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Creation 41(3):42–44, July 2019

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Tyrannosaur ‘walking with sharks’?

How Hell Creek supports the Bible.



Fossils recently discovered in Hell Creek rock formation (Montana, USA) testify to the recent Flood of Noah, which would have buried many land and sea creatures together. This is the same formation in which soft tissue and intact protein was found in a T. rex fossil, flying in the face of belief in millions of years and evolution.1

A paper published in the Journal of Palaeontology2 describes the discovery of the teeth of various small marine sharks in close association with the most complete and likely the largest Tyrannosaurus rex specimen yet unearthed. This is the famous “Sue”, aka skeleton FMNH PF 2081, named after discoverer Sue Hendrickson.

Inconvenient truth

This new find highlights the increasing lengths evolutionists resort to, so they can explain away their data. In this case, the problem is that marine shark teeth are mixed up with a land-based T. rex skeleton. The teeth, including those of a ‘new’ species of small shark, Galagadon nordquistae,3 were discovered in close association with the T. rex skeleton—actually in the surrounding soil matrix encasing the bones. Furthermore, these teeth are similar to those of modern marine sharks—which is a problem given that Sue was believed to live in a fresh-water environment containing crocodiles, turtles, amphibians, fish, and plants.2 The authors admit that recovery of “carcharhinid” (migratory shark) teeth from the Sue locality is “surprising given the [supposed] freshwater environment from which the fossils derive.” 2

The paper does not discuss how Sue could have been so well preserved (90% complete) in an environment they assume was teeming with crocodiles and fish (because fossils of those are buried there). In their scenario, these would have been all too ready to dispose of any T. rex carcass that happened to come their way! Of course, the added complication now is how to explain marine fossils alongside those of freshwater and land creatures—all jumbled together.

A flood, or the Flood?

The obvious answer is to invoke a flood of course! The authors theorize: “Throughout the latter half of the Cretaceous an intercontinental seaway flooded part of the North American continent, providing ideal conditions for the invasion of freshwater ecosystems by sharks and rays as well as the subsequent preservation of those ecosystems in the fossil record.”2 Problem solved? Far from it! The flood scenario envisioned would have lasted around 40 million years, as an imperceptibly gradual single event. The authors believe sediments containing shark teeth were deposited when the supposed “intercontinental seaway” retreated from North America, due to an episode of mountain-building (‘Laramide orogeny’).

The global Flood of Noah (Genesis 6–8) provides a far superior explanation for the co-existence of marine, freshwater and land animal fossils. The entire globe was in effect covered by the ocean, with powerful currents eroding and depositing sediment and burying countless creatures—from both land and sea.

This also explains why there is excellent preservation and little scavenging of the Sue skeleton—it was buried beneath tonnes of sediment before it had a chance to be dismembered. And in any case, the fossils of creatures found with Sue do not so much indicate that they all lived together, as long-agers presume, but were buried together. Since sharks’ teeth continually fall out and are replaced, these were likely in the sediment of the pre-Flood seafloor, picked up by the raging Flood currents and redeposited on land.

The fact that T. rex soft tissue has been discovered in the same formation is testament to the recent deposition of the sediments, rather than the supposed 67.5 MY age for the Hell Creek formation.

More questions are raised in the paper by the authors’ belief that the Sue site was “likely” a “meandering river channel.” However, they admit that “no geologic evidence exists of a channel”, rather, the local geology consists of “alternating layers of mud-rich sediment containing leaf fossils and sandy siltstone.”2 The ‘layer-cake’ nature of the local geology, combined with the chaotic nature of the fossil assemblage—including Sue—is not evidence of an “abundant aquatic community” as the authors theorize. Rather, the evidence is consistent with this fossil graveyard having been formed within the global Flood of Noah’s day.

Evidence consistent with the Bible

1)While trying to demonstrate shark evolution from these teeth, the researchers’ findings are fully consistent with biblical creation—sharks reproducing sharks (see “Sharks and evolutionary assumptions”).

2)The association of marine sharks, fresh-water animals and plants and T. rex, all mixed together in one location, is strong evidence consistent with Noah’s Flood.

3)The good preservation of the T. rex skeleton is consistent with it having been rapidly covered by sediment before it could be scavenged. This would require a truly catastrophic flood given its size.

4)The fact that another T. rex from the same Hell Creek formation contains soft tissue and intact biomolecules is ‘smoking-gun’ evidence that the entire formation is young and resulted from the Flood of Noah, around 4,500 years ago according to the true history of the Bible.

Sharks and evolutionary assumptions


The bulk of the paper discussed in the main article (ref. 2 in the main text) attempts to demonstrate supposed evolutionary relationships between the extinct species of sharks discovered at the Sue site. This was done by analyzing multiple minor variations in tooth shape and comparing them to similar living species so as to construct phylogenetic (evolutionary) tree diagrams, or “nested cladograms”.

The authors’ discussion of their computer analysis is virtually impenetrable to all but specialists, but it is readily apparent that ‘millions of years’ are built into the starting assumptions of their computer simulation. For example, this admission in the Material and Methods section of their paper (emphases added): “Living taxa were given ages either according to molecular estimates … , or the default value of 2MYA, whereas fossils were calibrated according to their data provided in Fossilworks.org.”1

Two different methods were employed to produce evolutionary trees, one of which the authors admitted “pushed many orectolobid [carpet shark] divergences between extant [still-living] species into the Paleogene or even Cretaceous.”1 In other words, depending on which parameters the authors adopted, it changed their simulation by up to 122 million years!2 CMI has pointed out that such methods simply beg the question, and are in no way independent support for evolution.3

In summary, the paper fails to show the evolution of sharks from a non-shark ancestor: at best the authors demonstrate only minor variation within the shark kind (from the shape of the teeth).

References and notes

  1. Gates et al., Ref. 2, main text.
  2. The Cretaceous period is believed to have occurred 145–66 million years ago (MYA); the Paleogene 66–23 MYA, making a maximum time-span of 122 MY.
  3. Doyle, S., Cladistics, evolution and the fossils, J. Creation 25(2):32–39, 2011; creation.com/cladistics.

References and notes

  1. Catchpoole, D., Double-decade dinosaur disquiet, Creation 36(1):12–14, creation.com/dino-disquiet. Return to text.
  2. Gates, T.A., Gorscak, E., and Makovicky, P.J., New sharks and other chondrichthyans from the latest Maastrichtian (Late Cretaceous) of North America, J. Paleontology, pp. 1–19, 21 Jan 2019. Return to text.
  3. Named after a spacecraft in the computer game Galaga, which supposedly resembles the teeth of the shark. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Guide to Dinosaurs
by Brian Thomas and Tim Clarey
US $17.00
Hard Cover
US $10.00
Exploring Dinosaurs with Mr Hibb
by Michael Oard, Tara Wolfe, Chris Turbuck, Gary Bates
US $17.00
Hard Cover
Flood Fossils
by Vance Nelson
US $32.00
Hard Cover

Readers’ comments

Gladys M.
Is there ANY mention, anywhere in the Bible, of dinosaurs or excavated bones, thereof? I am a creationist, I believe in the Bible, and the flood. Just wondered.
Gavin Cox
Hi Gladys, yes there are two very famous passages in the biblical book of Job which describes huge beasts that are apparently not alive today, you can read about them in Job 40, 41, there are a number of articles on CMI about dinosaurs and the Bible, or from CMI's YouTube media. There's nothing about excavated dinosaur bones in the Bible though. Hope that helps.
Jim A.
Fossil evidence is persuasive evidence for a cataclysmic flood, and there is also geological evidence of how different the earth was prior to the flood. Its puzzling to me why even renowned Christian Universities, where there are geology departments, have no answer when asked what the earth's watering system, as described in Genesis, could have looked like prior to the flood. One answer I received was that "there were so many possibilities for what it looked like that it was impossible to consider." Strange, that with so vast a number of possibilities for what it looked like that not even one possibility was ever contemplated. Another answer was that "any evidence of that structure would have long ago been plowed under", yet they will probe all that 'plowed under' strata for tiny clues of asteroid hits supposedly 'millions of years ago' and not bother with pre-flood remains that are unquestionably younger. Their answers to my questions to them about a pre-flood earth has given me convincing evidence that they don’t believe what’s written in Genesis about the flood. That is one reason why geological evidence of a pre-flood earth watering system has never been looked for, nor an understanding of how it worked and what kind of geological evidence would be produced as a result. If it was thought out based on the acceptance of the truth of Genesis, the evidence for a pre-flood earth watering system would jump out at them.
Dave P.
You say "the earth was completely flooded." Even Mount Everest? Six miles high? I think you still claim that dinosaurs were in the famous Ark: along with polar bears and penguins. Did they swim up from the South Pole to the Middle East?
Gavin Cox
Hi Dave,
My primary source of authority is God's Word, which gives us the true history of the world. Genesis 7:19 states "And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered." However, it is an assumption that Mount Everest existed before the Flood. Evidence suggests it was pushed up from the sea floor possibly as a result of plate tectonics. If you want to know how plate tectonics fits in with Noah's Flood, you can read this article to start with. Or if you prefer, one of our CMI YouTube videos. Yes, we claim dinosaurs survived on the ark. Regarding modern day animals on Noah's ark, no I would not expect to find polar bears, but the pre-curser to the brown bear, you can read about polar bears here and how they are explained in terms of diversification after the Flood. Regarding animals like penguins etc on the ark and how they migrated after the Flood, CMI has written a lot on this, you can use the search engine to discover much information from the natural world that is supported by the history in the Bible, and when it comes to animal migration after the Flood. I hope that helps.
Jim M.
QUOTE: "More questions are raised in the paper by the authors’ belief that the Sue site was “likely” a “meandering river channel.” However, they admit that “no geologic evidence exists of a channel”, rather, the local geology consists of “alternating layers of mud-rich sediment containing leaf fossils and sandy siltstone.”

So the way to deal with contradictory evidence is basically just ignore it and give an interpretation that doesn't fit the data. Most people will never know. In this scenario, the facts don't seem to matter.

I've often wondered about how evolutionists think that large in tact dinosaurs could have been fossilized. Their bodies would be meters high above the surface of the ground! How could soil build up high enough and quick enough to cover them and preserve them? This is not a rare occurrence so at times, it must really test their creativeness and story-telling skills.
Alison L.
These discoveries should make the news- that would give us a chance to talk to people about the real reasons. Can CMI help to get discoveries such as these widely broadcast on main stream media?
Gavin Cox
Hi Alison,
the findings of soft T-rex tissue was aired on major news networks. If you type into YouTube 'Mary Schweitzer' 'T-rex soft tissue' you will see many interviews on CNN, BBC, 60 minutes etc. CMI's job is to disseminate that information to Christians, which is what we do through our website, and various media. The information on sharks teeth with T-rex bones is also readily available on the internet.
Ged W.
Are there any photos to support these findings? It's fun reading these articles however would love to see some imagery of the actual bones and dig site during excavation as well.
Gavin Cox
Hi Ged, there are photos in the original research paper but only of the fossil teeth, if you can't access the paper then Google search Galagadon nordquistae teeth and you will see images of these. They are very small, and a photo of these in mud mixed in with T-rex bones would not be very useful in conveying information. The fact that the information was published in a secular peer reviewed science journal is support enough. If you type into CMI's YouTube channel you will see a few videos on dinosaur soft tissue or do a more general search for dinosaur soft tissue, Hell's Creek, there is a lot of uploaded videos to view.
John M.
I believe this isn't the only example of land and sea creatures being found together. Does it make sense to say every one of these happened in a bunch of individual local floods? I guess what would be interesting would be to see how far apart some of the remains from creatures of the same type would be located. Specific animals aren't generally widespread, at least not in this day and age. So for example if a global flood occurred today you wouldn't expect to find panda remains in Africa. So I'd be curious how far apart the remains of ancient creatures have been found. However, I would think the fact that fish remains have been found on mountains would be clear enough of a result of a massive global flood. I know some people will never accept certain truths though.
Gavin Cox
Hi John, thanks for writing into CMI and for taking the time to read my article. Secular geologists with their uniformitarian mind-sets, will look at the effects of the Flood in any local situation and may indeed invoke a local flood scenario. However, the global Flood of Noah's day was a very complex event, that lasted just over a year. It took 150 days for the earth to be completely flooded, and during that time, local floods and disasters were happening everywhere as part of the global rise of sea water and accompanying tectonic events. Depending on the local situation, some ecosystems may have been inundated together, and others may have been transported by water longer distances, and sorted according to density. When it comes to fossils on mountaintops, we have to keep in mind these were probably not swept into place, but were pushed up from the surrounding continents and sea floor as part of an episode of mountain building near the end of the Flood. As for other examples of land and marine fossils all preserved together, there are many, which CMI has written about over the years. Here are a few examples of articles:
‘Animal salad’ points to catastrophic demise', 'Fascinating French fossil find', 'dead-whales-telling-tales-creation-magazine'
Caleb W.
This is a really good article; I hadn't heard about this discovery at the time. Just one concern: Did you realize that your Tyrannosaurus illustration included "protofeathers"? I realize that creationists don't necessarily reject the possibility of some type of fibers on dinosaurs, but the only reason to reconstruct Tyrannosaurus with them is due to evolutionary assumptions. Namely, several supposed ancestors, like Dilong and Yutyrannus, may have had some sort of filaments (though it might just be collagen). Skin remains are known from most parts of Tyrannosaurus' body, revealing scales not feathers (the two are actually mutually exclusive). However, many evolutionists still insist on reconstructing it with filaments on parts of the body that we have no skin remains for. What are your thoughts on that?
Gavin Cox
Many thanks Caleb for your message. I didn't choose the T-rex image, so I hadn't intended on including a discussion of supposed dinosaur feathers in my article. My interests in the article is purely about the shark teeth mixed in with the T-rex bones being strong evidence of the Flood. However, if you do want to read up on the issues of supposed dinosaur feathers, I can suggest this article. Many thanks, Gavin.
Dale S.
Yes, I believe too, that the Tyrannosaurus Sue was buried rapidly in the watery sediments of the worldwide flood of Noah's day (Genesis 6-8) along with the shark's teeth that were deposited there, when the sediments of the sea floor were picked up and deposited there from the raging waters of the Flood. The fossils of these creatures give a testimony that the Bible is true! That the Tyrannosaurus was buried rapidly and recently and not millions of years ago but only thousands of years ago. The soft tissue found in the Tyrannosaurus fossil bones also gives evidence that the Hell Creek Formation is not 67.5 million years old but only thousands of years old. The Worldwide Flood (Genesis 6-8) occurred about 4,500 years ago according to the true history of God's Word (Holy Bible).
Gerry T.
Shark teeth with T Rex? That's easy to explain, just watch Sharknado. :)

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