By Greg Neyman
© 2009, Old Earth Ministries
First Published 31 Aug 09
A wonderful new study on the landing technique of the pterosaur was recently published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.1 The study showed that pterosaurs landed with their two hind feet down, and after a hop the hind feet landed again, with their folded wings making contact also. Many thanks to the authors of this study for their insightful analysis of the first known pterosaur landing trackway.
Young earth creationists were quick to notice this study. The Institute for Creation Research published an article by Brian Thomas,2 in which he summarizes the landing characteristics, and then claims that the evolutionary explanation of how this landing technique would have developed would fall short.
This should cause no concern for old earth creationists. Old earth believers in Progressive Creationism (external link), which holds that God created animals from nothing, just as young earth creationists believe, can agree with Thomas' assessment. On the other hand, old earth believers in Theistic Evolution can ignore the apparent problems that Thomas brings up, since God Himself could have guided the evolution of the pterosaur.
This information does, however, present major problems for young earth creationism. The pterosaur landing track was found in Late Jurassic sediments in France. The Late Jurassic is dated 145 to 155 million years ago. According to the Flood Geology model proposed by young earth creationists, the first layers of rock deposited by the Flood were Cambrian in age (about 540 million years old).3 Therefore, thousands of feet of flood sediments were deposited before this trackway was made. This begs the question, 'How could a flying pterosaur make a trackway in sediments deposited by Noah's Flood?' Since the Triassic is a long way up the rock column, this would have to be a late Flood deposit, well after the 40-day point when the earth was supposedly completely covered. And since young earth creationists believe the waters prevailed on the entire earth for 150 days, that means the pterosaur had to have stayed airborne for at least five months before making this track. The pterosaurs must have been fantastic flyers indeed!
In fact, all traces of dinosaur existence come from Flood rocks. Thus, dinosaurs were busy walking on dry land, building nests, pooping, and doing everything else dinosaurs do, all while the earth was completely underwater according to young earth creationists. Are young earth creationists now proposing that all dinosaurs, including T-rex, were all aquatic species? I can't wait for that article!
There is a segment of the rock record that young earth creationists call "new world rocks."4 These are rocks deposited after the Flood. A young earth creationist could claim that the pterosaur made the tracks shortly after the Flood. However, this means that all dinosaur evidence, including every single dinosaur fossil, footprint, egg, poop, nest, etc., are post-Flood. Its as if God created the dinosaurs at the end of the flood. Believing in a post-flood creation event is the only way to reconcile the fossil record of dinosaurs with a young earth interpretation of the Bible. Only problem is that God was finished with His creative acts when Adam was created.
As usual, the young earth explanation falls far short, and causes many more problems than it solves.
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1 Mazin, J.-M., J.-P. Billon-Bruyat and K. Padian. First record of a pterosaur landing trackway. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Published online.
3 Monument to Catastrophe, ed. Steve Austin, published by the Institute for Creation Research. Chapter 4. The Tapeats Sandstone is Early-Late Cambrian, and is considered by the author to be an early Flood deposit.
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