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Creation 40(3):52–54, July 2018

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Dinosaur eggs point to the global Genesis Flood

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baby-dinosaurs

The first well-known discovery of dinosaur eggs was in Mongolia during the early 1920s. Then in the 1970s, Marion Brandvold found more dinosaur eggs, a few even containing embryos, in Montana, USA, at a 9-metre-high hill called ‘Egg Mountain’. This was later excavated by famous dinosaur paleontologist John Horner and colleagues. Researchers have now discovered eggs on almost all the continents of the world (figure 1).

New egg sites are found each year and the estimated number of fossil dino eggs is in the millions. The best-known sites are in Mongolia, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Argentina, the US (Montana), Canada (southern Alberta), and southern France. Some groupings of eggs are claimed to be dinosaur nests (figure 2). Further, some of the eggs have broken tops, as if they had hatched. In some areas, eggs are found in multiple sedimentary layers one on top of the other, suggesting the dinosaurs came to this particular site over and over again.

global-distributions
Figure 1. Global distribution of 199 sites where dinosaur eggs have been found as of 1996 (from Currie, ref. 6).

Other features, such as mud cracks, raindrop imprints, bird tracks, channels, and burrows, have been reported at some egg sites. In addition, some dinosaur remains seem to have been scavenged. Skeptics argue that these features together with dinosaur eggs and nests represent normal activity over a long period of time and would need far more time than Noah’s Flood provides. However, as with all challenges against the Genesis Flood, a careful examination of the evidence reveals that there is no problem.

Many contradictory observations if normal egg-laying

Secular scientists interpret data assuming the rocks formed by normal, everyday processes over millions of years. However, this assumption raises many questions when trying to explain dinosaur eggs.

One issue is that rapid burial would be required to preserve the eggs before they had a chance to decay. But burial also had to be slow and gentle, so the eggs would not be pulverized. And why are they occasionally found with dinosaur embryos still inside? Dinosaur experts Chiappe and Dingus exclaim:

Also, exactly how did the eggs and embryos become fossilized? We are sure that floods buried the eggs and nests in mud, but what process of mineralization operated quickly enough that the poorly formed embryonic bones and skin became fossilized before they could decay?1
dinosaur-eggs
Figure 2. White plaster jacket covers eggs of a dinosaur nest on top of Egg Mountain, Montana, USA. The eggs lie in a bowl-shaped depression with a raised rim, part of which is the mound just to the right of the eggs.

The problem of rapid burial is compounded because some eggs are found in marine sedimentary rocks, even chalk that is believed by uniformitarian scientists to accumulate very slowly. And if the eggs represent normal dinosaur activity, why have so few nest structures been found? The number is probably less than a dozen, even using the most lenient criteria, such as the presence of a depression and/or a raised rim (figure 2). Some paleontologists have even claimed a ‘nest’ based simply on the existence of an egg clutch (a group of eggs found together) or just eggshells.

To add to the trouble, the dinosaur eggs were laid on top of flat sediment surfaces,2 and there is rarely any evidence, such as pollen or macrofossils, that vegetation was subsequently placed on top of the eggs. Most reptiles, such as alligators and crocodiles, bury their eggs, either with sediment or thick vegetation. Why would the dinosaurs just lay their eggs on exposed flat layers of sediment? This leads to probably the most serious problem. Dinosaur eggs are porous, generally like reptiles’ eggs, and the embryo would quickly dry out sitting on an exposed sedimentary surface.3–5 All these features suggest that the eggs were not laid under normal conditions in a natural environment, and that a better explanation is needed.

The Genesis Flood explains dinosaur eggs

sedimentary-rocks-eroded
Figure 3. Diagram shows the amount of sedimentary rocks eroded from the continents.

A model based on the processes operating during the Genesis Flood can solve most of the uniformitarian challenges. The dinosaur eggs, as well as tracks and scavenged bonebeds, are generally found in sedimentary deposits that extend many hundreds of kilometres across the continent and are many hundreds of metres thick. There is also evidence that sediments (figure 3) once sat hundreds of metres above the present land surface, and that these were eroded away, revealing the eggs. This means the dinosaurs were active in the first ‘half’ of the Flood as the floodwaters were rising, and before all the animals perished. The overlying sediments were eroded in the second ‘half’ of the Flood as the waters were receding.

As the floodwaters were rising and depositing the sediments, periodic changes in the water level would temporarily expose the tops of freshly laid sediments. Several mechanisms, such as tides and up-and-down movement of the earth’s crust, would cause the floodwater to oscillate over variable timescales. Sediments would be briefly exposed during a local fall until the next upward pulse of the water. Figure 4, which can represent an area of many hundreds of kilometres, illustrates this effect. Dinosaurs in the water as well as on higher land nearby would clamber onto the exposed sediments. The stressed pregnant dinosaurs would lay their eggs in haste on the sediment surface. A subsequent rise in water level would bury the eggs and begin the fossilization process. The dinosaur activity can be placed between Day 40 and Day 120 of the 370-Day Flood.

Credit: Melanie Richardmultiple-layers
Figure 4. How multiple layers can form due to oscillations in relative seawater level creating BEDS.

The BEDS model

This concept has been called the BEDS model, where BEDS is an acronym for Briefly Exposed Diluvial Sediments. Diluvial is another name for the Flood. The BEDS model also explains other challenges associated with dinosaur eggs, such as mud cracks, burrow holes, and channels. These features are to be expected during the global Flood, when flat sedimentary surfaces would be exposed above the water for short periods of time. Eggs with broken tops can simply be due to sediment compaction or scavenging. It is possible some embryos hatched, although this would be rare. Since sedimentation was rapid, and the Flood level oscillated repeatedly, it would not be unusual for eggs to be laid at multiple levels in the same area.

The BEDS model illustrates how to solve other challenges

The BEDS model based on the biblical worldview provides reasonable answers for many geological challenges. It shows how interpretations from a biblical perspective make sense of a wider range of data and provide a more intellectually satisfying explanation than the uniformitarian approach. Be encouraged; research into claimed problems for Noah’s Flood often leads to novel insights and solutions. I have discovered that the uniformitarian approach repeatedly results in problems that can be solved by applying models based on biblical Earth history.

References and notes

  1. Chiappe, L.M. and Dingus, L., Walking on Eggs: The Astonishing Discovery of Thousands of Dinosaur Eggs in the Badlands of Patagonia, Scribner, New York, NY, p. 201, 2001. Return to text.
  2. Chiappe and Dingus, ref. 1, p. 87. Return to text.
  3. Grellet-Tinner, G., Fiorelli, L.E., and Salvador, R.B., Water vapor conductance of the Lower Cretaceous dinosaurian eggs from Sanagasta, La Rioja, Argentina: paleobiological and paleoecological implications for South American faveoloolithid and megaloolithid eggs, Palaios 27:35–47, 2012. Return to text.
  4. Deeming, D.C., Ultrastructural and functional morphology of eggshells supports the idea that dinosaur eggs were incubated buried in a substrate, Palaeontology 49(1):182, 2006. Return to text.
  5. Oard, M.J., The meaning of porous dinosaur eggs laid on flat bedding planes, J. Creation 27(1):3–4, 2013. Return to text.
  6. Currie, P.J., The great dinosaur egg hunt, National Geographic 189(5):96–111, 1996. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Dinosaurs!
From
US $10.00
DVD
Dinosaur Challenges and Mysteries
by Michael Oard
From
US $19.00
Exploring Geology with Mr Hibb
by Michael Oard, Tara Wolfe, Chris Turbuck
From
US $10.00

Readers’ comments

Barry P.
dear sir
I have read with interest your article, the luciferian flood between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 would also fulfill the required environment.
Shaun Doyle
There was no Luciferian flood. Please see What about gap theories?
Karen R.
THANK YOU ! Most informative article! Keep up the good work ! God Bless
Bill P.
Seems to me that things as fragile as jellyfish, ferns, feathers on birds, etc were buried in sediment laid down by the flood of Noah's day and then fossilized to where they preserve even the fine details of these plants and animals, I would see no problem for these fossilized eggs being preserved under the same conditions.
I enjoy very much the work you folks do at C.M.I.
"Those who wait upon the Lord shall not be ashamed".
WR B.
I don’t mean to take away from Oard’s idea, but if he had referenced my paper, Barnhart, WR. 2004. Dinosaur Nests Reinterpreted, Creation Research Society Quarterly 41(2):89-102, he might have recognized all of the evidence for dinosaur eggs being laid INTO shallow waters WHILE sediments were accumulating, which REQUIRES the embryos to have been dead minutes after the eggs were laid. Embryos have to breathe, and emersion in water will drown them, so there definitely was not ANY incubating. Also, they were laid under duress, probably while incubating within the mother’s body. Therefore, Dinosaur “nest” are primary evidence that dinosaurs were Ovoviviparous, bearing live young hatched from eggs carried internally like some modern snakes. (Psalm 29:9. “He causes the hinds to calve” in the context of the Flood.)
Tim H.
Sounds interesting, but the illustration of the dinos standing on the mound can lead one to think of survival when the Bible speaks in Genesis 7: 18-24 of the total destruction all living things as promised in chapter 6:12-13 that were not in the ark.
Once again I appreciate your ongoing work to hold the Bible up as the only and final argument for creation.
God bless.
Shaun Doyle
Of course, the figure should be interpreted in light of the text that explains it. And Oard makes it clear that his figure 4 illustrates what his model says likely happened Flood before all land vertebrates were killed. Note how the paragraph where he references figure 4 ends: "The dinosaur activity can be placed between Day 40 and Day 120 of the 370-Day Flood."
John D J.
"Secular scientists interpret data assuming the rocks formed by normal, everyday processes over millions of years."---Respectfully, the "catastrophism vs. uniformitarianism" dichotomy is a false one that needs to be buried once and for all. Geologists no longer assume uniformitarianism and have long recognized rapid, catastrophic burial in the geologic record. To say that the BEDS model "shows how interpretations from a biblical perspective make sense of a wider range of data and provide a more intellectually satisfying explanation than the uniformitarian approach" is attacking a strawman argument. Rapid burial is not a problem in modern geology. There is also this tendency to equate rapid burial with global flood, but evidence for rapid burial does not automatically = evidence for a global flood. Rapid burial can occur via many means, of which a global flood is but one possibility. To be intellectually honest we must acknowledge this.
Shaun Doyle
Yes, the first quote you mention is an oversimplification. Mr Oard is well aware of this (see e.g. Paleoenvironments and the Bible). However, gradualism is still fairly rigidly assumed in e.g. radiometric dating, and even in erosional and depositional processes such as varves and ice core formation. And chalk formation, which is relevant to this article.

Nonetheless, the 'rapid burial = evidence for a global Flood' is not what Mr Oard said here. He said that rapid burial is more consistent with the Flood than with a uniformitarian approach. You haven't questioned that conclusion; you've only questioned its relevance for modern geology. However, Oard also provided some evidence that a uniformitarian approach is the presumed starting point for a long-age explanation of at least some of these dinosaur eggs.

And notice that the issue was framed as a uniformitarian challenge for Flood geology. These challenges are legion, and they are still constantly leveled at us (The Grand Canyon in the thralls of shallow, doctrinaire uniformitarianism). And it's not hard to see how that challenge plays out here, as Oard says:

Skeptics argue that these features together with dinosaur eggs and nests represent normal activity over a long period of time and would need far more time than Noah’s Flood provides.


To the extent that catastrophism is embraced, though, it undermines this argument (indeed, more than long-agers typically realize: Not enough rocks: the sedimentary record and deep time). It shows that the biblical framework provides a more robust research framework than most people would realize or acknowledge. Plus, Oard goes beyond a mere 'rapid burial' claim to a reasonably complex model that explains the data quite well in a way consistent with Noah's Flood.
Viljo K.
Would it also be possible, that a quite fresh sediment layer including and preserving dinosaur eggs were sliding over a sharp cliff, which broke the layer into a certain length of pieces at the base of the cliff. This may create overlapping layers if the dimensions of the cliff regarding to the broken length of the layer are proper.
But anyway, thank you for this article, once again a good evidence of the Flood.
Kevin S.
Still seems strange to me that there are millions of fossilised dinosaur eggs but not found mixed in with other animals like mammals, or it's extremely rare, at least...
Shaun Doyle
One of the effects of the Flood seems to be to sort things. For example, you often find trees broken into different components. The small pieces are buried in areas like coal and the large pieces are often separate as petrified wood, as are the roots. Same thing with dinosaurs, often you find the different kinds in different areas. Even sometimes you find the different sized animals buried in different places. There does not seem to be a complete ecosystem. For more on this, please see Order in the fossil record.
Werner A.
An easy test for the BEDS model would be to check whether eggs within different sedimentary layers can be attributed to the same individual parents using molecular and DNA analysis. This would also show that the sediments can't represent long geological time spans. Has this test ever been undertaken?
Shaun Doyle
This could be a useful test, if we had samples from multiple layers that were amenable to such an analysis. But finding that situation would be very difficult.
David P.
I attended a talk last week by two of your Leicester staff. While I was pleased to note that you acknowledge there was a Jurassic and Triassic Age you failed - and I forgot to ask - how long you think these lasted. How this fitted in with the numerous ice ages all in just 6000 years was not explained. But I was enlightened to hear that dinosaurs were in The Ark alongside polar bears, penguins, lions and possibly hippos, though I failed to ask on that point. In short what a load of codswallop.
Shaun Doyle
This is why taking the time to read the website is a good idea (e.g. the Q and A section). You'll find answers to these questions.
Bob F.
It’s no wonder science considers creationists to be total kooks. As a Christian with some common sense, how could modern day dating technology be 150 million years off?
The flood was only 4,300 years ago, not 150,000,000 years ago. Besides, God was killing Hebrews, not all of humanity! The flood was clearly a regional flood. There is not enough water in the world to flood the entire world. How would global vegetation have come back after being under water for an entire year? If all of humanity perished except Noah and his family, we would all be Hebrews today, but we’re not! Your assumptions are so far from reality, it’s no wonder there are so many atheists in the world today.
Shaun Doyle
This is why taking the time to read the website is a good idea (e.g. the Q and A section). Indeed, these are all questions you'll find addressed in our Creation Answers Book. Well, all issues except one: the notion that the Flood was about God killing just Hebrews. 'Hebrews' were descendants of Eber, who lived after the Flood (Genesis 11:16). The Flood couldn't have been limited to the Hebrews because there were no Hebrews when the Flood happened!
Hubert H.
This is wonderful. Nothing leaves the earth I love this ministry it compliments the word of GOD. Thank you creation ministry for your good work''.
E.J. M.
A problem I rarely see addressed when talking about this stuff we call "sediments" is the fact that you need an incredibly high percentage of dissolved silicon and/or calcium carbonate in the water. I read about experiments that have shown that you can only achieve about 6 ppm of silica in water at 77 degrees F (erosion under normal conditions), whereas you need about 140 ppm silica in order to petrify wood. To get up to 140 ppm, the water has to be 300 degrees F, which is well over boiling point (and therefore suggest that pressure would be necessary). I can't see how ocean water (even boiling water) sloshing up over the edge of a continent for a few days or weeks can possibly provide enough dissolved silica and carbonates to create the world's massive layers of sedimentary rock, and their associated fossils, including dinosaur eggs. The Flood undoubtedly caused the sedimentary layers, but the standard explanation of fast erosion of rock just doesn't seem plausible to me.
Shaun Doyle
The figures you give for silica solubility assume a pH > 7. However, if the solution pH goes much higher than 9, silica solubility skyrockets. And of course nobody is assuming erosion "under normal conditions" during the Flood. You're also not taking into account hydrothermal fluids rising up through the rocks (see e.g. The age of the Jenolan Caves, Australia in the context of cave formation).
Cliff A.
Most flood models ignore the violent action produced by rainfall of some 437 INCHES per hour . (Do the math: 35,000 feet of water in 40 days) There may been some flooding from the 'fountains of the deep'. Suppose the 'windows of heaven' rained 240 INCHES per hour. We have experience with 5-10 INCHES per hour causing huge Flash Floods, The 'Flash Floods of Noah' rushed from the high ground and mountains toward 'the deep' with flooding 50 to 1000 times greater than we know of but this rain fell EVERYWHERE, probably 10-20 Feet per hour creating the equivalent of a thousand times more Flash Flooding. (model this anyone?)
The lowlands were inundated in hours, the birds drowned in flight, sweeping houses, people, and Dinos to the lowlands worldwide. Every living, breathing creature dead except a boat load of creatures and eight people. The heavy rain scoured the face of the land and the Flash Floods carried Trillions of tons of rock, sand, silt far out onto the plains from the mountains and highlands mixing trillions of rounded rocks in with the debris which IS EXACTLY WHAT IS OBSERVED worldwide.
In a few days, ALL the lower lands were UNDERWATER. VERY MUDDY WATER and safe from the further ravages of rain and flooding. In a couple of weeks, the entire face of the world would have become the new sea floor while the waters rose to the highest mountains.
During the next six months silt and sediment settled out of the flood waters making 2-10 feet of FLOODMUD!, the topsoil found everywhere on ALL farmland. FLOODMUD! laminated the surface of the Earth and everything left standing. The Pyramids of Mexico, Bosnia, China LAMINATED. (Google pre-excavation photos.) Dinos and trees buried, laminated, petrified. The water "receded slowly" preserving the new face of the EARTH. CGA
Shaun Doyle
Flood models ignore this for a couple of reasons. First, Genesis 7:11 lists the fountains of the great deep first among the sources of water for the Flood, which suggests the fountains of the deep were the primary source for the floodwaters. Second, it's physically unrealistic. The heaviest rains measured have been around 400 mm/hr, and that only in short bursts in the middle of a typhoon. This is over 25 times lower than the rates you're proposing.
Frank N.
My comments come from my collection of Dinosaur eggs, teeth , partial leg bone, fossilized feathers in amber, and in clay from Leoning China (feathers of a 145 million year old Archopedith feathered flying dinosaur ) . Also an extensive amber collection.

The article does not say the type of dinosaur, nor the purpose of the short arms are of the bipedal dinosaurs. Claims have been made for the short arms to enable the dinosaur to keep the eggs and hatchlings in the nest while the mother sat on the nest while the eggs were hatching.

It appears that for some 25 million years dinosaurs and birds co evolved. Which may indicate that they may have shared many characteristics.
Shaun Doyle
This article doesn't mention a specific type of dinosaur because it's an explanation of a general class of cases. As to dinosaur-to-bird evolution, please see Did birds really evolve from dinosaurs?

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