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320-million-year-old amber has flowering plant chemistry


Amber, fossilized tree resin, is being found at more and more locations around the earth. Insects, feathers, and other organisms are found encased in amber, but their occurrence is generally rare. Just recently marine organisms were even found in amber.1 

Baltic amber inclusions

320-million-year-old amber discovered

Amber is mainly found in strata classified as Cretaceous and Tertiary. But just recently it was found in Carboniferous coal in Illinois, dated 320 million years old within the uniformitarian timescale.2,3 Such a date is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, for amber. The Carboniferous is supposed to be the time that many plants now extinct, such as lycopods, ruled the swamps and forests.

Chemistry indicates amber from a flowering plant

Not only does the old date make us stand up and take notice, but an analysis of the chemistry of the amber is even more surprising. The chemistry turned out to be that observed only from flowering plants (angiosperms) that supposedly had not yet evolved:

“However, the most remarkable aspect of the newly discovered Carboniferous amber is that it has a molecular composition that has been seen only from angiosperms, which appeared much later in the Early Cretaceous.”4 

So, do the researchers suggest that flowering plants evolved earlier? No, they make it clear that they are not suggesting this.5 Rather they reject the idea that the amber is from flowering plants because of evolution:

“In any case, this 320-million-year-old amber is certainly not from angiosperms, which arose almost 200 million years later.”4

Evolutionary conundrums

Then from what tree did the amber originate? They conclude that the amber must have come from “a predecessor of ancient conifers or some strange extinct fern.”6 In other words, they don’t know.7 Their conclusion also upsets the analysis that was carried out to determine the kind of tree that exuded the resin, since they can no longer trust the chemistry pointing to a particular type of tree.

This interpretation also means that resin must have evolved twice and in different types of trees, a conclusion that is simply subsumed under what is glibly called ‘convergent evolution’:

“The discovery by Bray and Anderson reveals that resins of extremely similar molecular composition can be produced by entirely unrelated plants. This astonishing evolutionary convergence at the molecular level presents a cautionary message to those who study amber.”8 

I consider the idea of convergent evolution incredible. How many environments are so alike for millions of years that they are able to evolve similar structures in ‘unrelated’ animals by unguided, random processes? Convergent evolution is another evolutionary dodge to account for tens of thousands of exceptions in their comparative anatomy ‘proof’ of evolution.

The exclusion of flowering plants as the logical origin of the amber is one of many examples of circular reasoning employed by evolutionists to make their evolutionary scenario seem precise. It shows that the so-called precision of evolutionary events comes about by dismissing or minimizing anomalies. This example also shows how it is not possible to falsify the evolutionary paradigm.

References and notes

  1. Oard, M.J., Marine fossils in amber suggest the Flood log-mat model, J. Creation 24(1):9–10, 2010. Return to text.
  2. Bray, P.S. and Anderson, K.B., Identification of Carboniferous (320 million years old) class Ic amber, Science 326(5949):132–134, 2009. Return to text.
  3. Grimaldi, D., Pushing back amber production, Science 326(5949):51–52, 2009. Return to text.
  4. Grimaldi, ref. 3, p. 51. Return to text.
  5. Bray and Anderson, ref. 2, p. 134. Return to text.
  6. Ehrenberg, R., Flowerless plants also made form of fancy amber, Science News 176(9):5, 2009. Return to text.
  7. Ehrenberg, ref. 6, p. 6. Return to text.
  8. Grimaldi, ref. 3, p. 52. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Rock Solid Answers
by Michael J Oard, John K Reed
US $20.00
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Exploring Planet Earth
by John Hudson Tiner
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Readers’ comments

Patti D.
Thank you Sandy J....
the "Faith" required to be an "evolutionist" or "atheist" Is More than I can muster.... Good Thing the Holy Spirit fills me with All The Faith I'll Ever Need...Science and the "Scientific Method" do not prove Faith on Either side of Any Argument. Facts are NOT arbitrary. "your truth is your truth...my truth is mine"...Hmmm? Nope! Only "The Truth" will set us Free.
Sandy J.
I am glad that others besides myself have recognized that the "theory of evolution" is unfalsifiable. This is the charge which "Evolutionists" have levelled against creation for a long time. It is the claim which is supposed to exclude Creation from what they call "science". However because of their stubborn refusal to bow to scientific facts which contradict them this charge is returning upon their own heads. The "theory of evolution" is not a theory at all, but a religious conviction which is not subject to science but which at every turn attempts to subjugate "science" to itself either twisting or rejecting any facts which contradict its a priori assumptions. Hopefully before too long more of the blind will have their eyes opened to this deceit and will move to stop permitting religious nuts like Richard Dawkins to get away with their efforts to obscure real science from the public.
D R L.
If science really operated on the basis of "dismissing or minimizing anomalies" and "If the facts don't conform to the theory, they must be disposed of," why would the Science article you reference have been published? Why would the scientists even have bothered investigating the amber in the first place?
Shaun Doyle
The 'theory' in question is evolution, or more correctly, methodological naturalism applied to the history of biology. Methodological naturalism is the metascientific principle that constrains what the investigators are willing to posit about the past, and 'convergent evolution' is an ad hoc fix to uphold the paradigm when the data is at its most resistant to methodological naturalistic explanation. They investigated this particular amber most likely because it seemed rather out of place in the geologic column. Even the creationist can acknowledge that this placement of amber is unusual, and even finding traces of angiosperm chemistry this low is rather unusual. But we have no reason to avoid the simplest explanation—the chemistry reflects the existence of angiosperms at that level of the geologic column. Of course, for us this presents no temporal paradox, since we believe both the Carboniferous and the Cretaceous are both most likely rocks formed in Noah's Flood. But no mainstream journal would accept that, since it's a conclusion inferred from a paradigm that rejects methodological naturalism as the controlling factor in our reconstruction of the history of the rocks and the organisms.
Jeffrey C.
Thank you for bringing this—and so much other helpful information—to our attention! Our Creator and His reliability—ridiculous to reject!
Jeremy S.
Ah. Yet another strand of the intricate 'web' of the evolutionary and other forms of deceit designed to entrap the human race. One day, the 'spider' itself will be exposed and destroyed.
Remik B.
This type of denial of evidence is rampant in politics, too. I like that you guys work so hard to educate us. These resources are priceless. How do you maintain the energy to keep fighting?
Jim M.
This is another great example of how evolutionists deal with inconvenient data that does not fit their theory. It really is true that evolution is unfalsifiable. They have so many tricks to turn to if they need to dismiss contrary data. Sometimes the flat out deny it like here when they use Convergence as a magic wand to make the evidence disappear. Other times they just change their theory to encompass the new data - like when they decide, in spite of all the contrary evidence, that soft tissue from dinosaurs can last for hundreds of millions of years after all. I guess moving back the time of angiosperms would have been too disruptive to their theory so they brought out the Convergence wand.
F. G.
The silliness of this is just astounding. It reminds me of the old saying, "If the facts don't conform to the theory, they must be disposed of" (or explained away, or twisted, or whatever else will do the trick).

That which is presumed to be true -- desired to be true -- is given full reign over that which is known to be true. That's the very definition of foolishness.
Jack L.
A bit of a pet peeve of mine. We know these million year dates are incorrect. Why give them any credibility at all by mentioning them in the article in a headline? If someone doesn't read the details, it sounds like creationists accepted the dates.
Shaun Doyle
I can understand the frustration, but as this is a title of an article already published (in Journal of Creation), we can't really change the title of the article. Nonetheless, in this particular instance, the evolutionary 'date' was crucial to the argument because it was so out of place with respect to the usual evolutionary timeline for the origin of angiosperms. Nonetheless, we will strive to be more careful with the way we use evolutionary 'dates' in our titles in the future.
Murk P.
ha ha love it. Their inflexibility to acknowledge their maker requires them to be totally flexible. And they once again display that to know anything they have to know everything, which they can’t-and so the tire spins.

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