This article is from
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.

Readers’ comments

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".
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."

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