Friday, May 15, 2015

The Forgotten World of Our Past - pt. 2: The Watery Apocalypse

Well, hope everyone had a great Mother's Day! We're less than a month out from the release of Jurassic World! I can't wait! To celebrate, I've got lots of dinosaur-related articles coming up, including today's article! Let's get started with...

Days till:
It is: 10 days till Memorial Day
It is: 27 days till Jurassic World's release!
It is: 34 days till Inside Out's release

In the Spotlight:
Universal Studios literally dumped us with Jurassic World TV spots this past week! And I mean DUMPED! Check them out below:

There's so much in each of these TV spots that I really don't where to start! Personally though, I think one of my favorites are the seventh and the eighth ones. I love that shot where the kid hugs the baby Apatosaurus' neck in our first look at the park's Gentle Giants Petting Zoo and those gyrosphere scenes where the gyrosphere balls ride past herds of Apatosaurus, Triceratops, Parasaurolophus and Stegosaurus are stunning.

That's not all, folks! Also released this week was this clip from the Masrani viral website featuring Dr. Henry Wu as he and other InGen employees talk about the latest technological updates at InGen:

And last but not least, we've also got this cool new trailer for the Lego Jurassic World game featuring shots and dinosaurs (and a few pterosaurs and a Mosasaurus!) from all four movies:

Topic of the Week by Christian Ryan
Tyrannosaurus rex is one of the most famous extinct animals of all time.
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!

In part 1 of this series, we used the Bible as our “worldview glasses” to learn that most layers of the fossil record represent ancient ecosystems that were spread widely across the pre-Flood supercontinent called Rodinia. But something changed; some event caused the world to become like the one we know today. What happened? First, let's look at how evolutionists view the fossil record and how the animals in it died, buried and were fossilized. Standard evolutionists believe in uniformitarianism; this is the belief that present day processes are responsible for killing and burying billions of organisms in rock. In other words, evolutionists believe the present is the key to the past. Typically, the story goes that a now-dead creature – we'll use a dinosaur in this example – just so happened to die near a water source. Then before scavengers could consume it and before it could rot, the water rose and gently covered its body with silt. While evolutionists allow for an occasional catastrophe to account for some fossils, this is typically not the case.

When most animals die, like the Baryonyx above, they don't simply lie around waiting to fossilize. They must be buried quickly, or they will be eaten by scavengers or rot away.
There are several problems with uniformitarianism. If present day processes are responsible for the fossil record, then why don't we see animals often being buried and fossilized today? Millions of bison once roamed the American plains. Do we find millions of bison fossils, or even bones? Nope. Typically, animals (especially aquatic ones, which actually make up most of the fossil record) will rot, become eaten by scavengers or will be destroyed by other means in the environment. They do not usually become buried and fossilized. So how do we account for what we see in the fossil record?

This horse carcass will definitely not become a fossil!
Well, as usual, using the Bible can help us interpret the evidence from the past. Now in the book of Genesis (the first book in the Bible), it records a catastrophic event known as the Genesis Flood. Now this Flood was sent upon the earth by God because the planet had become full of wicked sin. But there was one God-fearing family left: Noah's. Because Noah still honored God, God told him to construct a giant ark to survive the coming Flood. The ark was to be about 510 feet long, 45 feet wide and 75 feet high (quite unlike the bathtub-like Noah's ark often seen in children's books). Also taken on board the ark were two of every kind of terrestrial, air-breathing “unclean” animal and seven or seven pairs of “clean” animals. Only those animals (probably only around 2,000 in all), Noah's family of eight, several insects and their eggs (likely unaccounted for on the ark), and several aquatic creatures survived the Flood. Everything else outside that ark perished. What happened during the Flood is something you'll be unlikely to hear from your typical Bible-story book.

The REAL Noah's ark didn't look anything like this bathtub-like, cute, tiny, poor-excuse-for-an-ark boat! The real ark was HUGE, about 510 feet long!
It was a usual day in the pre-Flood world, 4,350 years ago, 1,650 years after Creation – Noah, his family and the animals were safely in the ark, dinosaurs, gorgonopsids and Lystrosaurus (among other creatures) roamed the earth while pterosaurs soared through the skies; strange and monstrous reptiles ruled the sea. Had you been around, what sights would you have seen as the Flood began? Let's look at the geologic column. Some creation geologists believe that the Flood might have been triggered by one or more massive meteor impacts. Many meteors hit the earth during the Flood. One of the meteors that might have been responsible is located in South Australia. Called the Acraman impact crater, it is 56 miles wide and was caused by a 2.5-mile-wide asteroid that struck the earth. How could this have triggered the Flood? Allow me to explain further.

Asteroid impacts, such as the one that made the Acraman crater, might have triggered the Flood.
We don't know if asteroids caused the Genesis Flood, but they definitely hit the earth around this time. What happened next was even more catastrophic. Genesis records several of the things that were occurring at this time:
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.” Genesis 7:11.
Creation geologists believe that the “springs of the great deep” mentioned in the verse above resulted from the breakup of the earth's crust. These catastrophic movements caused great multitudes of hot water from underneath the earth's crust (some of these subterranean bodies of water seem to still exist today) spewed out into the ocean, along with molten rock. Much of the hot water turned to steam and was ejected high into the earth's pre-Flood atmosphere. The steam rose where it collected into rain clouds and...yes, you guessed it, it rained a lot! See, contrary to popular belief, most of the water from's Noah's Flood likely did not come from rain clouds initially, but from underneath the earth's crust. The waters continued to rise, causing massive destruction and chaos over the entire planet.

Imagine what it would have been like to see a 2.5-mile-wide asteroid heading toward the earth!
The Genesis Flood was the most catastrophic event in the history of life on earth. It destroyed the face of the earth as people of the time knew it. Even the continents themselves were realigned. The supercontinent, Rodinia, broke up early in the Flood. Later during the Flood, the continents realigned into the supercontinent of Pangaea before finally breaking apart again into the seven continents we know today. Such massive geological movements would have stirred much volcanic activity and giant tsunamis across the globe (all this in addition to meteor impacts during the Flood!). While the continuous rain only lasted 40 days, the water continued to rise (fed by water sources underneath the earth's crust) for a total of 150 days. By the end of that time, the entire globe was covered.

The supercontinent of Rodinia broke up during the Flood, reformed into the continent of Pangaea before again breaking apart to form the seven continents we know today.

So how is the fossil record explained by the Flood? Rather than portraying the billion-years-long history of life on earth, most of the fossil record can easily be seen as an order of burial during the great Flood. As the watery carnage continued to progress higher and higher, ecosystem after ecosystem was destroyed and buried in rock layers (Cambrian-Cretaceous). Now, let's take a closer look at what was happening during this chaotic time, as if we were eyewitnesses to this event.

Cambrian Seas (Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian)
Countless numbers of trilobites and other Cambrian animals perished in the floodwaters.
4,350 years ago, the chaos of the Flood began in the water itself. As the earth's crust split apart, there would have no doubt been great earthquakes. These earthquakes caused the edges of the continental plates to collapse, and with them, organisms existing in the Cambrian seas, especially those along the sea floor. They would be deposited rapidly in the sediment. This would account for the necessary rapid burial of loads of sea creatures, such as trilobites, Anomalocaris and even soft-bodied creatures, such as jellyfish.

Lacking bones, jellyfish must be buried extremely quickly in order to fossilize, yet we find many jellyfish fossils in the fossil record.
This would also explain why we find footprints of trilobites before we find trilobite fossils. As the edge of the continental shelf collapsed, trilobites and other animals would try desperately to scuttle away to safety, in vain. As they tired, they were deposited in the Cambrian sediments. Many trilobites have also been discovered curled up into tight balls, as if they had tried to protect themselves from the carnage. Habitat after habitat was carried out to sea and buried. But the Flood's destruction didn't stop here.

Trilobite have been found curled up; they had tried to protect themselves before becoming catastrophically buried.
Carboniferous Floating Forest (Devonian, Carboniferous)
Meganeura and other Carboniferous plants and animals have been discovered.
As the Flood progressed, the Carboniferous Floating Forests felt a watery wrath. Tidal waves would have ripped apart the vegetation mats that supported these great Carboniferous forests. Smaller plants along the edges were buried before the larger trees. This explains why there is a progression in the fossil record from smaller plants to larger plants. The animals in these forests also met their demise as the vegetation mats broke apart.

As they floated in the water, trees in the Carboniferous ex-Floating Forest lost their outer bark, became waterlogged and eventually sank vertically toward the ocean floor. This is why we have polystrate fossils of these trees in the fossil record – that is, tree trunks going through several different rock layers.  Vegetation from these forests is responsible for providing our fossil fuels today.

The home of the 6-10-foot long Arthropleura is used as fossil fuels today!

Permian Sandy Coasts (Permian, Triassic?)
Lystrosaurus fossils show they were once widespread on the planet.
The Permian and Triassic coastline was next to be affected by the Flood. Waves of destruction laid waste to these habitats. Animals such as Lystrosaurus and Dimetrodon were dragged out toward the sea and deposited in thick layers of sandstone. The Flood preserved many creatures rather exquisitely; small gopher-like reptiles called Diictodon – one of the most common Permian reptiles – have been discovered in the burrows they lived in before the Flood. The animals probably retreated into these burrows, hoping to escape the Flood. Instead, they only sealed their own fate; these creatures were killed as water flowed into their burrows, drowning them.

This pair of Diictodon died in their burrow some 4,350 years ago.
Diictodon seemed to have lived in pairs that shared a single burrow.
Inland Environments (Jurassic, Cretaceous) and BEDS Hypothesis
This characteristic death pose is common in many dinosaur skeletons.
Now we have reached the inland ecosystems, where dinosaurs and other Mesozoic creatures roam. As the waters rose, one environment after another was destroyed and buried. The waters of the flood moved very quickly at times, allowing for exquisite preservation of many fossil creatures. One such find is of a small herbivore called Protoceratops and the turkey-sized predator called Velociraptor. One fossil discovery made in the 1970's is of these two animals locked in a deadly fight for 4,350 years. The animals must have been rapidly buried, otherwise, I'm quite sure they would have fled the danger. Another fascinating find is of an Oviraptor brooding her nest of eggs. She was crouched over them, attempting to protect them from the flood waters before she and her nest were buried.

This Oviraptor died atop her nest; she spread her arms over her eggs in a vain attempt to protect them.
The rising flood waters is also a wonderful explanation for the existence of marine organisms high upland. Fossils of sea shells, for example, have been discovered high in places like the Himalayas. It is also an explanation for massive fossil graveyards, such as herds of animals that died and were buried together.

Huge herds of Centrosaurus have been found, evidence for a devastating Flood.
Some dinosaurs managed to survive for sometime during the Flood. After the 40-day mark, the rain stopped pouring continuously and, though it was still on the rise, the water was affected by the tides. As the water level temporarily went down in some areas, large plots of land, covered in freshly-lain sediments, were uncovered. Dinosaurs that have managed to stay afloat in the water by swimming made their way to these sandbanks. Here is where dinosaurs would have quenched their hunger (even killing other dinosaurs or scavenging for food), laid their eggs and made footprints. Then, as the tides moved in, eggs and nests, dinosaur carcasses and footprints were covered with sediment for fossilization.

Dinosaurs like Velociraptor likely survived part of the Flood via sandbanks that were made available as the tide temporarily dropped.
Once again, we can look to the book of Genesis to see what occurred next:

The waters receded steadily from the earth...” Genesis 8:3a.

The entire earth was covered by water by the 150th day. No more sandbanks would have been available for swimming dinosaurs, so they too would eventually drowned. As the Apostle Peter states in 2 Peter 3:5-6: “...the world that then existed perished, being flooded by water.” However, God protected Noah and the ark's other occupants through the entire event so that they could once again live in the world after the flood waters receded to a sufficient level. Soon after the waters began to go down, we know plant life already had begun to recolonize the earth (remember the dove Noah sent out of the ark brought back a freshly-picked olive leaf in Genesis 8:11).

Olive trees were growing even before the Flood ended, as the water began to recede.
Finally, after being cooped up in the ark for over a year, God allowed Noah, his family and the animals to go forth into a new world. But this earth was not the same one they had left – the climate, the terrain and even the face of the earth itself had been changed by the Flood. Before the Flood, the Rocky Mountains, the Himalayas, the Grant Canyon and other incredible geologic structures did not exist; they were formed during the catastrophic Flood.

It is thanks to the Flood that we have places like the Grand Canyon.
We've explored what the pre-Flood world was like, and how this world was catastrophically destroyed by the Genesis Flood, the most devastating event in the history of the planet. But is this where our adventure ends? Not by a long shot! The world after the Flood was still quite different from the world we now know. In fact, we have evidence of massive volcanic eruptions, bizarre variations of different kinds of animals, colossal floods and even an Ice Age, all after the Flood.

Dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus would have had great difficulty finding enough food in the post-Flood world, leading up to the extinction of them and the other dinosaurs.
In the final part of this series, we will explore the amazing world after the Flood – the post-Flood world!


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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