Finding Dinosaurs Is Not the Same as Explaining Them
What’s turning up in dinosaur digs around the world? Bones, footprints and speculations.
Lost in the cupboard: What’s lurking in your kitchen? PhysOrg‘s headline is surprising: “Brazil’s biggest dinosaur found after passing 60 years in cupboard.” The story of how this particular bone came to light points to a bigger issue about observation. “You could have a dinosaur in your backyard and not realize!”
Alaskan beast: The first dinosaur has been found in Denali National Park, announces PhysOrg. Why, then, is the girl in the photo holding up a tiny piece of bone between her fingers? She’s holding one of the fragments of a much bigger beast that has been found so far on a multi-year project to document dinosaurs in the Mt McKinley area. Some of the fossils show amazing detail. The second photo shows spongy bone from a limb of a medium to large size dinosaur. The third photo shows an extremely well-preserved footprint, showing “claws, fleshy toe pads and pebbly skin texture.”
Skin so hard: Science Daily tells about “Unique skin impressions of the last dinosaurs from what is now Europe.” The skin impressions, dated by evolutionists to right before the presumed extinction event, is explained by the chance law known as Stuff Happens. All you need is luck and time.
A geological research conducted in the village of Vallcebre, near Barcelona, to study the origins of rock sediments from the Late Cretaceous period (approx. 66 million years ago) has revealed an extraordinary artefact. Researchers discovered the impression of skin scales left by a dinosaur which had lain down in the mud. During that period, the area was a muddy region corresponding to the banks of a river. As chance had it, that muddy region where the animal’s scales had left their mark was later covered with sand which, in the course of thousands of years, finally petrified to form sandstone and thus become the sedimentary rock which preserves the impression recently discovered by the researchers. The sand acted as a mould and therefore, what actually can be seen on the rock is not really the impression, but the relief of the animal’s original skin.
Arms so short: More on the mystery of T. rex‘s short arms comes from Argonne National Laboratory, says Science Daily. Scientists performed the most detailed X-ray scan ever of Sue’s arm bones, allowing the mapping of blood vessels and muscle attachments within the petrified bone. Live Science notes that the arm structure is not that unusual. The reporter speculates that the arms were probably not used much. A full report from the lab is months away.
Boneheaded theory: Current Biology published a new explanation for the emergence of bonehead dinosaurs with their reinforced skulls. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. “The Triassic was a time of turmoil, as life recovered from near-annihilation,” Michael J. Benton confabulates about a tale of two sites. “Archosauromorph reptiles flourished and diversified as they filled empty ecological niches, and some of them presaged later dinosaurian inventions, such as thickened skull roofs.” The gods of the niches called to the beasts, “Bring forth; bring forth.”
En garde: It’s not a dinosaur, but it’s from the dinosaur era, says the BBC News. They call it a “swordfish-like creature.” But if it looks like a swordfish and walks like a swordfish – well, you know the moral of the story. The ‘extremely rare’ specimen, found in Australia, is remarkably complete. It can’t really be a swordfish because it’s so old. So they give it a new genus and species name to show that evolution occurred, producing today’s swordfish with different scientific names. Taxonomy must evolve even if the creatures do not.
Into the deep: Analysis of core samples from the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan is starting in earnest, the BBC News reports. Thought to be the site of an impact that killed off the dinosaurs, this crater covers areas on land and sea. Drill cores dug up in April and May are expected to help scientists understand if the impactor had the energy to do the extinction job.
The goal, broadly speaking, is to understand better how the crater formed, the energy involved in its excavation, and the volume of material that was dispersed.
This will put new limits on the nature of the environmental changes that overtook the Earth and sent so many species – not just the dinosaurs – into oblivion.
Speaking of impacts, Science Magazine claims to have found impact ejecta at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary said to be 56 million years ago (after the dinosaurs supposedly went extinct). A close reading shows that associating ejecta with an impact requires some interpretation:
It is worth noting that an Ir anomaly has been identified at a P-E boundary section at Zumaya, Spain, although it has been interpreted as volcanic in origin, and in flysch deposits from Slovenia; however, a large iridium anomaly is not necessarily associated with all major impacts [e.g., the Chesapeake impact]. These findings will motivate a search for impact ejecta at other sites to define the geographic footprint of the P-E strewn field, which will ultimately constrain the currently unknown location of an impact crater.
The authors give an example of an Australian field of shocked grains believed to be characteristic of an impact, yet no crater has been found “despite being the largest and youngest Cenozoic tektite event at 0.8 million years ago.” There’s a case in Africa, too, of an impact crater with no shocked grains. Yet iridium layers, shocked grains and glassy spherules are often considered evidence for a global dinosaur extinction event.
Some readers may wish to follow up on these discoveries. Remember to distinguish carefully between the data and the interpretations. Recall how the evolutionists reacted to the dinosaur carvings in a medieval church window (10/01/16). Did you notice that evolutionists believe in a materialist form of vitalism? Open a new ecological niche, and the Spirit of Darwin will fill it with endless forms most beautiful. How? Don’t ask. Darwin works in mysterious ways.