THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION:
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO DISPROVE IT?
Suppose a living dinosaur were found....
Over 99% of geological and biological scientists support the concept that
evolution of the species occurred over a very long time period. They have reached a consensus that the
dinosaurs appear to have become extinct about 70 million years ago. Many
scientists believe that an asteroid slammed into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula
at that time, and created a 112 mile (180 km) diameter crater. This set off
a catastrophe that eventually caused over 70% of the Earth's species to go
extinct. Dinosaurs were among these species. 10
Many web sites
which promote the conservative Christian version of creation science imply
that if a dinosaur were found alive today, then the theory of evolution
would totally collapse. Those Christians would also expect evolution to
disintegrate if some proof surfaced that dinosaurs coexisted
with humans at some time in the past.
Some young-earth creation scientists have claimed that dinosaurs were
alive until a few thousand years ago -- perhaps even more recently -- and
occupied the land together with humans:
||A children's religious program produced by the Institute for
Creation Research was broadcast over many conservative Christian radio
stations in 2003-FEB. It described how evidence of live dinosaur DNA had
been found in a dinosaur bone. If true, it would prove that the dinosaur
was alive much more recently than 75 million years ago, because DNA could
not possibly remain intact for that long. A writer at the
Crying Voice in the Wilderness website was apparently referring to the
same experiment whey they wrote: "Some fragments of DNA were found in
supposedly 80 million year-old dinosaur bones. This means that the
dinosaur bones are only a couple of thousand years old."
||A fossil expedition involving representatives of Vision Forum,
the Institute for Creation Research and Creation Expeditions
uncovered a Allosaurus fossil on private property in the Skullcreek Basin
of northwest Colorado. Peter DeRosa was one of the members of the
expedition. He is described extensively on the Internet as "an experienced archaeologist and
However he appears to be only on the order of 21 years of age,
described, along with Mark DeRosa as being "boys [who] are genuine
prodigies and future leaders." 12
He Peter would seem to be many years away from achieving doctorates in
paleontology and archaeology, and perhaps two decades away from being
called an expert in both fields. He wrote: "The evidence strongly
points to a relatively recent and catastrophic event similar to that
described in the Bible as the flood of Noah's day....Not only was this
fully articulated dinosaur found lying in a bed of leaves and plant
debris, but there is wood from trees mixed in among the bones, some of
which contains petrified and unpetrified elements in the same piece of
wood. If this creature were millions of years old, the evidence would look
quite different." 2,3 He concluded that the wood,
leaves, plant debris, and dinosaur bones are all from the same era. This
must have been in the recent past; otherwise the wood would have been
fully petrified, and the leaves would have totally decayed.
||There are numerous claims of fossilized footprints from humans or
horses found within dinosaur footprints. 4 If true, then
they would be evidence that dinosaurs and humans lived together in the same
||Genesis Park® describes a number
of images drawn by Neanderthals and by humans in the Middle East which
resemble dinosaurs. The suggestion is that the artists were drawing
pictures of dinosaurs from memory of having seen the animals. 5
It is unlikely that any of these observations will survive detailed study. For example:
||The dinosaur DNA was not detected directly, but only indirectly from
the effects observed in rats after they were injected with a substance
found in the bone.
||Skeptic Jeff Hall, discussing the Allosaurus, commented: "The
leaves and wood could never last long enough for any fossil to form
without decaying first, so maybe they somehow settled onto the overlying
rock, and into cracks much more recently." 2
Unfortunately, from the description of the discovery, it is apparent that
only creation scientists are to be allowed access to the site.
||Scientist James Hutchins, referring to human and dinosaur footprints
being found together, claims that: "This has been thoroughly refuted to
the point that even most creationists no longer spout this groundless
claim. The supposedly human tracks have been found to be the result of
numerous phenomena which include, but are not limited to: elongated
dinosaur tracks, erosional features, indistinct markings of unknown
origin, and a few carvings." 6
||Artists from many cultures over the past many thousands of years have
probably portrayed thousands of imaginary animals. It is quite logical that
some might look like an extinct species of dinosaurs. After all, the
outline of a dog would look very much like a dinosaur if you stretched its
neck quite a bit, and perhaps shortened its legs.
But even if one of these observations pans out, and it is proven that
dinosaurs were alive on earth within historical times, the theory of evolution
would not topple. Only one detail -- that dinosaurs are believed to have became
extinct about 75 million years ago -- would have to be revised. The
basic principle of evolution -- that mutations and natural selection cause
new species to develop from existing species over long periods of time --
would remain intact.
Just how extinct is an extinct species?
When scientists say that a species became extinct at some point in the
past, they mean that there is no evidence that any members of that
species existed after that date. However, it is quite possible for a species to
live on, and yet leave no trace in the fossil record.
Precisely this type of event happened to a species of rather ugly looking,
but beautifully colored
ocean fish: the coelacanth. Scientists believe that the species first appeared
about 400 million years ago. They also once assumed that it became extinct
because the most recent evidence of the species was a fossil of an animal that died about 65 million years
ago. Then, in 1938, a living member of the species was found near Anjouan in
the Comoros Islands, off of South Africa. It was obtained from a fisherman by
Marjorie Courtenay Latimer, the curator of a museum in East London, South
Africa. She noted that it "bore similarities to a prehistoric fish,
particularly in the structure of the head and the tri-lobed shape of the
tail." Professor J.L.B. Smith verified her assessment that it was a
prehistoric fish -- a coelacanth. According to the Coelacanth Rescue Mission,
"A living dinosaur, it was said, would be no more amazing than this
incredible discovery." 7 Since then, other members of
the same species have been found. They have have been caught off of Madagascar;
Mozambique; Sodwana, South Africa; and North Sulwesi, Indonesia. There are
rumors of coelacanths being found off Puerto Rico. They remain a very rare
species. The total world population
is estimated at under one thousand.
Scientists simply revised their original belief that the coelacanth had
become extinct. Apparently, a very few did survive after all, and continued
propagating until the present time -- although never in large numbers.
Because they were rare, they left behind no evidence of their existence in
the fossil record. The coelacanth has
became known as a "living fossil."
Dinosaurs may also have survived until the present time. It is quite
possible that the dinosaurs were almost wiped out circa 75 million years
ago, but that some survived somewhere in the world. If they existed in
very small numbers, it is possible that few fossils would have been
preserved, and that none were ever found. Thus, although scientists assume
that dinosaurs went extinct 75 million years ago, they they must keep open
the possibility that a very few survived -- even to the present day. If one
were found, then the basic theory of evolution would not be changed one iota. Only
the continued presence of one or more species of dinosaurs would have been
How could evolution be proven false?
That would not be a simple task!
The foundational observations which support evolution are the ordered
fossil record and radiometric analysis of the dates of rocks.
||If the radiometric analysis of the age of rocks is valid, then two
main beliefs of young-earth creation scientists are disproved.
||The rock layers were deposited over billions of years, not during
the 150 days of Noah's flood.
||That the earth is on the order of 4.6 billion years old, not many thousands of
Still, if some convincing proof were discovered that the radiometric analyses
are in error by about a factor of 500,000 or so, and that the earth is fewer
than 10,000 years of age, then evolution would be disproved. There simply
would not have been sufficient time for all of the new species to have
evolved. Six specialists in geology, geochemistry and physics have formed
the Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (RATE) research group.
They have been working since 1997 to disprove radiometric dating,
to prove that the earth is young, and thereby disprove evolution. 8
||The most obvious feature of the fossil record is that there are a lot
of fossils of clam-like species. If one focuses on the remaining fossils,
it becomes clear that the fossils are sorted by geological age. Deep
rock layers generally contain the remains of simple creatures; the upper
layers have evidence of more complex animals. By studying the entire
fossil record, one can determine in what order various species first
appeared and when they apparently became extinct. |
The sorting of fossils
is complete. Dinosaurs have never been found in the same layer as
trilobites; trilobites have never been seen together with human remains;
dinosaur remains have not been found with human remains. And so on for
perhaps a million other combinations. There are literally millions of pairs of species which have
never been found together in the same rock layer. One simple example may
clarify this. There is a thin layer of
clay containing a high concentration of Iridium which was laid down
between the Cretaceous and Tertiary rock
layers -- apparently about 65 million years ago. 9
Because it is found in so many places around the world, it is a very
useful date marker. There are thousands of species whose fossils are
only found lower in the fossil record than this layer; there are
thousands of species which are only found higher. This is
overwhelming proof that the rock layers, and the species they contain,
were laid down over long periods of time. In order to disprove evolution,
it would be necessary for creation scientists to prove that all species
co-existed together, and were somehow precisely sorted into layers by species
without ever having making an error. We
are unaware of any efforts by young-earth creation scientists working in this
"Dinosaurs: Dinosaurs Lived Together With Men and They Aren't All
Extinct," Crying Voice in the Wilderness at:
Jeff Hall, "Home School Students Find Complete Allosaurus Fossil: Claim
That it Debunks Evolution," Maine Skeptic, 2002-MAY-25 at:
"Evolution Watch: Home-schoolers find intact dinosaur skeleton;
Scientist says 22-foot animal likely died during cataclysmic flood,"
WorldNetDaily, 2002-MAY-21. at:
"Evidence that Dinosaurs and Humans co-existed: Dinosaur & Human
Footprints Together," The Interactive Bible, at:
"Genesis Park Exhibit Hall: Room 1: The Dinosaurs," at:
James Hutchins, "10 questions an evolutionists just answered," at:
Jerome Hamlin, "The fish out of time,"
("Fish Out of Time" is a Trademark of Third Wave
"RATE Group Reports Major Advances,"
Institute for Creation Research, at:
- "Iceland and the Iridium layer," Science
Frontiers Online, #15, 1981-Spring, at:
- "Radar reveals traces of killer crater,"
MSNBC, 2003-MAR-6, at:
On 2005-JUL-04, a Google search using the string
allosaur "Peter DeRosa"
paleontologist returned ten hits. The first four including
the phrase "Peter DeRosa, a veteran archaeologist and paleontologist with
Doug Phillips, "Doug's Blog," at:
http://www.visionforum.com/ Search for "August 05, 2003"
Copyright © 2003 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally published on 2003-FEB-17
Most recent update: 2005-AUG-30
Author: B.A. Robinson