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The incredible fossils of the Daohugou Biota

On March 04, 2014, a fascinating paper appeared in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, entitled "The Vertebrates of the Late Jurassic Daohugou Biota of northeastern China," by Corwin Sullivan, Yuan Wang, David W. E. Hone, Yuanqing Wang, Xing Xu, and Fucheng Zhang.

The paper discusses the amazing fossils from a region in Inner Monglolia, known as Daohugou, in which the fine-grained sand beds allowed for the preservation of fossilized soft-tissue features, including feather-like quills, the outlines of soft body-parts, and even the external gills of salamanders such as the Chunerpeton tianyiensis, shown above.

The paper discusses the distinctive features of the Daohugou beds and the fossilized fauna preserved there which both link them to other famous fossil beds in the northeastern region of China (including the Yixian, Dabeigou, and Jiufotang Formations), and distinguish Daohugou as having some unique aspects.  The region has produced exquisitely-preserved fossils which the paper describes as including "plants, anostracans, conchostracans, arachnids, and insects, as well as vertebrates." 

The paper discusses various dating estimates for the beds, generally in the neighborhood of 152 million years ago to 166 million years ago, based on radiometric dating techniques (although the paper notes some difficulties with those methods for this region) and on conventional models of the way the various geological layers were deposited (this blog has discussed numerous reasons why both of these methodologies may be completely incorrect, if in fact there was ever a cataclysmic world-wide flood event as described by Dr. Walt Brown's hydroplate theory: see this post and this post for some discussion of the problems with conventional radioactivity assumptions, and this post and this post for some discussion of the problems with conventional stratigraphy assumptions, among many others). 

The presence of such delicately-preserved fossils, over such a wide geographic range, and in such depth (encompassing numerous different layers, with the Daohugou sometimes described as being part of the lower layers of the Yixian Formation), causes tremendous difficulties for conventional theories of fossilization and geographic stratification.  Many of these problems were discussed in a previous post which examined the widespread findings of delicately-preserved jellyfish fossils in areas of the United States, entitled "Jellyfish fossils and the hydroplate theory."  

One of the most obvious problems is the fact that delicate tissue, such as jellyfish bells and jellyfish tentacles, or the external gills on the fossil salamander shown above (and discussed in this section of the paper by Sullivan et al.), or the incredible gossamer insect-wings found in many fossils in the Yixian formation (see image here and at the bottom of this post) does not normally hang around long enough to be fossilized by the mechanisms envisioned under conventional, non-catastrophic theories of fossil formation.  A dead insect lying on the forest floor, or the desert floor, will usually be eaten before it becomes a fossil.  If it is not eaten by something larger, it will under normal conditions decompose and be devoured by microbes long before it becomes a fossil.  Even simple things such as wind and rain will probably rip its wings off and destroy them long before they can be fossilized.  The same goes for jellyfish washed up on a beach, or soft tissues such as the salamander gills shown above.

Even if extremely unusual conditions somehow preserved one insect with gossamer wings, or one salamander with external gills, or one jellyfish by some miraculous set of "just-right" circumstances, how can we possibly explain the abundance of jellyfish described in the earlier-linked post on jellyfish fossils, or the superabundance of insect-wings, salamanders with soft-tissue fossils, plants, and other incredibly well-preserved specimens from the now-famous regions of northeastern China?  How do we explain not only the incredible number and variety of well-preserved specimens, but also the vast region in which they are found?  Did "perfect conditions" just happen to occur -- not just along one isolated stream somewhere, but over a vast swath of Inner Mongolia?  

And the conventional problem goes even deeper than that, because these exquisitely-preserved fossils in the Yinxian and Jiufotang and other formations are found not just along one layer of supposed geographic age, but among many layers -- implying that these "just right" conditions miraculously kept cropping up over and over throughout the course of tens of millions of years (but all in this one region of modern China)!  This kind of explanation beggars belief.  By the way, the jellyfish fossils of the regions of the modern-day US also appear in several different layers, thought by conventional scientists to represent many different ages of ancient history.

As usual, the king-sized problems that the conventional theory cannot adequately explain are handled extremely satisfactorily by Dr. Brown's hydroplate theory.  On this page of Dr. Brown's book (which he graciously makes available to read in its entirety for free online, but which can also be purchased in hardcopy here), Dr. Brown compares the conventional explanation for the formation of the fossil evidence we find around the world with the hydroplate explanation, and allows readers to decide for themselves which explanation better fits the evidence we find.  Dr. Brown's explanation involves the widespread liquefaction which would have taken place during a catastrophic flood event, and which would explain the thinly-pressed and delicately preserved fossils of the northeastern China region as well as the jellyfish fossils of North America.  For a complete discussion of liquefaction, the interested reader is encouraged to read the entire chapter on liquefaction in Dr. Brown's book.

Many of the items from Dr. Brown's list (written long before this latest article appeared describing the fossilized specimens of the northeastern China region) fit very well with the description of the Daohugou and other localities in the recent article.  Some of those include the presence of very fine basaltic sediments to great depths, the breadth of the region, and the sorting of fossils into various "biota" which distinguish one group from another (and which form the primary subject of this latest paper in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology).

The possibility that there has been a catastrophic event in this planet's past which is responsible for the fossils we find should not be so difficult to accept -- in fact, as this blog has discussed many times and as Dr. Brown's book discusses in far greater depth, the evidence overwhelmingly leads to that conclusion.  However, such a possibility is so distasteful to the defenders of the conventional academic paradigms that it is almost never even considered, let alone accepted.  This unfortunate bias leads to the acceptance of explanations which should be infinitely more difficult for someone to believe, explanations which posit the perfect conditions that could preserve salamander gills, jellyfish bells, or insect wings not just one time but many times, over wide regions stretching for miles in all directions, and in multiple layers which were formed many millions of years apart!

Perhaps someday some of those scientists who currently talk themselves into believing such fantasies will stop and take a look at the much more scientific explanations offered in the hydroplate theory.

Immature dinosaur fossil from the Alaskan Arctic further evidence for earth's "Big Roll"

Another special thank-you goes out to Mr. TRB of California, who noticed this story entitled "Juvenile Dinosaur Found in Alaskan Arctic" and immediately realized the importance of such a find to the subjects regularly discussed on this blog.

The article reports the recent discovery of a skull believed to belong to an immature pachyrhinosaurus, a plant-eating dinosaur of the Ceratopsidae family of horn-shaped dinosaurs (other members of this family include Styracosaurus, Monoclonius, and the famous Triceratops).

The full research article about the find was published on June 19th of this year in the journal PLOS One, and is entitled "An Immature Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum (Dinosauria: Ceratopsidae) Nasal Reveals Unexpected Complexity of Craniofacial Ontogeny and Integument in Pachyrhinosaurus," by Anthony R. Fiorillo and Ronald S. Tykoski. 

As shown in the map above, the fossil discussed was discovered well north of the Arctic Circle, in northern Alaska south of Prudhoe Bay, in the vicinity of the Kikak-Tegoseak Dinosaur Quarry.  Numerous other fossils have been found in this same quarry in the past -- including a tyrannosaur, other pachyrhinosaurs, and even insects, according to this list from the Smithsonian's ETE (evolution of terrestrial ecosystems) paleobiology website.

The discovery of so many dinosaur fossils in a quarry so far north of the Arctic circle is remarkable in and of itself, and raises questions as to how they found food to sustain their massive bulk so far to the north, especially the plant-eaters such as Pachyrhinosaurus.  Scientists generally believed that dinosaurs ranging so far were probably migratory adults, who would head back south during the long, cold, Arctic winter (above the Arctic circle, there are days during the winter in which the sun never emerges above the horizon). However, this newly-discovered skull of a young Pachyrhinosaurus in the same formation appears to upend that theory, causing scientists to conclude that the dinosaurs perhaps lived there year-round, and even had offspring there.

Here is a description of the region from the original research article announcing and discussing the find:
The Kikak-Tegoseak Quarry is a monodominant bonebed deposit [13] with a minimum of eleven individuals represented in the quarry, based upon the number of occipital condyles currently known from the site (including that in the nearly complete skull DMNH 22558). The specimen was collected as a float block found within a meter of the main Kikak-Tegoseak Quarry edge. We are confident that the new specimen can be referred to P. perotorum and that it does not represent a second ceratopsid taxon from the site. The specimen is notable because it comes from a smaller, relatively immature individual, contrary to previous published statements about the individuals from the quarry all being of similar ‘adult’ ontogenetic stage [13] and therefore expands the known age profile of this taxon from the site.
As discussed in previous posts, the discovery of any fossils at all, anywhere on the planet, should raise questions as to how those bones were preserved and petrified, because under normal conditions the bones of animals that die in the wild are decomposed by microbes and other factors long before they can turn to stone.  Special conditions, such as rapid burial under thick mud, are probably required for the creation of most fossils.  The fact that there are so many fossils around the world points to the possibility of some sort of cataclysm or cataclysms that created such special conditions in the ancient past.  

Further, this fossil bed contains numerous fossils of the same species, as well as of a few other species, as mentioned in the article and in the list of taxa linked previously.  Could this concentration of fossils represent numerous individuals who fell victim to a single catastrophic event?  

Finally, the fact that these fossils are found so far to the north -- and include the remains of an immature Pachyrhinosaurus -- is perhaps the most puzzling aspect of all.  Are we really to believe that these were all representatives of a species of "polar dinosaur," who spent their year at such extreme northern latitudes, near the northern coast of Alaska, and even bore their young there?  These are reptiles, not warm-blooded caribou.

All of the difficult problems listed above, however, are explained by the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown.  That theory proposes that there is substantial evidence to support the possibility that a catastrophic world-wide flood once erupted with great violence and covered the earth, accompanied by massive amounts of sediments which would have rapidly buried and fossilized many animals and plants.  

Even more importantly for the understanding of how so many seemingly incongruous fossils are found at latitudes so far to the north (and so far to the south as well), Dr. Brown's theory discusses why the principles of physics would have caused the entire earth to undergo a "Big Roll" in the aftermath of that flood event, a roll which would have brought latitudes that were formerly further south "up" towards the Arctic, as well as (on the other side of the earth) latitudes that were formerly in more temperate climates "down" into the Antarctic as well.  

You can envision this event by taking a basketball between two hands and looking down at it, imagining that the point on the ball that you are looking down on represents the north pole, and then rotating the ball forwards using the rotation of both of your wrists -- bringing "latitudes" on the ball that were formerly further south up into the "north pole" area that you are looking at from above.  Acknowledgement goes out to Rand Flem-Ath for this basketball metaphor, which he used in an interview in 2009 (for the record, this mention is not intended to suggest that Mr. Flem-Ath supports the hydroplate theory; he appears to believe something different, although he also believes that the conventional theories generally taught as undisputed fact have serious problems and probably are not correct).

Of course, when you rolled that basketball, you moved a lot of fossils that had been buried at more temperate latitudes on the ball up towards the "Arctic" part of the ball, and on the other side you rolled fossils from more temperate latitudes down towards the "Antarctic" part of the ball.  So, those animals did not need to actually live in those latitudes before they were buried and before the earth experienced its "Big Roll."  According to Dr. Brown's theory, events that took place after the rapid burial of plants and animals led to the physics that caused the roll of the earth.

Previous posts have discussed the many fossil findings which have surfaced over the years in both the Arctic and the Antarctic that support the idea of a "Big Roll."  These include:
This discovery of the immature Pachyrhinosaurus would appear to join this list of evidence pointing to the earth's Big Roll at some point in the ancient past (and there are other pieces of evidence, not found in the Arctic or Antarctic, which also support the Big Roll conclusion).

More evidence for Dr. Brown's theory continues to show up around the world.

Embryonic Lufengosaurus fossils and the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown

Special thanks to Farmer Dan V., an old friend from the airborne days, for alerting me to this fascinating account of the discovery of fossilized dinosaur embryos in southern China (Lufeng County, Yunnan Province), identified as Lufengosaurus, a sauropod reaching lengths of 30 feet.  An adult skeleton of a Lufengosaur is shown above.

The article discusses a report published in the journal Nature, entitled "Embryology of Early Jurassic dinosaur from China, with evidence of preserved organic remains," was written by a team of scientists led by paleontologist Dr. Robert Reisz of the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus.

The fossils are unique in that, unlike other fossilized dinosaur eggs, these allow the paleontologists to study the bones of the developing fossils that are usually inside and unable to be studied.  This enables the bone sizes to be studied in order to determine growth rates of this species before they hatched.  Scientists had previously studied growth rates of young dinosaurs after they hatched, but had not been able to study growth rates that dinosaurs might have undergone before hatching.  As the abstract to the paper explains:
The preservation of numerous disarticulated skeletal elements and eggshells in this monotaxic bone bed, representing different stages of incubation and therefore derived from different nests, provides opportunities for new investigations of dinosaur embryology in a clade noted for gigantism.
The fossils suggest very rapid growth, as well as the development and flexing of muscles while still in the egg (something the paleontologists deduced from the asymmetric development of the cross-sections of the leg bones, suggesting that muscle attachments and embryonic muscle flexing were influencing the shape of the developing bones).

How was this monotaxic archaeological treasure trove (a monotaxic site contains the remains of a single taxon or species form, which can be very valuable for comparison and analysis) preserved in the first place?  As the article notes, the scientists believe that "a flood swept through a dinosaur nesting site in what is now southern China. Dozens of embryos were suffocated in their eggs and their bones were separated from each other, carried away, and buried under sediment."

Note that this explanation is in fact consistent with the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown.  Preserving dinosaur embryos would require some extremely unusual conditions, including the rapid flooding and burial under thick wet sediment described above, in order to prevent total bacterial decomposition that eventually takes place under ordinary circumstances. 

In fact, not only are embryonic fossils difficult to preserve, but all fossils fall into this same category: under normal circumstances, bacteria and other organisms break down all dead creatures, whether full-grown or unhatched.  Thus, the existence of fossilized bones from an adult Lufengosaurus is just as incredible as the existence of these embryonic fossils.  For more on this subject, see this post and many others previously published on this blog.

Perhaps the most astonishing piece of information revealed in the study published last month by Dr. Reisz is the revelation that the paleontologists also found "preserved organic remains" in these embryonic fossils -- meaning actual dinosaur tissue that had not been turned to mineral but still contained protein!  This article in PhysOrg gives more detail on that astounding discovery.  In it, Dr. Reisz is quoted as saying:
The bones of ancient animals are transformed to rock during the fossilization process," says Reisz. "To find remnants of proteins in the embryos is really remarkable, particularly since these specimens are over 100 million years older than other fossils containing similar organic material.

Read more at:
The bones of ancient animals are transformed to rock during the fossilization process.  To find remnants of proteins in the embryos is really remarkable, particularly since these specimens are over 100 million years older than other fossils containing similar organic material.
The scientists believe that the Lufengosaurus fossils come from a period of time between 190 million and 197 million years ago.  The other fossils with preserved soft tissues to which Dr. Reisz is referring are those found in the bones of a T. Rex from "only" 68 million years ago, which means that these Lufengosaurs, if properly dated, predate those preserved tissues by almost another 130 million years!

This previous post entitled "Soft tissue in T. Rex fossils" explains the king-sized problems those T. Rex tissues caused scientists devoted to the conventional models of geology and fossil dating. The problem was that other scientific research had shown that such soft tissue structures could not last more than 10 million years.  Instead of questioning whether their model for dating the fossils might be based on faulty assumptions, they revised their estimate of the length of time that soft tissues could survive.  Looks as though they will have to revise it again!

Of course, they could also consider the possibility that all the strata were laid down rapidly, at the same time, during a cataclysmic global flood, as literally hundreds or even thousands of other independent pieces of evidence around the world appear to suggest.  This possibility is discussed in this previous post and this previous post, among others. In that case, these soft tissue fossils may be far less than 68 million years old (for the T. Rex) and 197 million years old (for the Lufengosaurus).  

However, there appears to be very little chance that such reconsideration will take place, even after this amazing discovery and article by Dr. Reisz and his colleagues.  Most people are too wedded to their foundational assumptions to question them to that extent, just as they were when Alfred Wegener first proposed his radical (for their time) geological theories back in 1912.

In any event, this new fossil discovery appears to be incredibly important in many ways, not least the fact that it adds substantial additional evidence that may support a completely different geological model than the one that is currently dominant.
The bones of ancient animals are transformed to rock during the fossilization process," says Reisz. "To find remnants of proteins in the embryos is really remarkable, particularly since these specimens are over 100 million years older than other fossils containing similar organic material.

Read more at:
The bones of ancient animals are transformed to rock during the fossilization process," says Reisz. "To find remnants of proteins in the embryos is really remarkable, particularly since these specimens are over 100 million years older than other fossils containing similar organic material.

Read more at:

Did an exploding meteor kill the mammoths?

(mobile readers please scroll down to read the post)

The recent explosion of a massive meteor over the skies of Russia captured the imagination of viewers worldwide, and sparked concerns about the dangers from other "potentially dangerous near-earth objects" among US lawmakers.  However, it also should bring into focus a story from five years ago, when scientists led by Dr. Richard B. Firestone of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory presented evidence showing that numerous mammoth tusks and a Siberian bison skull and horns all contained pockmarks containing metallic fragments, leading the team to conclude that a meteorite may have exploded over the Arctic, possibly killing the mammoths that have been found there over the years.

The scientists found that some of the tusks contained literally hundreds of these pockmarks, each 2mm to 5mm across, and always on the "skyward" side of the tusks (and skull).  The metal in the tusks is mostly nickel-rich iron, and it is very magnetic (Dr. Firestone used a small but powerful magnet attached to a string to test the presence of metal in some of the "peppered" tusks).  

News reports of the discovery quote Dr. Firestone as saying: ""We think that the micrometeorites came from an air-burst of a meteor 30,000 to 34,000 years ago. We think a wave of meteoric material sprayed the region."  Other reports on the "space shrapnel" in the mammoth tusks can be found here, here, and here.  

Some of those articles note that this new evidence points to a new mechanism that may explain the dead mammoths that have been found over a very wide geological range (some of them frozen and well preserved).  The BBC report says, "Their loss has traditionally been put down to either climate change and/or the efficient hunting technologies adopted by migrating humans."  The University of Alaska at Fairbanks article says that a meteorite might, in addition to raining dangerous shrapnel, have caused wildfires, mass burials, and finally thick debris clouds that could have "eliminated any mammoths that survived the meteor's hit."

However, it should be noted that Dr. Fairbanks is quoted at the end of the BBC article as saying, "Just as in a modern crime scene, it's very difficult to piece all the evidence together and say precisely what was going on; which event led to any particular outcome."  This is an excellent point and one worth repeating whenever investigating a complex set of evidence about an event that cannot be replicated in a laboratory today.  

The crime-scene analogy is one that has been discussed in many previous posts, such as "How history is like a Scooby Doo mystery."  It is noteworthy that in most "crime stories," the authorities tend to have an explanation for the evidence, but then an outsider -- often a marginal figure, such as Sherlock Holmes, or in the case of Scooby Doo, a gang of kids and a dog -- comes in and discovers problems with the first explanation, and proposes a new theory which better explains the evidence.  

Dr. Walt Brown, the originator of the hydroplate theory (which provides a very different way to explain the geological evidence we see all around us on our planet) believes in examining all the possible theories to see how well they can explain the evidence.  In the section of his book which deals with the mystery of the frozen mammoths, Dr. Brown examines no less than ten theories which have been put forward to explain the evidence, including the exploding meteor theory.

The first important point about these "peppered tusks" containing iron-nickel fragments is that eight of the traditional theories have no good explanation for this evidence.  Theories that involve mammoths falling into crevasses, drowning in lakes, hunting extinction by advancing humans, etc. do not have a good reason why the tusks would be peppered with "space shrapnel."  Here is a page from Dr. Brown's online book in which he compares ten competing mammoth theories, including a meteor theory and his own hydroplate theory.  Those ten theories are each summarized here.

A meteor, of course, would explain the "shrapnel" holes in the mammoth tusks, but Dr. Brown points to numerous other pieces of evidence surrounding the mammoths of the far north which the meteor theory has difficulty explaining.  Among these are the mammoth carcasses that have been frozen so quickly that the food in their stomachs has been preserved (along with other features of their bodies, including hair and skin).  As Dr. Brown points out, a meteor impact would not be expected to bring about a sudden cooling -- if anything, it might be expected to introduce intense heat rather than intense cold.  Also, many of the mammoths show evidence of having been suffocated, as this previous post on the hydroplate theory explanation for the preserved mammoths explains.  Further, the fact that this phenomenon has been found in remains from Siberia to Alaska, while not ruling out the possibility of a meteorite as the origin, suggests the possibility that the phenomenon was more widespread than what we might expect from a single space object.

There is also the evidence of unusual "type 3 rock ice" as well as unusual geological features known as yedomas and loess found in the areas that mammoths are found.  This evidence is beyond the scope of this particular post to discuss, but Dr. Brown covers it extensively in his chapter on the mammoth question, and the interested reader is invited to study it there and then pursue other resources discussing these fascinating pieces of evidence.  Perhaps future blog posts can discuss this topic more fully.  However, suffice it to say that there is no reason that a meteor would be expected to produce any of these features, and the meteor theory of mammoth extinction does not explain why mammoth remains are often found in conjunction with type 3 ice, yedomas, and loess.  The hydroplate theory, however, does.

Of the ten theories for the mystery of the mammoths, only the hydroplate theory and the meteor theory have a good explanation for the "peppered" tusks.  The hydroplate theory, however, does not propose that these tiny projectiles originated from a meteor.  Instead, it argues that the projectiles were part of the violent events surrounding the start of a cataclysmic global flood, and that this event also explains all the other evidence associated with the mammoth mystery.  

Indeed, the hydroplate theory argues that meteors themselves, including the ones that fall to earth today, originated at the same time, when the "fountains of the great deep" launched material from earth high into the stratosphere, and some of it out of the orbit of the earth and into space.  Some previous posts on this subject include this one, this one, and this one.

Dr. Brown's theory proposes that the events surrounding the violent eruption of floodwaters produced intense rain and also a gigantic hail storm composed of cold, muddy ice crystals:
On that terrible day, the rupture of the earth’s crust passed between what is now Siberia and Alaska in minutes. Jetting water from the fountains of the great deep first fell as rain. During the next few hours, some of the accelerating and expanding subterranean water that went above the atmosphere (where the effective temperature is several hundred degrees below zero Fahrenheit) froze and fell as hail.119 Some animals were suddenly buried, suffocated, frozen, and compressed by tons of cold, muddy ice crystals from the gigantic “hail storm.” Dirt in this ice prevented it from floating as the flood waters submerged these regions after days and weeks. Blankets of this muddy ice, hundreds of feet thick, insulated and preserved many animals during the flood phase. As the topmost layers of ice melted, the dirt in that ice remained and settled—blanketing and further insulating the deeper ice and buried animals.
Months later, after mountains were suddenly pushed up, the earth’s balance shifted, the earth slowly “rolled” 34°–57°, so Siberia and Alaska moved from temperate latitudes (similar to north-central United States today) to their present positions. [For details, see Endnote 66 on page 141.] As the flood waters drained off the continents, whatever icy graves existed in warmer climates melted, and buried animals decayed. However, many animals, buried in what are now permafrost regions, were preserved. 
There is extensive evidence for this "Big Roll" that shifted the remains of these unfortunate mammoths up to their present latitudes -- previous posts discussing this evidence include this one and this one.

Dr. Brown continues:
The jetting fountains of the great deep produced extreme winds. Dirt filled the atmosphere for a few hours before rain, ice, and falling dirt landed. This explains why Dima’s entire digestive and respiratory tract contained silt, clay, and small particles of gravel, and why high-velocity dirt particles peppered animals and even left “shrapnel,” on one side of hard mammoth tusks. [See Figure 143 on page 254.]
Some might object that the nickel-rich iron in the mammoth tusks is hardly "ordinary" dirt -- rather, it is consistent with the composition of asteroids and meteorites.   However, there is good reason to suspect that these "shrapnel" particles did in fact originate on earth.  First, they are magnetic, as all the articles quoted above clearly indicate.  The earth has a powerful magnetic field, unlike most other objects in our solar system, including asteroids.  Also, the presence of iron and nickel is difficult to explain originating in space.  Such metals can (and are) produced deep in the earth's crust, in conditions of great heat, but not in the cold reaches of space or in small bodies located in space that do not have a lot of their own heat (as earth does).  All these things actually argue that meteors and meteorites (as well as asteroids and comets) originally came from earth -- and this also argues that the fragments in these mammoth tusks could have had the same origin.

The amazing discovery of the "shrapnel" holes in the mammoth tusks is a very important piece of evidence to help unravel the "crime scene," as Dr. Firestone calls it, and he and his team are to be commended for their diligence in locating these tusks and for their analysis of their discovery.  It seems that this new evidence argues against many of the conventional explanations that have previously been offered to explain the mystery of the mammoths.  It also seems that these "peppered" tusks may constitute yet another powerful piece of evidence arguing for the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown.

Plant fossils in the deep ocean trenches?

The Mariana Trench is famous for having the deepest known point in the ocean, Challenger Deep (36,000 feet), which was discussed in this previous blog post.  However, prior to the Challenger Expedition of 1951, the deepest known point was the Galathea Depth (34,600 feet), at the bottom of the Philippine Trench, at the area indicated by the large arrow in the image above.  This point, named for the Galathea Deep Sea Expedition of 1950-1952, remains the third-deepest known location in the world to this day.

The Galathea Expedition was a Danish oceanography expedition whose purpose is described in this report from the expedition itself, beginning on page 26.  That purpose was "to explore the ocean trenches in order to find out whether life occurred under the extreme conditions prevailing there -- and if so, to what extent" (26).  In addition to making extensive notes on deep-sea life that it discovered, the Galathea Expedition also reported plant remnants and fossil plant remnants from the lowest depths of the Philippine Trench -- a truly remarkable discovery.

How did plant material find its way to the bottom of the Philippine Trench, and how did plant fossils occur there?  It is quite clear that no plants can grow at such depths, isolated from the light of the sun by six miles of water above them.  The discovery of fossils of organisms that could only grow on land or perhaps in very shallow waters at some of the deepest points in the ocean parallels the discovery of marine fossils atop Mt. Everest, earth's the highest point (those fossils are discussed here).

Dr. Walt Brown, the originator of the hydroplate theory, discusses both sets of evidence, and argues that his theory provides a more reasonable explanation for these remarkable discoveries than the conventional theory.  The discussion of the deep ocean trenches, and the mechanism that caused them according to the hydroplate theory, can be found here.

The reports from the Galathea Expedition, such as this one which discusses this material on pages 15 - 17, propose that turbidity currents may have carried the plant material to these depths, and that is certainly a possible explanation.  However, even if we allow that such currents could have moved plant matter down that far, we still must account for the fact that they turned into fossils.  As we have discussed in many previous posts (such as this one), unusual conditions are necessary to create any fossils, whether on land or in the ocean.  Organic matter must generally be buried rapidly in something like thick wet mud, to keep bacteria from breaking it down -- given enough time, these bacteria would even break down bone, preventing the formation of a fossil.

Again, the turbidity currents could have been accompanied by mud flows which then buried the matter and allowed it to fossilize.  Another possibility is that fossils formed in shallower water and then the "conveyor belt" action proposed by plate tectonics drew the plates along over the millennia until the land fossils (or shallow-water fossils) ended up in the deep-sea trenches.  

Arguing against this explanation, however, Dr. Brown points out that "Because plants float and quickly disintegrate, they should not be buried and preserved in one of the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean" (see point 24 on this page of his online version of his book).  He also points out that the sedimentary layers in the deep ocean trenches are undisturbed -- if plates were truly subducting the way tectonics advocates say that they are, these sedimentary layers should be violently disturbed by this ongoing activity.  This argument is given as one of the sixteen reasons he shows that plates are not subducting in the ocean floor, found in Table 4 on this page of his book.

On the other hand, Dr. Brown's theory has no trouble explaining the presence of fossils at the bottom of the deepest ocean trenches.  He argues that these deep ocean trenches were caused by downward pulling pressure from beneath the Pacific basin itself -- that they were basically sucked down, not pushed down by subduction.  The force that pulled the floor of the Pacific toward the other side of the globe was the result of the powerful mechanism that unleashed the global flood itself: a powerful rupture releasing water that had been trapped under the earth's surface, which jetted upward and eroded the crust above the rupture, allowing the basement to spring upward as the weight above was released.  When the earth bulged upward on the Atlantic side, creating the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and initiating the slide of the continents away from the rupture, the floor of what would become the Pacific, on the opposite side of the globe, was sucked downward towards the center of the earth, creating the deep ocean trenches which form distinctive "arc-and-cusp" patterns that are much more consistent with this explanation than with the theory of subducting plates.

This explanation is consistent with fossils from land or shallow-water plant species now located at the bottom of the deepest trenches.  As Dr. Brown explains, "It should be no surprise that the global flood, which fossilized trillions of animals worldwide, also formed fossils in places that later became ocean trenches. Rapid burial, necessary to form and preserve fossils, was quickly followed by the subsidence of the Pacific plate and the downward buckling of trenches" (this page, point 23).

The evidence from the bottom of the deepest parts of the ocean should be considered along with all the other extensive evidence from around the globe, and then the theories that attempt to tie all this evidence together should be compared to see whether they can adequately explain all of the evidence, and to see which theories have difficulty with various pieces of evidence.  In my opinion, there is really no comparison.  There are literally hundreds of pieces of evidence which appear to be better explained by the hydroplate theory than by the tectonic theory.  The tectonic theory certainly explains evidence better than the theories that it replaced, but it has major problems with many pieces of geological evidence that the hydroplate theory explains quite well.

The fossils at the deepest ocean trenches appear to join with the fossils at the highest mountain tops in declaring the truth about the earth's violent past.

Dinosaur Dance Floors, Part II (Australia edition)

A big thank-you to Mr. T.R.B. of California for alerting me to this recent news item, regarding a new study analyzing the Lark Quarry dinosaur trackways in Queensland, Australia, first discovered in the 1960s.

The quarry, which contains an amazing 3,300 fossilized dinosaur tracks, has long been interpreted as preserving the record of a stampede of small bipedal dinosaurs fleeing from a large predator dinosaur (perhaps a Tyrannosaur).  However, in an article entitled "Reevaluation of the Lark Quarry Dinosaur Tracksite (Late Albian-Cenomanian Winton Formation, Central-Western Queensland, Australia): No Longer a Stampede?" authors Anthony Romilio, Ryan Tucker, and Steven Salisbury examine evidence that suggests that some of the tracks were actually made by swimming dinosaurs whose claw-marks scraped into the sediment, and based on this and other evidence (such as the possibility that the larger dinosaur's tracks belonged to an herbivore and not a predator), they suggest that the tracksite "may represent part of a riverine setting, where the water was shallow, in which small dinosaurs swam and/or waded," rather than a one-time stampede as has been previously thought.

As Mr. T.R.B. (who sent me the link) insightfully noted, this fascinating and important collection of fossil evidence has strong parallels to other trace fossils of dinosaur tracks found in other parts of the world, such as the "dinosaur dance floors" found in Bolivia (South America) and in northern Arizona (North America) discussed in this previous blog post.

In that post, we saw that explaining the mechanism by which dinosaur tracks would be preserved at all is very difficult for proponents of the conventional "uniformitarian" geological theories, in which most pieces of evidence (including fossils) are explained as the result of gradual changes wrought by forces similar to those operating today (as opposed to the extraordinary or catastrophic events proposed by adherents to what has been termed "catastrophism"):
How were dinosaur tracks preserved in what is now stone, anyway?  This question is actually one that remains difficult to answer under conventional models, and one that scientists continue to work on.  It is so difficult to imagine conditions that would allow such trace fossils to be preserved that scientists use the term "Goldilocks" or the "Goldilocks effect" to underscore that a multitude of factors must all be "just right" in order to lead to track preservation.
In fact, preserving any kind of fossils actually is very difficult to explain using uniformitarian mechanisms, and the presence of the fossils on our planet points toward a catastrophic event or events in the past, as discussed in numerous previous posts such as this one and this one.   Trace fossils present other difficulties of their own, such as how they were blanketed with layers of sediment thick enough to preserve them from erosion, but gently enough to preserve them for later discovery.

Further, as pointed out in that previous post (published in August of 2012, before the new theory of Lark Quarry was published), dinosaur track fossils very often appear to have been made in situations of somewhat shallow water.  Tracks often lack "tail drag" marks, leading some paleontologists to conclude that dinosaurs held their tails aloft when they walked, even large dinosaurs with very heavy tails.  Another explanation, however, is that these tracks were made by dinosaurs walking in water, so that their tails did not always drag (although sometimes tail drag marks are in evidence on some of the tracks, though not all, which may suggests a variability to the water level during the event or period in which the tracks were made).

As discussed in that previous post, while adherents of the conventional geological theories often admit they are at a loss to describe in detail what took place to preserve the dinosaur tracks, or describe a mechanism of preservation in very vague terms, the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown provides a very detailed description of what probably took place and how such tracks were formed.  His theory analyzes an enormous amount of geological evidence on our planet (and in our solar system) and explains this evidence in light of the violent events that took place surrounding a catastrophic global flood.  The theory is very comprehensive, as you can see for yourself by reading his book discussing this evidence in light of the theory, which can be purchased in hardback or read online for free on his website.

Discussing dinosaur tracks in particular, Dr. Brown writes:
Almost all trackways moved uphill, and traces of the animal’s bodies are never found, even as fossils. Obviously, thick sediments must have gently and quickly blanketed the footprints to prevent their erosion—but how? Evolutionists have difficulty explaining what protected these delicate footprints. How did it happen? During the early weeks of the flood, flutter amplitudes were large enough for the crust to rise repeatedly, but slowly, out of the flood waters. [See “Water Hammers and Flutter Produced Gigantic Waves” on page 188.] Frightened animals—and sometimes dinosaurs—scampered uphill onto the rising land, each leaving footprints. Minutes later, the crust again submerged, allowing sediments falling through the thick muddy waters to blanket and protect the prints while the rising water swept the animals’ bodies away.
Intriguingly, this proposed scenario (published long before the latest reevaluation of the Lark Quarry site) very much fits the findings of Anthony Romilio et al. that the smaller dinosaurs that left the tracks in Queensland were partially running and partially swimming.  However, it differs in that Dr. Brown's theory proposes that dinosaur track fossils were made by animals fleeing in terror from the completely extraordinary circumstances surrounding a catastrophic event, rather than by dinosaurs going about their normal routines.  In this case, it would probably be accurate to say that the hydroplate theory supports the "stampede" descriptor, albeit a stampede from terrifying flood conditions, not from a terrifying dinosaur predator.

It is important to note that Dr. Brown's analysis of the events that led to the dinosaur track fossils in various parts of the globe flows very naturally from his proposed mechanism for the flood itself.  In other words, he examined literally hundreds of pieces of geological evidence around the world (from submarine canyons to folded sediment layers to deposits of sediments in Pakistan to the incredible geology of the Grand Canyon) and proposed a theory which would explain this evidence.  The fact that this broad theory does an outstanding job of explaining new developments, such as this new research at the Lark Quarry site, or the discovery of fossil jellyfish in Utah (whose discovery was also published well after Dr. Brown had published his hydroplate theory), is a strong indicator of its validity.

Anthony Romilio, Ryan Tucker, and Steven Salisbury should be commended for their "outside-the-box" thinking regarding the Lark Quarry site, and their willingness to challenge the conventional explanation and examine possible alternative explanations.  Their detailed examination of the evidence, and application of new and innovative technology, has led to some important new information about this incredible collection of trace fossils.  I believe that they and others investigating Lark Quarry should carefully consider the hydroplate theory, which may shed further light on the ancient mystery left to us to decipher, in the tracks of these long-vanished animals.

How long until this log jam pushes itself up into a massive vertical pile-up?

In the most recent edition of Dr. Walt Brown's remarkable book explaining his hydroplate theory, which is available for reading on line here (although you may enjoy reading the hardcopy, as I do, and wish to order one at his website here), Dr. Brown provides an extremely vivid and helpful analogy to help explain a major flaw in the tectonic theory that has been taught for the past thirty years as the "settled science" explanation for earth's geology.

The hydroplate theory provides an alternative explanation for the evidence we see on the earth around us (and beyond earth in the rest of the solar system as well), and one that is very different from the tectonic explanation.  The tectonic explanation is basically "uniformitarian," meaning that it assumes that the same processes working today -- at roughly the same rate and strength that they are operating today -- could if given enough time create nearly all of the geological features we find on the earth, including the highest peaks in the Himalayas and the deepest submarine trenches in the Pacific.  The hydroplate theory is "catastrophic," meaning that it argues that nearly all of the major features on earth were created by an unusual event or series of events which brought to bear forces that are entirely extraordinary and nothing like the processes that we see around us today.

Specifically, the hydroplate theory argues that these extraordinary forces were unleashed by a global flood of massive proportions, and that they acted at a rate and at a level of force that is magnitudes greater than the forces going on today.  Dr. Brown provides example after example of features on earth that cannot be explained by ordinary forces operating at ordinary rates and magnitudes, even though supporters of the uniformitarian theories (of which tectonics is the most recent and current manifestation) argue that, given enough time, steady application of ordinary forces can accomplish almost anything.

In a footnote at the bottom of this page of his online version of the book, footnote 132, Dr. Brown discusses the fallacy that, given enough time, tectonic drift could and did lift up mighty mountain ranges including the Himalayas.  He writes:
A tectonic plate of mass m moves with a velocity v. If all its kinetic energy were used to elevate the plate and no energy was lost due to such things as friction, how high, h, could the entire plate rise?
liquefactionzz-buckling1.jpg Image Thumbnail
Today, crustal plates move at about 4 cm/year—the rate a fingernail grows. [See Figure 90 on page 167.] Therefore,
liquefactionzz-buckling2.jpg Image Thumbnail
where g is the acceleration of gravity (or 980 cm/sec2) and 31,556,736 seconds are in a year. Even if just the central 10% of the plate rose, as in buckling or crushing, it would rise only 8.2 × 10-17 cm. Therefore, today’s velocities of crustal plates couldn’t possibly push up mountains.
Could millions of years of steady, but slight, pressure of one plate on another eventually push up mountains? Not anymore than logs in a river’s log jam might steadily crush or buckle up over millions of years (assuming the logs did not disintegrate). Until the compression of one plate against another reaches a very high threshold—not even remotely reached by plate tectonics—the plates will not crush, buckle, or lift one iota. However the compression event, at the end of the flood, easily explains how earth’s major mountains were pushed up in hours.
Dr. Brown's inspired metaphor for the supposed action of plate tectonics -- "logs in a river's log jam" -- helps us to wrap our minds around the problem for the tectonic theory.  If the river is only flowing at a very slow rate, it is not going to push the logs (representing the plates floating on top of the supposedly "circulating mantle") up into mountainous shapes, no matter how much time we give it.  

In the image above, a photograph of a log jam taken around the year 1937, the men walking around on the floating logs are not at all concerned that the logs will suddenly buckle upwards into huge piles of vertical logs -- if they were, they probably would not be walking about on them.  Nor will the logs slowly work their way into a vertical position over time, if the river continues to creep along at a "uniformitarian" pace.  We would not expect to go back to this same river today, seventy-six years later, and expect to see a veritable mountain of logs piled up, unless a huge wave of water had somehow been released upon them in a "catastrophic" event of some sort in the intervening years.

This argument by Dr. Brown, supported by the laws of physics as explained in the footnote, is yet another powerful piece of supporting evidence for the conclusion that the plate tectonic theory is fatally flawed.

There are literally many hundreds of other pieces of evidence offered by Dr. Brown to support the same conclusion.  Many of these have been discussed on the pages of this blog -- some of them are referenced below for ease of review by interested readers.  In addition, I have argued that if the plates have been uniformly drifting at rates proposed by the advocates of the tectonic theory, precisely-aligned ancient monuments such as the passage mounds at Newgrange, the shafts of the Great Pyramid, the incredibly precise "windows" to specific sunrises and sunsets built into Stonehenge from many different angles, and the ancient megalithic temples on the islands of Malta (among many other ancient aligned sites around the globe) would no longer be so precisely aligned, and yet they absolutely are in every case (consideration has to be made for precession, but not for tectonic drift).

The next time someone tells you that tectonics has been absolutely "proven" and that catastrophic explanations for the geological features you see on the planet all around you are ridiculous and only "the stuff of legends" or "unscientific," just think about the log jam analogy, and perhaps ask what it would take to push a log jam of horizontal logs on a relatively placid body of water into a violently up-heaved mass.  The answer is a catastrophic event.
Below is a selection of just a few of many previous blog posts detailing geological evidence on the earth that poses enormous problems for the conventional tectonic theory, but which the hydroplate theory explains quite well: