A paper published in February 2019 is attracting some attention in the origins debate. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the paper discusses an incredibly rare and unexpected fossil find. More specifically, this paper describes a fossil ammonite which is trapped in amber. This find is somewhat troubling to evolutionary dogma, but, as usual, the scientists involved refused to question their dogma. This article will discuss the incredible find and explain its significance in the broader origins debate.
Ammonites are not terribly familiar to the general public. Most people have either never heard of them, or just barely remember them from their school days. Ammonites are sea-dwelling animals which closely resemble modern the modern nautilus. They are supposed to have lived somewhere between 404 and 66 million years ago. It is believed that they were largely open ocean creatures living in the middle of the water column, rather than along a coastline or near the bottom.
Amber is even less familiar to the public at large than ammonites. Essentially amber is sticky tree sap. It’s been known since antiquity and used in medicine and to make jewelry. However, in more modern times, it has been discovered that these amber leftovers contain fossils. These fossils vary wildly, from plants, insects, and even some larger animals, such as small birds, dinosaurs and apparently, some sea creatures.
Now obviously, trees and ammonites are generally found in the same habitats. Trees don’t live in the water and ammonites do not live near the trunks of trees. This leads to a question. How did an open ocean denizen end up encased in sticky tree sap? According to their paper, these scientists hypothesized that the ammonite had died prior to being entombed in sap. It had then been washed up on the beach, beaten by the waves for a time, then covered in amber and preserved. In this same find, there were also numerous insects, arthropods, isopods and even a few gastropods, most of which were land-dwelling organisms.
This fossil find is very intriguing, particularly in the way it has been interpreted. While there is some validity to the interpretation put forward by the authors, there are other valid interpretations. If it were not for the insect and arthropod fossils found in these amber deposits, I’d be more likely to accept their explanation. However, since there is a mix of both land and marine fossils captured in amber, I’m more concerned with their interpretation. The reason for concern comes from the amber itself.
Tree sap does not tend to fall far from the tree. In fact, often it simply runs down the trunk until it dries. There is no reason to believe amber behaved any differently. Therefore, even if it dripped in larger amounts than today’s tree sap, it is likely that the covered organisms were either on the tree, or directly under its base when they were encased in amber. Since neither the isopods, gastropods, nor ammonites were land forest organisms, another explanation is needed.
There are two possible explanations for these odd amber fossils which both make far more sense than the explanation given by the authors. Both, however, involve the global flood, which is not acceptable to the likely atheistic authors of the paper. The first explanation is that during the early stages of the flood, the sea creatures were thrown against the, as yet, un-uprooted trees, and encased in amber. As the tree was later uprooted by the flood waters, the amber was separated from the trees and buried. The second, alternative scenario, involves the flood as well. In this scenario, the trees were uprooted first and, as a result of one of the massive waves, it was tossed onto a beach. While on the beach, it coated the various creatures found preserved in amber, with its sap. The tree was then swept back out in the next wave and the amber deposits were buried, preserving them for posterity.
Either of these possibilities work quite well to explain why an ammonite is fossilized in amber. Deciding between the two is impossible under current circumstances as no one was there to observe it happen. The second scenario seems slightly more likely based on the condition of the ammonite fossil, but either could be argued with no major issues.