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The Creation Explanation

Creation Explanation The Primeval World -- Fossils, Geology & Earth History

Do All Fossils Appear in the Approved Evolutionary Order?

Evolutionary biologists zoologists, and paleontologists have arranged living plants and animals with fossil species in morphological series(that is, series according to their forms). these sequences show increasing complexity, from single-celled to many-celled, from invertebrate to vertebrate fish to amphibians to reptiles to birds and mammals, and finally to man. Arranging fossils, of course, cannot do away with the systematic fossil gaps which we have already considered at length.

Evolutionists interpret these arrangements of fossil and living creatures as evidence for evolutionary relationship. It is also alleged that the order in which the fossils are actually found in sedimentary strata agrees with the evolutionary theory--the least complex types, microfossils and invertebrates, for example, being found at the bottom, the more complex in the upper rock strata. Is this always the case?

The actual picture is far more complex than most textbooks and mass media presentations ever indicate. There are many gaps and reversals in the published strata sequences. The so-called geological column of sedimentary strata (See table 3-1) supposedly totals about 100 miles in thickness and is said to correspond to several billion years of earth history. However, only small fractions of the column are ever found at one location on the earth. The theoretical column is pieced together from many different places all over the earth, so that the fossils in the strata correspond to the order in which they supposedly evolved. A number of geological structures and fossil finds are, however, embarrassingly out of their proper places. Let us consider some examples.

An outstanding example of fossils in the "wrong" order is the so-called Lewis Overthrust which covers an area of some 13,000 square miles in the northern Rocky Mountains, stretching 300 miles from Montana up into British Columbia. Here whole mountain ranges composed of Precambrian rocks rest on top of Cretaceous rocks which, because of their fossil content, are dated as being up to a billion years younger. This reversal of evolutionary theory demands and explanation.

The only explanation offered by uniformitarian geologists is that after the sediments were laid down in order, oldest on the bottom and youngest on top, compressional forces in the earth's crust produced a thrust fault which pushed 800 trillion tons of old rocks some 35 to 50 miles out over the younger rocks. Then erosion removed layers of younger rocks from the top of this rock sandwich, leaving the allegedly very ancient Precambrian strata sitting on the much younger Cretaceous strata. This explanation involves geological movement on a vast scale, with tremendous forces and pressures between moving rock structures. Could it happen, and is there any geological field evidence for the motion? If the answers to these questions are negative, where is the billion years of geological times?

1. Could it happen? The answer is NO. All attempts of geologists to devise mechanisms by which to slide a miles-thick rock sheet 35 to 50 miles over underlying rocks have failed. The horizontal pressures required at the rear edge to overcome the frictional force under it would shatter the rock sheet. The leading edge would balk, and the sheet would shatter and pile up without moving. There is no lubricant in nature which could remove this friction problem. Our present knowledge of the physics involved requires the conclusion that the so-called Lewis Overthrust simply could not happen.82

2. Is there geological field evidence for the motion postulated in the Lewis Overthrust theory? The answer to this question also in NO. The many known thrust faults provide us with knowledge of what to look for. First, the relative motion of one stratum over another produces "slickensides," which is the term for striations and polishing on the two opposed surfaces. Second, invariably in a thrust fault of appreciable magnitude the motion and pressure cause the formation of an intermediate layer composed of ground-up particles of the two moving structures. The rocks formed in this process are called fault gouge or fault breccia, and the layers may be many feet thick. In addition, on either side of the fault there may be extensive deformation in the two strata.

What is observed at the contact zone of the Lewis Overthrust? The slickensides are missing, and there is no intermediate layer of fault gouge. The Precambrian limestone lies conformably on the underlying Cretaceous shale or sandstone at every point where the contact line is visible(Crowsnest Mountain, Chief Mountain, Cut Bank, Dry Fork Creek, and Marias Pass). There is no physical field evidence for the historical reality of the so-called Lewis Overthrust. The only evidence for such an event is the fact the fossils in the upper strata are said to be older than those in the lower strata by a billion years.

This remarkable evidence contradicting the standard evolutionary belief system of the entire geological establishment was developed over a period of years by geologist Clifford Burdick and John Read, an engineer with Hughes Aircraft. It is presented in striking photographic form in the filmstrip-cassette album, "Fossils, Strata and Evolution," and in the photobooklet of the same title.83

The geological literature records many reversals of the Darwinian fossil scenario. Read and Burdick document some marvelous examples which are listed here in Table 3-2. In these cases field evidence for motion on a thrust fault is non-existent.

table 3-2. Examples of "Reversed" Strata

Location Strata Reversal Time Lost
(millions of years)
Empire Mountains, Arizona Permian on Cretaceous 150MY
Crazy Cat Mountains, Texas Ordovician on Cretaceous 340MY
Spring Mountains, Nevada Cambrian on Permian 370MY
Glarus, Swiss Alps Permian on Jurassic 90MY
Glarus, Swiss Alps Permian on Eocene 165MY

Fossil Pollen Grains

figure 3-3. Photomicrograph of one of many specimens of fossil pollen grains discovered by Dr. Clifford burdick in Grand Canyon rocks at many levels of the canyon wall, including the Precambrian Hakati shale in the lower levels of the canyon. According to evolutionary theory and historical geology, this fossil pollen grain is located several hundred millions years too early in the rock and fossil record.

Some years ago the present author received from Dr. Walter Lammerts a file of over 500 references in the standard American and European geological literature reporting sedimentary strata in reversed order. A portion of these are no doubt the result of actual minor thrust faults or of overturning by folding. Many, however, present the same basic difficulties for the traditional geological column as do the examples catalogued above. The literature references assembled by Dr. Lammerts have been published in a series of articles in the Creation Research Society Quarterly.84 Perhaps the assumptions of evolution and of evolutionary time are in error.

There are other examples of fossils found in the wrong strata. Fossil pollen grains of many different species of trees have been reported by Dr. Clifford Burdick in the rocks of the lower levels of the Grand Canyon, even in the Precambrian strata.85 These reports have been challenged by another group of creationist investigators who said they could not repeat the results.86 However, in 1966 pollen grains were also reported found in Precambrian rocks in Venezuela.87 Finally, Clifford Burdick's work in the Grand Canyon has more recently been duplicated by a committee of qualified researchers under the most scrupulous procedures designed to prevent contamination by air-born modern pollen.88 Fossilized pollen grains in Precambrian rocks is a problem for evolutionary theory, because pollen bearing plants supposedly did not evolve until some 500 million years after the deposition of the Precambrian sediments.

Another controversial issue is the discovery of what appear to be fossil man tracks in the same Cretaceous limestone surfaces along with huge three-toed dinosaur tracks. The actual uncovering of some of these reputed man tracks was documented in the film, Footprints In Stone, produced by Films for Christ.89 One of the present authors, Kelly Segraves, participated in two expedition to the Paluxy River near Glen Rose, Texas, in 1971 and 1972. He took photographs of some of the newly excavated tracks and also fitted his bare foot into one of the better formed tracks.90 Segraves is still convinced that the tracks which he examined are genuine man tracks. However, since that time new information has cast a serious shadow of doubt over this evidence.

In the early 1980s secular researchers finally examined the tracks displayed in the Films for Christ film. They found some of them although they were generally badly eroded, which is understandable, since they had been exposed to the elements for ten years. More importantly, both the secular researchers and several leading Christian researchers found that with time mysterious stains had developed around some of the tracks. These stains seemed to suggest the outlines of toes of dinosaur feet. As a result of these new findings the film has been withdrawn from circulation by Films for Christ, and the true meaning of the observed tracks is now in a state of suspension pending the discovery of new evidence.

The first major, detailed report of these new finds questioning the validity of the Paluxy footprints appeared in a creationist quarterly, Origins Research, published by Students for Origins Research now located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.91 Continuing research in the Paluxy area is reported to have brought new tracks which appear to be human. To date there has been no evidence to question the tracks discovered by the 1971 expedition, a trail of barefoot tracks (eight of them) in sequence as photographed by Dr. Segraves and discussed in some detail in his book, The Great Dinosaur Mistake.

Perhaps in time the validity of the Paluxy man tracks will be established, perhaps not. In any event, we see in these events Christians involved in scientific research and controversy under the rules of the scientific method. It is important to remember that secular scientists concerned with proving human evolution have made numerous blunders and been taken in by outright fraud which sometimes took decades to correct.92

Another famous set of fossil tracks was discovered by Mrs. Louis Leakey in East Africa.93 Supposedly they are several million years old, and some paleontologists have said that, judging simply from their form, they could have been produced by a small modern human being. But they reject this possibility in favor of some small primate evolutionary ancestor of man. It is apparent that the myth of human evolution must be preserved at all costs.



82. Burdick, Clifford L., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 6, 1969, pp. 96-106; ________, ibid., Vol. 11, June 1974, pp. 56-60; Slusher, Harold S., ibid., Vol. 3, May 1966, pp. 59-60; Read, John G., Fossils, Strata, and Evolution, filmstrip-cassette album (Scientific-Technical Presentations, P.O. Box 2384, Culver City, CA 90230), also in form of a photo essay book by same title.

83. Read, John G., ibid., ref. 82.

84. Lammerts, Walter E., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 21, 1984-1985, pp. 88, 150, 200; ibid. Vol. 22, 1985-1986, pp. 127, 188; ibid., Vol 23, 1986-1987, pp. 38, 133; ibid., Vol. 24, 1987-1988, p. 46.

85. Burdick, Clifford L., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 9, June 1972, pp. 25-30.

86. Chadwick, Arthur V., et al., ibid., Vol. 9, March 1973, p. 238; ______, Origins, Vol. 8, 1981, pp. 7-12; Burdick, Clifford L., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 9, pp. 7-8; Rusch, W.H., Sr., ibid., pp. 8-9.

87. Stainforth, R.M. Nature, Vol. 210, 16 April 1966, pp. 292-294.

88. Howe, George F. et al., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 24, March 1988, pp. 173-182.

89. Taylor, Stan, et al., Footprints in Stone, The World that Perished, and The Great Dinosaur Mystery, 16mm films (Eden Productions, N. Eden Road, Elmwood, Ill. 61529); Morris, John D., Tracking Those Incredible Dinosaurs...and the People Who Knew Them (Creation-Life Pub., San Diego, 1981).

90. Segraves, Kelly L., The Great Dinosaur Mistake (Beta Books, San Diego, 1977).

91. Kuban, Glen J., Origins Research, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring/Summer 1986, p. 1.

92. Bowden, M., Ape-Men--Fact or Fallacy?, Second Edition (Sovereign Publications, Bromley, Kent, 1977), pp. 3-55, 90-137.

93. Johanson, Donald and James Shreeve, Lucy's Child (William Morrow & Co., Inc., New York, 1989), pp. 187-198.

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