CREATION NEWS AND VIEWS
First swimming dinosaur found
Fossil remains of a sail-backed, predatory dinosaur named Spinosaurus, bigger than T. rex, were excavated in Egypt in the 1930s. The dinosaur had a long snout, cone-shaped teeth like a crocodile, and could walk on two legs, with shorter arms at the front. It must have been an awesome creature when fully grown. Many of its fossil remains were destroyed by bombings in Munich during World War 2. But recently a team of scientists found more fossils at a site in Morocco and were able to determine that the tail of Spinosaurus was similar to a crocodile’s, shaped like a broad paddle.
Since crocodiles swim very well, it is believed Spinosaurus likewise was a great swimmer and predator in water, and was at least semi-aquatic. “This tail is unambiguous”, says paleontologist and team member Samir Zouhri. “This dinosaur was swimming.”
It’s therefore the first undeniably swimming dinosaur that’s been found. Extinct marine reptiles such as plesiosaurs, for instance, although excellent swimmers, weren’t dinosaurs. Up until now, all dinosaurs have been seen as essentially land dwellers. If Spinosaurus spent most of its time in the water it’s likely Noah didn’t need to include a pair of these on the Ark, even as juveniles.
- Jaggard, V., The monster could swim; nationalgeographic.com, 29 Apr 2020.
- Ibrahim, N. and 16 others, Tail-propelled aquatic locomotion in a theropod dinosaur, Nature 581:6770, 29 Apr 2020.
Misreading effects of Noah’s Flood
A recent article claimed that volcanism in the North Atlantic, supposedly 56 million years ago, led to an intense phase of global warming. They claimed this has “implications for modern climate change.”
The problem: it’s just speculation based on wrong assumptions. They are interpreting the vast volcanic landscapes (like Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland) and associated sedimentary strata as forming over millions of years. However, these rocks formed in just a few months during Noah’s Flood, about 4,500 years ago.
Specifically, the rocks formed as the floodwaters on the earth were turning from rising to falling (see geology transformation diagram). This was because the earth’s crust began to fracture, the ocean basins began to sink, and the earth’s mantle melted. This produced ginormous volumes of molten magma. This squeezed to the surface through monstrous fissures in the crust, covering enormous areas with volcanic lava.
These misinterpretations of the geology of Noah’s Flood lead to a misunderstanding of what happened in the past. So they draw wrong conclusions about the earth’s climate.
- Lee, H., Sudden ancient global warming event traced to magma flood, Quanta Magazine, 19 Mar 2020; quantamagazine.org
Raindrops keep falling on my head
In heavy rain, raindrops can hurt. But imagine that you are an insect, or the leaf of a plant—those raindrops at terminal velocity are like bullets hitting your surface. Why are small things not damaged?
It turns out that such biological surfaces have a structure at the microscopic scale that is hydrophobic (water repelling). Researchers found that the rain drops just bounce off such surfaces. How?
The droplets spread as they hit what looks like a rough surface, covered in micro-bumps. A shock-wave forms, creating tiny holes in the upper surface of the droplet. Then the holes join up, the droplet shatters and rebounds off the leaf or insect. This reduces the contact time by 70%.
- Kim, S., et al. How a raindrop gets shattered on biological surfaces, PNAS 117(25):13901–13907, 23 Jun 2020.
Wizard of Oz stored on DNA
DNA has become recognized as a “durable, high-density information storage platform”. Stephen Jones, who has collaborated with other researchers on a new method of storing information on DNA, said: “This idea takes advantage of what biology has been doing … : for billions of years: storing lots of information in a very small space that lasts a long time”. To test their new method, called HEDGES, the researchers put ‘The Wizard of Oz’, translated into Esperanto, onto DNA and subjected it to high temperatures and extreme humidity. Despite this leading to some of the DNA being damaged, the information could still be decoded successfully.
The reason that DNA is being used to store information is that it “is about 5 million times more efficient than current storage methods … . And DNA doesn’t require permanent cooling and hard disks that are prone to mechanical failures”.
This is a clear demonstration that the information DNA is able to store is of completely the same nature as messages sent by intelligent human senders. Namely, information which can be read, understood, and put into ‘action’.
This is what happens in living things, which transmit their DNA information from generation to generation. Like human messages, this inherited information is also subject to damage/decay (mutations). This points to a super-intelligent source that encoded the information in the first place in the ancestors of each kind of living thing, and designed the machinery needed for its preprogrammed transmission. The Bible tells us in Genesis who life’s coding creator is.
That DNA can also store information more elegantly, effectively and efficiently than anything man-made so far is further demonstration of God’s “eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20).
- Press, W.H. and 4 others, HEDGES error-correcting code for DNA storage corrects indels and allows sequence constraints, PNAS, 16 Jul 2020.
- UT News, Power of DNA to store information gets an upgrade; news.utexas.edu, 14 Jul 2020.
Moon’s carbon emissions cast more doubt on origin theory
Japanese scientists have analyzed data from Japan’s Kaguya lunar orbiter. They found significant carbon emissions from the moon.
The favoured secular hypothesis for the moon’s origin has a Mars-sized object colliding with Earth. The resulting hot material condensed into what is our moon. However, such a moon would be depleted of volatile compounds such as water and carbon.
Contrary to expectations, quite a bit of water has been found on the moon. Now these scientists have found significant carbon. This creates further problems for the ‘hot’ theory of the moon’s formation.
- Yokota, S. and 4 others, KAGUYA observation of global emissions of indigenous carbon ions from the Moon, Science. Advances 6:eaba1050, 6 May 2020.
Richard Dawkins: “I would probably believe in God if …”
A recently-unearthed conversation between ‘celebrity atheists’ Richard Dawkins and Ricky Gervais, while appearing in a church in 2012, still resonates today. It contains a strong message to theistic evolutionists and others who might view evolution and its long-age timeline as harmless to Christianity. (Not that Dawkins/Gervais were addressing them specifically.)
During the course of their chat, Dawkins made the “bombshell confession” (as the Daily Express described it): “Oh I would probably believe in God if I were pre-Darwin.” I.e., if he was living before Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution in 1859. And Gervais quipped, “Oh yeah, it’s good that we were born after they discovered fossils and dinosaurs isn’t it?”
- Hammond, C., Richard Dawkins admitted ONE thing would make him believe in God; express.co.uk, 5 Aug 2020.
Aboriginal seabed archaeological sites
An Ice Age lasting around 500–700 years occurred directly after, and as a result of, Noah’s Flood, some 4,500 years ago. During this time sea levels were much lower as water was stored as ice, kilometres thick, on top of land masses. At the peak of the Ice Age, sea levels could have been as much as 130 metres lower. Two million km2 of continental shelf around Australia would have been exposed during this period, increasing its land area by a third.
These exposed patches included land bridges connecting the Australian mainland to both Tasmania and New Guinea. The Aboriginal people group arrived in Australia during the Ice Age and would have had access to these now submerged areas of land. Some of them would have occupied sites on the then shoreline that are of course now under water.
For three years a group of archaeologists have been exploring off the Australian coast at depths of up to 20 metres looking to locate evidence of settlements on previously exposed areas of the sea floor. The team identified two sites located off the Murujuga coastline in north-western Australia: “Cape Bruguieres, comprising of [more than] 260 recorded lithic [stone] artefacts at depths down to −2.4 m below sea level, and Flying Foam Passage where the find spot is associated with a submerged freshwater spring at −14 m.”
It comes as no surprise to find confirmation that as people groups split off after the Tower of Babel, they used those exposed Ice Age land bridges to migrate across the globe. Some such migrating people lived, even if for a short time, on land which was then engulfed by the rising water level as the Ice Age subsided.
- Benjamin, J. and 16 others, Aboriginal artefacts on the continental shelf reveal ancient drowned cultural landscapes in northwest Australia, PLoS ONE 15(7): e0233912, 1 Jul 2020.
- Wright, S., In a first discovery of its kind, researchers have uncovered an ancient Aboriginal archaeological site preserved on the seabed, theconversation.com, 1 Jul 2020.
Predation preserved in amber
“Fossilised behaviour is exceedingly rare, predation especially so,” says Phillip Barden, who studies social insect evolution at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He adds that “to see an extinct predator caught in the act of capturing its prey is invaluable.” This is exactly what has been found in a piece of clear yellow amber from a quarry in the Hukawng Valley, Myanmar. Measuring only 13 × 10 × 6 mm, the allegedly-99-million-year-old rounded chunk contains two insects. A hell ant (Ceratomyrmex ellenbergeri) is grasping a nymph of Caputoraptor elegans, an extinct relative of the cockroach. Using its scythe-like mandibles (jaws), and a horn protruding from the top of its head, the hell ant has effectively put a clamp around its prey’s neck. This is the first time that the hell ant (also now extinct) has been observed actively feeding in the fossil record.
The amber has preserved these organisms in incredible detail. It adds to an ever-growing list of ‘movement in action’ or frozen behaviour associated with fossils. The research paper offered no explanation as to how the insects became trapped. There simply is no slow scenario by which the hell ant caught in the middle of its predatory practice could have been preserved. Resin oozing from a damaged tree at a snail’s pace would not be sufficient. Rather, the events at the time of Noah’s Flood, some 4,500 years ago, do provide the right circumstances. As forests were ripped up during the Flood, trees transported in the water would have collided together. This would have released large quantities of resin into the water and onto the logs. It would have rapidly engulfed any small creatures, mostly insects, with which it came into contact.
- Barden, P. and 2 others, Specialized predation drives aberrant morphological integration and diversity in the earliest ants, Current Biology, 30, 17, 5 October 2020.
- Casella, C., Prehistoric ‘Hell Ant’ stuck in amber has been mauling its prey for 99 million years, sciencealert.com, 6 August 2020.
Spanish cave art dating dust-up
Most evolutionists believe modern humans arrived in Europe about 45 thousand years ago. They believe that an ‘artistic explosion’ in European cave art occurred after this.
But in 2018, a few uranium-thorium (U/Th) results for cave art contradicted this scenario. The art was from three sites in Spain (the Ardales, Maltravieso, and La Pasiega caves). The ‘ages’ obtained were far greater—at least 65 thousand years old. In standard secular thinking, this suggests that Neanderthal people created the art.
Then in 2020, other researchers published data they claimed refuted that conclusion. Pons-Branchu et al. tested the reliability of U/Th dating on rock art in the Nerja Cave, Spain. They presented “evidence of open system behavior resulting in erroneous U/Th ages”. This supposedly gave rise to “apparent ages being too old”.
(The method, like all radiometric dating methods, measures amounts of different isotopes. The ‘age’ is an assumption that the amounts are caused by decay over time. But in this case, it seems isotopes could enter or leave the system. This would change the apparent ‘age’.)
It seems as if some researchers are keen to refute the notion that Neanderthals created the art. White et al. even called the ‘older’ dates “especially troubling”. This was because “they contradict more than one hundred years of research observations on the Neanderthal and modern human archaeological record.”
Hence, discrediting those ‘inconvenient’ results may be the archaeology establishment protecting their consensus scenario. This is not difficult, since all U/Th ages can legitimately be questioned. And ‘redating’ often gives contradictory results.
Regardless, it is another example of how one can have little confidence in evolutionary ‘dates’. Or indeed in the associated scenarios. It also highlights the bias against Neanderthal intelligence, despite much evidence for their humanness.
- Pons-Branchu, E. et al., U-series dating at Nerja cave reveal open system. Questioning the Neanderthal origin of Spanish rock art, J. Archaeological Science, 117:105120, May 2020.
- White, R. et al., Still no archaeological evidence that Neanderthals created Iberian cave art, J. Human Evolution 144:102640, Jul 2020.
‘Young’ galaxy is very orderly
Astronomers have discovered an extremely distant galaxy using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. The galaxy, named SPT0418-47, is over 12 billion light-years away.
At such astronomical distances, it’s hard for even the best telescopes to see much. But this time, they were helped by gravitational lensing, a prediction of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. A nearer galaxy that was almost exactly in the path converged the light like a gigantic magnifying glass. The image was distorted into a ring, but the astronomers could work out many details of its shape.
They were very surprised to find that SPT0418-47 had a rotating disc and a bulge, just like our own Milky Way galaxy, although without the spiral arms. The surprise resulted from their long-age cosmology—that is, we are seeing it only 1.4 billion years after the alleged big bang. But such ordering was “contradicting theories that all galaxies in the early Universe were turbulent and unstable.”
This is hardly the first example of an orderly galaxy. Previously, we reported on the discovery of over 300 mature galaxies ‘dated’ to 3–6 billion years after the big bang (creation.com/galaxy-games). This surprised the theorists, who didn’t expect to find any massive galaxies over 9 billion light-years away. The newest discovery also “raises many questions on how a well-ordered galaxy could have formed so soon after the Big Bang.”
- European Southern Observatory, ALMA sees most distant Milky Way look-alike; eso.org, 12 Aug 2020. ©123rf.com/Anatoly Vasilyev
- Rizzo, F. and 6 others, A dynamically cold disk galaxy in the early Universe, Nature 584(7820):201–204, 12 Aug 2020.
Fish eggs transported in the gut
Both secularist and creationist scientists have always sought to understand how fish have colonized lakes and ponds throughout the world. Fish do this even in the most remote, isolated regions, including mountainous areas. In many of these, human assistance can be ruled out. For example, there are rock pools in remote deserts which only form after one of the rare rainstorms. Yet fish often appear shortly afterwards, before the water dries up again.
It had long been assumed that fish eggs stuck to the legs and feathers of waterfowl or other birds drinking or feeding before flying on to another lake or pond. There the eggs detached, and fish later hatched. But there is almost no empirical evidence for this process occurring.
However, scientists recently studied captive mallards (wild ducks) and found that a small percentage of fish eggs are able to survive being swallowed by the ducks. They subsequently pass through the gut with a high-enough rate of survivability of the eggs to ensure the successful dispersal of the fish. The eggs used in the experiment were those of the common and Prussian carp. The same means of dispersal has also been found to occur for insect larvae, soft plants and seeds.
This was very likely the means by which fish quickly colonized all regions of the world after the global Flood. As people spread out from the Babel dispersion they would have had fish to eat wherever they went, amongst all the other foods available, whenever they encountered inland bodies of water.
- Lovas-Kiss, A. and 7 others, Experimental evidence of dispersal of invasive cyprinid eggs inside migratory waterfowl, Proc. Natl Acad. Sc. USA 117 (27):15397–15399, Jul 2020.