Study Questions on the Fossil Record
FOSSILS INTERPRETATION. When scientists describe fossil finds, how much is fact and how much is fiction?
A fossil is a material fact. It has dimensions, texture, weight and shape. However, that is all that it is—just a hard object with a specific shape. It comes with no label which tell us its true significance.
Neither do fossils come with photographs of the living animal showing its actual appearance; its color, habits, environment and ancestors.
The rocks and fossils are facts. The significance of the fossil is mostly interpretation.
Detailed illustrations and colorful descriptions of long-extinct animals and their origins which are based merely on fossils are not ultimate truth. These interpretations are falliable and biased. They come from human beings working with limited knowledge and, generally, no direct experience with the living animal.
There are no time machines to transport scientists into the past. Thus, in many ways, science is very limited in what it can know with certainty about ancient history.
We must be very careful to discern between fact and fiction in all descriptions of fossils and origins.
COMPLEXITY OF THE DEEPEST FOSSILS. Are fossils of the animals found in the deepest and supposedly “oldest” rocks in the geologic column extremely simple in construction? What is the implication for the Evolutionary theory?
No, even the organisms which appear to be “simple” are really extremely complex.
Fred Hoyle wrote: "Going back in time to the age of the oldest rocks… fossil residues of ancient life-forms in the rocks do not reveal a simple beginning. Although we may care to think of fossil bacteria and fossil algae and microfungi as being simple compared to a dog or horse, the information standard remains enormously high. Most of the biochemical complexity of life was present already at the time the oldest surface rocks of the Earth were formed." [Hoyle, Evolution From Space (1981), p. 70]
This fact fits perfectly with Creation, and it has never been adaquately explained by Evolutionists.
- Can evolution be the source of life in all its complexity? GO
EVOLUTION. Is the fossil record a major help (or a major embarrassment) for Evolutionists? Why?
Although the fossil record is often claimed as evidence that Evolution is true, an increasing number of Evolutionists admit that fossils are, in fact, an embarrassment to their Evolutionary theories. This fact is often hidden from the students.
Evolutionist Stephen J. Gould has written "The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology" ("Evolution's Erratic Pace," Natural History, Vol. 86, No. 5, (May 1977), p. 14).
ARCHAEOPTERYX: A FLYING DINOSAUR?—Review some reasons to doubt that Archaeopteryx is a “missing link” between reptiles and birds.
It is important to remember that Archaeopteryx had fully developed feathers and wings. There is no sign of Evolution, such as the incomplete formation of the wings or the feathers. In fact, the fossils indicate that Archaeopteryx was probably a strong flyer, hardly what you would expect for a transitional form.
Archaeopteryx had claws on its wings and it had teeth, but various other extinct birds had teeth, including loon-like birds (Hesperornithiformes) and a tern-like birds (Ichthyornithiformes). Wing claws are found in various living birds, including the juvenille hoatzin and the rhea of South America, and the ostrich and touraco of Africa.
Another problem for Evolutionists is that they have found no creatures in between this bird and reptiles, with partial wings or partial feathers.
Also, fully formed birds have been found in geological strata estimated by Evolutionists to be older than that in which Archaeopteryx was found.
All things considered, Archaeopteryx appears to be merely another extinct bird.
- What about the new fossil “dinosaur-bird” discovery? Answer
FOSSIL YEARS: TENS, THOUSANDS OR MILLIONS?—Does fossilization really take millions of years?
The fact that something is fossilized does not mean that it is millions of years old. In fact, scientists know that fossilization can take place rather rapidly under the right conditions; quick burial, the right amounts of water, and suitable minerals.
Conditions for fossilization were ideal during the Flood. Researchers have discovered that bones, wood and other objects can fossilize in relatively short periods of time (e.g., 5 to100 years), if the conditions are right. Fossilization does not take millions, or even thousands, of years.
- AGE OF DINOSAUR FOSSILS - Doesn't it take millions of years for a dinosaur bone to become a fossil? Answer
DINOSAUR FOSSILS—In the case of most fossil bones, are they mostly rock or mostly bone?
This point should raise questions in the minds of Evolutionists who claim dinosaur fossils are millions of years old. Yet these bones are still mostly intact. It is not unusual to find dinosaur fossils with very little petrification. In fact, they frequently still retain chemicals from the living animal such as proteins and amino acids.
If they are really more than 70 million years old, how can this be?
FOSSILIZATION QUIZ—Which of these is most likely to become a fossil?
- a rhinocerus killed by poachers for its horn
- a salmon that died after laying eggs in it home stream
- a clam buried in a large mudslide
ANSWER: A clam that has been buried in a mudslide is most likely to become a fossil. Quick burial, the right amounts of water and suitable minerals would be present in this situation, making fossilization possible. The other creatures would be eaten by scavengers and reduced to dust by bacteria and erosion.
Is fossilization common today?
Not at all. It is extremely rare. However, the conditions during the Flood of Noah's day were absolutely perfect for fossilization on a massive scale—lots of mineral-rich water, rapid burial in mud, slow drying period, ideal temperatures, etc.
Noah's Flood is the only event which can adequately explain the widespread death and fossilization we see in our planet's sediments.
Author: Paul S. Taylor of Christian Answers. ORIGINS video series is produced and copyrighted by Films for Christ.
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