Creation 42(2):44–45, April 2020
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Ammonite in amber
A sea creature found trapped in resin from a land tree
Amber offers an incredible insight into the past due to the snapshots of life often captured in this fossilized tree resin. One such amber insight has left evolutionist scientists confused and unable to provide a suitable account for the presence of a sea creature contained within it.
Discovered in Myanmar, the lump of amber, allegedly “99 million years old”, rather unexpectedly contained an ammonite, an extinct shelled marine mollusc. “The find was a big surprise,” said Professor Bo Wang from Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology, “We never imagined we would find an ammonite in amber. This is the first record of an ammonite in amber, and also the first marine macrofossil in amber.”1
Only an ammonite?
The chunk of amber was 33 × 29 × 9.5 mm (1.3 × 1.1 × 0.4 in). In addition to the ammonite, identified as a juvenile Puzosia (Bhimaites), it contained at least 40 other organisms. Among these were mites, cockroaches, millipedes, beetles, flies, wasps, and a spider, as well as marine snails and sea slaters.
In the realm of amber this is a unique assemblage of organisms from a range of different environments. Indeed, the scientific paper concluded, “It is rare to find aquatic organisms in amber, and it is extremely rare to find marine organisms in amber, let alone macroscopic marine organisms mixed with intertidal, terrestrial, and potentially freshwater aquatic organisms”.2
The ammonite’s outer shell had broken away, and the inner shell was empty, containing no soft tissue. There was also sand in the entrance of the shell, as well as in the amber itself. From the condition of the ammonite, it was lifeless before it was trapped in the tree resin.
Where was it trapped?
The tree resin that forms amber mostly comes from coniferous trees, which of course grow on land. So how did the resin of land-based trees preserve the shells of dead sea creatures, including an ammonite? The paper gave three explanations for such a scenario. The first had a forest growing near a sandy beach on which the shells washed up. The second and third respectively invoked a tsunami or a tropical storm to bring the ammonite shell, and the other marine life, further inland. In all scenarios, this piece of oozing resin is imagined to be running down the tree—it would have had to, amazingly, capture all of this diverse range of organisms in one ‘run’.
The problem with all of these scenarios is twofold. The writers of the paper imagine that the ammonite had to be brought out of the water and inland to the trees from which the resin is produced. And all of these organisms had to be arrested in a single congealed glob of resin at the base of one particular tree!
The likely answer is that it was not formed inland, nor at the base of any particular tree. As previously discussed in Creation, “evolutionary researchers made the significant discovery that resin flowing from hand-sawn cuts in swamp forest trees can entrap aquatic (and other) organisms in the swamp water.”3 Tying this research in with the global Noahic Flood some 4,500 years ago provides just the right environment for such amber finds.
The Bible is the key
In the initial stages of the Flood, there would have been a mass of uprooted trees in the water, many violently torn off and broken. As they were carried along, they would have released large amounts of tree resin into the water. This sticky resin would have engulfed small organisms from a diverse range of ecosystems, both from the trees and those disturbed from their normal habitat by the Flood waters, including this ultra-rare ammonite.
Much of this sort of inclusion-bearing tree resin would then have been buried under Flood-borne sediment, which when deep enough would give it the necessary pressure and heat to turn it into amber. This of course also blows the alleged ‘millions of years’ age for the amber out of the water; instead it further demonstrates the historical accuracy of the Bible.
References and notes
- Weston, P., Ninety-nine-million-year-old ammonite trapped in amber discovered for the first time, independent.co.uk, 13 May 2019. Return to text.
- Yu, T. and 9 others, An ammonite trapped in Burmese amber, PNAS 116(23):11345–11350, 4 Jun 2019. Return to text.
- Catchpoole, D., ‘Surprizing’ lizards in amber, Creation 38(2):16–17, 2016; creation.com/surprising-lizards-in-amber. Return to text.