Friday, May 22, 2015

The Forgotten World of Our Past - pt. 3: The Post-Flood Aftermath

Eeee! I'm so excited about Jurassic World! We're only about three weeks away and I can barely stand it! Today, I've got several interesting updates (they just don't stop releasing TV spots...and I love it!) on the film to share with you, plus the final part in my series I've been working on.

Days till:
It is: 3 days till Memorial Day
It is: 21 days till Jurassic World opens
It is: 28 days till Inside Out's release
It is: 30 days till Father's Day

In the Spotlight:
Yep, as usual, we've got more TV spots from Jurassic World. I will show just a few of them here:

In addition to numerous TV spots from Jurassic World, a new trailer for Lego Jurassic World was just released as well. Check it out!

And last but NOT least, we've got an all-new clip from the movie itself, which shows ___ giving Simon Masrani his first look at the hybridized dinosaur, Indominus rex.

As usual, all these new videos get me really stoked for the upcoming film. Three weeks is going to seem like an eternity!

Topic of the Week by Christian Ryan
The skull of Smilodon fatilis (boasting 7-inch canines) is an icon of the Cenozoic rock layers.
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 2 of this exciting series, we looked at how the Flood of the Genesis account decimated the pre-Flood world, carved canyons, shifted continents and even pushed up mountains! After the Flood, the Bible records that all the animals and Noah's family exited the ark to multiply in the new post-Flood world. At this point in history, most Christians believe that the earth was quite like it is today at this point. This couldn't be farther from the truth! Once again, we can look at the fossil record and, using the Bible to help us interpret it, we can learn what happened in the world after the Flood.

Much of the world would have been fairly barren immediately after the Flood, but it wouldn't stay this way for long!
Most creation geologists believe the K/Pg boundary (the rock layer between the Cretaceous and Paleocene) represents the end of the Flood. But in order to find out what happened after the Flood, we have to travel back to soon after the 150th day of the Flood. What was going on? Well, on the 150th day of the Flood, the waters stopped rising. Even before the waters completely receded, plants regained a foothold upon the exposed earth. Immediately after the final Cretaceous layer was deposited, we find evidence of lots of ferns and similar plants (and let's not forget about the olive branch the dove brought to Noah). Ferns are one of the hardiest plants that reproduce via spores rather than seeds, so it makes since they would be some of the first plants to sprout following the Flood. Since plants began growing as the waters started receding, herbivorous animals and humans exiting the ark would have had plenty of food to eat. Carnivores would also have much to eat, considering the Flood would have undoubtedly left lots of rotting carcasses lying around.

Carnivores would have had little trouble finding enough food immediately after the Flood, given that a lot of rotting carcasses would have been lying around.
But the earth was still nothing like it is today. Because the Flood had disrupted the earth's climate, the global weather was unstable and unpredictable! Several “freaks of nature” occurred at this time that we don't experience today. For example, the early post-Flood world suffered from hypercanes. As I lived in Florida for the first several years of my life, I know full well what it's like to be in the midst of a hurricane. Don't even get me started about hurricane Katrina of 2005! But the hypercanes of the past were far worse! Caused by the differences in temperature between the ocean and the continents, hypercanes stormed the earth for hundreds of years following the Flood. These hypercanes could cover entire continents and possess intense winds of 500 mph! It would take weeks for these fierce storms to pass and they would have likely dumped 50 inches of rain per hour! This time in history also suffered from massive volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes that were still gradually calming down from the Flood.

Continent-sized hypercanes would have torn across the continents with wind speeds of about 500 miles per hour!
This post-Flood, pre-Modern world is reflected in rock layers above the Cretaceous. These rock layers are classified as Cenozoic, or “new life” and were deposited by a series of post-Flood catastrophes. The Cenozoic rock layers are: Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene and the Pleistocene. In these layers are a different set of animals from many of the the ones that appeared before the Flood. Giant killer birds, saber-toothed cats, terminator pigs and mammoths roamed the planet at this time. These animals descended from the collection of creatures that came off of Noah's Ark; as they spread from the cliffs of Ararat where the ark landed, they diversified into a myriad of different species as they adapted to this “new world”.

Many strange and wonderful animals roamed the earth after the Flood, becoming extinct before modern times.
Once again, let us travel back in time and see what strange and wonderful animals existed in this world after the Flood as they struggled to adapt to the ever-changing climates.

Loads of volcanic activity pumped carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which prevented much heat from escaping and fueled the growth of great forests, turning earth into a living greenhouse, rich in biodiversity.
4,350 years ago, following the Flood, volcanic activity during the Flood cast debris and aerosols into the air. Not only did this prevent much of the sun's heat from entering earth's atmosphere, but it also kept the heat from the Flood's volcanic activity in. This created a “green house” effect upon the planet, turning earth into a beautiful, lush landscape. The earth was much warmer than today. Fossil subtropical and tropical plants have been discovered in regions that are freezing cold Arctic and Antarctic regions of today. It was green and lush all over the earth. As animals spread from the ark to the four corners of the earth, they found much food to eat. In the fossil record, we typically find small terrestrial animals and aquatic animals in Paleocene and Eocene rocks. This is exactly what we'd expect to find after the Flood; lots of aquatic animals would have survived the Flood and smaller animals can reproduce, and therefore spread across the earth, faster than large animals, which are found in higher rock layers. We can see one such Eocene habitat that developed shortly after the Flood buried in Germany's Messel Pit.

Leptictidium was a small insectivore living in the Eocene forests of Germany.
The Messel Pit hosts many strange creatures, many exquisitely preserved; this means that they were buried quickly by a regional disaster. Primates like the lemur-like Darwinius, bats (e.g. Palaeochiropteryx), and other primates, like Godinotia. Below the tree canopy, rodents, hedgehogs pangolins, ostriches and Propaleotherium fed in the leaf-litter. Eocene Germany wasn't without its predators though: owls, hawks, falcons, crocodiles and the cat-like Paroodectes were common predators of the region. Another bizarre creature was the Gastornis, a six-foot tall bird with a large beak. Initially, paleontologists believe Gastornis was a predator, but evidence now seems to indicate that it was mostly an herbivore, using its beak to crunch up fruits and tough nuts. While many animals ran from their predators, some could hop like kangaroos. Leptictidium was one such mammal. It consumed small animals like insects, small lizards and frogs; scientists believe Leptictidium had a trunk-like nose, similar to the ones seen in modern elephant shrews.

Gastornis, once thought to be a predator, was more likely a large herbivorous bird, using its strong beak to crunch up fruit and tough, kinda like a parrot...a really BIG parrot!
Strange creatures weren't restricted to the land. Different species of whales roamed the oceans, such as the 60-foot Basilosaurus and the dolphin-sized Dorudon. These whales are different from modern whales because they have a tiny pair of back limbs; they were used to help cling to a sexual partner during copulation.

Basilosaurus was a top predator of the Eocene seas, hunting fish, sharks, turtles and smaller whales, like Dorudon.
As time passed, the earth began to slowly get drier, and eventually cooler, causing forests to recede and open plains to spread.
As time passes, the climate begins to dry out as the heat escapes the earth's atmosphere. Clouds of debris and aerosols are still blocking a lot of the sun's heat. The earth's great forests began to decline and ice caps appeared in the poles.

Embolotherium was a large Eocene mammal, adapted for life on the newly-formed open plains. Its horn, too fragile for combat, was used for display purposes.
As the climate dried, animals adapted to life in the open plains. Many grew quite large, like the rhinoceros-like brontotheres that roamed the earth for a short period of time as the forests receded and the plains spread. We find abundant fossils of camels and horses that spread across the plains, especially of the Americas. Rhinos at this time came in all shapes and sizes In Nebraska's Ashfall Fossil Beds, the rhinoceros Teleoceras died in great numbers. One specimen even includes a young Teleoceras attempting to suckle from its mother. Herds of these animals died in great volcanic eruptions and were deposited in ash (hence the name of the fossil beds). The Oligocene also brings us the largest land mammal that has ever existed, called Paraceratherium. Paraceratherium was a hornless, 16-foot tall, 15-20 ton behemoth of Eurasia. It was as tall as a giraffe and could reach into tall trees to consume the leaves.

Paraceratherium was the largest rhinoceros that ever existed. Its size alone was great defense against predators.
Some of what many would call the “ugliest” creatures have been found in Oligocene and Miocene rock layers. Meet the entelodonts, or “terminator pigs”; though they looked a lot like pigs, scientists believe the two were unrelated. Daeodon was the largest entelodont ever known, with a three-foot skull and a height of about six feet at the shoulder. Daeodon and other entelodonts were omnivores, eating anything from roots, vegetation, carrion and perhaps even other animals. Daeodon was probably a very aggressive beast. Fossil tooth marks on Daeodon skulls reveals that they even attacked each other! There were also several species of Hyaenodon alive during this time in earth's history, measuring anywhere between the size of martin to about the size of a modern rhinoceros.

The pig-like Daeodon was probably an omnivore, eating a wide range of food.
Despite the wide variety of Oligocene and Miocene creatures, we never see any evidence of evolution in these different kinds of animals. As they adapt to the ever-changing environment, we still clearly see that camels turn into camels, entelodonts into entelodonts, rhinos into rhinos and horses into horses. We only see animals turning into similar animals – animals within their own “created kind” that God created 6,000 years ago.

The Oligocene and Miocene habitats existed for a brief period of time after the Flood. The planet continued to change.
Much of the world in the Pliocene was starting to look like the world we know today.
As we reach the Pliocene, you'll notice that the world looks very similar to the world we know today. But there are still drastic differences. The ice caps were still expanding as the climate continued to get generally cooler and drier.

Bizarre in appearance, Deinotherium was a relative of the modern elephant.
If you visited Pliocene Africa, most of the same animals and plants would be seen (though the forests were probably a bit more extensive). Zebras, rhinoceros, leopards would be common sights here, but you'd also see more really weird and wacky animals, like the giant elephant Deinotherium. It differed from modern elephants thanks to its relatively short trunk and its pair of tusks that protruded from its chin! One animal you would definitely want to see is called Australopithecus. Instead of being the half-human, mostly-bipedal apeman from evolutionary textbooks, Australopithecus was a chimpanzee-like, knuckle-walking ape that would have been at home equally in the treetops and on the ground.

Instead of being the "ape-man" from evolutionary textbooks, Australopithecus was a knuckle-walking ape equally at home in the treetops as it was on the ground.
For a short period of time, the continent of South America appears to have been completely separated from the continent of North America, meaning the animals here adapted to be unlike any other animals on the earth. Toxodon and the trunk-nosed Macraucheenia grazed on the South American plains in massive herds while being preyed upon by the 10-foot tall Phorusrhacos. It was one of the largest species of terror birds – huge birds with long legs, large beaks with a sharp hook on the end and, unlike Gastornis, terror birds were probably carnivorous. Phorusrhacos could run up to 30 mph in pursuit of prey. Let's not forget about the giant armadillo, Doedicurus, which had a club-like tail with spikes on it.

Macraucheenia was likely common prey for terror birds.
Warm oceans after the Flood caused much evaporation; this created large clouds that dumped mountains (yes, mountains) of snow across much of the northern hemisphere and Antarctica. The cool summers and mild winters of this time created the perfect condition for one of the greatest natural history events since the Flood...the Ice Age!

Huge glaciers, over 2,000 feet high, spread out across the landscape during the Ice Age.
By the time of the Pleistocene sediments, the earth was in the icy grip of the Ice Age. Contrary to what evolutionists believe, there was only one Ice Age in our earth's past. It began approximately 4,250 years ago. During the Ice Age, the snow in the north piled upon the continent until they became massive glaciers. With the cool summers, these mountains of snow and ice didn't melt and they spread southward. During the glacial maximum, about a century into the Ice Age, a third of the planet was covered in glaciers, some of which were over 2,000 feet high!

The woolly mammoth was an icon of the Ice Age; it had thick fur and fat underneath the skin to keep it warm.
The unpredictable climate would have been tough for any animal. But fortunately, God created His creatures with all the necessary genetic diversity to develop special features to help them cope with the cold. The most famous Ice Age mammal of all is probably the woolly mammoth. With thick fur, long and curved tusks and several inches of fat beneath the skin, these hairy elephants were denizens of the Ice Age. They roamed in herds and used their tusks to push through deep snow. Mammoths weren't the only Ice Age beasts – Irish elk (with 12-foot antler-spans), woolly rhinoceros, giant bison and loads of other hairy mammals also grazed upon the open grassy plains just beyond the glaciers. The Ice Age also hosted several predators, like cave hyenas and cave bears of Eurasia, the 12-foot tall short-faced bear of North America and the infamous Smilodon, or saber-toothed cat with its seven-inch long canines.

The Irish Elk's antlers span 12 feet from the tip of one to the tip of the other!
Smilodon were apex Ice Age predators. Many scientists believe these cats hunted large prey in packs.
With all these animals roaming the earth, where were the humans at the time? Fossils of humans and their artifacts don't appear until the highest Pleistocene sediments. The Bible reveals that contrary to the instruction God gave humans, which was this:

“Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.'” Genesis 9:1.

God told Noah and his sons to fill the earth and multiply. But as they multiplied, the human population disobeyed God. In Genesis 11, we learn that they remained in one place in the Middle East and decided to construct a tower that would reach to the heavens. As usual, God insured that His will came to pass and He confused their languages. Since humans could no longer work together, they (finally!) spread across the earth. Just like the animals, humans adapted and diversified to cope with the different environments they faced. This is why we have different people groups throughout the world today.

Even though God told Noah and his descendants to spread across the earth, humans remained in one place and attempted to construct a large tower that reached to the heavens, later to be called the Tower of Babel.
Some varieties of human beings existed during the Ice Age and became extinct. Neanderthals are a wonderful example of how mankind can adapt to thrive in a difficult environment. In order to adapt to the cold, neanderthals developed tough, heavily-built bodies and large noses (this helped warm the air before breathing it into the lungs so that their lungs didn't freeze). As the Ice Age progressed, they relearned how to make tools for bringing down large animals; this knowledge was lost in the Flood.

Even though they had several differences from us, neanderthals were 100% human, capable of speech, art and a concept of the after life.
Alas, the Ice Age was not to last forever. Finally the oceans cooled and the summers got warmer and the winters colder (too cold for snow to frequently build up). The glaciers receded north and forests began to recolonize much of the earth. Woolly mammoths, saber-toothed cats, woolly rhinoceros and many other Ice Age creatures eventually died off at the end of the iciest period on earth, around 2,000 years ago. This was about the time of Abraham. With the earth's more predictable weather patterns returning, humans could build civilizations and animals pushed south by the cold could move back north. Finally, the world we know today had arrived!

The Ice Age ended as glaciers receded north and the climate changed. Animals like the woolly mammoth became extinct.
Over the course of this series, we traveled into the Cambrian seas, explored the Carboniferous forests, climbed out onto dry land on the Permian coasts, learned about the incredible dinosaurs, witnessed how the pre-Flood world was destroyed by the Genesis Flood, checked out some of the weird creatures that lived in earth's unpredictable climate after the Flood and journeyed through the world during the Ice Age. Using the Bible as the “history book of the universe”, there is so much we've learned, and are still continuing to learn, about our planet's exciting past!

Using the Bible as our guide, fossils provide us an excellent window into the exciting history of our planet's past!

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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