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Answers in Genesis Daily Feature

Alaskan Dinosaur Tracks and Noah's Flood

Published as an AiG Daily Feature on 11 October 2013.  This review published on 11 Oct 2013


Review by Greg Neyman

© Old Earth Ministries


    The article "Alaskan Dinosaur Tracks Buried in the Global Flood," by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, is typical of YEC claims about objects buried by a flood.The article gives no evidence to back up the claim that a global flood produced the dinosaur tracks, but merely 'jumps' to this conclusion based on the YEC acceptance of a global flood.


The Scientific Evidence


    A team from the Museum of the North took a two week trip in July 2013, in

Dinosaur Footprint
Hind foot print of an herbivorous dinosaur.  Photo by Pat Druckenmiller, Museum of the North (Picture Source)
 search of dinosaur tracks.  Dinosaur tracks are known as trace fossils, or ichnodossils.   During the trip down the banks of the Tanana and Yukon Rivers, the team discovered many such tracks, preserved in sediment of Cretaceous age (80-65 million years).  The fossils were casts, and were formed where dinosaurs had made footprint impressions in a mud layer, and the layer was then filled in by sand.  There was a great variety to the prints, including both carnivores and herbivores.

     Research will be ongoing to learn more about these footprints. 


The Young Earth Claim


     The YEC author starts by casting doubt upon the fact that these are millions of years old, by using statements like 'we don't see animal tracks turn into fossil every day,' and 'would need to be rapidly buried.'  She moves on to state "The biblical history of the global Flood actually makes sense of discoveries like these."  True...if there was an actual global flood.  However, the Bible's account does not specify that the flood was global, and in fact, the Bible says it must be a local flood.  And, when you combine this with the scientific record, which has absolutely no evidence of a global flood, there is no doubt that the Genesis Flood was local. 

     The author goes on to give a YEC version of how the footprints were preserved.  "Sand hauled in by surging Flood waters would have rapidly filled many of these footprints and, under great pressure, compressed and set them like quick-setting cement."  One problem with this theory, however, is that these footprints are not the only ones in Alaska, as the author had previously noted.  Previous footprint finds, in rock layers stratigraphically below this layer, are 25-30 million years older.  This is clear evidence of at least two flood events, covering different sets of tracks, and not a single flood event.

     The author then refers to Andrew Snelling, who claims these rock layers are thought to have been laid down around Day 150 of the Flood.  This is indeed a strange thought.  If you look at the Biblical account of the Flood, it rained for 40 days, and the waters rose and killed every living thing.  At the end of 40 days, God shuts off the water supply, and the earth is covered.  So why are dinosaurs walking around on the earth at Day 150 of the Flood?  In the past few decades, YEC's have  tried to adjust their theories about the Flood, in order to account for the different rock layers, and the evidence they contain.  By stating that all the rocks were gradually laid down over the entire duration of the 350+ day flood, they claim that you still see life in action in all layers of the geologic record.

     Genesis appears to record a clear history of the YEC flood:

  • Rain and waters rise for 40 days - Earth is covered

  • Waters prevail, with earth covered, for 150 days (Gen. 7:24) - people often subtract 40 days of rain here, making this 110 days

  • God made the waters receed for 150 days (Gen. 8:3)

     To allow for animals to apparently survive until later rock layers are deposited, YEC theorists like Snelling are forced to claim:


The fact that they left footprints is testimony to many animals being alive in the Flood waters for some time after the Flood began, and to fluctuations in the Flood water levels that allowed these dinosaurs to occasionally walk on temporarily exposed sediment surfaces. The fact that so many tracks are found at the same levels indicates lots of dinosaurs were walking across exposed sediment surfaces all at once over large areas, before they eventually expired in the Flood waters.


     Isn't this contrary to what Genesis says, that the earth was covered by the floodwaters, and remained covered for 150 days?  The fluctuations in the Flood waters "allowed these dinosaurs to occasionally walk on temporarily exposed sediment surfaces."  What were the dinosaurs doing in between the times that they were allowed to 'occasionally walk' on these surfaces?  I guess they were treading water!  Then the waters fell, they walked around, then the waters rose again...then they fell, they walked around...etc.  And to complicate matter even more for this YEC theory, the ONLY evidence of dinosaurs laying eggs, building nest sites, etc, are during these temporary flood fluctuations.   


The Bottom Line


     When it comes to science, its all about the proof.  Does the author present any scientific evidence to back up her claim that Noah's Flood filled in these footprints?  None.  Sure, the footprints were probably filled in by water-bourne sand, but that doesn't prove it was a flood, let alone Noah's Flood.  This article will keep the faithful YEC believer true to his beliefs, but it will not convince anyone that Noah's Flood created these footprints.  On the other hand, based on the actual scientific evidence, these footprints fit nicely within an old earth framework.  Old earth creationists have no problems with these footprints being millions of years old.


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