Modern Bird Lung Design Documented in Rapidly Buried Fossil
A fossil bird recovered from Cretaceous lake deposits in China shows preservation of some soft tissues, including a pair of lungs that appear to have functioned in a way similar to those of living birds.
Spotlight: The Fossil “Forests" of Yellowstone National Park
Two contributions are included in this segment (A Chemist's Perspective of the Yellowstone Petrified “Forests," by C. Webster; The Explanation for the “Yellowstone Fossil Forests," an Uncompleted Research Project, by L. Brand). They are intended to generate renewed interest on a valuable research topic. Published in Origins, v. 65.
Pterosaurs of the Triassic: An Update
This post complements an article that was written in 2014. Since then, there have been some interesting developments in the area of Triassic pterosaurs that are worth mentioning, the most important being the recent description by Britt et al. (2018) of a Triassic pterosaur from the Nugget Sandstone of Utah.
Archaeopteryx: Bird or Reptile? Or Not?
Archaeopteryx is arguably the most famous fossil ever discovered. It has a mixture of bird-like and reptile-like traits, and was first reported only two years after Charles Darwin published his book, The Origin of Species. Since then, another eleven Archaeopteryx specimens have been recovered from the limestones near Solnhofen, Germany.
Preservation of Dinosaur Soft Tissue: An Update
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This verse from Genesis 3 captures very well the fate of beautifully designed organisms after the entrance of sin into the world. But how long does it take for the organic molecules we are made of to break down after death? In general, the longer the time from death, the larger the amount of decay that should be observed. This is particularly true for soft…
Homo naledi: An update
Two important papers were published in May 2017, warranting an update on the subject of Homo naledi.
Fossils of the Galápagos: A Review with Implications for Creationist Models
Volcanic outcrops in the Galápagos Archipelago do not appear to provide the wealth of specimens found in other fossil-rich localities around the world. However, fossils are indeed present in the Galápagos Islands. This brief review addresses the where, what, when, and why of fossils in the Galápagos Islands and closes with a discussion of their potential contribution to the development of models on…
The term Cenozoic (or Cainozoic) means “recent life,” implying that the fossils encountered in these layers are more similar to modern species.
Few things in science evoke more interest in children than dinosaurs. Books, films, toys, etc. continue to fuel kids’ interest in the very alien world of our past, yet few Christians know how to respond to their children’s curiosity in a way that is both biblically sound and scientifically accurate. Although a full discussion of the fossils in Mesozoic rocks would require several volumes, a brief synopsis is presented here along with some creationist reflections for those who are interested – parents or otherwise.
The Paleozoic Rock Record: A Broad Overview of Features and Trends
The rocks of the Earth are like pages of a history book containing information about the past. Geologists who enjoy reading this “book” have found that it consists of two “volumes:” the first, named Precambrian, is mostly devoid of macroscopic fossils. The second, named Phanerozoic, contains layers and sediments providing a rich archive of past forms of animal and vegetal life. The Phanerozoic “volume”…
Is Homo naledi Your “Relative,” “Ancestor,” or “Part of the Human Family Tree”?
The aim of this article is to use the example of Homo naledi to illustrate the distinction between data and interpretations, and to discuss some of the questions a biblical creationist might have in relation to this new discovery.
Patterns in the Fossil Record, Part 2
A general note of caution is necessary in the discussion of patterns in the fossil record. As with many other aspects of the natural world, the complexity that we find in this field of study tends to transcend our idealized categorizations.
Patterns in the Fossil Record, Part 1
Fossils are remains of organisms or traces of their activity preserved in the rock record. The scientific significance of fossils is truly remarkable, because they represent the only available archive of past forms of life. Through fossils, not only can we reconstruct the morphology of extinct creatures but also infer aspects of their ecology and environment. Fossils are also very relevant in discussions…
Annotations from the Literature
A collection of short commentaries on scientific papers published in 2015, covering topics such as phylogeny of moths, beak variations in species of Galapagos finches and scrub jays, functional synthetic chromosomes, horizontal gene transfer, Jurassic fossil snakes, stasis, trace fossils of swimming tetrapods, and habitat diversity in the fossil record. Published in Origins, v. 64.
The Cambrian Explosion
Texbooks describe the fossil record as the ‘best evidence’ for evolution. They claim that the fossil record proves evolution because there seems to be a succession from simpler to more complex life forms, and a succession from marine to terrestrial forms. Charles Darwin suggested that all life has a common ancestor. “All the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth may be descended from some…
Pterosaurs of the Triassic
There are only three known groups of volant vertebrates. Two are extant: birds and bats. The third group is completely extinct and known only from fossils: pterosaurs. Often referred to colloquially as “pterodactyls”, pterosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles totally foreign to our modern minds, yet in some ways they are incredibly familiar, resembling the dragons of folklore.
Lazarus species raise questions about how the geologic column formed. They are one good reason that we should be thinking about mechanisms other than deep time to account for the order we observe in the fossil record.
Fossil Evolutionary Intermediates
Creationists and evolutionists have disagreed over intermediate fossils for decades. An intermediate fossil is one that seems to be an evolutionary transition between two groups of organisms. If all life was the result of evolution, there must have been innumerable intermediates that existed, and many of these should still exist as fossils. If this were true, and if we could view a video of the…
Traces of Life from Archean Rocks: Evidence and Challenges
The rocks found on the surface of the Earth did not form all at the same time. Geologists schematize this different order of formation using a column, of which the lower layers represent older rocks and top layers represent younger rocks. Archean rocks are the ones at the very bottom of this geologic column, and are therefore interpreted as the oldest rocks. They are often heavily deformed and altered…
Cambrian explosion and Darwin's doubt
The most significant and striking pattern in the fossil record may well be the dramatic change in the types of fossils as one moves upward from the Precambrian layers to the Cambrian. Precambrian rocks have some microfossils, with relatively few that are large enough to see without a microscope. Among the larger fossils are the so-called “Ediacaran Fauna,” a collection of fossil forms so strange that…
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