Kansas Fossils and a Great Flood


Wayne Spencer

[For images see below]

Though the creationist view of earth history is not usually taught in public schools, this approach to geology has convinced many scientists and others that there are problems with the evolution-based time scale known as the Geologic Column. Creationists have documented evidence of processes in the past which agree very well with the belief that there was a real world-wide Flood in the past that has had profound and far-reaching effects on the earth. This approach to geology, known as catastrophism, holds that many of the earth's features are the result of high energy processes related to flooding and other tectonic activity in the earth. The standard approach to geology has said that the earth's features are the result of the same processes seen today but operating slowly over vast periods of time.

Scientists, whether creationists or evolutionists, interpret the facts in terms of their own beliefs. The same rocks and fossils can be interpreted from either a creationist viewpoint or an evolutionist viewpoint. Nothing can be proven about the past by the scientific method since no scientists were present many years ago to record data or make a live action movie of what was happening. The scientific method requires that one be able to repeat the observations. This is of course impossible in matters of origins, since you deal with events that happened only once, in the past.

The geologic column divides 600 million years of time into the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic Eras. The Mesozoic Era covers from 65 million to 230 million years ago, according to the evolutionary time scale. The Mesozoic Era is known as the age of the dinosaurs and is subdivided into the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods. These are all periods of time in which the evolution of living things is believed to have been taking place. It is worth noting that in much of Kansas both the Triassic and Jurassic periods are missing. These two periods would cover about 90 million years. The Precambrian layer contains almost no fossils and is igneous and metamorphic rock. The layers overlying it, however, are sedimentary rock, which usually forms from material that falls out of water. Sedimentary rock can be considered to be essentially various forms of mud that turns to rock. According to the geologic column the older layers are on the bottom, near the Precambrian and the less old layers are nearer to the surface. Scientists identify which period corresponds to a rock primarily by which fossils are found in them. Ages are assigned to the rocks according to which geological period they correspond to. Evolution is assumed in this process.

Creationist geologists are researching other ways of interpreting the rock layers and their fossils in terms of the earth being much younger, about 7-10,000 years. When layers of the geological column are missing in the rock layers, it is assumed that either they were present at one time but were eroded away, or were never deposited. Erosion of some layers away seems to have happened in some cases but in some areas the line between two such layers is very smooth and gives no evidence of there being soil or erosion or life in between the layers. So much "missing" time ought to leave some clues of its existence. Creationists suggest that in many cases these areas are explained better by all the sedimentary layers being deposited continuously in a short time during a great Flood. Other processes, such as tides and earth movements during the Flood would add some complicating factors to this. These complicating processes would cause multiple layers of various materials.

The fact that most of the planet is covered predominately with sedimentary rock is consistent with the earth being covered with water. Even the tops of many mountains are made of sedi-mentary rock. This great Flood would require a minimum of several weeks to cover the earth depending on the extent of the tectonic processes involved. Then the earth would have been covered or partially covered for most of a year.

Such a great catastrophe would certainly be accompanied by intense volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Probably great climate changes would occur until the earth came back to some sort of equilibrium. It is likely that there was one "ice age" period after the Flood, which was the result of having a warm ocean coupled with a cold climate right after the Flood.

Flooding processes on a global scale can explain both the order of the fossils in the rock layers, as well as the randomness of how fossils are found. Catastrophic flooding can transport carcasses, trees, and other material large distances and mix together things that are not normally found together. Catastrophic volcanic and flooding processes were demonstrated in the Mt. St. Helens eruption of 1980 and have been studied extensively by creationist geologists. Creationist research suggests that a number of things believed to form slowly can actually form very rapidly under catastrophic conditions.

The Miller Stone

Miller Stone image of wood, from Kansas

On June 1, 1993 Mr. Brian Spomer and myself, both of Wichita, Kansas, travelled to western Kansas to the town of Hanston to go fossil hunting. Mr. Paul Miller, who lives near Hanston, invited Wayne Spencer to come to Hanston to hunt fossils. Mr. Miller knew two sites where some fossils could be found. One site was known to have many shark teeth and Mr. Miller has taken others, including school groups, to the site. The most interesting finds came from this site. These included many small shark teeth, a piece of sandstone containing coal, a fish backbone vertebrae, an excellent specimen of a manta ray tooth, and a piece of sandstone found with wood embedded into the rock. This rock with wood in it (the Miller Stone) was an exciting find, since it is unusual to find wood in rock. It is not unheard of, however.

Paul Miller was the person to actually find the rock, which was found loose along the bank of a creek. I have shown the rock to the Chairman of the Geology Department of Wichita State University and to Lawrence Skelton, Kansas State Geological Survey geologist. Both these geologists agree that the rock is sandstone and is part of a layer known as the Dakota Sandstone (actually just a thin outcrop of). According to the geologic column, which classifies rock by age, this would put the Miller Stone as in the upper part of the lower Cretaceous period. This would make it approximately 90 to 100 million years in age. However, it seems to run against common sense to think that the wood could be that old. The wood is not petrified or fossilized at all but seems to be completely wood. Interestingly, a shark tooth was found on the side of the rock opposite the wood. So, in one rock there is something from a marine environment and something from a terrestrial environment. It is not possible to prove the wood is not 90 million years in age, but it is much easier to believe the wood could be four to five thousand years old, putting it at the time of Noah's Flood.

A paper called The Miller Stone Fact Sheet is available from me at the Creation Education Materials address which tells more about where the Miller Stone was found and gives basic information about Kansas geology and fossils from a creation perspective. The report also addresses the interesting question of how there could be many shark teeth concentrated in one location, where the Miller stone was found. The "Miller Stone Fact Sheet" includes color copies of close-up photos of the Miller Stone, the site, and other fossils. Information on the exact location of the site is also provided; the site can be visited by anyone interested. The Miller Stone Fact Sheet can be purchased for $5.00 individually or $4.00 each for 10 or more. To obtain a copy write to Wayne Spencer at Creation Education Materials, P.O. Box 153402, Irving, TX 75015-3402. Or E-mail Wayne at "wayne@creationanswers.net".

Since the Miller Stone has wood (from dry land) and a shark tooth, the evolutionist would say that the sand which became the Miller Stone was once a beach area along the edge of the inland sea. Only in a beach area, they would say, could there be wood such as driftwood on a beach and shark teeth.

According to evolution, millions of years were necessary for the sedimentary layers to be deposited. It is believed that during the Cretaceous period, much of North America was covered by an inland sea. This sea covered a north to south belt through the middle of North America extending into northwest Canada and south across Mexico. One problem with this idea is that the ocean has never been observed to do anything like this. Sea level would have to rise a great deal to form such an inland sea. A world-wide Flood, however, would form inland "seas" at the beginning before everything was covered and at the end as the water level was dropping. (The water level would drop due to earth movements and evaporation.)

In addition to the Miller Stone, several other interesting fossils were found at the same site. In the same sandstone layer as the shark teeth, one small piece of rock was found which contained coal embedded in the rock. Since coal comes from plant material, especially wood, this is very consistent with finding wood in the rock. Another excellent fossil specimen was found in this same layer--a Ray tooth, such as a Manta Ray. Finely detailed lines are clear on this tooth, making it an very fine fossil of another ocean creature. The author also found a backbone vertebra from a fish at this same site. Many people are surprised to find that fossils of marine creatures are found in Kansas; this is just what one would expect if the whole Earth were covered in a great Judgement.

Shark teeth are not the most interesting fossils which have been found in Kansas. Fossils of large ocean fish, mastodon bones and teeth, trilobites, and even dinosaurs have been recorded. The Stermberg Museum at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas displays a famous fossil of a large ocean fish so well preserved that another fish (itself large by Kansas standards) was fossilized inside the stomach area.

Fossils could be defined as some form of remains or impressions of prehistoric life. The most common forms of fossils are those which are chemically altered hard parts of animals or sea creatures. (Actually most fossils are of sea creatures.) In these fossils the bone or shell material is replaced with mineral or sometimes the pores in it can become filled with mineral, making it much harder and more dense than it originally was.

Other types of fossils are much less common. There are also occasionally found unaltered hard parts, that is for example bones that are still bone. Sometimes these are not referred to with the word "fossil." In a few cases unaltered soft parts, still the original organic material, have been found. In some cases plant fossils or even fish fossils have retained their own characteristic smell! In certain arctic areas creatures have been found frozen in ice or frozen mud, such as the famous Siberian mammoths.

There are also various forms of traces of creatures such as footprints in rock, worm burrows, fossilized dung, mold fossils, and cast fossils. A mold fossil is a cavity, usually where a shell has been but the shell broke up or decayed, leaving the cavity having the shape of the shell. Casts are just the opposite. A shell can become filled with mineral and then may break off or decay away, leaving rock "cast" in the shape of the shell.

Fossils-Solid Evidence for Creation

When evolution is the only view of origins taught to children in science, there are many important facts that are left out, including the following. All the following points, which are very important to creationists, actually come from the research of evolutionists. All of the following points have been thoroughly documented as coming from scientific journals and books, written by evolutionists.

Fossils give us a "record" of the past since they tell us what creatures actually existed in the past. There are four characteristics of the fossil record that agree with the creation view much better than the evolution view. First, when looking through the rock record, the geologic column, from the bottom up (old to young) there is abrupt appearance of living things. Then, those that become extinct can suddenly disappear as if due to some catastrophe, not gradually as if by a long process of competition for survival (this is the second point). For instance, in the oldest rock layer, known as Precambrian, there are almost no fossils, and then suddenly there are many fossils of various shelled creatures. They go from none to many, suddenly as you look up through the rock layers.

Thirdly, when they first appear the organisms are fully functional at their first appearance. Evolution implies that creatures would gradually change over time from one form of creature to another. This would lead to their being many many creatures that never made it and died because they had something wrong with them. They perhaps were not strong or fast enough or lacked something in their body that others of their kind had. These unfortunate mutant creatures that couldn't make it are known as transitional forms or intermediates. If evolution occurred, when we look at the fossils, from the old layers to the young layers, we should see living forms that were not fully functional early which then became able to survive better later on. We should see, for instance, fish gradually changing into amphibians, amphibians gradually changing into reptiles, single-celled organisms becoming larger multicelled creatures, and so on. This is not what scientists have found.

Because of the long periods of time required by evolution for the changes to take place, there should be many of these transitional forms fossilized and available for us to find and study. This brings us to the fourth important point--that there are no fossils of living things that are real transitional forms. This point is hotly contested by many evolutionist scientists.  Some of this disagreement revolves around what exactly constitutes a transitional fossil. Also, science textbooks often have photos or drawings of creatures that are said to be transitional forms. There are certain misleading things about the way these examples are described in textbooks. Many of the top evolutionists know better than to claim there are known examples of these intermediates. But there is a strong desire to make the textbooks confidently support evolution in order to influence the values and beliefs of millions of students.

The Bible says in very clear terms that there was a world-wide Flood in the past. This event destroyed not only the life on earth, but also the earth itself, in a sense. The Great Flood caused tremendous far-reaching changes in the earth. The Bible says it occurred as a judgement on the corruption of mankind. The story of the Flood in Genesis (chapters 6-9) points out that the Creator-God is a holy God who does something about evil in the world. Most people do not expect God to do anything about evil in the world today. But God says in the Bible that he will judge the world again, when Jesus Christ returns. But God is faithful to his promises and does provide a way out for anyone who will believe. In the time of Noah, the Ark was made so large that there would have been space enough for people, if only they would have believed Noah. But there was only one door to the Ark, one way to be saved. Similarly, today, there is only one way to be saved. Jesus Christ says he is the "door."

The following quotes (taken from creationist books) show that scientists doing research on fossils agree with the above points. Keep in mind that research scientists are much more likely to be aware of these points than science teachers and most professors. David Kitts, a zoologist from the University of Oklahoma wrote "Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them." [originally from article "Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory," in Evolution, vol. 28, Sept. 1974, p 467.] Top paleontologists who work at some of the worlds most prestigious museums and universities have made similar comments.

A prime example is Dr. Colin Paterson, Senior Paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History in London. The following is quoted from a now famous letter Dr. Paterson wrote to creationist Luther Sunderland:

"I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutiionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. . . . Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils. As a paleontologist myself, I am much occupied with the philosophical problems of identifying ancestral forms in the fossil record. You say I should at least 'show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived.' I will lay it on the line--there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument." 

Colin Paterson, though one of the world's top experts on fossils and though he has studied evolution for over 20 years, has been seriously questioning it. He does still believe evolution, as far as I am aware. He has made comments shocking to other leading evolutionists. The following quote is a more recent quote of Paterson, taken from an article in the Sept. 1988 issue of Moody Monthy magazine.

"For the last 18 months or so I've been kicking around non-evolutionary or even anti-evoluitonary ideas. For over 20 years I had thought I was working on evolution in some way. One morning I woke up and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for more than 20 years, and there was not one thing I knew about it. It's quite a shock to learn that one can be misled for so long.

For the last few weeks I've tried putting a simple question to various people and groups: Can you tell me anything you know about evolution? Any one thing ...that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, 'I do know one thing--it ought not to be taught in high school.'"

Creation organizations exist to make up for the one-sided way origins is dealt with in public schools and in the media. Many parents are turning to Christian Schools or Home Schooling, because they believe their children should be exposed to the creation point of view as a part of their education. Active creationists have never advocated removing evolution from the public schools, but the scientific and educational establishments will do anything to prevent students from being exposed to the creation side. This is a great injustice. It is important for parents to be very conscious of what belief system their children are being exposed to through their school subjects. Fortunately, there are excellent materials available that present a more realistic view of science, history, etc., without disparaging the Judeo-Christian viewpoint.