Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is it a problem for evolution when modern animals alive today are found fossilized from millions of years ago?

If you happen to run into someone who claims that there are modern animals in the fossil record that date back millions of years ago...and this person is trying to use this as evidence against evolution...don't worry! By the end of this blog you will be see that they are either lying, ignorant, regurgitating, or are a combination of all three. 

This is not meant in an insulting way as we all regurgitate information because it is the way we learn, but this makes passing on false information easy...causing us to become ignorant. Most creationists regurgitate anti-evolution claims that are said to be valid by the people who are closest to them; their churches, families, and friends. This makes the claims easier to accept as true and even harder to accept as false. This causes people to become ignorant to the actual scientific evidence as well as to the fact that the claims, if traced to their sources, are originally based on someone else's lie. We all get lied to but we must do our best to not voluntarily remain ignorant. We must investigate our own knowledge bases and discover if our sources' evidence is valid, and if we find that it isn't then we should do our best to assist others who still remain blinded.

If you ask yourself the following questions and apply the concepts, any claim will fall apart instantly:

1.) When they say the fossil is of a modern animal do they mean  the fossil looks LIKE a modern animal or it literally IS a modern animal?

Lets look at the difference between those claims using the modern Anole and the fossil Orobates:

~~The modern Anole lizard looks LIKE the 290 million year old fossil Orobates because they are both lizard looking. This means that the fossilized Orobates and the modern Anole must be the same animal!

 ~ VS.~

~~The modern Anole resembles the 290 million year old fossil Orobates because they are both similar size and have a lizard-like skeletal structures. This means that the Anole has probably maintained a similar lizard-like form to Orobates and they might share a distant common ancestor.

290 Million years old - Orobates
Modern Anole

Many creationists think they can just look at a fossil and if it looks similar it must be the same thing! Imagine a robin and a mocking bird both fossilized. Would you be able to tell the difference? They are obviously both bird-like as well as having similar sizes but beyond that most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference.


Mocking bird
Paleontologists spend years examining the details of fossils and are aware of the differences between species, especially species separated by 300 million years. Something can be lizard looking but no matter what...300 million years of evolution will change things, though it often requires a trained eye to see those changes. A creationist will say "this fish today is just like this fish that's fossilized" when the two fish have been separated for 250 million years and actually do have small differences between them. This is a claim based on ignorance.

2.) When an old form is still working today, why change it? 

Now it's possible for someone to hear that an animal is fossilized as well as alive but this still doesn't cause an issue for evolution. Often these claims are made by creation scientists who then spew it out to the public where it gets passed on as something evolutionists cant explain... Below are a modern Queensland lungfish and a fossilized Devonian lungfish from 410-400 million years ago. They look similar and scientists have said they are both lungfish...but none of that is bad.

Dipnoi - Lungfish 400 million years old
Modern Queensland lungfish

Imagine that a species develops in a calm river system 400 million years ago and after all this time they are still not forced to change their way of life because they have no new predators and no environmental changes. Even after 400 million years...this species can remain almost the same physically. You must have natural selection pressures for changes to happen. There were many more lungfish species 300-400 million years ago but their environment drove them to extinction. The lucky Queensland lungfish just happened to settle in the right spot that has maintained a low selective pressure and it has been safe ever since (until recently).

This is why we still have fish, amphibians, and reptiles. They can look similar to their ancestral forms but that's because they have maintained the forms through time, keeping varying parts that work well and inventing new ones! And even though they look similar...changes have occurred, they may just not be easily seen by the average person. We can find these changes genetically...but that's for another day.

This misunderstanding is also linked to the famous "If we came from monkeys, why are monkeys still here?" Monkeys have retained our common ancestor's forms in ways we have not. All of the primates have pieces of our ancestor's form, but some parts work better for different populations than for others. We still have our primate ancestors color vision, fingernails, and large brains but the squirrel monkeys still have long tails and graspable toes. This is a claim based on ignorance and regurgitation.
3.) If you determined they mean a truly modern animal in the fossil record, where is their evidence?

If someone is claiming there are true modern animals in the fossil record, they have no scientific evidence. Every time a claim is made like this, like there being literal parrots fossilized with dinosaurs (way before parrots evolved) there never seems to be any scientific journals about them, or even any organized documentation of the site in which they were found.

When I dig at the Archosaur site, once a fossil is found it is thoroughly documented. Pictures are taken of the layer, orientation, the direction it is facing (N,S,W,E). Notes are taken of everything previously mentioned along with every other tiny detail possible. The fossil must be maped out and compared to every other fossil found in that area. Then all the dirt that was removed from around the fossil must be put into separate pans and sifted through to find any small pieces, including bones, teeth, and seeds. In the end after many years of work, everything is put together in a scientific journal that can be verified by anyone.

If an organism is found in a layer it is not supposed to have been in, the documentation of it would have been beyond thorough and there would be no issue in determining its legitimacy…but alas, this is not what we see with creationist claims! This is a claim based on lying, but it can be also regurgitating depending on the source.

4.) If they truly mean a modern animal fossilized, and they claim that their source said there is evidence, who is the original source for the claim?

Most people that don't know a lot about the fossil record but still claim to know it goes against evolution have been reading or watching unscientific creationist nonsense or have been told this by their church, family, or friends...who also probably read or watched creationist nonsense. Ask them where they heard about these fossils that are misplaced and every time they lead back to the creationist nonsense online or in the creationism science videos.

I say creationist nonsense because these claims usually go back to old 80s and 90s creationist science videos that today creationists are telling people not to use anymore. And if they are newer they are usually just the same things being repeated. A great example is Kent Hovind...who's arguments are widely used (even from my 12 year old relative who watched the videos in private catholic school).

They quote the same fossil names when they don't know what the fossil actually is, and they use the same wording of the claims but don't have a response if you challenge them. Those claims are always traced back to someone who knows nothing about the site or specimen. There are a few unique people who believe they have evidence and try to use science to defend it but time and time again they are shown to be completely wrong.

A local example of this are the dinosaur and "human tracks" on the Paluxy Riverbed in Glen Rose, Texas. Young earth creationists have set up a museum and tourist site that is advertised on billboards all over Texas claiming they have evidence for man and dinosaurs coexisting...

Bipedal dinosaur tracks and "man tracks"
The so-called "man tracks" were actually just the impressions of a bipedal (upright) dinosaur that stepped in mud balancing on it heels and soles, and once the mud flowed back it ended up looking like a pseudo foot to the people who wanted to see it. So though a few creation "scientists" have visited the site and supported the claim with "evidence", no qualified paleontologist agrees. They have thoroughly disproved it for almost 40 years and yet people are still claiming that Glen Rose is evidence for creationism. This is a claim based on a combination of everything. The creation "scientists" at Glen Rose are lying and the public are ignorantly regurgitating lies.
Metatarsal tracks
Glen Rose Fraud

No matter where you go, you will find people who say there are modern animals (including humans) in the fossil record that are in the wrong place and wrong time, and that it proves that the fossil record doesn't show the evolution of animals…

Just remember everything you just read and you will soon find that either they are lying, ignorant, regurgitating, or are a combination of all three. Once you find out which, help them out!

1 comment:

  1. It would be nice to have the actual straight down photos of the foot prints shown in the mud collapse diagram so that we can compare them side by side.