Fossil Hunting in the Badlands of South Dakota

A portion of a jawbone I picked up off a hillside in the badlands of South Dakota. Photo: Joel Duff

So many highlights from our vacation but I am going to hold off on some of my favorites until I am able to work through my images and develop more back story to go with them.  Instead, I will start with a short stop we made at Badlands National Park in South Dakota.  We were there all […]

NH Summer Update: Vacation, Ark Encounter and Coming Attractions

Devils Tower in Wyoming. Photo: Joel Duff, June 2016

The past month has been quite an adventure.  It has been good to get a break from my job and this blog, which was starting to feel like a job.  Hopefully I am refreshed and bring some new perspectives – and photos – to share with you in the coming months.  Below are a couple of highlights […]

Cave with Structures Made from Stalagmites Another Problem for YEC Chronology

cavestructurestalags

It seems like every month there is an amazing new discovery of ancient human activities.  Last week it was revealed that “structures” built from stalagmites deep – more than 1000 feet – in a French cave are much older than previously thought.  You can read about these strange structures in many places. I found this article in The Atlantic to be […]

2500 Year Old Human Footprints Discovered: Insight into the Formation of Fossil Footprints

If-drTSmith

Countless numbers of footprints made by hundreds of kinds of organisms are preserved in hundreds of individual layers of the geological column.   Millions of these tracks have been identified from just the tiny fraction of the rocks that are exposed at the surface of the Earth.   But how were so many footprints preserved? In conversations with […]

A Tale of Taphonomy: Clam Shrimp Fossils and the Age of the Earth

A clam shrimp.  This has a nearly clear carapace (the clam shells) and has a large number of eggs in its brood pouch over its back.

One of the great privileges of my job is that I get to participate on graduate student committees. This allows me to get up close and personal with data from a variety of sub-disciplines of biology that sometimes extend far from those of my particular expertise.  You know by now that I carry a particular […]

Ken Ham’s Biblical Evolution? I Have a Book That Says Otherwise

A Creationist' Evolution Terminology Guide.  I have modified a screenshot image of PPT slide from Ken Ham's debate with Bill Nye.  You can find the original image here:  https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2014/02/12/post-debate-potpourri-part-one/

Two years ago Ken Ham very publicly promoted what he believes is a biblical model of evolution to explain the diversity of life on Earth.   I have a book before me that provides compelling evidence that his model of evolution is wrong. That book is the Bible.  For those that follow young earth creation literature nothing that Ken […]

Titanosaurus: Largest Dinosaur Ever Found But is it the Largest Animal?

A single femur from the newly found titanosaurus. PR photo:  MEF

What is the largest animal to have ever lived on the Earth?  Most people will answer “dinosaurs” or “sauropods” in particular.  While some titanosaurs may have been the heaviest land animals they were not the largest animals to have lived on Earth. That distinction goes to an animal that is very much alive today:  the […]

John Ray on Flood Geology in 1695: Words that Still Apply Today

Snail shell, San Diego CA. Photo: Joel Duff 2014

Modern young-earth creationism has deep roots.  The essential elements of flood geology were established in the 1600s though much of what passed as flood geology at that time might be difficult to recognize today.  One thing that hasn’t changed is the style of rhetoric frequently used to promote flood geology to the general public. To […]

Dodging Darwin: How Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is Slowly Embracing Evolution

MacMillan-Evolution-Creationism-Ken-Ham-Ancestors-full

As the strict young-earth creationists at Answers in Genesis work to complete their Ark Encounter “theme park,” they have expended an impressive amount of energy organizing the millions of species of land animals alive today into a handful of small groups they call “baramins.” Creationists insist that while adaptation or speciation within a particular “baramin” is observable (and, indeed, necessary in order to account for the present observed diversity of life), there is never any overlap between separate kinds. Unfortunately for the young-earth model, the push to minimize the number of animals riding on the Ark has exposed a major problem with this view.

Fossil Wasp Cocoons in Dinosaur Eggs: Complex Ecology Contradicts YEC Flood Geology Hypothesis

Several fossilized wasp cocoons visible here in this titanosaurus egg.  Image:  SARZETTI (co-author of the paper describing this finding)

What happened to dinosaur eggs that were either abandoned or broke prematurely?  You might think that this is a question that is impossible to answer, but dinosaur eggs have been discovered with intriguing evidence of scavenging of many forms.   By studying the remains of organisms that are preserved in preserved dinosaur eggs paleontologists have discovered compelling evidence that a complex ecology […]

Dinosaurs, Dragons and Ken Ham: The Literal Reality of Mythological Creatures

Conservator Felicity Bolton with a Protoceratops skull at the Fossil Folklore exhibition at the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, Tring.

Image you are living in 200 BC in the Middle East and you come by the skull to the right (Fig. 1) as you plow your field or when you explore the local cave complex.  What if you are wandering the desert  in Egypt and happen upon the bones in the second figure. Or what […]

Bones of Contention IV: A YEC Homo naledi Fossil Status Scorecard

Some of the fossil bones from the rising star cave in South Africa that have been named Homo naledi.  Photo: John Hawks - co-author of the paper reporting the result of research on these bones.

Creation Ministries International, the third of the big-three literal solar-day young earth creationist organizations, weighed in yesterday with their own assessment of the remarkable set of bones found in the deep recesses of a South African cave. The scientists who recovered and examined those bones over a two-year period have identified them as belonging to a […]

Where did all the Dinosaurs Go? Ken Ham’s Climate and Human-Induced Dinosaur Extinction Hypothesis

An scan of a page from Ken Ham's "Dinosaurs in Eden" book. Here we can see Tyranosaurus-like dinosaurs with small arms enjoying a diet of flower plants.

If dinosaurs lived with people not long ago then what happened to them?  Any Literal Solar-Day Young Earth Creationist is going to have to contend with this question.  At the Answers in Genesis conference that I attended recently the speaker, Bryan Osborne posed this very question to the kids in his audience knowing they would […]

Bones of Contention III: ICR Claims Homo naledi Fossils are of an “Imaginary Creature”

Hand-of-a-Homo-Naledi

Soon after the revelation that the remains of at least 15 individuals had been found in the deep recesses of a cave and that these bones looked as if they had been deposited there purposely, I asked the question: How Will Creationist’s Respond to a Huge New Hominid Fossil Find?  The first responses came within […]

NH Notes: Fossilized Animal Burrows in Argentina from the Triassic Period

This is a photograph of a typical burrow complex found in Triassic formations in Argentinia.  The scale bar in the pictures is 10 centimeters.  Horizontal shafts are labeled "A" and vertical shafts that continued doen into rock below or would have gone up to the surface are labeled "B". This is Fig 3 from: Colombi CE, Fernández E, Currie BS, Alcober OA, et al. (2012) Large-Diameter Burrows of the Triassic Ischigualasto Basin, NW Argentina: Paleoecological and Paleoenvironmental Implications. PLoS ONE 7(12): e50662. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050662
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0050662.

Fossilized bones of dinosaurs, whales and mammoths get all of the attention but trace fossils provide important evidence for interpreting when and how organisms lived on Earth in the past. Trace fossils are not the fossilized remains of organisms themselves but rather are evidence of the past presence of organisms.  The most recognizable trace fossils […]

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