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An ongoing list of creationist research projects. This is not a creationism-verse-evolution site, but a site to publicize the research work done by members of the creationist community and the intelligent design community, or research work by the science community at large constructively relating to creation topics. Evolutionary critiques may be included on occasion but only under special consideration, and especially where the research pertains directly to developing a creationist model.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Eggs and Tracks in the Flood

Ian Juby has been kind enough to let me repost this from a listserv that we are on together. It's more-or-less an FAQ about flood models, and what they do with eggs and tracks in the flood. I've slightly edited portions of it which were referencing other listserv emails.

I had received some queries and skepticism regarding the dino egg nests, flood deposits, etc.. - and have even heard about people abandoning the faith with one of the main reasons being that land animal tracks werenin the rock record.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I thought I would try to tie this all together (pictureless, unfortunately) into a flood model, to hopefully clear things up. It'll be long, so I've broken it into sections:
  1. Dinosaur egg nests and trackways: are they in flood layers?

  2. Egg nests in more detail

  3. Tracks in more detail

  4. What the bible says about the flood

  5. Flood model

  6. The context of eggs and tracks within the flood model

  7. In conclusion


Dinosaur Egg Nests and Trackways: Are They in Flood Layers?


In short, yes. One must remember that it is not just dinosaur tracks that are in question - there are fossil footprints all throughout the rock record: dinosaur, human, scorpion, amphibian/lizard, spider, bird, etc...

At any rate, there are tracks of land animals and birds found in very deep layers.

All of these layers are clearly flood layers, and are all clearly associated with each other, via ONE flood. For example, these layers are all parallel to each other, often thousands of feet thick - yet the layers will bend (in unison) over mountains and uplifts. I can't really go into a lot of detail here, other than to say that the big picture screams "global flood."

The layers are parrallel to each other, sometimes found all over the world, and bending over mountains which also would have been formed during the later part of the flood.

The dinosaur eggs are no exception - in fact, even the evolutionists say that the eggs are laid on tidal flats!

So yes, the trackways and egg "nests" are in flood layers. The tracks and eggs often have hundreds (thousands?) of feet of sedimentary layers on top of them - layers that are parallel to all the rest of the rock record, and often found around the world.

Egg Nests in More Detail


I will mostly defer to the CRSQ article "Dinosaur egg nests reinterpreted," available on the CRSQ website.

I will merely refer to that article, citing major points from it, as well as my own two cents on a number of things, having had the opportunity now to see dozens of dinosaur egg clutches and remains (either in person, by photograph, or by scientific literature).
  1. eggs are rarely in nests, and often found in fragments and caved-in.

  2. what is commonly referred to as a "nest" is not at all nest-like, merely a clutch of eggs

  3. as for the nests that are genuine nests, so what? How long would it take to make an egg nest? A few hours?

  4. embryos are exceedingly rare in dino eggs; there was no incubation time before they were destroyed, presumably by the overburden that rapidly accumulated on them

  5. the egg clutches, when studied closely, actually show that they were laid in stressful conditions - not ideal conditions.

  6. there has now been _several_ oviraptors found buried with/on their nests - wikipedia has a nice photo of citipati, an oviraptor found buried alive on its nest. This is hardly evidence against the flood! Much ado was made by the dino-to-bird enthusiasts who simply assumed that its position reflected its brooding pattern (like a chicken), apparently ignoring the more likely explanation that it was trying to protect its eggs, even while being buried alive with them. Even the evolutionists know that these oviraptors were buried by a flash flood while sitting on their nests! They are found in layers that even the evolutionists claim were river beds or tidal flats!

  7. embryos that are found in eggs can be explained by stressful conditions, where the mother simply carried the eggs so long that incubation took place, before discharging the eggs

  8. while eggs, like tracks, are usually found very near the surface, there is often hundreds to thousands of vertical feet of sediments on top of them.


One can see how someone's faith can be shaken - the layers are claimed to be made by Noah's flood, so how on earth were dinosaurs laying their eggs in the bottom of a raging ocean during a global flood?

Tracks in More Detail


I've also now gotten to study tracks (including some megatrack sites) all over North America.

Contrary to what is commonly portrayed, tracks are an excellent evidence for rapid, catastrophic geological processes. The sediments they are found in must be deposited rapidly, in large quantities over vast areas, and must lithify (harden) rapidly.

There have been numerous dinosaur tracks found which mimic the coconino amphibian tracks in the Grand Canyon: The tracks go from very deep impressions, to lighter, to claws only, to completely vanishing. Even the evolutionists have acknowledged that these are from dinosaurs who went swimming! However, using the bighorn basin tracks in Wyoming as an example, you'll notice the evo's have painted a pretty picture of the nice dinosaur stepping off a shoreline into deeper and deeper water, eventually swimming. Ahhh, what a nice picture of dinosaur going for a cool, refreshing swim. However, this nice picture is not even remotely close to reality. The layers the swimming tracks are found on are FLAT. They are TIDAL FLATS. The dinosaur did NOT go down into the water, the water came UP, and the dinosaur had no choice but to start swimming!

Such trackways are common.

I also have photos of dinosaur tracks that have clearly been made in fast-moving water, as the trackways "crabtracked", or walked sideways, with the position of the feet being twisted by the current the dinosaur was walking in.

Tracks are always found on these "tidal flats", or layers that usually extend flat over large portions of the country/continent.

Using the Red Fleet track site in Utah as another example, the dinosaur tracks are under about 1,000 feet of sedimentary layers. That's how much overburden is within eyesight - I don't know how much may have been removed or may still be found on top of that 1,000 feet or so, beyond eyesight.

The Price, Utah coal mine tracks are very famous indeed, and very important to the discussion. The tracks were made in the incredibly thick layers of plant matter that now make up the coal - evidence of a watery catastrophe. The tracks are found on MULTIPLE levels, stratigraphically. In other words, they are found in rock layers tens to hundreds of feet higher in the rock sequence. There are polystrate trees in association with the tracks, and this is also apparently true for the Grande Cache tracks in Alberta; in fact, this is most likely the same coal seam and rock layers, thousands of kilometers to the North. These coal seams can be hundreds of feet underground.

Incidentally, the polystrate stumps and the dinosaur tracks themselves can KILL! The lycopod stumps are cone-shaped, and thus can fall out of the roof of the coal mine, once the coal is removed. These can weigh hundreds of kilograms and are nicknamed "kettles." The same goes for the dinosaur tracks - they too can be hundreds of kilograms, and once the coal is removed underneath them, people walking underneath them can get a dino track to the head, killing or injuring.

With the Paluxy river tracks, this is in the Cretaceous chalks, which we discussed previously - a layer which is found on every continent. It was obviously laid down by a global flood, and in the immediate vicinty of here (I'm in Glen Rose right now, writing from the banks of the Paluxy), one can see hundreds of feet of sedimentary layers on top of the tracks. Take a short drive, you can see hundreds of feet more. I don't know what the maximum thickness of overburden would be.

These are just the dinosaur tracks I'm discussing here, which are obviously in the middle of "flood layers." Once can see how someone's faith can be shaken by the "evidence." After all, how on earth can dinosaurs wander around the bottom of a raging ocean, in the middle of a global flood?

What the Bible Says About the Flood


This is key to understanding the whole scenario. Anti-creationists betray their ignorance about the global flood (and its overwhelming evidence) and what the bible claims.
  1. The flood did NOT happen overnight!

  2. it was 40 DAYS (almost a month and a half!) before the ark was lifted

  3. it was 150 DAYS (FIVE MONTHS!!!) before the highest mountains were covered

  4. the mountains rose out of the flood waters

  5. obviously we're not underwater now, so the floodwaters LEFT the continents


Flood Model


It does not matter which flood model you favour - the points remain the same:

Now let's logicaly follow this through: What would happen during a global flood?

Today, we have TIDES. Do not underestimate the power of these tides. Obviously the tides would still be present during the flood - in fact, if anything, they would be enhanced.

Even going by today's tides, which average 3 to 5 feet, a five foot tide is a pretty serious tide!

So, every twelve hours we have a tide that comes in, and goes out. During the flood, each tide would be HIGHER than the last, because the flood waters are RISING. I would suggest a ten foot high tide is not at all out of line.

By comparison, the Inodesian Tsunamis were less than 30 feet.

During the Indonesian tsunami, we learned many things about sedimentary deposition; for example, one wave can lay down 3 to 5 sedimentary layers.

Thus, every twelve hours, during a global flood, we can lay down multiple layers with each incoming tidal wave (higher than the last), as well as "who knows how many" layers being deposited by waves superimposed upon the tidal wave.

We also saw excellent examples of organism sorting during the Indonesian tsunami:

People dead: > 280,000
Animals dead: 0?

It's like the animals KNEW it was coming and headed for high ground.

I've also been continuously amazed at what we've learned here at Glen Rose with our flume research.

One of the thing that's amazed me here as how we can dump ENORMOUS amounts of dirt with just a little bit of surprisingly slow-moving water! In our original, linear-flume experiments, our water speed was a pretty constant five feet per second - not a lot of velocity at all! We usually deposited sediments nearly the same thickness of the water! During our second runs, we were not depositing anywhere near as many sediments, though the water was faster, and thus more capable of carrying more sediments. The reason had nothing to do with the speed - it had to do with our sediment/water ratio - we had lots of water and very few sediments. Lots of sediments can be moved even with slow-moving water.

The Context of Eggs and Tracks Within the Flood Model


So, within my flood model (which I think is quite reasonable), every twelve hours you have a fresh wave of water and sediments washing higher on land. The water goes out during low tide, leaving behind the nice, freshly laid sediments. This goes on for MONTHS.

During this time, dinosaurs gestating eggs want to either a) make a nest (instinct would drive them to do this) or b) ditch the eggs to save energy as they flee the oncoming flood waters (again, instinct would also drive them to do this).

During low tide, dinosaurs, people, birds, etc..., would go out onto the tidal flats either foraging for food, or trying to get to other high ground.

High tide would come in, burying the tracks. Whether the tracks were preserved by rapid lithification of the sediments, or rapid burial, in either case, the preservation had to be rapid. Some dinosaurs would be forced to swim as the rising waters came in. Perhaps people, dinosaurs, and other animals, simply swam for a few hours until the tide went out. Some are swept out to sea, others deposited on the newly deposited flats.

As a side note, it is remarkable how far one can walk - especially if in a hurry. I often go for a ten mile hike "just for fun" and can keep a four mile per hour pace quite easily while walking railroad tracks. I don't know how far a human or dinosaur could walk/run between tides, but it could potentially be an incredible distance. Let us also keep in mind that conditions were obviously radically different at the time of the flood - one look at giants in the fossil record settles that issue. Under these better environmental conditions, people can walk farther without fatigue. Thus, it is quite possible that even humans could cover incredible distances during the few hours of low tide.

Some dinosaurs would ditch their eggs as the next tide came in; this is why most eggs are found in disorganized piles, or in rows. They are not "nests" but rather discarded eggs.

Some dinosaurs would attempt to make an egg nest. This can be done very quickly in between tides - why not? Oviraptor citipati (and others) can be buried by surprisingly slow-moving water which is merely heavily laden with sediments. The tidal waters of the Bay of Fundy are very slow moving, but rise and fall up to 50 feet! These tides can KILL if you get stuck out in the mud during low tide. It does not take water of incredible velocity to carry sediments, nor to bury organisms, it just takes lots of dirt and water.

Scorpion and spider tracks within the coconino sandstones are often cited as evidence that they were "deserts" and not laid by the flood. Hogwash. Spiders are too light to make tracks in sand - especially the depth of the tracks we find (I have some of these in my museum collection).

However, SEA spiders are negatively bouyant (very dense and heavy for their size) and are the more likely candidate for the "octopod" tracks within the coconino. As for the "Scorpion" tracks, they could have been from a sea scorpion, but let's assume they are from a scorpion. Scorpions can live for DAYS underwater. Furthermore, fossil "scorpion" tracks have been found on ellesmere island in the Canadian high arctic. While at Joggins last summer, we stumbled upon a young man, a rock hound who'd been collecting there for years, who'd found a FOSSIL SCORPION at Joggins - nobody is claiming that Joggins was a desert! They're claiming it was the shore of an ocean!

In conclusion


Tracks and eggs are definitely made in "flood deposits" from Noah's flood. However, they are easily explained, and in fact, BEST explained, within the context of a global flood.

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