April 3, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

Surprising Fossils: Land Dinosaurs

Ask if these fossils support millions of years of evolution, or a more recent Biblical timeframe with a creation and flood view of life.

When reading science news articles, one cannot understand them apart from the worldview the reporter is assuming. The millions-of-years evolutionary timeline is etched with an iron stylus on the hearts of biologists and paleontologists today. The worldview gets perpetuated by a kind of devious artificial selection (i.e., academics do not progress in their education without pledging allegiance to Darwin). This prior belief colors everything they say. Paleontologists in academia force-fit every bone, every piece of amber, and every fossil into their favorite creation myth. Darwin skeptics can never expect, therefore, to get a hearing for problems with the myth. If they did voice questions, they would quickly be shown the exit door.

In this situation, the thing perceptive readers must do is look for evidence of surprise that forces scientists to revise parts of their story.

Tracks and Ichnofossils

Gigantic dinosaur footprints are found on the roof of a cave (Nature). Did dinosaurs walk upside down in caves? Obviously not. But footprints of huge dinosaurs have been found on a cave roof in France. Some of the prints are over a meter long! Notice the assertion of a date for the age of the tracks, which, by custom, must be forced into the evolutionary timeline.

According to Jean-David Moreau at the University of Burgundy–Franche-Comté in France and his colleagues, the footprints probably belong to an unknown species of titanosaur, a category of long-necked herbivorous dinosaur that includes the heaviest and longest land animals in the planet’s history. The tracks were made 166 million to 168 million years ago, when three dinosaurs traversed the shoreline of a sea. The site was then at the planet’s surface, but geological processes have buried and tilted the sediments, and the prints are now on the cave’s roof, 500 metres underground.

Whether the geological story is credible deserves to be argued by other geologists. For now, the thing to look for is surprise:

Dinosaur footprints have often been discovered in mines and railway tunnels, but they are rarely found in natural caverns. The tracks were a chance discovery by one of the authors on a caving expedition in 2015. It’s a wonder they were ever found, as they can be reached only by way of a labyrinth of tight, frequently flooded crawl spaces 100 metres in length.

The cavern undoubtedly formed after the tracks were made, but how did they become buried under 500 meters of sediment? Secular paleontologists are not open to considering a global flood, because they already have their story made up: “The tracks were made 166 million to 168 million years ago, when three dinosaurs traversed the shoreline of a sea.” But those outside the fogma should ask questions:

(1) How did tracks get preserved along a shoreline of a sea? We know by observation that animal tracks quickly erode by the waves. Even deep tracks of a heavy animal should not last long unless they are quickly buried.

(2) How did the cave form at the level of the tracks?

(3) Why are the tracks being exposed now when they can be discovered by humans? 168 million years is a vast amount of time. Whole continents could be eroded away in less time.

Tracking the Pliensbachian–Toarcian Karoo firewalkers: Trackways of quadruped and biped dinosaurs and mammaliaforms (PLoS One). Tracks found by mammals and dinosaurs, with lava flows; evidence of flooding; does this sound Biblical, like a flood came and buried them all rapidly during tectonic upheavals? Not allowed to think that way. Must have been local flash floods over millions of years. Those, however, usually flow in canyons, not over landscapes with a gentle topography.

Overall, the sedimentary facies characteristics of the interbed units at Highlands reflect fluvial deposition within ephemeral streams with initial upper regime flow conditions during flash flooding events (cf. [118, 119]). As flood waters diminished, shallow water deposition in low energy streams and possibly ponds took place after which the sediments were desiccated and buried by ensuing flash flooding event or basaltic lava extrusion. Evidence for aeolian [wind-blown] deposits is not preserved in the sandstone interbeds at Highlands….

In summary, the Highlands palaeoenvironment was characterized by a moderately wet, seasonally dry climate with flash floods that episodically washed over the landscape that had a gentle topography. Possibly, the most significant environmental stressor for the terrestrial biota that inhabited the region, and which included a fairly diverse group of vertebrates (see next section), were the repeated eruptions of basaltic lava flows (Fig 13) and not the aridity of the environment.

See also Amy Schleunes’s article at The Scientist. She quotes Steve Brusatte in a trance under the influence of Darwine,

Dinosaur tracks usually get most of the attention, but I think it’s remarkable to think that we had mammal ancestors that had to endure volcanic eruptions, asteroid impacts and other environmental changes in the deep past, and if they didn’t, we wouldn’t be here today.

Dinosaur stomping ground in Scotland reveals thriving middle Jurassic ecosystem  (PLoS via Science Daily). More dinosaur tracks were found on the Island of Skye in Scotland.  Steve was involved in this discovery, too. He makes it clear he was looking to fit these tracks into evolution:

These new tracksites give us a much clearer picture of the dinosaurs that lived in Scotland 170 million years ago. We knew there were giant long-necked sauropods and jeep-sized carnivores, but we can now add plate-backed stegosaurs to that roster, and maybe even primitive cousins of the duck-billed dinosaurs too. These discoveries are making Skye one of the best places in the world for understanding dinosaur evolution in the Middle Jurassic.”

Brusatte’s paper in PLoS One makes it clear that forcing dinosaurs into evolution was a key purpose of the research. Strangely, most of the references to evolution involve futureware, such as:

Both body and trace fossils found in the Hebrides, particularly on the Isle of Skye, have the potential to fill in gaps in our understanding of dinosaurs during this critical time in their evolution when sauropods, theropods, and thyreophorans all experienced evolutionary radiations.

Famous Dinosaur Types

Velociraptor relative had a much stronger grip than its cousins (New Scientist). Layal Liverpool simply states that this animal was “probably covered in feathers,” but Penn State titles its coverage of this find, “New feathered dinosaur was one of the last surviving raptors.” No feathers were found. The only indication of feathers were apparent quill knobs on some of the bones.

New ‘reaper of death’ Tyrannosaur species discovered in Canada (Fox News Science). The article says, “This discovery is significant because it fills in a gap in our understanding of tyrannosaur evolution.” No evidence for evolution was provided, however; just diversity.

Argentine researchers find distant Tyrannosaurus relative (Phys.org). A dinosaur “distantly related to Tyrannosaurus” has been found in Patagonia, but the main difference is that it is smaller than T. rex.


Not a dinosaur or a bird: a lizard.

Trapped in amber, this could be the smallest dinosaur ever found (Live Science). This article was typical of news last month on the “birds are dinosaurs” meme. Based on a tiny snout found in amber, everybody was saying the smallest dinosaur ever had been found. Many even had artwork of a hummingbird-sized creature with wings and teeth being represented as a picture of this ‘dinosaur.’

Now, New Scientist has backtracked, saying “Tiny bird-like dinosaur discovered in amber might actually be a lizard.”

A fossilised skull trapped in amber that was recently identified as belonging to a tiny bird-like dinosaur might actually belong to a lizard.

Last month, palaeontologists analysed an ancient skull that had been preserved in amber and concluded that it probably came from a tiny, humming bird-like dinosaur that lived 99 million years ago. Now, a different group of researchers have reanalysed the fossil and believe that it actually came from a lizard.

A paleontologist not involved in the study adds,

“The skull lacks the key features of birds and their closest dinosaurian relatives but has numerous features found in lizards,” says Sues. “Clearing up this misidentification is important because it removes the alleged presence of a humming bird-like bird from the Cretaceous period.”

Paleontologist David Martill at The Conversation also quickly changed his headline from “dinosaur” to “lizard.”

We claimed that secular paleontologists are incapable of thinking outside the millions-of-years-of-evolution worldview. Hopefully we have just provided plenty of convincing evidence, and these are just from recent news articles. They’ve been forcing uncooperative evidence into their Darwin timeline for well over a century. It’s time for debate with paleontologists who are willing to question the worldview and its assumptions.

Find more evidence in the next installment about flying and swimming reptiles (6 April 2020).

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