Fossil Time Ranges Continue to Expand Up and Down

Tree snake

These finds are probably the tip of the iceberg

For the last few decades, several creationists have been reporting on the vertical expansion of fossil ranges, interpreted as either ‘older’ or ‘younger’ in the geological column timescale. These finds are probably the tip of the iceberg, since we cannot go through all the relevant journals that would report range expansions. In fact, many of these issues likely go unreported because many ‘anomalous’ or ‘uninteresting’ fossils end up in the back shelves of museum collections, as Dr Carl Werner has discovered. As such, it is hard to know just how large the scale of this phenomenon is, though it is almost certainly more severe than reported in any literature, secular or creationist.

Some range expansions are quite large, such as moving the time boundaries by 50 to 100 Ma or more. Some examples are: the pushing back of eukaryote evolution one billion years; the discovery of grass in dinosaur dung from the Mesozoic; ‘sophisticated’, diverse mammals now found in the Mesozoic; and the origin of flowering plants may have been pushed back 100 Ma. Moreover, organisms that were thought to be extinct for many millions of years are found to be living, such as the Wollemi pine found alive in New South Wales, Australia. Archeological discoveries also contribute to the range expansions by indicating man was always smart, making it less likely he evolved.

Many of these range expansions are not considered too significant, being only a matter of millions of years or from a fossil that is not used as an index fossil. Nonetheless, it still indicates that the fossil record is not precisely timed as evolutionists often make it out to be. Moreover, it accentuates the problem of stasis, revealing the ad hoc nature of much evolutionary storytelling about the fossils. Essentially, it shows that evolution and deep time act more as assumptions constraining their interpretation of the fossil record than as conclusions they draw from the fossil record.

Origin of snakes pushed back 70 Ma

One of the most significant new discoveries is snake fossils that are 70 Ma older than scientists expected. This date pushes snakes back to the Middle Jurassic. A variety of snake fossils were found in four countries, suggesting an ‘origin’ many millions of years earlier.

New World monkeys pushed back 10 Ma

The New World monkeys are found alive today in South and Central America and on the Caribbean islands (figure 1). Evolutionists believe they originated from Africa. Creationists believe their ancestors came off the Ark and spread to South America after the Flood. New research pushes back their fossil record in South America by 10 Ma to the late Eocene.1 Evolutionists have come to mostly believe the New World monkeys arrived from Africa on vegetation.1 One problem for them is that the vegetation rafts observed today are quite small.

Sophisticated mammal traits continue to be pushed down into the Middle Jurassic

Sophisticated mammal fossils have been pushed back to the Middle Jurassic of the Mesozoic. Evolutionists used to claim that the Mesozoic had only rat-like mammals. But fossils that display other mammal traits are also being found in the Middle Jurassic. New fossils found in China push the climbing locomotor adaptation of mammals back to the Middle Jurassic. This deduction is based on the skeletal properties. It is admitted that numerous mammal traits ‘evolved’ early and independently. Of course, all this mammal evolution is attributed to ‘convergent evolution’. The evolution of sophisticated mammals is now compressed into a very short time. This points more to special creation than evolution which needs much time.

Well-preserved ostracods back 25 Ma earlier in Ordovician

Ostracods are small crustaceans, and are the most abundant arthropods in the fossil record. They were thought to be older than the Silurian, but the fossil record did not show any in the Ordovician. But now it is ‘certain’ since they have found fossils in the late Ordovician, extending the knowledge of well-preserved ostracods back 25 Ma. Amazingly even some soft parts are preserved.

This may seem like a successful evolutionary prediction. However, from a biblical perspective, the fossil record is already expected to preserve only a general order, so even such ‘expected’ range extensions are perfectly consistent with a biblical view of the fossil record. Moreover, when seen against the general trend of unexpected range extensions, the prediction is far less impressive, and itself still open to future revision…

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image credit: Tyler B