Focus: News of interest about creation and evolution
T. rex drops clue
A coprolite (fossil dung specimen) has been found which is clearly from a meat-eater; around 40% of it consists of un-digested bone fragments. Because of its size (7 kg or 15 lbs) it is almost certainly from a large dinosaur, most probably a Tyrannosaurus rex. The prey’s bones appear to have been crushed by the carnivore’s teeth, rather than swallowed whole, as crocodiles do.
Nature, June 18, 1998, pp. 680–682.
Though the debate as to whether T. rex killed live animals or scavenged dead ones (both only possible after the Fall) is not settled by this find, analysis of the bone fragments suggests that they came from a young plant-eating dinosaur.
Leaves leave evidence against millions of years
Incredibly well preserved ‘fossil’ leaves have been found in south-east New South Wales, Australia. The area is now relatively dry, yet the leaves come from rainforest plants. Many of them are identical to still-living ones in Australia’s far northern wet tropics. According to the evolutionary scheme, they would have to be around 60 million years old. Yet these leaves are not just imprints, or petrified; they are still flexible, like yellow paper in texture, and the microscopic details can be easily studied. It is hard to believe that they could be more than a few thousand years old.
Sunday Herald Sun (Melbourne), April 12, 1998.
Biblically based models of earth history suggest that much of Australia was wetter in the first few centuries after the Flood, then progressively dried out. Such climate changes, with the resultant drastic change in plant life, do not require vast time periods.
Dinos fall flat
Earlier we reported (Creation 18(2):52, 1996) calculations which showed that speeding tyrannosaurs were a Hollywood myth; a simple trip and fall would have caused the creature to crash into the ground with such impact as to kill it.
This refutes the common objection that people could not have survived being on the same planet as T. rex.
Recent fossil evidence indirectly supports this scenario. Several allosauruses show patterns of rib fractures consistent with ‘a belly flop onto hard ground while running’. This smaller and lighter cousin of T. rex would have been able to survive a fall which would have killed the larger dinosaur.
New Scientist, April 18, 1998, p. 13.
Now it’s many big bangs…
Cosmologist Andrei Linde is one of the architects of the modern ‘big bang’ theory, which is assumed to indicate that all things began at one point in time. He now thinks the universe may have been around forever. He believes our corner of the universe came from such a ‘big bang’ expansion, but this is only one of many such events.
The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) April 26, 1998, p. 174.
Science, March 6, 1998, p. 1455.
By compromising with such evolutionary, unbiblical notions as the ‘big bang’ (with its associated billions of years) many evangelicals think they can gain respectability in academia, while still claiming support for a ‘single moment of creation of all things’.
Yet there are strong signs that ‘establishment’ science is moving away from the idea of such a single ‘creation event’. The answer’s in Genesis, not in secular speculations, which are always changing.
Turtles always turtles
Turtles are a well-designed, specialised group of reptiles, with a distinctive shell protecting the vital organs.
‘Turtles leave more and better fossil remains than do other vertebrates’, yet evolutionists admit that ‘intermediates between turtles and cotylosaurs, the primitive reptiles from which turtles probably sprang, are entirely lacking’.1
Recently, the ‘oldest known sea turtle’ fossil was found, supposedly 110 million years old.2 This 20 cm (8") creature was a fully formed turtle, not transitional. It appears to have had a fully developed salt excreting system, vital for a marine reptile.
Its paddles are called ‘primitive’ because they contain movable digits. However, this is based on evolutionary interpretation—modern freshwater turtles manage just fine with this arrangement.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica 26:704–705, 1992.
- Nature, April 16, 1998, pp. 651, 705–708.
Long-age ‘creationists’, who follow the same alleged order of appearance as evolutionists, therefore have land reptiles created before turtles.
However, the Bible teaches that turtles were created (to reproduce after their kind, consistent with the fossil evidence) on day 5, and land reptiles on the day after (Gen. 1:24–31).
NASA scientists have a photo of a ‘dim point of light at the end of a thin arc of stardust’ which they believe is a planet outside our solar system, some 450 light-years away. If it is, it would be a large blob of gas, similar to Jupiter but 2–3 times larger.
Science, June 5, 1998, p. 1531.
The Herald Sun (Sydney), May 30, 1998.
The discovery, whether confirmed or not, will inevitably ignite evolutionary speculation, just as did the now discredited ‘Mars rock-life’. Yet such a planet would not be suitable for life, let alone be teeming with it. As astronomers look further into space, the heavens will continue to further declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), through unfolding evidence of His enormous creativity and variety of design (as has occurred in exploration of our own solar system—see Creation 19(3): 26–29, 1997).
Muscular cattle: a beneficial mutation?
A cattle breed called the Belgian Blue is very valuable to beef farmers because it has 20–30% more muscle than average cattle, and its meat is lower in fat and very tender. Normally, muscle growth is regulated by a number of proteins, such as myostatin. However, the Belgian Blues have a mutation that deactivates the myostatin gene, so the muscles grow uncontrolled and become very large.
A different mutation of this gene is also responsible for the very muscular Piedmontese cattle. Genetic engineers have bred muscular mice by the same principle.
Science News, November 22, 1997, p. 325.
This mutation may be beneficial to man (as are seedless fruit) but not the cattle. The mutation has side-effects, for example reduced fertility. But most important, once again a mutation causes information loss, even though it might be considered ‘beneficial’. Therefore it is in the opposite direction required for particles-to-people evolution, as this requires the generation of new information.
Superbugs and antibiotics
One of the ways in which bacteria become resistant to antibiotics is by swapping genes among species. The mechanism by which they do this has been thought by many to have ‘evolved’ in response to antibiotics. However, researchers have looked at preserved samples of cholera bacteria dating back to 1888. They found that the same gene-swapping mechanisms were already there—well before antibiotics were discovered or used by people.
Reuters News Service, April 23, 1998.
The increasing problem of antibiotic resistance in germs is often used to show ‘evolution happening’. We have repeatedly shown (e.g., Creation 20(1)10–13, 1997) that the changes are in the wrong direction for this, being losses of information, or existing information acquired from other types of bacteria.
Green helps fish see red
Most marine species can only see blue, not red light, with three species of fish being the only known exceptions.
In one of these, the dragon fish Malecosteus niger, there is no pigment sensitive to red light. Instead, the fish uses what appears to be a form of vision completely unknown previously.
Its visual system uses a derivative of chlorophyll (the green chemical that plants use to harness sunlight for energy) to absorb red light and somehow pass the stimulus on to the chemical that is normally sensitive only to blue light.
But where does the chlorophyll come from? No animal is known to manufacture it, and this predatory fish does not eat plants.
It turns out that there are miniature crustaceans in the fish’s stomach, which feed on smaller ones, which eat tiny plants (phytoplankton). In some yet-mysterious way, the plants’ chlorophyll ends up incorporated in the retina of the fish!
New Scientist, June 6, 1998, p. 16.
The wonders of the Creator’s handiwork seem never-ending.
The hole in our skull through which the nerve passes that supplies our tongue muscles, is twice as wide in humans (about a pencil width) as in chimps.
The reason: this (hypoglossal) nerve has to carry many more nerve fibres to allow our tongue to make the complex movements needed for speech.
Careful study of Neandertal skulls reveals that their hypoglossal nerve canals were the same size as our own today. The only conceivable reason seems to be that they, too, could talk.
New Scientist, May 2, 1998, p. 23.
The influential teachings of Hugh Ross (promoted heavily by many prominent evangelicals) are committed to the same dating methods and order of appearance as evolutionists. As well as requiring, tragically, the view that death and bloodshed existed before Adam sinned, such belief means that Neandertals have to be written off as non-human, pre-Adamites without a spirit. That is, animals that just happened to look like people.
This evidence of speech capability strongly supports the straightforward understanding of both Genesis and the Neandertal fossils and artefacts, that these were simply an early group of post-Babel people.
Dating bogs down
When a human head was found preserved in a Cheshire peat bog, Edwin Rainbird confessed that he had killed his wife Myra around 30 years ago and buried her there.
This led to his successful prosecution. However, when scientists tested the skull, they claimed it was around 2,000 years old, and sent it to the British Museum. It now appears it really was that of Myra Rainbird after all.
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) March 24, 1998.
The lesson: It’s dangerous to prefer the conclusions of fallible dating methods (with potentially flawed assumptions) over eyewitness testimony (e.g. Genesis on origins).
What? Another feathered dinosaur claim?
Two fossils found in Northern China are claimed to be feathered theropods (meat-eating dinosaurs). Protarchaeopteryx robusta and Caudipteryx zoui are claimed to be ‘the immediate ancestors of the first birds’.
We should remember that the media often sensationalize ‘proofs’ of evolution, but the later disproofs hardly rate a mention, even by other evolutionists. For example, in Creation 19(3):6, 1997, we reported a retraction of another recent ‘feathers on dinosaur’ claim. We also reported very strong evidence from the forelimb and lung structures that dinosaurs could not have been the ancestors of birds (Creation 20(2):4, 1998).
The two latest discoveries are ‘dated’ at 120 to 136 million years while Archaeopteryx, a true bird, is ‘dated’ at 140 to 150 million years. This would make these ‘bird ancestors’ far younger than their descendants.
Evolutionary ornithologists Larry Martin and Allan Feduccia, strong critics of the dino-to-bird dogma, believe that the fossils are more likely to be flightless birds similar to ostriches. Caudipteryx even used gizzard stones like modern plant-eating birds, but unlike theropods.
Nature, June 25, 1998, pp. 729–730, 753–761.
Washington Post, June 15, 1998.
Next ancestor, Ples
A South African fossil Australopithecus africanus skull, called ‘Mr Ples’, has caused much evolutionary speculation because of its large brain capacity (600 cc). However, recent scans and reconstructions indicate that it is only 513 cc after all. This has caused a rethink of published estimates of other similar skulls. One authority says, ‘It may be that australopithecines have a lower mean brain size than previously thought’, which would mean rethinking ‘the entire early picture of brain evolution’.
Science, April 17, 1998, p. 380; June 12, 1998, pp. 1730–1731.
Many evolutionary experts have already rejected australopithecines, particularly A. africanus, as our ancestors. Sadly, many are still being led astray.