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Migration after the Flood

How did plants and animals spread around the world so quickly?

by

Published: 12 March 2013 (GMT+10)

(Compiled from notes prepared for a presentation given at the Creation Superconference, Asheville, North Carolina, August 2012. See DVD here.)

Wikipedia.org

The Bible provides a better explanation for the observed patterns of biogeography than evolution.

The Bible provides a better explanation for the observed patterns of biogeography than evolution.

If jaguars, lions, leopards and tigers all descended from a pair of cats that disembarked from the Ark around 4,500 years ago, it is not surprising that they can mate and produce offspring.

This article is about biogeography—the study of where on the earth we find the different kinds of plants and animals. It is also about two competing views of Earth history:

  • the secular, evolutionary ancient Earth view
  • the biblical creationist young Earth view.

The secular, evolutionary, ancient Earth view

According to this, the earth is billions of years old, and natural processes have been slowly changing the earth’s continents and slowly changing life on Earth over many millions of years. If we go back a couple of hundred million years, so we’re told, the earth looked like this. All the continents were together in one great continent they call Pangaea. And the world we see today, we’re told, formed as this single land mass split up, as the continents we know today slowly drifted apart. (See repeating animation below.)

Credit: Ron Blakey, NAU Geology

Separation of continents

The separation of the continents

As this was happening we’re told—as the continents were slowly drifting apart over millions of years—dinosaurs went extinct, reptiles evolved into birds and mammals, non-flowering plants evolved into flowering plants and, of course, apes evolved into people. So the evolutionists tell us, when we study biogeography we discover lots of evidence supporting this view. Indeed, there’s a mountain of evidence they say, from biogeography, showing that evolution is true; and a mountain of evidence confirming that the continents split apart millions of years ago, separating the various plants and animals that lived on the earth around that time.

When we go to Africa, we find leopards, rhinoceroses, giraffes and gorillas. In America, we don’t find any of these. Instead, we find raccoons, jaguars, armadillos and opossums. When we go to Australia we find marsupials like kangaroos. (See here.) Evolutionists claim that the reason we find these different animals on these different continents is that they evolved in the different parts of the world. So, they say, gorillas are found in Africa and not America, because they evolved in Africa and not in America. Armadillos are found in America, because they evolved there and not anywhere else.

Evolutionists also claim that strong evidence for evolution can be found from studying the biogeography of islands. For example evolutionists make much of the different species of finches found on the Galapagos Islands. One of the prominent features of the Galapagos finches is their different beak shapes, and of particular significance is that the finches have beaks best suited to the kind of food found on the islands where they live. Some have strong stubby beaks for crushing hard seeds; others have thinner beaks for probing flowers or fishing insects from the crevices in trees. And so the story goes—and there’s much to be said for it—one original species flew to these islands from the mainland and, over time, diversified into all the different species. This is often termed ‘speciation’—where a number of different species come from one original species.

Actually, much more impressive examples of speciation can be found on the Hawaiian Islands, right out in the middle of the Pacific. Around 500 unique species of fruit fly can be found here. Also, Hawaii is home to more than 1,000 different species of snails and slugs, species that, again, are found nowhere else in the world. Evolutionists claim that what we see on the Galapagos and Hawaiian islands provides absolutely ‘irrefutable’ evidence supporting their theory of evolution.

Within mammals, there are two main groups: the placentals and the marsupials.1 Placental mammals, such as humans, complete their embryonic development in the womb, joined to the mother by a placenta. Marsupial mammals, such as kangaroos, have a very different reproductive system, where the mother carries and suckles her young in a pouch at the front of her body. (See here.) We can see here a few more placentals on the left and a few more marsupials on the right.

There are around 140 species of marsupial in Australia, most of which are not found anywhere else; according to evolutionists, there’s a very straightforward explanation for this. You’ve guessed it—these marsupials evolved in Australia!

According to Professor Richard Dawkins, “The pattern of geographical distribution [of plants and animals] is just what you would expect if evolution had happened”2 and Jerry Coyne, who is Professor of Biology at the University of Chicago, had this to say: “The biogeographic evidence for evolution is now so powerful that I have never seen a creationist book, article or lecture that has tried to refute it. Creationists simply pretend that the evidence doesn’t exist.”3

The biblical creationist young Earth view

Many creationists believe that there was, originally, one great continent—when God first created the world. In Genesis 1:9, God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” The Bible also tells us that around 1600 years after creation, God judged the world with a global flood—and this would have been much more than just a deluge. There would have been much geological activity, volcanism and ground movements as well. Probably a majority of creationist scientists—not all, but probably a majority—would agree that the continents we see today did split apart from the one original land mass. And they would say that this happened at the time of the Genesis Flood, when all this geological activity was going on. Of course, they wouldn’t say this happened slowly, over millions of years, but rapidly—not by ‘continental drift’, but ‘continental sprint’. And it’s important to note that, according to this view, the movements of the continents would have occurred beneath the flood waters. So we wouldn’t have had living populations of plants and animals being split by this continental separation.

During the Flood, the whole of the pre-flood world was destroyed. In Genesis 6:17, God said, “I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on Earth will perish” (my emphasis). So the world we see today grew up after this global catastrophe, and over the last 4,500 years or so. Plants left floating on the surface of the waters would have recolonised the areas where they finally settled, after the flood waters receded, and the animals that disembarked the Ark would have migrated to the places they now inhabit.

Which view best fits the data?

The question we might ask is this: “Which view is best supported by the scientific evidence, the data? The secular evolutionary ancient Earth view, or the biblical creationist young Earth view?”

Firstly, the finches on the Galapagos and the many fruit flies and snails on the Hawaiian islands are not a problem for creationists. We believe that God designed animals with the capacity to vary within their kinds, and with the capacity to change and adapt to different environments; and when we study this carefully, we actually find a problem for the evolutionists. This is because there is growing evidence that this kind of adaptation occurs quickly—it doesn’t require hundreds of thousands or millions of years.4

There’s lots of evidence that plants and animals can change. Finches can become other species of finch, fruit flies can become other species of fruit fly, snails can become other species of snail and so on. But this is hardly scientific evidence that an amphibian can become a reptile or that a reptile can become a bird. Nor is it scientific evidence that an ape can evolve into a man.

Have the continents really been separated for millions of years?

Now the evolutionary view is that we have different animals on different continents because they evolved in different parts of the world.

According to this view, jaguars and lions descended from a common evolutionary ancestor that lived around three million years ago. And after three million years of evolution, they say, we got jaguars in South America and lions in Africa. But it’s possible to mate a jaguar and a lion and get a hybrid, a jaglion. If these two species, jaguars and lions, were really separated by three million years of evolution, it is most unlikely that their mutated DNA would allow them to hybridise.

Evolutionists face an even bigger problem trying to explain hybrids between jaguars and leopards. This is because the female of this kind of hybrid is fertile. Think about it. Three million years of separate evolution—half the time it allegedly took for ape-like creatures to become people—and the hybrid is still fertile. This seems very unlikely. But the ability of these big cats to hybridise fits the biblical account of history very well. If jaguars, lions, leopards and tigers all descended from a pair of cats that disembarked from the Ark around 4,500 years ago, it is not surprising that they can mate and produce offspring.

Arguably, evolutionists face an even greater problem with the iguanas of the Galapagos Islands. The land and marine iguanas supposedly separated from their common evolutionary ancestor around 10 million years ago. But, as we pointed out in our Darwin documentary, land iguanas can mate with marine iguanas and produce offspring. This amazed evolutionists when they saw it.

Were the continents really joined for millions of years?

In the evolutionary view, South America and Africa were joined for millions of years (see here). Why then are more seed plants common to South America and Asia than to South America and Africa? Of around 200 seed plant families native to Eastern South America, only 156 are common to Eastern South America and Western Africa, but 174 are common to Eastern South America and Eastern Asia.5 (See here.) If South America and Africa had really been joined for millions of years, we would expect to see exactly the opposite. We would expect there to be more plants common to S. America and Africa than to S. America and Asia.

According to Dr Simon Mayo, of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (near London), “The overall similarity of the floras [plants] of the two continents is surprisingly low given such a clear geophysical background.”6 Dr Mayo expresses surprise that there are so few plants found in both South America and Africa. Why is he so surprised? Well, be believes these two continents were joined for millions of years. The actual locations of plants, however, doesn’t support this view.

Some biogeographers have found this kind of data so puzzling that they have argued against the idea of a super continent, Pangaea, where South America and Africa were joined, and proposed a different arrangement—they have suggested instead that there was a super continent they call Pacifica, where South America and Asia were joined.7

If the ancient earth view were correct, we would expect the data and the models of ancient earth geologists to fit with the data and models of ancient earth biogeographers. We would expect them to be harmonious, but they’re not; often they’re inconsistent and contradictory.

New World monkeys

We find monkeys in South America, Africa and Asia. For example, we find the Spider Monkey in South America, the Olive Baboon in Africa, the Langur in India and Macaques in Japan. (See here.) Now evolutionists tell us that monkeys evolved in Africa. Well, it’s not difficult to see how they might have migrated to Asia. But how did they get to South America? According to evolutionary theory, South America split off from Africa millions of years before monkeys had evolved. Evolutionists have the same problems explaining why rodents and some flowering plants are found on these two continents, because, again, they are said to have evolved after South America split from Africa.8

Beringian fossils

Currently, the western tip of Alaska is very close to the eastern tip of Asia. They’re separated only by the narrow Bering Strait. In fact, many people believe that in the recent past, the two were connected. But, according to evolutionists, and their theory of slow continental drift, Asia and Alaska have only been close to one another for ten million years or so; not for very long in their thinking.

Prior to this, in the supercontinent Pangaea, Alaska and Asia are understood to have been separated by thousands of miles of ocean—by all the water on the far side of the globe. (See here.) However, we find plant fossils of the same species in rocks either side of the Bering Strait; and these rocks were laid down in what evolutionists would call the Jurassic period.9 But the Jurassic period, we’re told, ended around 150 million years ago. So according to this thinking, these identical plant fossils were buried at least 150 million years ago.

Do you see the problem here for the ancient earthers? In their thinking if we go back over 150 million years, Eastern Asia and Alaska weren’t close to one another as we see in this slide. They were separated by thousands of miles of ocean. Why, then, do we find plant fossils of the same species buried in Jurassic rocks in these two very distant regions? This is yet another example of the kinds of conflicts that arise between ancient earth geology and ancient earth biogeography.

Millions of years of evolution?

There are many similar plants and animals found in eastern Asia and eastern North America, but not in the regions between them.10,11 (See here.) Now evolutionists try and explain this by saying that millions of years ago the northern regions were warmer and these two areas of Asia and America were part of one continuous plant and animal distribution—like this. And a few million years ago, they say, the climate then cooled and the plant and animal life was separated into the two zones. But, again, their millions of years’ scenario hits a problem. And it’s a big problem, because many of the plants in these two regions are regarded as being the same or virtually the same species.12 How, then, could they have been separated for millions of years? If all these plants had really been separated for millions of years, they would not be expected to have retained their similarities to the point that they would still be considered to be the same or virtually the same species. Creationists would expect them to change because plants and animals appear to be designed by God to vary within their kind; and evolutionists would expect them to change because of genetic mutations and their understanding of the evolutionary process.

In evolutionary thinking it took only six million years for ape-like creatures to evolve into people. Make no mistake, there are considerable differences between apes and people. But to the evolutionist this is easily explained: the evolutionary process, they say, is so powerful it can bring about these kinds of remarkable changes in just a few million years. Why then did all these plants and animals in Asia and America not evolve too and change significantly over the same period?

From a creationist point of view, though, it would seem perfectly reasonable to understand that there was a continuous plant and animal distribution linking these two parts of the world—but not of course millions of years ago, but in fairly recent history.

More biogeographic puzzles for evolutionists

Many plants and animals are found only in the northern regions and southern regions and not in between. Crowberries are one example. It certainly can’t be said of these that they are found where they are because that’s where they evolved. There are so many plants and animals found only in the northern and southern regions that some biogeographers have made the astonishing suggestion that these parts of the world were once in contact with each other. They have seriously suggested, based on biogeographic data, that the arrangement of the continents in the past was such that the northern regions were adjacent to the southern regions.13 So, again, we see the thinking and views of ancient earth biogegraphers conflicting with the views of ancient earth geologists. Few of the latter would have much time for the idea that the northern regions were once adjacent to the southern regions.

So how might we explain biogeography within the framework of biblical Earth history?

One process by which plants and animals could have spread around the world after the Genesis Flood is rafting—that is, on log mats driven by ocean currents. Actually, a growing number of evolutionists are proposing rafting as an explanation for how some plants and animals dispersed from one island to another, and even from one continent to another.14

When Mt St Helens erupted in 1980, a tsunami was generated in the nearby Spirit Lake, and this caused around a million trees to be uprooted from the surrounding hillside. These eventually settled on the lake as an enormous log mat. Following the great earthquake off the coast of Japan in 2011 and the resulting tsunami, a trail of debris formed in the Pacific ocean, around 70 miles (100 km) long and covering an area of over 2 million square feet (186,000 square metres).

Now the effects of the Mt St Helens and Japanese tsunamis were nothing as compared with the destruction that would have been wrought by a global flood. The flood we read of in the book of Genesis would have resulted in billions of trees floating on the surface of the oceans. These log mats would have been like enormous floating islands and, regularly watered by rainfall, they could have easily transported plants and small animals great distances. Some creationists believe that the pre-Flood world included great floating forests, a bit like the quaking bogs we know today.15 Perhaps these were broken up during the Flood and became rafts too.

The ability of ocean currents to distribute floating objects around the world was seen recently, when thousands of bathtub rubber ducks were lost off a container ship in the North Pacific. Within just a few months, these had floated to Indonesia, Australia and South America, and subsequently into the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.16,17,18 (See here.) Often we find plants distributed along coastlines and islands. The distribution of the Sago palm can be seen here. It’s found in East Africa, Madagascar, the tip of Indian and parts of Indonesia and Australasia.

Pelargonium is another example. It’s found right out in the Atlantic, in South Africa, Madagascar, east Africa, India, Sri Lanka, southern Australia and New Zealand. Another example is a type of fern plant, Strangeriaceae. It’s found in South Africa and along the eastern coast of Australia. This shows the distribution of a plant called Hook and Arn, a member of the carrot family. Based on the routes taken by the rubber ducks, it seems very reasonable to believe that rafting explains this. We can see how the rubber ducks floated to North and South America.

Tracks of dispersal

A prominent feature of biogeography is ‘tracks of dispersal’. This is an example. It shows how Oreobolus plants dispersed throughout Indonesia and Australasia and across the Pacific ocean. And what’s so significant about this is that many other plants (and small animals) have followed a similar route.

Note, too, that all the plants and animals following this track are found either side of the Pacific Ocean. Now, when the habitats of particular plants or animals are broken or split by land or water, it’s called a disjunction. So we might say that all these plants and animals are disjunct (or split) across the Pacific Ocean.

Areas of endemism

Text books typically show the main biogeographic regions like this. This is the map for animals, showing six main faunal (or animal) regions—regions where we tend to find the same sort of animals. But these kinds of diagrams are really over simplifications. A more realistic picture is like this, where we find many different plants and animals concentrated in small regions known as ‘Areas of Endemism’.19,20 Now, endemic means native or restricted to a particular area, and an area of endemism is one where there are a high number of endemic species—where many different species are found in the same small distinct region. And here, each colour represents one of these regions.

Interestingly, areas of high plant endemism often coincide with areas of high animal endemism.21,22 So, these areas where we find lots of different plant species concentrated together tend to be the same as the areas where we find lots of different animal species concentrated together. Many areas of endemism are coastal regions and islands.

For example, the tropical Andes, shown here enclosed in red on the left, is the richest and most diverse plant region on Earth. It contains around 15% of the all the world’s plant life in less than 1% of the world’s land area. Around 20,000 of its 40,000 plant species are endemic. The area of Sundaland, enclosed in green to the right, contains 15,000 endemic plant species and the island of Madagascar, enclosed in blue, has over 9,000 endemic plant species.

We also find many similarities between these regions—where the same plants and animals are distributed around or either side of an ocean. There are numerous patterns of disjunction like this, where, again and again, we find the same plants and animals in the same widely separated areas.23 In the last century, a man called Leon Croizat plotted many tracks like these showing dispersal routes across the world (see here). Each of these lines is known as a ‘generalized track’, where many different plants follow the same route.24 Croizat’s work made clear that many tracks of dispersal either cross oceans or follow coastlines. A good case can be made for the biogeographic regions being oceans rather than continents! Christopher Humphries of the Natural History Museum in London and Lynne Parenti of the Smithsonian Institution wrote,

“Characteristically, many disjunct patterns span ocean bottoms, to the point that the oceans have been characterized as the natural biogeographic regions and the continents represent the land areas around the periphery.”25

To me, this is very strong evidence supporting the rafting hypothesis—that transport across oceans explains much of the biogeography of the world. I believe that many plants and small animals were transported on great log mats left over from the Genesis Flood and that the areas of endemism we see today correspond to the landing places of these rafts. Interestingly, researchers from Bryan College, Tennessee, showed that the intersections of ocean currents with the continents tend to coincide with these areas of endemism.26 (See here.)

Migration across land bridges

Another way animals could have spread around the world is through migration across land bridges that are now below sea level.

We believe that soon after the Genesis Flood, there was an Ice Age. We don’t believe in many ice ages, but just one. Conditions would have been ideal for an Ice Age at the end the Flood. The oceans would have been warm, due to hot underground water being added to them at the beginning of the Flood, and this warming of the oceans would have caused much water to evaporate into the atmosphere. At the same time, volcanoes erupting during and after the Flood would have thrown lots of dust into the air and this would have blocked some of the sun’s heat, keeping the continents cool. So the large amounts of water vapour in the atmosphere would then have fallen as snow, building up significant amounts of ice on the land. Sea levels would then have fallen as the oceans’ water evaporated and was trapped as ice sheets on the continents. And land bridges would have appeared as the sea level dropped.

There was likely a land bridge across what is now the Bering Strait and a number of land bridges linking parts of Indonesia and perhaps even Australasia. Of course, we don’t see these land bridges today, because much of the ice has now melted and sea levels have risen again. Also, due to continued geological activity after the Flood, ground movements could have caused other land bridges to fall below sea level. So it’s not difficult to imagine how animals could have migrated from Ararat to many places throughout the world. Also, some plants and animals, especially those useful for farming, may have been transported by man, particularly during the dispersal from Babel.

I think, too, there was probably some rafting of animals to Australia and South America. In fact, North and South America may not have been connected until sometime after the end of the Flood.27 You can see on this diagram that I’ve shown South America detached from North America.

Marsupial distributions

Living marsupials are found in Australia, New Guinea and parts of America—see here. Most marsupials, however, are found in Australia and New Guinea and many of these are found nowhere else. So how can we explain this within the framework of biblical Earth history? Well, I don’t have any firm answers, but I can outline one possibility that I think makes sense.

There are some interesting twists in the evolutionary story about marsupials.

Now, you remember we’re dealing here with two types of mammal—placentals and marsupials. And there’s some evidence to suggest that placentals tend to outcompete marsupials when they share the same habitats. From a biblical point of view, this does seem plausible. Marsupials stepped off the Ark alongside the placentals and must have lived around the Middle East and the surrounding continents. Yet only placentals live in these places today. It seems significant, too, that North America has only one marsupial—the Virginia opossum. Marsupials have become well established in Australia but largely in the absence of placentals.

Perhaps competition from placentals drove marsupials to migrate away from the Ark ahead of placentals. Marsupials then gained an early foothold in Australia and South America and, without competition from placentals, they thrived in those places. And perhaps, as the log rafts broke up and sea levels rose and covered the land bridges, Australia and South America became almost completely isolated before very many placentals had made their way to those continents. So, driven by competition from placentals, marsupials could have migrated to Australia and South America and then been protected from placental competition as these continents were cut off from the rest of the world. Fossils of marsupials are found on every continent.28 So, in evolutionary thinking, marsupials died out in all the continents except the ones where we see them today. Why can’t creationists simply argue the same?

There are some interesting twists in the evolutionary story about marsupials. If, in evolutionary thinking, we go back to the late Cretaceous rocks, supposedly around 65 to 80 million years ago, we don’t find any marsupial fossils in Australia and South America. They are found only in Europe, Asia and North America. An article in Science journal said this:

“Living marsupials are restricted to Australia and South America … In contrast, metatherian [marsupial] fossils from the Late Cretaceous are exclusively from Eurasia and North America … This geographical switch remains unexplained.”29

So, again, according to evolutionists, 65 million years ago marsupials lived in Europe, Asia and North America, but they then died out in those areas and now live in Australia and South America. If evolutionists can have marsupials dying out in Europe, Asia and North America, why can’t creationists?

Another problem for evolutionists is the ‘Little Mountain Monkey’ of South America. DNA comparisons suggests that this little South American marsupial is more similar to the Australian marsupials than to other American ones. How did it end up in America? It seems very difficult to argue that it evolved there.

Summary

  • The main evidence for evolution from biogeography is speciation—a fact of biology that is better explained by the creation model.
  • The distribution of plants does not support the belief the continents were joined for millions of years.
  • Fertile hybrids between animals on different continents indicate that they have not been separated by millions of years.
  • Plants and animals are concentrated in small regions of high biodiversity along coastlines and islands. While these correspond, to some degree, with areas of high rainfall, this does not explain why there are many patterns of disjunction where the same plants and animals are found in the same widely separated areas of endemism.
  • Such biogeographic observations, however, appear to be well explained by transport across oceans.
  • Log rafts left over from the Genesis Flood could have provided the means of rafting.
  • Migration across land bridges may explain other biogeographic distributions.
  • Following the confusion of languages at Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), when humanity spread out around the world, people probably took with them plants and animals for farming and other purposes.

Conclusion

As with other branches of science, the data appear to fit the biblical account of Earth history very well.

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References and notes

  1. The class Mammalia (mammals) also includes the monotremes (egg laying mammals). These include the platypus and spiny anteaters (echidnas). Return to text.
  2. Dawkins, R., Global Atheist Convention, Melbourne, Australia, 2010. Return to text.
  3. Coyne, J., Why Evolution is True, Penguin, p. 263, 2009. Return to text.
  4. Catchpoole, D. and Wieland, C., Speedy species surprise, Creation 23(2):13–15, March 2001; creation.com/speedy–species-surprise. Return to text.
  5. Thorne, R.F., Floristic relationships between tropical Africa and tropical America, in Tropical Forest Ecosystems in Africa and South America: A Comparative Review, Smithsonian Press, 1973. Return to text.
  6. Mayo, S.J., Aspects of aroid geography, in George, W. and Lavocat, R., eds., The Africa-South America Connection, Clarendon Press, Oxford, p. 44, 1993. Return to text.
  7. Humphries, C.J. and Parenti, L.R., Cladistic Biogeography, Oxford University Press, UK, 2nd ed., 1999, pp. 131–135. Return to text.
  8. Ref. 6, ch. 9. Return to text.
  9. Smiley, C.J., Pre-tertiary phytogeography and continental drift—some apparent discrepancies, in Gray, J. and Boucot, A., eds., Historical Biogeography, Plate Tectonics and the Changing Environment, Oregon State University Press, 1976, pp. 311–319. Return to text.
  10. Qian, H., Floristic relationships between eastern Asia and North America: Test of Gray’s hypothesis, The American Naturalist 160(3) 2002, pp. 317–332. Return to text.
  11. Yih, D., Land Bridge Travellers of the tertiary: the eastern Asian–eastern North America floristic disjunction; http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/2012-69-3-land-bridge-travelers-of-the-tertiary-the-eastern-asian-eastern-north-american-floristic-disjunction.pdf. Return to text.
  12. Some species of fungi are similarly disjunct. See Hongo, T. and Yokoyama, K., Mycofloristic ties of Japan to the continents, Memoirs of the Faculty of Education of Shiga University 28:75–80, 1978; http://libdspace.biwako.shiga-u.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/10441/3581/2/SJ07_0028_076A.pdf. Return to text.
  13. Ref. 7, pp. 123–131, 150. Return to text.
  14. Queriroz, A., The resurrection of oceanic dispersal in historical biogeography, Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20(2):68–73 February 2005. Return to text.
  15. Wieland, C., Forests that grew on water, Creation 18(1):20–24, December 1995; creation.com/forests-that-grew-on-water. Return to text.
  16. Ford, P., Drifting rubber duckies chart oceans of plastic, Christian Science Monitor, 31 July 2003. Return to text.
  17. Clerkin, B., Thousands of rubber ducks to land on British shores after 15 year journey, Daily Mail, 27 June 2007. Return to text.
  18. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendly_Floatees. Return to text.
  19. Ref. 7, p. 21. Return to text.
  20. Myers, N., et al., Biodiversity hotspots, Nature 403: 853–858, 2000. Return to text.
  21. Nelson, G. and Platnick, N., Systematics and Biogeography: Cladistics and Vicariance, Columbia University Press, 1981, pp. 368, 524. Return to text.
  22. Cox, C.B., The biogeographic regions reconsidered, J. of Biogeography 28(4):511–523, 2001. Return to text.
  23. Ref. 7, p. 87. Return to text.
  24. Croizat, L., Panbiogeography, fig. 256, p. 1018, 1958. Return to text.
  25. Ref. 7, p. 36. Return to text.
  26. Wise, K.P. and Croxton, M., Rafting: A post Flood biogeographic dispersal mechanism, Proceedings of the Fifth International Creation Conference, 2003. Return to text.
  27. Beu, A.G., Gradual Miocene to Pleistocene uplift of the Central American Isthmus: evidence from topical American Tonnoidean Gastropods, Journal of Paleontology 75(3):706–720, 2001; http://si-pddr.si.edu/jspui/bitstream/10088/1386/1/Beu.pdf. Return to text.
  28. Gish, D., Evolution: the fossils still say NO!, ICR, California, 1995, pp. 178–183. Return to text.
  29. Cifelli, R.L. and Davis, B.M., Marsupial origins, Science 302:1899–1902, 2003. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
Renton M., New Zealand, 12 March 2013

There is one other option for dispersal that a biblical young earth creationist has that evolutionists don’t, and that is: humans taking animals/plants to new locations shortly after the flood/tower of Babel as they dispersed. While there is some acknowledgement of this in creationist writings on this subject, I don’t think it is given nearly sufficient weight. It is not even considered in this article, except for the very last point in the summary. All land animals have arrived in New Zealand recently by boat as the result of humans bringing them. Why could not early travellers (early after the Flood) not have done a similar thing? Perhaps the marsupials in Australia are there because a family group of Noah’s descendants liked marsupials, collected them together, and took them with them when they migrated (by boat – fastest way to travel in a world without roads. If animals and plants could travel on rafts, they could travel on boats!). A recent book I’ve read, ‘1421’, suggests that the Chinese with their gigantic treasure ships/fleets are responsible for a lot of recent dispersal of plant and animals around the world. One doesn’t have to fully subscribe to the ideas of the author of '1421' to see some merit in this.

Dominic Statham responds

Thanks for this contribution to the discussion. (Actually, I refer to the role of people in transporting plants and animals twice in the article!). John Woodmorappe also deals with this in the first chapter of his book, "Studies in Flood Geology", ICR, 1999.

Victor M., New Zealand, 12 March 2013

Good article, but I wonder whether you’ve considered Engler’s classification of six Floral kingdoms (Holarctic; Palaeotropical; Cape; Australian; Neotropical; Antarctic), where the Cape (aka Fynbos) kingdom is the smallest of these regions. South Africa has one tenth (23,200 species) of the world’s flowering plants, 80% of which are endemic... The eight Zoogeographical regions (Palearctic; Nearctic; Afrotropical; Malagasy; Indomalayan; Papuan; Australian; Neotropical) are somewhat correlated to the kingdoms given earlier. Also, I would suggest the term Rapid Continental Shift rather than ‘continental sprint’, as the latter could be considered an anthropomorphism. Your feedback is very much welcomed!

Dominic Statham responds

I note, too, that South Africa lies on one of Croizat's tracks (http://creation.com/images/fp_articles/2012/9033Slide31.jpg).

I used the term 'continental sprint' as I thought it might help lay people remember the concept. I accept, though, that it's not the most scientific way to describe the process!

john P., Australia, 12 March 2013

Fascinating article-well researched and explained. Interesting proposal, rafting. I'd seen or read some doco about vegetation rafts in South America some years back - people lived on these mats - can't remember much else now.

If there were log or vegetation rafts left over from the Flood, there would indeed have been plants and small animals being transported this way, perhaps also insects.

Good to see a creationist explanation of biogeography - a great help in understanding this subject

Aleksandar K., Croatia, 12 March 2013

So, land animals could have survived the Flood by means other than the Ark? By rafting?

Dominic Statham responds

No. I’m not suggesting that land animals survived the Flood on rafts, but that rafts would have facilitated their dispersal after the Flood, as they multiplied and migrated away from the Ark’s final resting place.

Lynette E., Australia, 12 March 2013

Thank you for your informative article. You answered a lot of queries I tossed in my mind eg "Fossils of marsupials are found on every continent." Without searching on the internet myself I can now understand why my Spanish baby-sitter says there are eucalypt trees in Spain. Keep up the good work.

David R., United States, 14 March 2013

I found your article, "Migration after the Flood," to be of especial value, and for at least two reasons. First, it was reasonable and its contents set forth in a very logical progression which made it easy to understand. Second, the liberal use of "here" highlights allowed me to see what I would otherwise have had to try to envision. I thought of my grandchildren as I read the article and recognized that this material, presented in this format, is appropriate to their ages and learning modalities. Let me encourage you to provide more "here" references in future articles. Being able to "see" what the author is explaining provides a huge learning advantage. Well done!

Richard A., United States, 15 March 2013

I have a question regarding speciation. While we see completely different species (Jaguar and lion) that can actually interbreed after the alleged millions of years of separation, are there not examples of the opposite? For instance, are there not examples of very closely related species that are also within close proximity that cannot interbreed? If so, it would seem to indicate that on one hand, as easy as it is for what was formerly one species to become separate species, that on the other hand, the idea of these more extreme examples of interbreeding (lions and jaguars) being separated by millions of years becomes impossibly ridiculous.

Dominic Statham responds

There are indeed examples of similar but separate species living together in close proximity. So I think you have a good point.

Narindra R., Madagascar, 16 March 2013

Excellent article; as a Madagascan, I enjoyed it.

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