Fossils on Friday – Wrapping It All Up!

Welcome to the last post of this series of Fossils on Friday, as we head into the August break.

I know that I said we would be looking at Carboniferous shale as the last subject, to give us a really good look at evidence of the worldwide flood described in the Bible, but due to a couple of reasons, I am going to be using a slightly different example – the Jurassic lias.

I’ve decided to change, first of all, because the Jurassic lias is just as good evidence, as are many other formations. And the Jurassic lias is also a bit more well-known in the UK – it makes up the majority of the world famous ‘Jurassic Coast’, both in Dorset and Yorkshire. And I am also currently writing a new field guide to the Jurassic Coast, in preparation for the upcoming Hollywood film – ‘Ammonite’, based on Mary Anning.

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Mary Anning, the famed fossil hunter from Lyme Regis

So, the Jurassic Coast, and more specifically, Jurassic Lias. Lias is simply Cornish for ‘layers’, the first geologists misheard the local description of the cliffs, and named the formation ‘Lias’. The Lias is found all across the UK, from Cornwall, through Devon, Wales, Dorset, and then on up through Cambridgeshire, Yorkshire, and into Scotland. It truly is a nationwide formation.

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The Jurassic Lias at Charmouth, Dorset

The Lias is abundant with fossils. From enormous dinosaur-like marine reptiles, such as the Ichthyosaur and Plesiosaur, to smaller marine shells and the famous ammonites. It is also full of plant material, specifically southern conifer trunks and branches. Even the odd dinosaur turns up in there!

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An illustration of an Ichthyosaur

But did you notice something? Marine and land reptiles together? Deep sea ammonites and shells buried right next to land plants? How does that make sense?

In university, I studied Palaeobiology, where I was taught you were supposed to be able to take a particular rock formation, and then recreate an entire ecosystem from it. In other words, the rocks were deposited in a shallow marine environment, because you found shallow marine creatures fossilised in it. Or it was deposited in a deep sea environment because you found deep sea creatures fossilised in it. Sounds simple, right? But what do you do with the Jurassic Lias?!? It is a complete mess when it comes to an ecosystem, nothing makes sense.

Fossil wood buried right next to ammonites, on display in the Sedgwick Museum

This leads me to give you three very important points. First, the idea of ecosystems in the fossil record in based on the idea that creatures lived, died and got buried in the same place. This is a false notion, fossils only tell you how the creature died, not how it lived. Second, the idea of ecosystems is also based on the idea that the creatures not only lived and died in the same place, but were buried on the floor of the sea, with the sediments building up vertically. But as we’ve really shown over the last few weeks, this is impossible. Layers do not form vertically, but sideways. And the final point? Whenever you find very mixed ecosystem in the rocks, such as land and sea creatures/plants together, you have excellent evidence of a flood.

Yes, the Jurassic Lias is excellent evidence for Noah’s Flood, described in the Bible as a global event. Global? Oh, the Jurassic Lias doesn’t just exist in the UK. The Jurassic rocks go across Europe, Asia, into Australia, and are found all throughout the Americas. Yes, the Jurassic is a worldwide flood-deposited formation!

Anyways, I’m off to write a book!

See you next time!