Dust and Mammoths

25 Feb 2017

At http://creation.com/woolly-mammoths-choked-by-dust ... sent in by Robert Farrar. Once again a Creationist web site goes where others fear to tread and the issues raised are interesting from a Catastrophist point of view. Some of the mammoths died as a result of asphyxiation we are informed. Of course, very few mammoths did survive in a nearly intact form and those that did must have been buried pretty quickly. The Arctic is littered with the bones of dead Pleistocene herbivores such as the mammoth and the resource is so rich they are still being exploited for ivory even in the modern day. Mammoth remains can be found almost everywhere in and around the British Isles and in N America. They usually display evidence of being thrown around, bones disarticulated and spread over a wide area (which is why most museums just display the tusks, or teeth). This link concerns a scientific study made of two baby mammoths in different parts of Siberia (and preserved in a very good condition). They appear to have been buried in a loess formation (a wind blown deposit in the mainstream view). Loess is otherwise another name for silts - which us usually a term applied to water agitated deposits. Loess is thought to differ - originating as a result of cold and icy winds blowing across the tundra and whipping up soil fragments and depositing them miles away etc. In this study the Creationist author takes it a stage further by saying the winds whipped up the mud recently laid down in the Biblical flood. 

I thought this was a rather novel interpretation, for better or worse, as it embraced the consensus origin of loess with the reality of a watery connection. It is worth pointing out that neo-catastrophism is able to accommodate all variations - even the scientific autopsy of the baby mammoths.

Mammoth remains are found across Siberia into Alaska and the Yukon (as all Velikovskians know full well after reading Earth in Upheaval). These regions were unglaciated during the Late Glacial Maximum and appear to have enjoyed a temperate steppe/ prairie environment. This is obvious as Late Pleistocene mammoths had evolved teeth adapted to eating the kind of rough clumps of grass found in such environments (Adrian Lister, mammoth specialist at the Natural History Museum). Tundra is unable to provide the nutrients to sustain a large population of herbivores. However, there were two further blasts of cold weather, the Oldest and Younger Dryas stadials which are positioned at the back end of the Pleistocene. Here we are told in the literature, that cold winds blew and loess was formed. In other words, loess could have had an origin in Siberia (after the disappearance of the grassland environment). This seems to be what the Creationist author is saying - or something very similar. 

Scientists, in an autopsy on the two baby mammoths, concluded they had been asphyxiated by mud blocking up their mouths and respiratory channels, and filling their lungs and trunks. Breathing came to a halt. Mud is technically defined as silt and clay with a little sand (not exactly loess but close). At first, the scientists had thought in terms of drowning as they displayed some evidence of that (and water does carry silt and muds). However, both animals died as a result of ingesting mud, rather than water. The uniformitarian explanation is that a river bank collapsed and the animals fell in. In a neo-catastrophist model, one can postulate a more dramatic mud flow, one driven by a torrent of water. Death would have been virtually instantaneous, and burial in the mud preserved the skin and flesh of the baby mammoths. In such a scenario both drowning and asphyxiation by mud and silt took place. If one should then think in terms of a change in the axis of rotation creating the torrent of water one can see that a lot of mammoths, bison, rhinoceros, horses and various other animals all died very quickly. Some were buried in mud and silt and were preserved to varying degrees whilst others were not buried and are preserved only as bones. The Alaskan muck deposits are formed from broken bones, broken trees, and all kinds of vegetation, and lots of mud and silt, located in river valleys as it a huge tsunami wave had penetrated far upstream and powered everything before it. The muck actually rests on layers of loess, derived from earlier catastrophic events (if one chooses to view it that way). Hence, a purely catastrophist interpretation would seem to be contradicted by the Creationist blogger - but catastrophism is very adaptable and can embrace a variety of scenarios (including wind blown loess formation). He comes up with an interesting overview and if you choose to ignore any reference he makes to Noah and the Biblical flood as a one takes all explanation for geological change it is a useful alternative to the mainstream explanation. He is however saying that wind blown loess suffocated the baby mammoths, rather than mud and silts. He even refers to mammoths preserved in an upright or semi upright position, swamped he says by a dense dust storm (up to their necks in it). However, the same may apply to a mud flow, swamped by a water driven avalanche of mud and silts.