Fossils showing stability over time...............
Many fossils, like this jellyfish fossil, actually show stability of some species over time rather than change and there is a lack of intermediates. Species that are the same as their fossil ancestors are called "Living fossils".
The British Museum (Natural History) - more popularly known as the Natural History Museum - is one of the world’s great museums. In a building described as a Romanesque masterpiece, this richly ornate structure houses unparalleled collections of animals, plants, fossils and minerals. Its cathedral-like qualities were promoted by its original protagonist, Richard Owen, who was a zoologist, first Director of the museum and an ardent believer in Creation.
Since Owen’s days things have changed hugely, and arguably not always for the better. Instead of honouring God as Creator, the museum now espouses Darwin ’s Theory of Evolution: a statue of Darwin even has pride of place in the main central hall! Owen’s statue meanwhile has been unceremoniously relegated to a minor landing.
Similarly, the museum’s exhibits now have captions that reflect Darwin ’s theory as if it was the genuine and only explanation for life. But is this correct? When one looks carefully at these displays, and sets aside the evolutionary dogma, it is amazing how much evidence they actually provide for Creation and not Evolution at all.
This article provides a brief guide to some of these exhibits, along with explanatory notes. Without further ado, then, here is a Creationist’s guide to selected highlights of the Natural History Museum.
No visit to the museum would be complete without first of all going to see the polystratic fossil tree in the east gardens (figure1, right). The museum doesn’t make much mention of the fact that this fossil caused a sensation when it was first excavated in 1830 from Craigleath quarry in Edinburgh. Why? Because it passed through more than 24 metres of sedimentary rock. How could a tree possibly have passed through all this rock? Clearly it could not have done so when the rock was hard, but must have been in place whilst all the sediments gradually built up and solidified around it. But such sediments are supposed to represent many millions of years. Could a tree really survive so long? Surely it would have died, rotted and disintegrated long before any appreciable build-up of sediment occurred - if the evolutionary timescale is correct. On the other hand, the facts are easily explained if the tree was suddenly engulfed in a catastrophe, such as a huge flood. By their very nature, catastrophes are sudden, so the sedimentary rocks surrounding this fossil cannot represent millions of years. They must be far less old than evolutionists would have you believe.
Sadly, this fossil was badly damaged during World War II and has had to be patched together again, but it still stands as a silent witness against the nonsense of uniformitarianism. But let’s move on into the museum proper.
Main central hall
Upon entering the public galleries through the main ( Cromwell Road ) entrance, one is immediately impressed by the enormous ornate main central hall. There are several exhibits of particular interest to us here, but outstripping them all is “Dippy” the huge life-sized replica of a diplodocus dinosaur skeleton (figure 2, left) in the middle of the hall.
How, one might ask, could enormous animals such as this have been buried and fossilised complete, or nearly complete? If deposition of sediments, and subsequent fossilisation, are slow processes, then surely the carcase of such an animal would have rotted, been picked apart by scavengers, and strewn across the surrounding area.
The fact that fossils of this - and many other - giant creatures have been found so complete indicates that they must have been engulfed quickly, in a vast catastrophe. Consequently the sediments they are found in cannot possibly represent anything like the millions of years attributed to them.
So did “Dippy” and other such creatures really live long before mankind arrived on this planet? Eminent historian Dr Bill Cooper has found many ancient accounts of people having the misfortune to come across large and dangerous creatures. Some of them are described in detail and sound very like animals that we would call dinosaurs. The Bible too mentions a creature, called behemoth (Job 40: 15-24), that was so large its tail was compared to a swaying cedar tree! From the description, it sounds remarkably similar to a dinosaur such as the diplodocus.
If you face the front of Dippy and then look to your right you will see yet another example of rapid fossilisation. On the wall in one of the side bays is an amazingly large slab of fossil crinoids (figure 3, right). Though sometimes called “sea lilies”, crinoids are actually animals, using their flower-like arms to filter small particles of food from the waters they live in. Some relatively small species are still alive today, but the fossils shown here are especially large. What makes them of particular interest is that they are complete. When a modern-day crinoid dies, its body rots very quickly, and when it does so it falls apart into many disarticulated pieces. The fossils here are not disarticulated to any appreciable degree, showing that they must have been buried whilst still alive. In other words, the event that caused them to become fossils was very sudden, and hence the layers they are found in cannot represent millions of years at all.
In another small bay on the opposite side of the hall is one of the most publicized fishes of all time - a coelacanth (figure 4, left). Coelacanths were first discovered as fossils. Evolutionists considered the group to have gone extinct by the Late Cretaceous period (about 70 million years ago) but then, in 1938, one popped up in a fisherman’s catch off the coast of South Africa! And what did it look like? Much the same as the fossils. In other words, where is the evolution? Evolutionists deal with this embarrassing situation through tendentious comments such as “The coelacanth is thought to have evolved into roughly its current form approximately 400 million years ago”. But surely a more likely explanation is that the coelacanth was created like this from the outset.
At one time coelacanths were thought by evolutionists to be a possible contender for the ancestral group of fishes from which the limbs of land animals supposedly gradually evolved. However, this Just So story received a major setback in recent years from film footage of one of the coelacanth species in its natural habitat. The fish lives in deep rocky areas with underwater caves. The film shows the coelacanth using its various fins to scull easily and elegantly in whatever direction it chooses in order to negotiate its terrain - a fish with fins beautifully designed for its particular habitat. Who then was its Designer?
Walking along Waterhouse Way to the left of the central hall, we come to the main dinosaur gallery. The size, variety and power of these creatures is awesome and chief among them is the enormous predator Tyrannosaurus rex (figure 5 right, Tyrannosaurus rex skull).
A thigh bone from a T. rex fossil collected in 2003 from the Hell Creek formation in the USA was examined by Dr Mary Schweitzer. She extracted bone marrow including elastic soft tissues, blood vessels, heme and even possibly cells. She said, “It was totally shocking. I didn’t believe it until we’d done it 17 times.” Subsequently soft tissues have been extracted from another T. rex specimen, a hadrosaur (a different type of dinosaur) and even a placoderm fish.
Why was Dr Schweitzer so shocked? Because such fragile molecules as proteins should long ago have disintegrated - if the fossils are indeed the many millions of years old that they are claimed to be. As she said, “The pathways of cellular decay are well known for modern organisms. And extrapolations predict that all organics are going to be gone completely in 100,000 years, maximum”. So how is it that the soft tissues are still present in these fossils? The explanation is obvious, but one that committed evolutionists cannot bear: that these fossils are much younger than they wish to believe, perhaps only a few thousand years old at most.
Incidentally, the epic poem Beowulf contains a detailed account of a battle between the eponymous hero and a young but much feared creature whose description matches that of T. rex very well. Called a grendel (a kind of creature rather than the name of an individual), this bipedal predator was overcome by Beowulf through taking advantage of its weak point: its tiny forelimbs, one of which he wrenched off. The story is covered in some detail in CSM pamphlet no. 371. It is interesting to note that a number of place names still have the word grendel or its derivatives in them, such as Grindelwald in Switzerland. Evidently these creatures were once widespread and feared enough to have their territories identified by name.
The large dinosaurs easily occupy our attention, but one should not overlook a much smaller exhibit in this area. On a wall is a small dinosaur fossil in an extraordinary posture, tail curved back and head strongly arched up and back (figure 6, left).
Palaeontologists have commented on how characteristic this posture is in so many fossils of dinosaurs and birds. A veterinary scientist, Cynthia Marshall Faux, has argued that dinosaurs died agonising deaths with evidence of brain damage and asphyxiation. One explanation is the animals died in volcanic events, as they are often buried in ash deposits. She also agrees with palaeontologists that some evidence for the posture could be explained by the action of running water.
We have then a picture of these creatures dying in a sudden catastrophe, buried alive in sediment in a state of distress. Whether pyroclastic ash or water-borne sediment, the conclusion must be the same: these deposits were laid down very rapidly; the millions of years attributed to them do not exist.
Retracing our steps, we can now cross to the second half of Waterhouse Way, where there is a wonderful display of fossils of plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs. Once again we are presented with a number of complete or near complete skeletons, which are very difficult to account for in any scenario except by rapid burial in sediment. But let’s focus on one in particular.
A fossil of the ichthyosaur Stenopterygius quadriscissus (figure 7, right) is outstanding because it shows the adult in the process of giving birth. One baby has almost completely emerged, tail-first, and another three are still inside the body of their mother. Now, how long does it take for animals to give birth? Millions of years? Hardly! So if this creature was engulfed - alive - whilst it was giving birth then it must have happened catastrophically quickly. So once again, the sedimentary layers it was found in cannot represent millions of years; they are very much younger.
There is so much more evidence for Creation in this museum than it is possible to relate in one short article. The basic story, however, demonstrated time and time again by the profusion of exhibits, is that the many millions of years attributed to them do not exist.
Evolution, we know, relies heavily on these immense time periods to work its magic of supposed gradual successive changes from one kind of organism to another - even involving the formation of novel structures and the genetic information content that underlies them! But the scientific evidence stacks up heavily against it. Magic is such an appropriate word: this so-called scientific theory is a paradigm, a worldview. It is, in short, just a fairytale for grown-ups.
Ralph Cambridge is a biologist working in the UK who has been a frequent visitor to the Natural History Museum since his childhood years. His education included being taught the theory of Evolution as if it was true, but gradually he began to realize the theory's many faults and shortcomings, eventually recognising it for what it is: a pernicious and fallacious atheistic paradigm.