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Creation 34(2):19, April 2012

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Mummified trees millions of years old—not


©iStockPhoto.com/curiousjmonkey 8626-pic

Researchers recently announced the discovery of mummified wood and other plant material in Quttinirpaaq National Park in the Canadian Arctic. The area is barren and icy, less than 8º south of the geographic North Pole. Local temperatures fall to −50ºC (−58ºF).

Acting on a tip-off from a local ranger, Ohio State University Earth scientist Joel Barker found “exquisitely preserved” broken tree trunks and branches “and even leaves”, that had emerged from underneath a glacier.1 He and his team said that the pine, spruce and birch trees had originally been buried in a landslide. Despite the amazingly fresh condition of the wood, Barker, a believer in long ages, recently announced the trees were somewhere between 2 and 12 million years old.2

The wood is still wood

Surprisingly, given such an old age being assigned to it, the wood is still completely woody, and readily burns. It has not been petrified (turned to stone). Even the most delicate structures such as leaves have been perfectly preserved. Now that it is exposed to the elements, the wood is beginning to rot.

Robert Blanchette, plant biologist with the University of Minnesota, was clearly impressed by the supposed age of the material. “Finding wood that is millions of years old in such good condition—almost as if you just picked it up from the forest floor … .”3 And as Barker puts it, “The dead trees look just like the dried-out dead wood lying outside now.”

How the wood was dated

How did Barker arrive at such a date? He began with the presupposition that the earth is billions of years old. He then used the following reasoning: Because pollen that disappeared about 12 million years ago (according to the long-ages time scale) is absent, the trees are probably no more than 12 million years old. And because ocean cores indicate that forests disappeared from the Arctic 2 million years ago (again, according to long-age assumptions), Barker believes that the wood is at least as old as that. Pretty simple conclusion? But there’s a terrible blind spot there to reality.

Difficult to believe

How can one believe that wood and leaves could survive in such a fresh state in a near-surface environment for even one million years, let alone up to 12 million years, even if surrounded by ice? Beautifully preserved, unaltered organic material such as this suggests a maximum age measured in hundreds or thousands of years at the most.

Barker said, “When we started pulling leaves out of the soil, that was surreal, to know that it’s millions of years old and that you can hold it in your hand.” Yes, surreal is a good word to describe it: as in unreal, and fantastic. The millions of years are held in his head, not in his hands.

References and notes

  1. Ancient forest emerges mummified from the Arctic, physorg.com/news, 15 December 2010. Return to text.
  2. Back to the future with mummified trees, physorg.com/news, 17 March 2011. Return to text.
  3. Inman, M., Mummified forest found on treeless Arctic island, National Geographic News, news.nationalgeographic.com/news, 17 December 2010. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

John G.
Testing for carbon 14 would be interesting. Or would this not be done as there should be none there and therefore the exercise would be pointless! A request should be made for such a test in a commercial lab without any knowledge of the origin of the wood.
Graham P.
Mainstream science's extreme credulity is here exposed for what it is.
Lloyd D.
When I was in school, somewhere during the dark ages, we were taught to be slaves to something called the scientific method. Any hypothesis had to be tested by the scientific method. That is, its effect had to be observable and repeatable. Since neither creation nor evolution can be subjected to the scientific method it is impossible to label either one "science." They are both, in fact, a belief system. The usual result when you point this out to an evolutionist is intense and and scathing rebuttal. It is to be expected because you have just assaulted his "religion." If you in turn, point this out (that evolution is his religion) his head may explode.
Prior to WWII theoretic science, ergo, consensus science was not much in vogue. Most scientist still clung to the tried and true scientific method. However, when it was found that straw houses built on consensus science often produced positive results (it just as often produced spectacular failures but those were just ignored) the modern method of taking a wild scientific guess and running with it became the norm. Since evolution is, by its nature, a very long process (according to its converts) they can extend forever the day of reckoning. However, according to my belief system, that day will come upon them suddenly, like a thief in the night. Unfortunately, they will perish still believing in the satanic religion of evolution. That is why articles like this one are so important. If, by patience, with love, we can show a few to the narrow path our days have not been wasted.
Victor B.
Great stuff - It is amazing how as scientists their initial reaction to the evidence lines up with the evidence and immediately brings rational and logical questions - But then the power of the evolutionary paradigm overtakes the scientists' thinking.
Burt L.
It seems they do not "have the love of the truth so as to be saved", thus, God sends a delusion and they believe the lie of evolution. It is very difficult for someone to shed an ingrained presupposition. You put in a word that fits in the crossword puzzle and you are blocked. That word may be wrong even though it seems to fit the space and the definition. Yet, it is hard to see and you are blocked. Their presupposition is that there is no Creator.
D. K.
Amen! Awesome stuff. Agree with everything that's been said so far in the comments and article - it's psychological, not physical
Alan H.
Love the 'Wayne's World' not! However that is most apt. The evolutionary paradigm is more Wayne's World, i.e:- a comedy set in a 'teenage' garage, than real science!
Johan S.
I wonder if they even considered carbon dating? Surely that's more 'scientific' than looking at the 'absence of pollen' or dating marine core to come up with an estimated age?

Or, maybe they conveniently chose to ignore it because any carbon 14 found would disprove their Ma age assumption?
Aleksandar K.
They do have a point. Laws of physics are just guidelines, anyway. [sarcasm]
Jim M.
It just goes to show the power of the paradigm.

The paradigm is never questioned.

It is the source of the evolutionist's faith and it is a powerful source.

It seems there is almost nothing that they are not willing to believe in order to keep the paradigm intact.

70-million-year-old red blood cells? No problem!

2-12 million year old wood and leaves? No problem.

Fossilized dinosaur skin millions of years old? No problem!

etc. etc.

Yet we are the ones accused of believing in miracles!

In the make believe world of evolution, the word "rational" takes on a whole different meaning.

Something is considered to be rational, if and only if, it supports the paradigm.

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