Hundreds of Dino Tracks Found Eroding at Scottish Beach
Could these sauropod tracks have survived the ocean for thousands of years, let alone millions?
“Hundreds of giant dinosaur footprints found in Scottish lagoon” on the Isle of Skye, New Scientist reports. Twenty-ton sauropods left these tracks 170 million Darwin Years ago, according to Steven Brusatte (U of Edinburgh) and his team. The circumstances, however, raise questions:
This is the largest discovery of dinosaur footprints in Scotland. And it helps to piece together how and where these behemoths lived.
“These dinosaurs weren’t swimmers but they would have been moving around knee-deep in this brackish lagoon. Maybe the plants there were a good food source or maybe they got some protection from other dinosaurs there,” says Brusatte.
Wouldn’t footprints in shallow water be quickly erased? It’s uncanny that the reports do not consider this. PhysOrg notes the conditions but not the preservation:
There are so many tracks crossing each other that it looks like a dinosaur disco preserved in stone. By following the tracks you can walk with these dinosaurs as they waded through a lagoon 170 million years ago, when Scotland was so much warmer than today.
Aside from the fact that this implies global warming is nothing new, the tracks not only formed in an watery environment, they continue to be exposed to forces of erosion. Sid Perkins at Science Magazine didn’t question the age or preservation. Live Science didn’t point this out, either; instead, its coverage joked about an “ancient Nessie.”
A feature on BBC Earth begins with artwork that would be anachronistic to evolutionists: a sauropod accompanied by oxen. It mentions that the fossils they were looking for were not visible when the reporter accompanied Brusatte, because it was high tide.
In the article, Brusatte enters a storytelling trance, claiming there was a “whole lot of evolution going on” at the time the footprints were made (this contradicts findings about how long it takes two coordinated mutations to emerge—100 million years—according to the documentary film Living Waters).
In an infographic, the highly visual BBC article gives five steps on “How to Make a Dinosaur Footprint.”
- Step 1: Dinosaur steps in soft mud; not too hard and not too soft for best results.
- Step 2: Mud baked hard in searing sun.
- Step 3: Hardened mud with print is covered by fresh soft mud.
- Step 4: Step 3 is repeated hundreds or thousands of times and the mud left to harden to rock over the course of millions of years.
- Step 5: The processes of erosion may eventually weather away top layers to reveal print.
Quiz question for students: which of these steps is not testable? Answer: Step 4. No human has observed millions of years. It would be possible to test Steps 1-3, but then, the question becomes, for Step 5, how to time the erosion so that the top layers of rock erode down to the footprints just in time for scientists to observe them. Too fast, and the prints would be gone. Too slow, and they would not be visible for more millions of years.
Another unaddressed puzzle is why marine reptiles (ichthyosaurs) are found with the sauropod footprints on the Isle of Skye, along with amphibians, small reptiles and fish. A museum on the island houses bones of both land animals and marine animals.
Because smaller bones are more fragile and less likely to be preserved as fossils, they are rarer. They tend to only be found in relatively quiet environments such as lagoons, where they are protected from waves, currents and strong winds.
“Dinosaurs are important,” says Challands. “But so are the smaller things. We were very pleased to find some shark teeth on Skye. Finding and studying them can be a long process but they can tell us a lot about the diversity of the food web. There’s hardly anywhere else in the world that preserves such fossils from this period.”
A video clip shows Brusatte’s colleague Tom Challands pointing out the dinosaur footprints in rocks at the tidepool zone. Brusatte expresses his excitement about finding a “dinosaur disco, a dinosaur dance floor” but never mentions how these prints could have survived for 170 million years in a watery environment exposed to the tides. The Rocky Mountains could erode to sea level in just 10 million years. Accelerating discoveries of dinosaur soft tissue (see 12/01/15) should be challenging the assumption these creatures lived eons ago.
In any other field of academic study, would such stories be swallowed whole without question? Would they not be exposed to searing criticism for their implausibilities? What is it about long ages and evolution that allows storytellers like Brusatte and Challands to get away with it? Reporters subject politicians to withering criticism on a daily basis, but you almost never read a report questioning the credibility of an evolutionary claim. That needs to change. That’s why you are reading Creation-Evolution Headlines. Join the revolution!