Fossil controversy

12 Nov 2020

Gary and William have been sending in links over the last few weeks that I've been unable to post, for a variety of reasons. We are now getting back to normal, it is to be hoped, and I'll kick off with a link sent in by Robert. The subject is soft tissue fossils which are said to reveal incriminating trends at www.icr.org/article/soft-tissue-fossils-reveal-incriminating-trends ... which claims 85 reports of biomaterial, such as proteins, have been discovered  inside fossils. We are not told in what form the fossils occur - or if they were petrified in situ. Fossils are usually found in sedimentary rocks, or falling out of sedimentary strata. Can proteins and soft tissue last millions of years. This is a perennial Creationist argument. Fossils, they claim, are much younger than uniformitarian numbers allow. Generally, they tend to go from one extreme to the opposite - too young by far. Nevertheless, one of the authors of the study, see https://doi.org/10.1080/14789450.2019.1700114 ... has written it up for the Creationist web site, outlining their arguments. Fossilised skin and feathers, connective tissue, traces of blood vessels, as well as bone cells etc. There is also a list of technical terms for these fossilised traces such as ostercalcin, hemoglobin, elaston, iaminin, ovalbanin, chites and collogen etc., the latter being one that is chosen specifically for comment. These apply not just to dinosaurs but to reptiles and mammals, althougfh it is the Jurassic and Cretaceous that have the most examples as a result of thick sedimentary deposits connected with the K/T boundary event. The authors are Brain Thomas and S Taylor of Liverpool University - but see the image of the geology column which shows anomalous fossils right through the ages, even as long ago as 500 million years. The Creationist argument appears to be that proteins do not survive for millions of years. Presumably, the other side of the coin is that they do. We might ask for some proof from both sides of the argument but it is doubtful it will be forthcoming.

Interestingly, the November issue of the geological magazine Down to Earth, has a piece on seafloor spreading rates at the K/T boundary. It seems some sort of fudge has been devised to keep the consensus model in place, a spreading rate that is inordinately slow. Robert has in the past written extensively on geological matters and he might like to weigh in on this subject and the explanation arrived at by Oxford University and the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany. An error was found in the rate of spreading but this has now been put down to a miscalculation of a magnetic reversal event associated with the K/T boundary and the Deccan Traps. Presumably this comes from the lava formation of the latter. It is intersting in another aspect in that a magnetic reversal is associated with the asteroid strike, but that will have to wait for another day. However, one wonders if the asteroid strike might have accelerated the rate of sea floor spreading - assuming that sea floor spreading occurs. Alternative theories for the magnetic stripes on the ocean floor have been suggested. A maverick theory for the moment, but one should not assume more evidence to the contrary may yet emerge.