Hominid Smiles, Sandstorm Fossils, Trilobite Explosions, And More

Today, we’ll be examining a few articles from AiG’s most recent News to Note article, as well as other creationist news and classic arguments.  First up is the newly discovered Australopithecus sediba, a new hominid species.  Recently, an artist’s interpretation of one of the fossil’s faces was created, that portrayed the specimen (dubbed “Karabo”) with a smile on its face.  AiG says that we’re jumping to conclusions, the reason being that just because an artist draws it doesn’t make it true.  They’re right about this, but we know hominids are very similar to, if slightly more advanced than, modern apes, who show lots of emotion.  I can attest to this, since I very recently visited the National Zoo in Washington D.C. (my hometown, as a matter of fact). The gorillas there displayed very humanlike behavior, including slapping one another (true story), and even curiosity.  While they can’t exactly smile, this doesn’t mean they can’t show happiness, anger, or even just plain wonder.  That makes hominids showing emotion a very likely possibility.

Another piece in the AiG article is about recent findings of Protoceratops babies in the Gobi Desert.  It’s a little-known fact that Protoceratops, as well as creatures like Plateosaurus, are spectacular evidence for dinosaur evolution.  Both of these species represent early stages in the development of two major dinosaur groups (for Protoceratops, it’s ceratopsians, and for Plateosaurus, it’s sauropods).  But that’s not the point.  The point is that AiG says that the main theory for how these dinosaurs died is that water-propelled sand buried them.  According to them, that leaves two possibilities: flash floods, or the global Flood.  While both could carry sand, there are alternative explanations.  Let’s have a look at pop culture to find another possibility: in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, we see firsthand how devastating sandstorms can be.  It’s no huge mystery that the Gobi Desert wasn’t that different from what we see today than it was in the Cretaceous, so sandstorms were likely to still exist.  Therefore, here’s what might have happened: a massive sandstorm, the likes of which can suffocate living things, buries and preserves the bones of the Protoceratops babies.  That also explains why we find so many well-preserved fossils from Cretaceous Mongolia.

It’s a well-known antievolution argument: the Cambrian Explosion, which produced hundreds of new species over a several million year period, is too abrupt to encompass evolution.  On the contrary-it’s one of evolution’s greatest successes.  During the Cambrian Explosion (which took place during the Cambrian, as you may have guessed), it’s true that many new species of trilobites and other invertebrates and fish, but that doesn’t make it evidence against evolution, despite it only taking a few million years to happen.  If I do recall, if human evolution is true (and the evidence says it is), man only had a few million years to evolve from more basic species of primate.  And that’s not counting that we’ve found pre-Explosion fossils that evolution predicts would exist.  So is the Cambrian Explosion evidence against evolution?  The overwhelming evidence says no.

On the AiG site Kids Answers, an article appeared about a new fossil species called Cronopio.  What makes this fossil so unique (and just plain neat) is that it bears a distinct resemblance to the famous acorn-hunting prehistoric squirrel Scrat, of the Ice Age film series.  What’s funny about this article is found in this quote from Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell:

“Cronopio just happens to have some features in common with living insect-eaters, some features in common with other fossilized extinct creatures, and enough unique features to give its discoverers the prerogative of naming it as a new species.  It is not a transitional form.”

The key word in this quote is “just happens” (Okay, it’s two words, but who’s counting?).  Elizabeth just assumes the fact that Cronopio has features of several different kinds of animals is just a coincidence.  That’s illogical, because which is a better explanation for an extinct species with several different features present in other animal families-the features just happen to be there, or the animal had shared lineage with other kinds of mammals?  The odds favor the latter.

For our final article, let’s discuss population control.  Today, there are roughly seven billion people on earth.  That’s not the issue here.  The issue is how many animals there are.  There are a lot of them, you can probably guess, and new species are often discovered (take the Census of Marine Life’s findings, for example).  Let’s add into the organism melting pot all of the extinct species.  As far as we know, there are over two hundred thousand.  And that’s just scratching the surface; it’s been estimated that we only have one percent of the Cretaceous fossil record.  So, there are most likely millions of extinct species that we don’t even know about.  According to what creationists say, all of these animals were present in the Garden of Eden.  But here’s the catch-they don’t know how big the garden was, nor where it was located. So, riddle me this, Batman-how is it humanly possible that a place we barely have any knowledge of (assuming that it even existed) could support millions upon millions of plants and animals, counting marine life?  It’s a tough question, one that creationists can’t answer without just saying that God did it and everything was fine.  ‘Cause that’s not science.  And on that happy note, I bid you guys adieu.

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