17 Fossil Objections to Evolution

One of the required homework my daughter, who is in public kindergarten, got recently was a booklet called Where Animals Live. After giving examples of several animals and where they live, the book ends with a page (see the image on the side) which tells the reader where Mandy and Michael live. “What does where people live have to do with where animals live?”, one may wonder. Well, the book explains that right away: “People are animals too.”

I love science. I loved it ever since I learned about it. While it didn’t become a career, it became a hobby and I did a lot of reading and research. I’m also interested in the intersection between science and religion and I’ve presented on the topic of evolution at two science-and-religion conferences (one of the abstracts being published in the CRSQ Journal). I may end up alternating productivity posts with science (and religion) posts. The blog below is partly based on the email I wrote to my daughter’s teacher and the school’s principal.

There are many strong arguments for evolution. The question is not whether or not it works but rather where it stops working. The theory of evolution (TOE), or neo-Darwinism, claims that every single feature of biology (apart for the origin of life itself) is the result of evolution. That is, everything evolved from a single, common ancestor. But there are many very good reasons why that’s not the case. Here I’ll just shortly list the fossil related objections to evolution.

  1. Fossils. Fossilization is an very unusual event. It happens under very special conditions. Primarily, a creature needs to be quickly covered by sediments or mud, before it’s destroyed by scavengers or decay.1, 2 But such events are catastrophic. They happen quickly. This doesn’t align with the slow, gradual processes of evolution but rather with a catastrophic event such as Noah’s Flood. Furthermore, when most fish die, they float and then get scavenged and decomposed. They shouldn’t get fossilized unless there was some catastrophic, fast burial event.
  2. Soft parts fossils. Not just fossils but there are many soft parts fossils, such as jellyfish or bees. “Despite the rarity, there are hundreds of fossil sites worldwide where soft tissue parts are preserved.”3 Ironically, Darwin predicted that “No organism wholly soft can be preserved.”4. It turns out that they do but under very special circumstances. “Such exquisite preservation require specific environmental conditions, such as anoxic (little or no oxygen) mud and sediment that inhibits bacterial decomposition processes for enough time for mineral exchange, precipitation, and other chemical processes to form casts and films of delicate softer body parts.”5 Such preservation “with soft parts intact [and] often with food still in their guts” and “even raindrop imprints and ripple marks have been found preserved”.6 Such conditions, again, would exist during a major flood with burial and lithification happening extremely quickly not over long ages.
  3. Soft, flexible/stretchy and pliable tissue in dinosaur bones which, according to experts in fossilization, could have not possibly lasted tens of millions of years.7
  4. Not only that original, non-mineralized, proteins were found but also data “support[ing] preservation of multiple proteins and to present multiple lines of evidence for material consistent with DNA in dinosaurs“.8 (my emphasis). However, rigorous studies of DNA decay indicate that it has a half-life of 521 years. That puts an upper limit of 10,000 for DNA.9 Therefore such findings of soft tissue and DNA are at odds with TOE’s time-line.
  5. Out-of-sequence fossils, for example, evidence of flowering plants or bees many millions of years before there were any flowering plants were supposed to exist.10
  6. Fossils caught in the act of eating their prey11 (I even saw a case of one eating another while eating a third) or in the act of giving birth12 or mating13. All these must have been fossilized very rapidly. They don’t last like that for millions of years to fossilize. They can only happen in catastrophic events such as Noah’s flood.
  7. Many polystrate fossils, for example trees fossilized vertically across multiple layers of rock that is claimed to have taken millions of years to deposit. Well, trees just don’t remain vertical for millions of years. Some are even vertical but upside down which again is unexplainable within TOE (but an effect that has been observed in case of major floods). A similar objection to evolutionary long ages is raised by an 80 foot long whale fossil found as though sitting on it’s tale at right angle.14 Further, it was found in diatomite which, it is claimed, “buil[ds] up slowly over millions of years as diatom skeletons slowly settle out on the ocean floor.” Further, since the “fossilised skeleton was found essentially intact, the bones not disarticulated, the whale died and was entombed whole.” Even if the whale died horizontally and the rock was then very much tilted the problem is that a dead whale doesn’t remain articulated for long ages. The ligaments decay quickly and then the bones collapse and are dispersed by the currents. But the flippers, for example, were found articulated, one with the end of the flipper lower than the body and one higher. If they were disarticulated they would have fallen down to the ground. But they didn’t. The only plausible explanation was that the whale was buried quickly under catastrophic conditions before it had time to disarticulate. But this casts doubts on the slow rates of sedimentation and whether they hold for catastrophic conditions.
  8. Often fossils are found together in huge graveyards. There are many fossil shales and Lagerstätte around the world, many with “near perfect fossilization”15 and “exquisite preservation.”16 This is totally unexpected given TOE. Why would why so many different species die together in the same graveyard? However, it makes perfect sense given Noah’s flood.
  9. Not only that fossils are often in huge graveyards but these graveyards contain mixture of creatures living in incompatible environments and climates. Often sea and land animals and saltwater and fresh fish are mixed together. For example, at the Green River Formation of Wyoming, the fossils include deep water fish, crustaceans, mollusks along with birds, mammals, insects and palm trees.17 Or, at Fossil Bluff in Tasmania, thousands of marine creatures, including corals and clams and a whale were buried together with a marsupial possum.17 Or Caves and fissures on the Cote d’Azur have mammals such as rhinos along with whales.18 The Cretaceous Santana Formation in Brazil includes clams, sharks and pterodactyles (flying reptiles or pterosaurs).6 Numerous crevices on the Rock of Gibraltar include many various mammals (from wolf and rabbit to panther and rhino) and marine shells and corals. Or at Mont San Giorgio there are terrestrial reptiles among marine reptiles and fish.6 The same at the Triassic Cow Brand Formation in Virginia which includes terrestrial, fresh water and salt water plants, insects and reptiles.6 There are also multiple places in Britain and Eire. But such mixture of disparate fossils doesn’t make any sense unless there was a catastrophic event that brought all these disparate fossils together in one graveyard.
  10. Rapid fossils. There are examples today where fossilization happens very quickly under the right conditions, no millions of years required.19
  11. Consistent exquisite level of preservation on large scale fossil graveyards. Exquisite level of preservation requires catastrophic events (such as quick burial). But such “exquisite preservation” extends to very large fossil graveyards16 which is what the term Lagerstätte refers to.5 Some large bone beds include Ordovician Soom Shale in South Africa which stretches over thousands of square kilometers and the Devonian Thunder Bay Limestone formation in Michigan stretches many hundreds of miles, containing billions of fossils catastrophically buried. Such large bone beds requires not only that there was a catastrophic event but that it was of very large proportions.
  12. Missing links.
  13. Mosaic Fossils.
  14. Living fossils.
  15. Opisthotonus of fossils.
  16. The Cambrian Explosion.
  17. The earliest fossils are too early.

I will discuss the last 6 points in future blogs. Besides fossil-related objections to evolution, there are many other (some, IMHO, much stronger) objections and I will discuss some in future blogs as well.

Note: This was updated and expanded on 11/26/2017.



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