Friday, May 8, 2015

The Forgotten World of Our Past - pt. 1: The Pre-Flood World

I really enjoy all the new footage from Jurassic World that's been showing lately, because otherwise, right about now, my life's kind of boring. LOL. In other news, Mother's Day is just around the corner. Time flies! I don't know if my family is doing something special to celebrate; hopefully we will, but, like I said before, my life's kind of boring right now. Without further ado...

Days till:
It is: 2 days till Mother's Day
It is: 17 days till Memorial Day
It is: 34 days till Jurassic World's opens!
It is: 41 days till Inside Out's release!

In the Spotlight:
Wow! I can't believe that Jurassic World is only just over a month away! After all these years of waiting, waiting a month is going to be a piece of cake. Being so close to the release of the film is so unreal for me. I'm excited!

I love the flood of new footage we're getting from the film. It's coming so fast, I'm literally having a hard time keeping up to date! In any case, this first clip is from a Barbasol commercial advertising Jurassic World-related merchandise. It doesn't feature much, but it does show Owen and Claire trying to escape a flock of Pteranodon and Dimorphodon.

This next video is the latest TV spot that was just released, and it's awesome! It shows loads of new footage, including a dinosaur never before seen in Jurassic World footage. See if you can spot it:

In case you didn't see it, a new dinosaur has made an appearance in the stampede scene: Parasaurolophus! Parasaurolophus is a Cretaceous hadrosaur with a long crest extending from the back of its head. I'm really glad they decided to keep this dinosaur in the movie because it's already been in the previous three. Why break the trend?

Topic of the Week by Christian Ryan

The geologic column consists of many rock layers, each with unique sets of animals and plants. How they are interpreted can tell us a lot about the world of our past.
The geologic column, consists of many rock layers – some rock layers are thick, some are thin. Evolutionists claim that these rock layers represent the entire history of life the earth in time periods, which started 3.5 billion years ago. Now there are several problems with interpreting the geologic column, and the fossil record itself – as the entire history of life on earth over a period of millions of years. Radiometric dating  and other commonly used dating methods are flawed due to several unverifiable assumptions. In addition to these problems, there are several reasons to suggest that the earth's fossils aren't nearly as old as evolutionists believe them to be (e.g. soft dinosaur tissue and bent rock layers). Is there another way to interpret the fossil record? In fact, there is. The Bible is the inspired Word of God Himself, the only individual who was there before the beginning of time. Since He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19), we can use His word to develop a worldview – a Biblical, or creation, worldview to look at the evidence we see in the rock layers. This three-part series will take a look at the fossil record through a creation worldview and showcase just how amazing the geological history of our earth was!

Fossils come in many shapes and sizes. This trilobite is a fine example.
Firstly, allow me to explain further what the fossil record actually is. The fossil record is split into three main chunks – the oldest, the Paleozoic (meaning “Ancient Life”), the Mesozoic (meaning “Middle Life), and the youngest, the Cenozoic (meaning 'New Life'). And within these three main rock layers are several smaller ones. Within the Paleozoic are: Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous and the Permian; the Mesozoic consists of: the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous; and the Cenozoic consists of: the Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene and the Holocene. Due to evolutionists using the fossil record as “proof” for their theory, some creationists have put forth the claim that the fossil record, and sometimes even its fossils, simply do not exist. This approach is unscientific and, in some cases, lazy. In fact, in places like the Grand Canyon, we can see  many of the layers of the geologic column, one on top of the other. There are specific sets of creatures and plants unique to each layer. (E.g. T. rex is unique to upper Cretaceous rock layers) The general order of the fossil record can clearly be seen not only here, but in various parts of the planet.

The history of life on earth as commonly portrayed in evolutionary science textbooks.
Now how do we present the evidence we see in the fossil record through a Biblical worldview? Well, the book of Genesis records that God created the world only 6,000 years ago or so. When God originally created the world, and all those living in it, it was without sin, death, sickness and suffering. Around 1,650 years later, Genesis also records that the earth as people once knew it was destroyed by a global flood – the only survivors were some sea creatures, Noah and his family, two of every kind of air-breathing terrestrial “unclean” animal and seven or 14 of every “clean” animal; they all survived on the enormous ark God instructed Noah to construct. What does all this have to do with rock layers and the fossil record?

What types of strange animals and plants would you have seen in the past?
Well, as creationist Ken Ham often states, the fossil record is made up of “billions of dead things, buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth”. These water-buried now-fossilized remains of plants and animals are found all over the earth and on every continent (including Antarctica), implying that they were all covered by water at some point...sounding familiar? There was only one event that caused the entire planet to be covered by water: the Genesis Flood! Therefore, the Genesis Flood was what buried these fossilized animals and plants! Remember when I said before that each rock layer consists of a unique set of plants and animals? Well, each of these “unique sets” seems to best represent ecosystems and environments that would have covered the earth before the Flood. By looking at rock layers that formed during the Flood, we can learn a great deal about what the world was like in this pre-Flood world (which is one of my favorite time periods in history).

The fossil record actually represents various different ecosystems that once existed on earth, most of them before Noah's Flood.
What was this pre-Flood world like? Well, one thing we know for sure is that it was vastly different from today! While it doesn't provide much information about climates or global temperatures, scripture offers several clues. Genesis 1:9 relays the events that occurred 6,000 years ago, on the third day of the Creation week: “And God said, 'Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.' And it was so.” Clearly, the Bible tells us that the water was in one place, if this is the case, then the land must also be in one place. Interestingly enough, geological evidence seems to suggest that there weren't seven continents like there are today. Instead, there was only one supercontinent called Rodinia (not Pangaea, which we'll get to in part 2); even all mushed together, the continents were not anywhere close to their present positions. For example, if you were to look out over what would later become the western coast of North America, you'd likely be able to see Eastern Antarctica or Australia!

Before the Flood, the earth was made up of one supercontinent, called Rodinia.
We find fossils from the Flood we find – which represented the world before it was covered by water – indicate that the climate was different on Rodinia as well. Rich coal deposits can be found in the ground from pole to pole. Contrary to popular belief, we don't get coal and other fossil fuels from dinosaurs; it actually comes from ancient plant life. These plants of all different types once grew over the entire earth. We even find fossils of tropical plants in more northern regions; for example, palm trees have been discovered in Montana and wood has been discovered in Antarctica. The pre-Flood wasn't anything like the present one!

Fossils and coal deposits show that the pre-Flood world was mostly lush and tropical.
So what about the fossil record? How does it help us understand what the pre-Flood world was like? Well, you will remember that earlier I explained how the fossil record is contained within rock layers. Each rock layer contains a specific set of creatures and plants, so most creation geologists and paleontologists believe that these layers represent ancient ecosystems (with smaller ecosystems found in different places in each main environment). These extinct habitats and their residents were quite incredible. If you had the power to travel to this pre-Flood time period, what would you have seen? Let's take a look at these environments and the creatures that lived in them.

Cambrian Seas (Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian)
The Cambrian Seas were located near the edges of the pre-Flood continental shelves. Here, a myriad of different animals made their home. (IMAGE CREDITS)
The Cambrian Seas were located near the edge of the continental shelves. It hosted elaborate reefs made up of corals that provided homes and hiding places were a lot of the animals living here. This habitat consisted of a myriad of strange creatures, some of which – like sea urchins, sponges and jellyfish – are still around today. Along with familiar creatures, there would have also been several that were not easily recognized, like trilobites. There were over 10,000 species of these armored arthropods; they resemble modern woodlice, but they could grow anywhere between a few millimeters and three feet in length!

Trilobites were some of the most common creatures in the Cambrian seas.
Trilobites were fed upon by even stranger creatures, like Anomalocaris. Anomalocaris was a species of arthropod about three feet in length with large, compound eyes and two flexible arms that they used to grasp prey. Nothing like it is around today.

Anomalocaris was one of the Cambrian's predators. It had two arms for grasping prey and pulling it toward its mouth.

If you moved closer and closer toward the land, you would notice a habitat change. In addition to trilobites, you would have also seen strange creatures like the eurypterids, also known as sea scorpions. Sea scorpions are unrelated to modern scorpions, and they lack a stinger. However, they still had a pair of pincers for self defense and the capture of prey. There were many different species of sea scorpions. One of the largest was Pterygotus, which grew eight feet long! Unlike sea scorpions, Brontoscorpio was an aquatic true scorpion. It could grow three feet long and had a stinger the size of a light bulb. These aquatic scorpions (both true and sea scorpions) were probably mainly hunters of fish and aquatic invertebrates.

Pterygotus (bottom left) was one of the largest of sea scorpions.
Like all aquatic creatures, animals of the Cambrian Seas were created on Day 5 as the Bible says.

Carboniferous Floating Forest (Devonian, Carboniferous)
The Carboniferous Floating Forests were large forests that literally floated on top of the ocean!
At some point before reaching the coast, you might come across an incredible sight: the floating forests of the Carboniferous. See, larger plants appear for the first time in the fossil record in the Devonian and Carboniferous rock layers. Creationists have realized that these plants had hollow roots, trunks and branches, and that their roots grew outward instead of downwards. Then it occurred to these creationists: these plants formed an intricate network of floating mats of vegetation, similar to today's quaking bogs. Unlike quaking bogs, the Carboniferous Floating Forests floated atop the ocean and were far larger. The plants and trees of these forests were unique; the “Devonian plants” on the outer rims of these forests were small, but as you went toward the center, you would have seen some trees that could grow up to 150 feet tall. It was these plants that were responsible for most of the coal deposits now laid down in the earth.

Plant life in the floating forests were lush and provided homes for amphibians, fish and arthropods. (IMAGE CREDITS)
But the plants weren't the only amazing things to see in the Carboniferous Floating Forest, so were the animals. Insects were common here and grew to massive sizes. The largest flying insect, Meganeura, was a humongous dragonfly with a 2 ½ foot wingspan. Crawling among the “ground” were large spider-like eurypterids like Megarachne and the largest arthropod of all, Arthropleura, a millipede-relative as long as 6-10 feet. Among these arthropods were amphibians and fish, like the unique Tiktaalik.

Meganeura, a giant dragonfly, was queen of the Carboniferous skies! She had a wingspan of 2 1/2 feet!
The waters around the floating forests were not safe. Sharks and other predatory fish stalked the water, looking for prey. The largest Devonian predator was a nasty fish called Dunkleosteus, which also likely stalked the Cambrian Seas were checked out earlier. It grew as long as a school bus and was covered in bony armor-plating.

Dunkleosteus was a large predatory fish that lacked teeth. Instead, it possessed sharp shears that could crunch through tough armored prey!
Sandy Permian Coast (Permian, perhaps Triassic)
Imagine what it would have been like to see a Dimetrodon basking along the Permian coast at dawn.
Finally, we would reach the coasts of the pre-Flood Rodinia and see new and exciting forms of life. Buried in sandstone all around the world are the most bizarre reptiles you've ever seen, even more bizarre than many dinosaurs. The most common Permian creature was the Lystrosaurus, a pig-sized reptile with tusks. Their fossils have been uncovered in Antarctica, India and South Africa. They used their horny beaks to chomp away at the lush plant life. Other herbivorous reptiles, like Moschops and Scutosaurus could also be found here.

The pig-like Lystrosaurus was very widespread in the pre-Flood world.
The Permian coasts were not without their predators. Dimetrodon, a 6-10 foot reptile with a sail on its back and the grizzly bear-sized gorgonopsid Inostrancevia were apex predators of this habitat. Both predators were equipped to kill (after the Fall of Man) thanks to their unique teeth – while Dimetrodon had differently-sized teeth and Inostrancevia had four-inch saber-teeth to bring down their dinners.

On the Permian Sandy Coast, an Inostrancevia is preying upon a herd of Scutosaurus.
As the sediments are often quite similar, some creationists theorize that the Triassic rock layers represent the same or similar habitats to the Permian. So in addition to the creatures we see in the Permian, we would also see coastal species of dinosaurs, like Coelophysis and Eoraptor, both predators, and herbivores like Plateosaurus.

Plateosaurus would have been one of the largest Triassic herbivores.

Jurassic Environment
The Jurassic environment was busting with ferns and conifers, perfect food for a herd of hungry sauropods!
Heading inland, we meet the glories of the ancient pre-Flood world – dinosaurs. As I mentioned before, each of the main pre-Flood environments contained sub-divisions, each one represented by rock formations (several Jurassic sub-divisions include those of the Morrison, Shishugou and Kayenta Formations). One of the richest rock formations is the Morrison Formation, which mainly stretches into the states of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico.

Stegosaurus is one of the most recognizable Jurassic dinosaurs, thanks to its four tail spikes and 17 spinal plates.
Plants in this habitat varied a little from today's plant variety. Coniferous trees, such as pines, and ferns dominated the floral portion of this environment. In fact, the ground cover seems to have consisted largely of ferns and cycads rather than grasses. Feeding on these plants were the largest animals ever to roam the land: the sauropods, or long-necked dinosaurs. There were many different species of sauropods in the Morrison Formation, so in order to find enough food to eat, they dedicated themselves to eating at different heights. Giants like Apatosaurus, Diplodocus and the newly-reclassified Brontosaurus ate mainly the lowest-growing plants, using their long necks to reach a lot of food without moving the rest of the body. Camarasaurus probably consumed medium-height plants. The tallest trees would be left to the tallest dinosaurs in the Morrison, like Brachiosaurus. Other dinosaurs such as the plate-backed Stegosaurus, the fleet-footed Dryosaurus and the Camptosaurus also coexisted here.

In this picture, we can see several different species of Jurassic dinosaurs, such as the predatory Allosaurus (far left), Camptosaurus (lower left), Ornitholestes (lower right), Stegosaurus (middle right) and the long-necked Apatosaurus (upper right). (PHOTO CREDITS)
These dinosaurs had to protect themselves by predators, either by sharp tail spikes, speed or even great size alone. Theropods like Ceratosaurus, Torvosaurus and Allosaurus would have preyed upon herbivorous dinosaurs.

Cretaceous Environment
The Cretaceous Environment featured many plants that we're familiar with today, such as magnolias, swamp cypress, palm trees and many others.
Finally, we reach the Cretaceous Environment, filled with a different set of plants and animals from those seen in the Jurassic. As with the Jurassic, there were many subdivisions of habitats within the main habitat: the Cretaceous. Some of these would have included: the Chenini, Flaming Cliffs and Hell Creek Formations.

Flowering plants were a common sight in the Cretaceous.
The Hell Creek Formation was where many of our favorite dinosaurs roamed the earth before the Flood. This formation includes portions of Montana, North and South Dakota and Wyoming. The Hell Creek Formation can easily be identified by its plant life; along with ferns, laurels also covered the ground. Adding a dash of color to the otherwise green world of plants were flowers. While we have not yet found evidence of grass in the Hell Creek Formation, it has been discovered in other Cretaceous formations. Growing alongside coniferous trees, angiosperms – broad-leafed trees like palm, maple and magnolia trees – also lived here.

Triceratops fossils are extremely common in the Hell Creek Formation.
Herbivorous dinosaurs were perfectly designed to munch through this vegetation. Duck-billed dinosaurs, scientifically known as hadrosaurs, like the Edmontosaurus had batteries of chewing teeth for grinding up these plants. Fossil bone beds of hundreds of Edmontosaurus skeletons indicates great herds of them roamed across the Hell Creek Formation. Popular dinosaurs like horned Triceratops and armored Ankylosaurus were not only made for a lifetime of eating, but also made for defense against their predators.

Edmontosaurus was a member of the hadrosaur family that roamed the Cretaceous environment in massive herds.
Predators were common in the Hell Creek Formation: the omnivorous Troodon was likely the fox of the Cretaceous, acting as an opportunist.  Acheroraptor, a species of raptor closely related to Velociraptor, probably worked in gangs to bring down herbivores larger than itself. The largest predator of the Hell Creek Formation is also the most well-known dinosaur of all, Tyrannosaurus rex! This 40-foot animal had a bone-crushing bite and was the only carnivore capable of taking down a full-grown Triceratops. Danger in the Hell Creek Formation also came from the sky in the form of a pterosaur called Quetzalcoatlus. It wasn't a dinosaur, but it had a wingspan of 33 feet and a height of about 15 feet. It mainly hunted smaller animals on the ground, kind of like a giant, four-legged marabou stork.

Just a few of the many creatures of the Hell Creek Formation: (top left to bottom right) Ankylosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Ornithomimus, Quetzalcoatlus, Triceratops, Acheroraptor, Pachycephalosaurus and Anzu.

The pre-Flood world was filled with vast and varied habitats, from the Cambrian Seas to the Cretaceous forests. The world God originally created was incredible, just like the world today. As a matter of fact, the pre-Flood world is so different from the present one, that something must have completely reshaped the face of the planet. Again, the Bible gives us the answer.

As beautiful as this pre-Flood world must have been, it was marred...marred with the sinfulness of man. The Bible describes men as only possessing evil in their hearts at all times. Something had to be done. There was only one family left on the planet that still worshiped and obeyed the Lord, and that was Noah's family. So God told Noah to build a huge boat to save him from what was to be the greatest cataclysmic event in the history of life on earth: the Genesis Flood.

After sin entered the world, dinosaurs, like this Edmontosaurus (top) had to defend themselves from carnivorous theropods.
In the next part of this series, we'll explore the geological forces that (literally) shook the world, during the Flood, destroying the face of planet earth as we know it!


Disclaimer: Many (or in some cases all) of the photographs and images above are not mine. If you own one or more of them and would like them to be removed, politely let me know via my email address

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