Re: In the Image

Glenn Morton (
Tue, 04 Jun 1996 21:29:00

Hi Dick,

you wrote:

>According to anthropologists (but what do they know?), 5.5 million
> years ago would be the sub-human race.

Let me point out something about the nature of the fossil record. I will
apply this to animal populations rather than mankind but the principles
are the same. When a new species arises it is believed that a small
isolated population was the only population involved in the change. Say
you have a small population of around 50 individuals who have crossed the
species barrier line. What would we expect to find?

Today when we find previously unreported species, they are usually few in
number and are immediately put on the endangered species list. The
assumption is that there used to be more of them but these are the last.
I have often wondered if what we are seeing, occassionally, is the first
members of a NEW species rather than the last of a DYING species.

Initially a new species might not be as well fit as the older, more
established populations but they still might be very capable of surviving
even if their reproductive success merely replenishes the 50 member
population. There is no rule that says that a new population MUST
suddenly take over the world. And there is no rule that says that the
first example of a new species must leave a record of itself in the rocks.

Now, how likely is it that a member of this small population will be
fossilized? If millions of bison covering the entire American plains and
subject to innumerable catastrophes, can disappear with only a few having
ever been fossilized, it is even less likely that the new population will
leave a record of itself. Only when the new species has spread out over
large areas is the chance for fossilization increased enough to say that
it is likely.

Thus a new population could remain hidden for millions of years without
being fossilized, especially if the rate of population growth was slow.

Do we see this pattern in the record? Yes. The first fossil caecilians
occur 80 million years before the second occurrence of caecilians in the
fossil record. These amphibians were on the earth all that time but left
no record of themselves that we have found.(~"Rare Fossils of Enigmatic
Amphibian," Science News, 138, Oct. 27, 1990, p. 270.) Tariers have a 30
million year gap in their fossil record between the first and second
occurrence. They lived on earth but due to their limited distribution
they didn't leave a record.

What does this have to do with mankind? It means that a small, slow
growing population of humans could have lived on earth for millions of
years and never leave a trace. Only when they became widespread enough
were they subject to enough depositional catastrophes to have a decent
chance to be fossilized. This would be especially true if they lived in
the rainforest. Bones decay within a year in rainforest environments.
Because of this the earliest fossil of a chimpanzee is around 400 years
old. This is why the nearly simultaneous appearance of Homo erectus in
Georgia SSR, Java and Africa circa 1.7 myr ago implies a long, presently
recordless pre-history for them. How long, I don't know. But one rule is
supreme in historical sciences: "Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of
Absence." Your objection falls into this category.

Dick wrote:

> All I can tell you is that the entire sequence
> of events from Adam through the tower of Babel makes the most sense, is
> the least confusing, and is partially corroborated when taken in a local
>and recent context.

Have you solved the physics problem with your flood scenario? At 2 miles
an hour Noah would be washed into the Persian Gulf in a week. And if you
continue to insist that Noah landed in Turkey, have you figured out how to
make the ark float uphill against the current? This part of your scenario
makes no sense in the setting where you place the flood. Last time we
discussed this, you were content to let the Bible be totally wrong.


Foundation,Fall and Flood