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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

A review of "Cache in Chinese Mountain Reveals 20,000 Prehistoric Fossils"

A giant cache of nearly 20,000 fossil reptiles, shellfish and a host of other prehistoric creatures unearthed from a mountain in China is now revealing how life recovered after the most devastating mass extinction on Earth.
Well, let's begin at the beginning with my objections to this article.
1. "Nearly 20,000" is needless precision. Obviously they didn't count all these fossils yet; this is a wild guess, with an aim toward the outside.
2. I don't like the word 'prehistoric' because there's nothing prehistoric about this cache. I can date it to within a year, by recorded history.
3. Reptiles, shellfish, mollusks, and crustaceans don't belong in the same layer of the geologic column. But no one seems upset to find them all in the same sedimentary deposit. Of course, if they all died in The Flood, no one should be.
4. This cache is revealing that the earth was once covered with a massive flow of water. People who don't see that, could see anything else. But stand by to find out that first impressions didn't turn out to be right after all. They never do, when they were wrong in the first place.
5. Dead bodies don't reveal a blessed thing about how survivors of a catastrophe recovered. That's like visiting a mass grave in Haiti to see how well survivors of the 2010 earthquake recovered.
6. Yep, it was the most devastating mass extinction event on earth all right. Probably the only one, though.

Moving along . . .
This research could help point out which species might be more or less susceptible to extinction nowadays, and how the world might recover from the damage caused by humanity, scientists added.
Yada, yada, yada. Note all the couched language: could, might, might. It's all wild guesses. And humanity isn't going to cause any more global floods--we have that from the Cause of the last one.
Life was nearly completely wiped out approximately 250 million years ago by massive volcanic eruptions and devastating global warming. Only one in 10 species survived this cataclysmic end-Permian event.
Lots to cover from just two sentences. Yeah, life was nearly completely wiped out, all right. Only a single breeding pair survived of most species. But no, no species were wiped out by The Flood; extinction came later, after the earth was repopulated. These numbers are wild guesses.
Much was uncertain regarding the steps life took to piece itself back together after this disaster, or even how long it took. Now the clearest picture yet of this recovery has been discovered by a team of researchers, who excavated away half a mountain in Luoping in southwest China to unearth thousands of marine fossils, the first fully functional ecosystem seen after the end-Permian.
Mm, hmm. We have no idea how it happened, but we sure are convinced that it did. And absolutely every piece of evidence we find only makes us more certain that it happened--but never any clearer on how.
The 50-foot-thick (16 meters) layer of limestone that held these fossils dates back to when south China was a large island just north of the equator with a tropical climate. A smattering of fossil land plants suggest this marine community lived near a conifer forest.
Note that all these fossils are in a single layer of limestone! Fifty feet laid down all at once--try that in your back yard sometime. And you can't tell anything about what grew where when you're looking at a deposit from a worldwide flood! You may as well hypothesize that two bodies next to each other in a Dachau mass grave represent people who grew up in the same neighborhood in Vilnius.
The fossils are exceptionally well-preserved, with more than half of them completely intact, including soft tissues. Apparently they were protected across the ages by mats of microbes that rapidly sealed their bodies off from decay after death.
That has got to be about the most oxymoronic hypothesis I've ever seen. Microbes preserving a dead body from decay??? Try that one out at your local funeral parlour and see how the viewing goes. What preserved them fast was 50 feet of cement precipitating over their fresh carcasses.
"Soft tissues can give us more profound information about larger patterns of evolution and relationships, such as the feathers on dinosaurs," Benton said. "Soft tissues in some of the marine creatures may help us understand diet and locomotion."
Yeah, except that there are no feathers on dinosaurs.
Ninety percent of the fossils are bug-like creatures, such as crustaceans, millipedes and horseshoe crabs. Fish make up 4 percent, including the "living fossil" known as the coelacanth, which is still alive today nearly 250 million years later. Snails, bivalves (creatures including clams and oysters), squid-like belemnoids, nautilus-like ammonoids and other mollusks make up about 2 percent of the fossils.
Typical fossil distribution, but always predominantly marine. Marine life, naturally, would have been buried in Flood deposits of limestone and other precipitous material.
The largest creature the scientists found was a thalattosaur, a marine reptile about 10 feet (3 meters) in length, which would have preyed on the larger fishes there, which reached lengths of about 3 feet (1 m). Other predatory marine reptiles the scientists found include dolphin-bodied ichthyosaurs. "Every time we find a new site like this, we get closer to what life in the past was really like," Benton told LiveScience.
Yeah, but they're still looking in the wrong direction. Mostly what they should be getting closer to is a clearer picture of what death on a certain date in the past was really like.

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