February 20, 2024 | David F. Coppedge

Swimming Lambeosaurs and Other Dino Headlines

Evolutionists continue hiding their
solutions to puzzles in Deep Time


Swimming Duckbills?

Ducks with their duckbills can swim, but usually not in the ocean. Duck-billed dinosaurs on the other hand, with their thick legs and small arms, had not been thought of as swimmers. Their fossils are known from North America and also in Europe, which according to the Darwinian timeline, were connected when the dinosaurs lived. But Africa at the time was thought to be an isolated continent like Australia, surrounded by ocean on all sides. It was a big puzzle, therefore, how duck-billed dinosaurs got there. Fossils of up to 3 species of pony-sized lambeosaurs (duckbills with large head crests) have been found in Morocco. Nick Longrich at the University of Bath is puzzled. An ocean crossing seems highly unlikely.

At the end of the Cretaceous, sea levels were high, flooding much of the continents, and the Earth’s land was fragmented by the breakup of Pangaea and continental drift. That left Africa floating alone in the ocean, an island continent like modern-day Australia. But duckbill dinosaurs, evolving long after the land connections had been broken, somehow managed to get to Africa.

Artist depiction of lambeosaurs found in Morocco (Raul Martin). The birds can fly and swim, but how about the heavy-set dinosaurs? Did they do the dog paddle?

Add swimming dinosaurs to rafting monkeys as rescue devices for evolution. To rescue the evolution story, Longrich makes a reckless draft on the bank of time, trying to win the lottery:

“It’s extremely improbable that dinosaurs could cross water to get to Africa,” said Longrich, “but improbable isn’t the same as impossible. And given enough time, improbable things become probable. Buy a lottery ticket every day, and if you wait long enough, you’ll win.

“These ocean crossings might be once-in-a-million-year events but the Cretaceous lasted nearly 100 million years. A lot of strange things will happen in that time – including dinosaurs crossing seas.

Nick seems to remember that old quote by George Wald about the origin of life: “Given so much time, the impossible becomes possible, the possible becomes probable, the probable becomes virtually certain. One only has to wait; time itself performs miracles.”

In one sense, this statement is correct. If you have infinite time, anything can happen. All your miracles will fit. But realistically, the statement is absurd. Wald and Longrich have to deal with finite time on a finite planet. As Dembski and Ewert explain in their recently-updated book The Design Inference, one can only call on the probabilistic resources available—not on the resources of the whole universe—to even think of ascribing an event to chance.

In this case, duckbilled dinosaurs only existed for a finite time and space even if one believes in the 100 million Darwin Years. Dinosaurs did not think about swimming to Africa any more than they thought about flying.

Longrich cannot hide his puzzle in Deep Time anyway. He conveniently forgot that original soft tissue remains have been found in duck-billed dinosaurs like hadrosaurs. This proves that dinosaur bones are young and denies him the deep time he requires. Biblical creationists believe that sea levels dropped drastically after the Flood. This provided land bridges that allowed for migrations of animals and plants to all the continents.

Dinosaurs Were Buried by a Flood

Over at The Conversation on 11 Feb 2024, Nick Longrich discusses other puzzles about dinosaurs in Africa. From his excavations in Morocco, his team has found that other carnivorous dinosaurs like stubby-armed abelisaurs have also been found on that continent. Where? They are found in marine sediments! Once again, he calls on the bank of time to provide the resources for his evolutionary tale.

It’s not clear how dinosaur bones ended up in marine sediments. Dinosaurs may have swum out to islands searching for food, as deer and elephants do today, and some might have drowned. Other dinosaurs might have been washed out to sea by floods or storms, or drowned in rivers that carried them downstream to the ocean. Still others may have died on the shoreline before being carried out on a high tide. But some improbable series of events transported dinosaurs into the ocean.

Obviously a dead dinosaur washed into sediments loses its ability to climb ashore in Africa and start a new colony. But this is interesting. Where dinosaur bones are found, they exist alongside sea creatures. He describes what his team has found:

The phosphate deposits of Morocco are the remains of an ancient seabed, dating to the final million years of the dinosaur era. They’re full of fish bones and scales, shark teeth and marine reptiles. Vast numbers of marine reptiles – mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, sea turtles.

But once in a while, dinosaurs turn up. 

The focus of his article is on dinosaur populations before they went extinct. Contrary to evidence from North America used to infer dinosaurs were on the decline, Longrich believes that his evidence shows dinosaurs were doing well before the extinction. This sounds like what Jesus told about human beings before the Flood: “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away” (Matthew 27:38-29)—men and animals alike.

What’s in a Dino Name?

This week, Nature called for an overhaul of the antiquated system antiquated system of naming dinosaurs. Paleontologists and dinosaur diggers have been too loose with names, they say, naming the extinct creatures after anyone and anything they wished, memorializing personal names (eponyms) in many cases. But is wokeness and DEI forcing its way into science here, too? Emma Dunne is on a campaign to reduce colonialism and promote inclusivity in names. Her colleagues examined 1,500 species names for dinosaurs, looking for things to gripe about.

The authors wanted to know how much effort it would take to address what they saw as problematic names, which they describe as those “emanating racism, sexism, named under (neo)colonial contexts or after controversial figures”. They found 89 potentially offensive names, equating to less than 3% of the dinosaurs they looked at.

It makes sense avoid names like Hitler, but renaming species could cause more confusion than benefit. The Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) sees trouble with Dunne’s campaign.

The ICZN is firmly against going back and renaming species whose names might now be considered offensive, and would not consider banning eponyms, says ICZN president Thomas Pape, a taxonomist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. “We do not recommend renaming unless there are what we would call formal nomenclatural reasons,” he adds. This is because the organization places great importance on preserving the ‘stability’ of names, and this could be threatened if they are changed retrospectively, he says.

Dunne complained that “in instances in which a species has a gendered name ending, 87% were masculine.” Someone is bound to be offended, no matter what they decide. Dunne still thinks they should do something. The ICZN “could do better and be more representative of the community,” she thinks. But whose community?

Next will they insist on using proper pronouns with T. rex? Are dinosaurs gender-fluid or nonbinary? Were there white dinosaurs and Dinosaurs of Color? Liberal wokeness continues to make inroads into Big Science. Nature, which is very liberal, seems to consider Dunne’s campaign a bridge too far.







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