus rex” (see 10/25/13). The abstract of the paper in Palaeontology says these are “the oldest known fossil bird tracks in Australia and the only Early Cretaceous ones from Gondwana.” Watermark: crev.info. The timing of this news fits perfectly with a recent article on Creation Ministries International about museum displays misleading the public by failing to point out that bird and dinosaur fossils are often found together.
Living fossil sponges: Glass sponges are among the oldest multicellular animals in the evolutionary chronology, but they’re doing just fine near Canada, reported National Geographic about the “First-ever Submarine Dive on Vancouver’s ‘Living Fossils’ Glass Sponge Reef.” What a surprise it was:
“It was like discovering a herd of dinosaurs on land,” says Manfred Krautter, a paleobiologist at the University of Stuttgart in Germany. “It was like going back in time because I had been looking at the fossil sponges for decades, and here they were alive.“
The area covers 280 square miles. “It’s an oasis,” Sally Leys [U of Alberta] said . “You come along in the mud [on the seafloor] and then all of a sudden, kapoof, it’s life.” The first such reef was discovered in 1986. In the evolutionary scenario 160 million years ago, these reefs were the largest in earth history.
Had hadrosaur: An early Cretaceous hadrosaur in China was announced on PhysOrg. Although the discoverers claimed this fossil “can elucidate the evolution of hadrosauroids, especially the origin of hadrosaurids,” the article made it clear it’s an evolutionary mystery: “The origin of hadrosaurid dinosaurs is far from clear, mainly due to the paucity of their early Late Cretaceous close relatives” (compare with the story of tyrannosaur origins, 10/256/13).
Lost and found world: Another “lost world” habitat has been found at the summit of Cape Melville by scientists from the University of Queensland, reported PhysOrg. So far, a leaf-tailed gecko, a speckled frog and a gold-colored skink have been identified, but the team believes more species, perhaps small mammals, remain to be discovered. “Finding three new, obviously distinct vertebrates would be surprising enough in somewhere poorly explored like New Guinea, let alone in Australia, a country we think we’ve explored pretty well.” It’s been hard to reach because “The virtually impassable mountain range is home to millions of black granite boulders the size of cars and houses piled hundreds of metres high, eroded in places after being thrust up through the earth millions of years ago.” The article did not explain how these species avoided finding migration paths for millions of years, but one of the researchers made this remark:
“All the animals from Cape Melville are incredible just for their ability to persist for millions of years in the same area and not go extinct. It’s just mind-blowing,” [Conrad] Hoskin said.
Fossils under skyscrapers: PhysOrg described the ongoing work at La Brea Tar Pits in Century City, near Los Angeles – a fossil graveyard so vast, it could take another century to excavate. You are reading material from crev.info. Of interest is the fact that more Pleistocene fossils turn up every time there is a dig for a new parking lot or skyscraper in the area, outside the designated tar pit area. The article presents the usual slow-and-gradual entrapment story, but admits this mystery:
Despite a century of digging, scientists still can’t agree on how the Ice Age beasts became extinct. Some suggested that the prehistoric predators may have competed with humans for similar prey and that carnivores ate carcasses out of desperation. But Larisa DeSantis of Vanderbilt University said dental studies of saber-toothed cats and other carnivores suggest they were “living the good life” before they became extinct.
The Canaanite crisis: Pollen grains are being used to piece together a story of the collapse of Bronze Age civilization in the land of Israel, a story in PhysOrg explains: “More than 3,200 years ago, the thriving civilizations in and around modern-day Israel suddenly collapsed for reasons that have long been a mystery.” Pollen, “the most enduring organic substance in nature,” is being radiocarbon dated in sediment cores dug from the Sea of Galilee. The study is being conducted by Israel Finkelstein, a well-known critic of Biblical chronology. What does he attribute the collapse to? “climate change” between 1250-1100 BC, but not due to anthropogenic chariot driving or Joshua. “After the devastation came a wet period of recovery and resettlement, according to the researchers, eventually giving rising to the kingdoms of biblical times, including ancient Israel and Judah.”
We hope you enjoyed these reports brought to you by Creation-Evolution Headlines. Have you given us your Feedback? Please let us know from time to time what you think of the news and commentary here, using either the general Feedback line about this site, or the Comments for your thoughts a particular article. As we showed in our 10/27/13 article, the secularists and evolutionists continue to be surprised by empirical data that, when cleansed of evolutionary assumptions, are not that unexpected from a Biblical viewpoint. That’s because advocates of Biblical history doubt the “Kapoof, it’s life” theory of evolution with its tales of birds evolving from their contemporaries, animals sitting unevolved for 160 million years, and stories made up out of lack of evidence (i.e., thin air, hot air, or both). Too much “mind-blowing” on evolutionary fumes can be bad for one’s mental health, e.g., “incredible just for their ability to persist for millions of years in the same area and not go extinct. It’s just mind-blowing!”