Re: Geology, Fossils and Genesis

Dick Fischer (
Mon, 10 Jun 1996 23:10:07 -0500

Dave wrote:

>Dick Said,

>>>Massive dinosaurs leave huge bones, which make wonderful fossils. The
>>>Cambrian explosion left a permanent record of hard-shelled marine
>>> creatures that is impossible to ignore. Any soft-shelled predecessors
>>>left scarcely a trace. The same could be said for any land-based
>>>vegetation that might have been.

>>Good try, but pollen is given off in vast quantities by grasses. And
>>pollen is a very easily fossilized material and is very difficult to
>>destroy. If grasses existed prior to the dinosaurs, grass pollen WOULD be
>>found in rocks of those ages. I know several palynologists and they
>>assure me that no pollen evidence of grass exists prior to the early
>>tertiary. This suggestion simply will not work
>This is absolutely true. I took a Palynology class as an undergrad. Spores
>from primitive plants are found as early as late Silurian and everywhere
>thereafter. Early gymnosperm pollen is found at the time of the dinosaurs,
>but angiosperm pollen (and other plant parts for that matter) unquestionably
>post-dates the first appearance of dinosaurs, and the grasses (and all
monocots)are late-appearing angiosperms at that. Pollen and spores are in
fact made of
>pretty hardy materials and fossilize relatively easily, so the record is very
>good. That's why there are so many palynologists in the employ of oil

And I agree. Perhaps I should not have put it in the form of a question.
I said, "How can 62 million year old grass predate the dinosaurs, for
example, who came into existence over 200 million years ago?" Obviously 62
million year old anything cannot predate 200 million year old anything else.
Since I thought it was obvious I wasn't as careful with the phraseology as I
should have been. Sorry.

This was said earlier, but possibly forgotten farther on.

"Life on land, according to nature's evidence, began about 400 million years
ago; ferns, club mosses, and horsetails appeared which reproduced through
spores not seeds, and were confined to moist wetlands. The first plants
with seeds date to the Devonian period about 395 million years ago. By 355
million years ago, trees 100 feet high or more dominated much of the earth's

Conifers such as Callixylon began to appear, that were ancestral to pine and
fir trees of today. The first blooming flowers began to color the landscape
in the Early Cretaceous some 120 million years ago, and the earliest traces
of grass date to the Upper Paleocene about 62 million years ago."

What I was leading up to was the following:

"More to the point, the Hebrew word, deshe' translated "grass," can mean
simply "vegetation." We can verify that the earth has had land-based
vegetation for over 400 million years."

I'll try to straighten that verbiage out so that it doesn't cause confusion.
What I really was thinking of was that because of active plate tectonics,
not all of the earth's original surface is available for examination. We
can see evidence of sea floor spreading in the mid-Atlantic rift. An
approximately equal area of the earth's mantle has been subducted.

I think "grass" is just another example of a poor choice among possible
alternatives, or a translation error, but I'm not so sure of it that I
wasn't willing to explore other possibilities. I do try to use a cautious
approach, especially when this methodology negates traditionalist beliefs.
You have heard some of the voices of protest on this forum.

One of the main points of the book is that some English equivalents were
chosen out of ignorance, and a re-translation in the light of knowledge is
required. This doesn't mean I am suggesting a wholesale onslaught on the
biblical text, but a few key words; earth, mountains, whales, fowls, grass,
mist, and a few others need re-examination. And while we're add it, let's
give a little recognition to the Septuagint (the text quoted by the NT
authors), and put Cainan back in the Genesis genealogies where he belongs.

Dick Fischer
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