Jellyfish Graveyard

I read an article some time ago on the website of the science magazine Live Science which I immediately saved for future use in the blog.  The article discusses a jellyfish graveyard left in Death Valley by a large body of water. The article of course claims that the stranded jellies were left there 540 million years ago.  This article will examine the jellyfish find and discuss whether evolutionist have a valid argument for its formation.

The first thing to point out here is that what was found was not jellyfish fossils. Since jellyfish are made of little more than water, they have no hard parts to fossilize into rock like dinosaurs do, . Because of this, jellyfish truly fossilized are incredibly rare. Instead what we find and what was found in this instance were impressions. When the jellies were deposited in the sand, their bodies quickly disintegrated. However, they were there long enough to leave imprints in the sand, much like a child playing at the beach might by laying his hand in the sand.  These impressions would last about as long as a sand castle at high tide were it not for their being formed under specialized conditions. The sand needed to be sticky and somewhat firm to hold the impressions long enough for them to be covered over and fossilized.  This likely requires a high concentration of microbes in the sediment to hold it together and provide a kind of glue that would hold the impression together.

However, this does raise some questions. How did the jellyfish get into a supposed massive lake in the middle of the American West for instance?  Did life evolve multiple times in different places? Most evolutionists would answer no to that, but this leaves them trying to explain how jellyfish ended up in Death Valley. A second challenge for the evolutionist is the fact that the impressions lasted long enough to fossilize in the first place. Even in microbe rich soil that supposedly existed, the impressions would not have lasted the millions of years evolutionists routinely tell us it takes for fossilization to occur. Imagine a sand castle held together by glue and left entirely to itself. How long would it last before the sun, sea and wind tore it apart until it was unrecognizeable? Certainly not millions of years.

The fossils themselves contain some interesting points of discussion. The way they are laid out indicates they were deposited by high currents. Some of the impressions are somewhat squashed, as if they had been thrown up on the sand violently.  One is so detailed that some body parts can be faintly made out. However the mere fact that the jellies survived long enough to leave impressions instead of being immediately scavenged by predators indicates a lack of beach front predators. This would appear to be evidence in favor of evolution in isolation, because evolution predicts that beachfront predators had yet to evolve. We will come back to that in a moment.

Since these impressions were fossilized due to the presence of microbes in the sand, we need to examine what kind of conditions in which these microbes would thrive. Higher temperatures somewhere in the mid-seventies to low hundreds would have been needed. Moisture, such as that provided by the massive lake evolutionists postulate, is also required.  Oxygen presence or absence depending on bacteria type and pH of the soil are also requirements.  All four have to be just right for heavy microbial growth such as is required to preserve these impressions.

Having said all that, let us use what we have deduced to explain these fossilized imprints.  Evolution has no valid explanation for how the jellyfish got where they were, nor for how the imprints survived long enough to fossilize. However, creationists have answers for these problems. As the flood receded, huge lakes, such as the one in Death Valley would have been left behind. However, as water ran off from the higher elevations, it would have rapidly overfilled these lakes, either breaking their banks or causing them to wash over a sort of dam at one end and rush out to the sea. The latter would provide sufficient current force to toss jellies onto the sand and somewhat squash them. Further, all four conditions for microbial growth would have been met, permitting the impressions to be preserved long enough to fossilize. Since fossilization does not take millions of years, their imprints could have been preserved quickly.  If this event took place right after the flood, beachfront predators such as gulls and others would not have had time to repopulate to reach the American West, thus eliminating that issue entirely.

Evolution has no real explanation for how the jellies got there or how they fossilized so quickly.  Without answers to these key questions, it is impossible to use the lack of predation as evidence for evolution.  Creationists have no such issues. The aftermath of the flood provides the perfect explanation for the existence of these fossilized jellyfish impressions.


  1. Good morning. Thought I would add a few pieces of information that might inform your hypothesis. Your hypothesis of the jellyfish fossils origins sounds simply enough but once one looks at the evidence (observational evidence even) it doesn’t make much sense and besides my own feelings I think that Dr. Snelling and other YECs would also have difficulties with a post-flood origin. If you go and look at the original research paper you will see that these fossils are found in the Zabriskie quartzite. This rocks is very old but even if you don’t accept the Cambrian age you can observe ( that this rock is found underneath 100s of feet (more than 2000 feet in some places) of other rock layers including dolomites and limestones which YEC believe had to have formed during the flood. These fossils are therefore found in the basement rocks that form the mountains of Death Valley and are not part of the sediments that were laid down in lakes that were there either a long time ago or recently (post-flood hypothesis). If anything I expect that the geological context suggests that in the YEC flood geology model these fossils are more likely to be pre-flood than flood and certainly not post-flood.
    With respect to fossilization it is a misconception that anything thinks that footprints or fossils like this require millions of years to form. That is obvious given that we have human footprints preserved for thousands of years and even those made in sand. Yes, it is very rare for a footprint or similar fossil is sand to be preserved but even if only 0.0000000000000000001% of all footprints were preserved there would be millions of them in the fossil record. I’ve written about this several times. and
    Regards. Joel


  2. Right after I wrote my comment I saw a new report of preserved tracks in sand in New Mexico. Here giant sloth tracks are preserved along with human footprint. These are possibly 11,000 years old (or 3500 to 45000 years old in the YEC timeline). No need for a global flood to explain their origins. Again, the odds of any track made in sand being preserved is less likely than winning the lottery but if one enters 100 billion lotteries the odds of winning one are very high. Such is the nature of the fossil record.


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