Fossils are not evidence of all organisms that were alive at a moment in time, but rather, fossils are records of those organisms that died at a moment in time.
The fossil record is the order of these deaths– how long it took is debated.
Did asteroid impacts, volcanoes, earthquakes, or climate change such as a spike in land temperatures (hot or cold) provide devastating mechanisms? How about all the above? While no scientist can be sure how the mass extinctions occurred, nor does science provide any conclusions as the causes of these five extinctions,1 most deduce that perfect storms including multiple calamities most likely drove the mass extinctions.
These mass extinction events are named based on the geologic period where the fossils of that period seemingly abruptly end (see primary illustration). Abruptly end in the sense that those same fossils are no longer found in the immediate geologic layers above those same fossils. When certain layers are discovered to have no fossils, as if the fossils should be perpetually accumulating, evolution assumes extinction. They reason the abrupt end of certain fossil types equates to all that was alive is now dead.
The five major extinction events have been named respectively: The Ordovician, The Devonian, The Permian, The Triassic, and The Cretaceous.
Evolution and Creationists share the same body of evidence and often agree on many aspects on how fossils formed. Both sides agree that fossils reveal a clear burial order, usually due to a sudden flood, where once living organisms now dead. Both sides recognize that fossils layer upward where the older fossils are below more recent sedimentary layers. These remnants of once living things are preserved in geologic formations with marine fossils found on top of the worlds highest mountains. Fossils formed by water flooding activities. However, when it comes to young earth creationists, what both sides disagree upon is how long it took for these fossils to form.
What if the extinction events recorded in the geologic layers are evidence of not just local floods but by a single global flood catastrophe as recorded in the bible?
Millions of Christians believe the accounts in the bible by faith. These Christians do not require any evidence beyond the written account of the bible. However, unbelievers and non-Christians would expect evidence to be provided to be convinced of any such event. But does physical evidence support at least the possibility that there might have been a global flood calamity?
PLENTY OF WATER
Throughout this website we have provided mountains of evidence that support, at least the possibility, that a global flood might have occurred on earth. The earth is more than 70% covered in water with oceans as deep as 6.8 miles.2 There are more than 200 flood legends found on the continents around the world which indicates this is likely more than a mere coincidence. Fresh water on both polar ice caps are also evidence that can support a global flood because precipitations in the present do not account for these mass accumulations. A continuous process of salination of the oceans indicates oceans are still getting saltier which does not support ancient oceans which should be in equilibrium long ago.
FOSSILS LAID DOWN BY WATER
Fossils themselves are evidence of flooding. We have demonstrated that fossilization does not occur due to slow uniformitarian processes but are formed when a sudden burial takes place which matches flooding events. Seeing fossils are found all around the world this supports a global flood. Also, research has confirmed that fossilization does not take eons of time can occur very quickly under the correct conditions- such conditions that form fossils.
SUDDEN AND RAPID PROCESSES
Upright dorsal fins in fish and dinosaurs with bent necks indicate suffocation due to asphyxiation due to sudden burial under sediments. We know that fossils are laid down by water in sedimentary layers which are caused by floods. We find that fossil sedimentary layers are often times many thousands of feet thick, spanning entire continents, even reaching across oceans. The Mount Saint Helen’s single volcanic eruption in 1980 revealed to scientists that geologic catastrophes radically transform landscapes quickly. This eruption formed over 25 feet of rock layers in a single afternoon, carved a massive canyon from solid rock in a year, and snapped forests of trees like toothpicks.
We have seen that massive flood waters could easily sort debris as large as boulders such as we find in the mega-sequences all around the earth. Discordant water patterns indicate rapid formation due to massive erosion. The flat gaps the draw the lines of extinctions may actually be evidence of rapid layering of sediments. We have found that the coal seams are filled with carbon based life forms that seem to indicate a sudden covering of mass materials. We have found marine fossils on top of the highest mountain tops on earth. The earth is covered with petrified wood stumps, like those found at Yellowstone National Park, which today stand as solid rock just like all the snapped tree stumps from Mount Saint Helen’s.
IMPORTANT: organisms found in the fossil record, besides very few, remain alive (at the family level) into modern day
Could the global flood make sense of the mass extinction layers? Fossils indicate an abrupt death of nearly entire species recorded in a geographic strata. Why then do most all those same animals somehow survive into modern day? Again, of course, there were a few extinctions such as dinosaurs, but most animals in the fossil record remain alive today.
Could mass extinctions be evidence of the burial of most all life on earth during the global flood as recorded in the bible?
Consider The Ordovician Extinction where brachiopods, trilobites, horseshoe crabs, and various corals seemingly vanished in the geologic record– yet these same animals remain alive. Then, The Devonian Extinction again finds an apparent end to trilobites, brachiopods, and corals, yet these animals also have survived into modern day. See the pattern? The Permian Extinction finds fossils of various fish, star fish, sea lilies, incrustations, and many more organisms end but they lived on. The Triassic Extinction found the last records of most dinosaurs, but the many millions of other species that also went extinct during this event, including small mammals, are alive. Finally, The Cretaceous Extinction records a geologic rock line where larger marine reptiles, marine mammals like whales, turtles, diatoms, and ammonites abruptly end, but you guessed it, they are still alive today.
One thing all extinction events have is most all the organisms from that period remain alive today at the family level. The lowest level is species which are various characteristics of the same animal family– many species (varieties) went extinct but family levels did not. This is counter-intuitive for evolutionary processes expected to have continued to rebuild (trans-mutating) all the complexity of life on earth after being repeatedly destroyed time after time.
How could uniformitarian and slow trans-mutational processes have preserved all these creatures against such mass deaths?
From the creationist perspective the fossil layers are evidence that reflect the burial order of living organisms during the global flood of Noah as described in the bible. Bible scholars believe that flood waters covered the entire earth building over 40 days. Then the flood waters sustained and perhaps intensified for another 150 days. Finally, the waters covered the entire earth for an entire year before any dry ground was revealed. 3 During this year period, perhaps driven by asteroid impact(s), earthquakes, and volcanic activity cased massive flood waters. The deluge went through cycles: possibly beginning as raging walls of tsunamis. Then, churning, settling, raising and receded. These processes can explain most all the fossil layers.
A theoretical explanation on how this might have happened: Tsunamis pushed up the lowest marine creatures from the floor of the oceans and pressed them up on dry land crushed by walls of water many hundreds of feet high. These activities buried the first casualties of the great flood forming most of the fossils we find below the extinction layer we call The Ordovician. Then ocean currents churned the oceans forcing billions of additional shells, corals, and even fish to also become caught under mountains of sediments forming the layers of fossils between The Ordovician and The Devonian. As flood waters prevailed, raising and receding in relentless cycles, even the larger marine animals mammals, land reptiles, and many millions of other hardy animals perished in the sedimentary layer called The Permian extinction. Then, the water had completely deluged all dry land. Even those strongest animals which had raced to higher ground or clung to floating debris including amphibians, reptiles (including dinosaurs), and even mammals died and sunk to the bottom to be covered by sediments and later to become fossils of the The Triassic. Finally, even the most intelligent animals and even humans succumbed to exhaustion of the relentless flood waters and drowned in the extinction layer we call today The Cretaceous.
Clearly, global flood evidence abounds and logically one can conclude that mass extinctions could have resulted from a single global flood calamity.
The fossil record is a compilation of creatures that seem to abruptly appear only to be followed by extinction events. Do such pervasive and endemic traits of the fossil record support evolution as a descent of species or The Global Flood? We find that clearly, The Theory of Evolution has never fit the physical evidence as revealed by the fossil record since Darwin first wrote his theory down and still has never been vindicated.
1 “Does the Fossil Record Support Creation and the Flood?” Jeff Miller, Ph.D. http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=5695
2 Deborah Byrd in Earth Science Wire, Jan, 2015 https://earthsky.org/earth/new-video-shows-life-in-the-deepest-ocean
3 “How Long Did the Flood Last?” Dr. Danny R. Faulkner, May 2015 https://answersingenesis.org/the-flood/how-long-did-the-flood-last/
Main Image edits are mine: http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=5695