Friday, June 01, 2012

How did Animals Cross the Ocean? Humans did it, after the Flood!

The Bible records for us the world wide flood of Noah's day, and how two of every animal found refuge in the Ark so that they could re-populate the earth. Soon afterward, mankind spread across the whole earth, travelling across the seas, and brought animals and plants with them. How do we know? Ancient coins, stone heads with negroid features, platypus, elephants, pineapples, peanuts, in wrong places everywhere! Creationists require miracles at the beginning to explain this, evolutionists require miracles at every turn...

Selections from Biogeography: A Creationist Perspective, by Bill Johnson.

(These selections by Marko Malyj are of the article published in Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal, Volume 48, Number 3, Winter 2012)

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Why is it that animals and plants are not equally distributed over the face of the earth? In Part 1 of this article, Evolution says, uhhh..., we saw how Evolutionists have three totally different methods they they mix and match to explain the distribution of animals and plants across the face of the earth: Land Bridges, Oceanic Dispersal, and the Pangaea supercontinent. If one doesn't sound right, try the other! Now we will find out whether the worldwide flood of the Bible offers a better explanation...

Transportation by Human Agency

The creationist view has always maintained that from his inception man was endowed with great intelligence, ingenuity, and technological abilities. Humans made numerous voyages across our great oceans long before Columbus. Most of the biogeographical enigmas that haunt evolutionists can be easily explained by this view.

The most convincing evidence for these transoceanic voyages comes from archaeology. The American continents, especially North America, have turned up numerous ancient coins from such places as China, Rome, Greece, and Egypt (Mahan and Braithwaite, 1975; Epstein et al., 1980). These coins cannot be easily dismissed as “recently lost” for several reasons: (1) Some coins have been found in undisturbed soil twenty-five feet deep (Deans, 1884) or in ancient Indian gravesites with stone tools found in the same locality (Butler, 1886); and (2) Chinese coins are confined to the west coast (i.e., Oregon and British Columbia), whereas Roman coins are east of the Mississippi, a pattern you would not expect to see if the coins were randomly dropped in modern times.

Archaeologists in Central America also have unearthed evidence for pre-Columbian contact from Africa, Asia, and Europe. Many large stone heads (some 9 feet high and 22 feet in circumference circumference) from southeastern Mexico display clear negroid characteristics (Stirling, 1940; Von Wuthenau, 1975). The same Olmec culture also produced a two-foot-high basalt statuette of an oriental man, which is presently housed in a Mexico City museum (Coe and Miller, 2004). And recently, a rediscovered black terracotta head from the 1930s identified as European was dated to be 1800 years old (Knight, 2000).

The traditions of the Polynesian people also support long sea journeys. Anthropologist Roland Dixon documented the types of canoes used and their varying lengths (some were 90 feet long and could accommodate as many as 100 people). He also documented the distances of many of their excursions (Dixon, 1934). Tangiia, a man from Fiji, traveled as far as 4,000 miles to Rapanui—the native name for Easter Island (Dixon, 1934). Many others made these long excursions, including Paao priest of Upolu in the Samoan Islands, who traveled a distance of 2,300 miles to Hawaii (Emerson, 1893). Had the early explorers reached as far as Easter Island and Hawaii, the journey eastward to America would not have been difficult.

Early humans traveled often and far for exploration, trade, and colonization. Couple this with G. G. Simpson’s (1940) observation that people have always had a fascination with animals from distant places, and creationists can explain not only island distributions but even continental ones. It is far more reasonable to believe that some of Hawaii’s fauna and flora arrived from southeastern Polynesia carried by humans, or that an early Polynesian explorer took back to Fiji the banded iguana than it is to believe that they transported themselves. Even some evolutionists accept this approach and have recently argued that the arrival of the coconut (Ward and Brookfield, 1992) and the Polynesian chicken in America are best explained by human transportation (Storey et al., 2007).

Postdiluvian Dispersal of Land Animals

How did kangaroos and giant earthworms make their way across the oceans to their present home in Australia?” (Coyne, 2009, p. 89). Contrary to the evolutionist claims, creation is not only consistent with the facts, but also provides a much simpler and non-miraculous explanation for continental distributions.

How exactly did marsupials get to Australia, and why are they mostly confined to this continent? Creationists have utilized two slightly different ways to explain these distributions, depending on when they believe continental drift took place. Some creationists have suggested that the continents were separated during the Flood and that marsupials got to Australia either by a land connection (i.e., since this area is still tectonically active) or by island hopping/rafting. This was followed by an extinction of marsupials in Asia. This view should not be ridiculed, especially since this was the dominant explanation given by evolutionists up until the acceptance of plate tectonics.

Other creationists believe the continents were still united after the Flood and every animal was more or less widely distributed, some even reaching as far as North America. Almost 400 years after the Flood, the continents separated (cf. Gen. 10:25 "Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided"), and some animals (e.g., marsupials) were spared the competition that their close cousins were suffering in other parts of the world (e.g., Asia). Due to competition, as well as other environmental factors, some members of a species died out while others flourished. What are seen are not evolutionary centers of origin followed by miraculous dispersals, but relicts, or survivors, of a once wide continuous range.

Evolutionists have flirted with what is essentially a creationist explanation. This simple way of explaining animal distributions (i.e., moving continents rather than animals) is explicable only by a theory of contemporaneous creation; that is, where all animals were present and widely distributed before the fragmentation of the world’s landmasses. Furthermore, the empirical evidence for a more or less widespread distribution becomes more impressive with each passing year. Prior to 1985, there was no evidence for marsupials anywhere but Australia and the New World, and evolutionists took this absence of evidence as evidence of absence, but now marsupial fossils have turned up in many unexpected places, including Africa Bown and Simons, 1984), Madagascar (Krause, 2001), and even Asia (Benton, 1985; Ducrocq et al., 1992).

We are discovering that more animals are proving to have a wider distribution than previously thought. The monotremes (e.g., platypus, spiny anteaters) were for the longest time believed to have been confined to Australia, yet to the amazement of many, a monotreme fossil was discovered in the early 1990s in South America (Pascual et al., 1992). Even elephants were far more widespread  than evolutionists were willing to admit. Elephant remains (i.e., bones, teeth) and man-made objects of elephants also place this creature in southern Mexico (Anonymous, 1903; Nomland, 1932), South America (White, 1884; Carter, 1989), and even possibly Australia (Vickers-Rich and Archbold, 1991).

Another factor that increases the chances of extinction is human introductions. As more exotic animals escape or are released in the wild, some will colonize these locations and force others into extinction.

Survival and Dispersal of Plants

Up until the time of the Flood, the world was lush with vegetation. All kinds of fruits, vegetables, flowering plants, and numerous other plant species were widely distributed on Pangaea. This tropical paradise was completely destroyed by the Flood, and only some species of plants, through the survival of their seed, succeeded in leaving representation in the postdiluvian world.

Wind-dispersed seeds & fruits in different plant families.
After the Floodwaters abated, seeds were scattered over the face of the earth, further dispersal occurred by other means: dispersal of seeds attached to animals’ bodies, seeds inside animals’ bodies, by physical expulsion and wind. Add this to human interest in many plants (e.g., fruits, vegetables, angiosperms) and our ability to facilitate dispersal.

Stone carving of a pineapple
in a cave temple
in Udaiguri, India.
The evidence from archaeology provides overwhelming support for a wide distribution of plants, especially fruits and vegetables. The pineapple, for example, was widespread in South and Central America when Columbus and other explorers came to the New World (Collins, 1948). As a result, it was long assumed that this fruit originated in Brazil until a wealth of archaeological evidence confirmed that the pineapple also existed in the Old World from very early times. The pineapple is clearly depicted in old Indian temple art (Gupta, 1996), found on pottery in Egyptian tombs (Wilkinson, 1837), represented on murals in Pompeii(Carter, 1953), and, to the amazement of nineteenth-century archaeologists, the pineapple was carved on walls in ancient Nineveh (Layard, 1853; Rawlinson, 1885).

Remains of peanuts found
in Peruvian mummies.
The peanut was once believed to have originated in the Old World because of how widespread it is there. When archaeologists recovered peanuts from ancient Peruvian tombs, it was then believed that the peanut originated in South America and was carried over to Asia in recent times. Archaeologists have recently discovered several-thousandyear-old peanuts in China (Chang, 1973) and in caves on the island of Timor, Indonesia (Glover, 1977).

Many other plants thought “native” to one hemisphere also existed early in the other hemisphere. Ancient Indian temple art clearly depicts plants that supposedly originated in America, such as the cashew nut, custard apple, and chili pepper (Gupta, 1996). The custard apple also was discovered in caves on the island of Timor (Glover, 1977), and the chili pepper had a history in Tahiti before European contact (Langdon, 1988).

Evolution depends more on miracles

The evolutionary claims for this wide transoceanic distribution of plants is unconvincing because plants have limited mobility and are poor dispersers.
Evolutionists, however, have an a priori commitment to naturalism; thus they are forced to explain away the evidence. They also distort and misrepresent the creationist position to give the impression that their theory is the only viable explanation.

The creationist explanation is the better argument. The idea of a contemporaneous creation dispersed widely on the earth followed by partial extinctions is a simple approach, especially when dispersal is facilitated by humans. This view also fits with the archaeological evidence. The problem of biogeography from an evolutionary perspective is that all of life is stretched out over half a billion years, with the fragmentation of the world occurring late in the history, leaving a large percentage of plants and animals to disperse in a miraculous way.

Creationists are often chided for reliance on miracles. They require them, though only in the beginning. Evolution, however, requires them at almost every turn, especially when dealing with the geography of life.
References (selected)

Anonymous. 1903. Elephant remains in Mexico. American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal 25:395–397.
Benton, M. 1985. First marsupial fossil from Asia. Nature 318:313.
Bown, T.M., and E.L. Simons. 1984. First record of marsupials (Metatheria: Polyprotodonta) from the Oligocene in Africa. Nature 308:447–449.
Butler, J.D. 1886. Roman coins found in Oshkosh. American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal 8:372.
Carter, G. 1989. A note on the elephant in America. Epigraphic Society Occasional Publications 18:90.

Chang, K.C. 1973. Radiocarbon dates from China: some initial interpretations. Current Anthropology 14:525–528.

Coe, M., and M. Miller. 2004. Olmec wrestler: a masterpiece of the ancient Gulf Coast. Minerva 16:18–19.

Collins, J.L. 1948. Pineapples in ancient America. Scientific Monthly 67:372–377.
Coyne, J. 2009. Why Evolution Is True. Viking, New York, NY.
Deans, J. 1884. Chinese coins in British Columbia. American Naturalist 18:98, 99.
Dixon, R. 1934. The long voyages of the Polynesians. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 74:167–175.
Ducrocq, S., E. Buffetaut, H. Buffetaut-Tong, J. Jaeger, Y. Jongkanjanasoontorn, and V.Suteethorn. 1992. First fossil marsupial from South Asia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 12:395–399.
Emerson, N.B. 1893. The Long Voyages of the Ancient Hawaiians. Hawaiian Gazette Co., Honolulu, HI.
Epstein, J., D.B. Buchanan, T.V. Buttrey, G.F. Carter, W.L. Cook, C. Covey, S.C. Jett, T.A. Lee Jr., B. Mundkur, A.C. Paulsen, H.J. Prem, J.E. Reyman, M.R. Dorado, and N. Totten. 1980. Pre-Columbian Old World coins in America: an examination of the evidence. Current Anthropology 21:1–20.

Glover, I. 1977. The Late Stone Age in Eastern Indonesia. World Archaeology 9:42–61

Gupta, S. 1996. Plants in Indian Temple Art. B.R. Publishing Co., Delhi, India.

Knight, J. 2000. Did Roman sailors shake hands with ancient Mexicans? New Scientist 2225:7.
Krause, D. 2001. Fossil molar from a Madagascan marsupial. Nature 412:497–498.

Langdon, R. 1988. Manioc, a long concealed key to the enigma of Easter Island. The Geographical Journal 154:324–336.
Layard, A. 1853. Discoveries among the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon. John Murray, New York, NY.

Mahan, J., and D. Braithwaite. 1975. Discovery of ancient coins in the United Sates. Anthropological Journal of Canada 13:15–18.

Nomland, G.A. 1932. Proboscis statue from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. American Anthropologist 34:591–593.
Pascual, R., M. Archer, E. Jaureguizar, J.L.Prado, H. Godthelp, and S.J. Hand. 1992. First discovery of monotremes in South America. Nature 356:704–705.

Rawlinson, G. 1885. The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World. John Alden, New York, NY.

Simpson, G.G. 1940. Mammals and land bridges. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 30:137–163.

Stirling, M. 1940. Great stone faces of the Mexican jungle. National Geographic 78:309–334.

Storey, A., J.M. Ramırez, D. Quiroz, D.V.Burley, D.J. Addison, R. Walter, A.J.Anderson, T.L. Hunt, J.S. Athens, L.Huynen, and E.A. Matisoo-Smith. 2007. Radiocarbon and DNA evidence for a pre-Columbian introduction of  Polynesian chickens to Chile. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 104:10335–10339.
Vickers-Rich, P., and N. Archbold. 1991. Squatters, priests and professors: a brief history of vertebrate paleontology in Monaghan, R.F. Baird, and T.H. Rich (editors), Vertebrate Paleontology of Australasia, pp. 1–39. Monash University Publications, Melbourne, Australia.

Terra Australis. In Vicers-Rich, P., J.M.

Von Wuthenau, A. 1975. Unexpected Faces in Ancient America. Crown, New York, NY.

Ward, R.G., and M. Brookield. 1992. The dispersal of the coconut: did it float or was it carried to Panama? Journal of Biogeography 19:467–480.

White, R.B. 1884. Notes on the aboriginal races of the north-western provinces of South America. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 13:240–258.

Wilkinson, J.G. 1837. Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians. J. Murray, London, England.