The Scarcity of Antediluvian Human Remains
In contrast to the copious reports of post-Flood giants, it is much more difficult to find evidence of human remains, giant or otherwise, in Flood-laid strata. The absence of such remains is a thorny problem for biblical creationists of all denominations. Although there are reports of human remains or human artifacts in Flood-laid strata, most such reports date from the Nineteenth Century, and all are highly controversial.
Joseph Robert Jochmans of South Carolina, who did research for Rene Noorbergen’s Secrets of the Lost Races, relates the following story:
In July, 1877, four prospectors were looking for gold and silver outcroppings in a desolate, hilly area near the head of Spring Valley, not far from Eureka, Nevada. Scanning the rocks, one of the men spotted something peculiar projecting from a high ledge. Climbing up to get a better look, the prospector was surprised to find a human leg bone and kneecap sticking out of solid rock. He called to his companions, and together they dislodged the oddity with picks. Realizing they had a most unusual find, the men brought it into Eureka, where it was placed on display.
The stone in which the bones were embedded was a hard, dark red quartzite, and the bones themselves were almost black with carbonization—indicative of great age. When the surrounding stone was carefully chipped away, the specimen was found to be composed of a leg bone [femur] broken off four inches above the knee, the kneecap and joint, the lower leg bones [tibia and fibula], and the complete bones of the foot. Several medical doctors examined the remains and were convinced that anatomically, they had indeed once belonged to a human being, and a very modern-looking one. But an intriguing aspect of the bones was their size: from knee to heel they measured 39 inches. Their owner in life had thus stood over 12 feet tall. Compounding the mystery further was the fact that the rock in which the bones were found was dated geologically to the era of the dinosaurs, the Jurassic, over 185 million years old. The local papers ran several stories on the marvelous find, and two museums sent investigators to see if any more of the skeleton could be located. Unfortunately, nothing else but the leg and foot existed in the rock.[i]
If this story is true, it is a stunning confirmation of the truth of the Adventist understanding of earth history.
The remains are of exactly the size that Ellen White tells us was the size of antediluvian men—over twelve feet tall—and the remains are found in strata that are unquestionable Flood laid—the Jurassic, or middle dinosaur strata. On the other hand, the story is not as well authenticated as we would like. It is conceivable that the bones in question could have been dinosaurian. No skull was recovered, and it is possible that, for country doctors untrained in comparative vertebrate anatomy, only the skull would be unmistakably diagnostic.
Jochmans relates a few more instances of human remains found in Flood-laid sediment. A human skull, portions of ribs, vertebrae and a collarbone were reported found in sandstone identified as lower Silurian.[ii] Not even a biblical creationist, however, would expect to find human remains in Silurian strata, because land-dwelling animals are not found in those Strata.
Cremo and Thompson report a discovery, in 1862, of human remains in a mine in Macoupin County, Illinois. “The bones, when found were covered with a crust or coating of hard glossy matter, as black as coal itself, but when scraped away left the bones white and natural.” The coal mine probably dates to the Upper Carboniferous, between 286 and 320 million years old, according to conventional geological dating.[iii] The Carboniferous was deposited during the Genesis Flood, and if genuine human remains were found in situ in Carboniferous strata, they would conclusively falsify both Lyellism and Darwinism.
There are also numerous reports of human footprints in Flood-laid strata. As to the most famous of these sites, the Cretaceous limestone of the Paluxy riverbed, near Glen Rose, Texas, there is no reliable evidence of genuine human tracks.[iv] But there are other reported human tracks that have not been falsified.
According to an article by Dr. W. H. Ballou that appeared in the American Weekly section of the New York Sunday American in 1922, Mr. John T. Reid, a mining engineer and geologist, was prospecting for fossils in Nevada when he looked down and found what appeared to be a human footprint. Closer inspection revealed that it appeared to be the imprint of the sole of a shoe. The fossil revealed the well-defined imprint of stitching, which had attached the welt to the sole, along the outline of the sole.
Reid brought the specimen to New York and to the attention of other scientists, including Dr. James F. Kemp of Columbia University, and Henry Fairfield Osborn, W. D. Mathew, and E. O. Hovey of the American Museum of Natural History. They agreed that it was the most remarkable natural imitation of an artificial object that they had ever seen. They agreed that the fossil was from the Triassic, and thus could not have been a shoe, even though there did appear to be imprints of threads.
According to Ballou’s article, Dr. Matthew wrote a brief report on the find and, in a comment reminiscent of the fossil controversy of the sixteenth through the early eighteenth centuries, declared it to be a remarkable natural imitation—a lusus naturae, or sport of nature. In researching and attempting to verify Ballou’s article, Cremo and Thompson inquired of the American Museum and were told that Dr. Matthew’s report was not in AMNH’s files.
According to the article, Reid persisted with his investigation of the imprint, taking it to a micro-photographer and analytical chemist of the Rockefeller Institute, who, on his own time, made microphotographs of the specimen. “The microphoto magnifications are twenty times larger than the specimen itself, showing the minutest detail of thread twist and warp, proving conclusively that the shoe sole is not a resemblance but is strictly the handiwork of man. Even to the naked eye the threads can be seen distinctly and the definitely symmetrical outlines of the shoe sole. Inside this rim and running parallel to it is a line which appears to be regularly perforated as if for stitches.”[v]
Another well-documented case concerns bipedal trackways found in the Carboniferous of Kentucky. One set of tracks was discovered in 1885 at the summit of Big Hill in the Cumberland Mountains in Jackson County, Kentucky. Apparently, road-building activity uncovered the trackways on a layer of Carboniferous limestone. A professor J.F. Brown of Berea College was called in to investigate, as reported in the American Antiquarian.[vi]
Another set was found in the 1930s on a farm belonging to Mr. O. Finnell in the hills in the southern part of Rockcastle County, Kentucky. Another professor from Berea College, Wilbur Greeley Burroughs, investigated the site. Professor Burroughs concluded that,
during the beginning of the Upper Carboniferous (Coal Age) Period, creatures that walked on their two hind legs and had human-like feet, left tracks on a sand beach in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. This was the period known as the Age of Amphibians when animals moved about on four legs or more rarely hopped, and their feet did not have a human appearance. But in Rockcastle, Jackson and several other counties in Kentucky, as well as in places from Pennsylvania to Missouri inclusive, creatures that had feet strangely human in appearance and that walked on two hind legs did exists. The writer has proved the existence of these creatures in Kentucky. With the cooperation of Dr. C.W. Gilmore, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, Smithsonian Institution, it has been shown that similar creatures lived in Pennsylvania and Missouri.[vii]
Burroughs stated that “there are three pairs of tracks showing left and right footprints. . . . Each footprint has five toes and a distinct arch. The toes are spread apart like those of a human being who has never worn shoes.”
David L. Bushnell of the Smithsonian suggested that Indians had carved the prints. To rule out this hypothesis Burroughs studied a cross-section of the prints under the microscope. Microscopic analysis of the density of sand grains confirmed that the grains under the track were closer together.
The sand grains within the tracks are closer together than the sand grains of the rock just outside the tracks due to the pressure of the creature’s feet. Even the sand grains in the arch of one of the best preserved tracks are not as close together as in the heel of the same track, though closer together than the sand outside the track. This is because there was more pressure upon the heel than beneath the arch of the foot. In comparing the texture of sandstone, only the same kind of grains and combinations of grains within and outside of the tracks are considered.[viii]
There were no telltale marks of carving, either.[ix] Measuring the density of sand grains is considered a reliable technique for determining whether a track was carved or was impressed before the sediment hardened. This same technique was used to determine that some of the most human-like Paluxy River tracks were carved, and not genuine.[x]
A few antediluvian artifacts have also been reported, including a gold thread in Carboniferous stone,[xi] a metallic vase-like object from the Precambrian rock of Massachusetts,[xii] a gold chain in Carboniferous coal in Illinois,[xiii] a carved stone in the Carboniferous of Iowa,[xiv] an iron cup from the Carboniferous of Oklahoma,[xv] and metallic tubes from the Cretaceous of France.[xvi] If any of these finds is genuine, and was genuinely in situ in the indicated strata, it destroys the entire Lyellian/Darwinian worldview. Very seldom, however, has anyone even claimed to find human artifacts that might be of antediluvian origin.[xvii]
What accounts for the, at best, extreme rarity of pre-Flood human traces or remains? It has been suggested that the pre-Flood population remained quite small.[xviii] This has the flavor of an excuse. Assuming that antediluvian women were fertile for a third of their lives, they would have been fertile for 300 years. According to Jewish tradition, Adam and Eve had 56 children, thirty-three sons and twenty-three daughters.[xix] Assuming that each couple had six children—an unrealistically conservative assumption—Whitcomb and Morris calculate that in the 1650 pre-Flood years, the antediluvian population could easily have reached one billion.[xx] (Ellen White refers to the antediluvian population as “vast.”[xxi])
Yet it would appear that the Genesis Flood utterly destroyed the antediluvians, whatever their numbers, leaving no trace of them or their artifacts. With regard to artifacts, God seems to have supernaturally intervened to destroy them:
The people first beheld the destruction of the works of their own hands. Their splendid buildings, and the beautiful gardens and groves where they had placed their idols, were destroyed by lightning from heaven, and the ruins were scattered far and wide. . . . As the violence of the storm increased, trees, buildings, rocks, and earth were hurled in every direction. The terror of man and beast was beyond description.[xxii]
With regard to the bodies of the people themselves, there have been several suggestions. It would seem that during the Flood, people, being highly intelligent and highly mobile, would have reached the highest ground and would have been among the last to be carried away by the deluge. By this time, most of the sediment that would deposited during the Flood had already been laid.
Additionally, studies have shown that both living and dead mammals tend to float on water. In the case of dead animals, gases created during decomposition aid buoyancy.[xxiii] Thus, mammalian remains would have tended to come to rest on top of the Flood-laid sediments as the floodwaters subsided and drained. And thus, most of the human and mammal remains would have escaped burial and fossilization in Flood-laid sediments.
In the natural course, the remains would have decomposed on the surface of the ground, leaving few if any fossils. Ellen White tells us, however, that God supernaturally intervened to prevent this process running its course:
Everywhere were strewn the dead bodies of men and beasts. The Lord would not permit these to remain to decompose and pollute the air, therefore He made of the earth a vast burial ground. A violent wind which was caused to blow for the purpose of drying up the waters [Gen. 8:1], moved them with great force, in some instances even carrying away the tops of the mountains and heaping up trees, rocks, and earth above the bodies of the dead.[xxiv]
Clearly, God must have buried the bodies deep, making them difficult to find or stumble upon.
Although the lack of antediluvian human fossils is a serious problem for creationists, Darwinists have a similar problem. If humans have been around for 200,000 years in more or less their present form, and at least another two million years as transitional creatures, scientists should have found many more hominid and human fossils than they have, to say the least. “The creationist difficulty of explaining the scarcity of human [fossils from] the short period before the flood,” writes Ariel Roth, “is probably not as serious as the evolutionist problem of accounting for the sparsity of human remains and activity during at least a half million years of proposed human (Homo sapiens) evolution.”[xxv]
And the lack of human fossils is far from the Darwinists’ most serious difficulty with the fossil record. Recall that at least half of the predicted fossil record is completely missing. “If my theory be true,” wrote Darwin, “it is indisputable that before the lowest [Cambrian] stratum was deposited, long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the [Cambrian] age to the present day; and that during these vast, yet quite unknown, periods of time, the world swarmed with living creatures.”[xxvi]
Yet the fossil record reveals not a trace of those swarms of living creatures.
[i]. Jochmans, J.R., “Strange Relics from the Depths of the Earth.” Found all over the Internet, including at http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3924ba1b649c.htm. Jochmans does not cite a source for this story, but Scientific American and American Antiquarian, ca. 1880s, would be good places to look.
[ii]. Jochmans, supra, citing Scientific American, 1880, reprinting the particulars of a discovery made in the spring of 1880, first reported in the St. Louis Republican.
[iii]. Cremo, et al., at 454, citing The Geologist, December 1862.
[iv]. Around 1950, a Seventh-day Adventist researcher named Clifford L. Burdick claimed to have found human tracks in the Cretaceous limestone of the Paluxy Riverbed. Two Adventist science Ph.Ds (Southwestern Adventist University is about thirty miles from the site), Berney Neufeld and Arthur Chadwick, have both repudiated the supposed man tracks. Neufeld sectioned some of the tracks in the early 1970s. The sections indicated that the tracks were probably carved hoaxes. See Neufeld, “Dinosaur Tracks and Giant Men” Origins, 2(2):64-76 (1975) http://www.grisda.org/origins/02064.htm. Later creationist researchers have claimed that certain elongate tracks were “giant man tracks,” but it appears that the better explanation is that three-toed dinosaurs made these tracks in soupy mud. The toes filled in before the tracks were preserved. See Kuban, “The Taylor Site ‘man tracks,’” Origins Research 9:1-10 (1986).
[v]. Cremo, et al., at pp. 807, 808, citing Ballou, W. H. “Mystery of the Petrified ‘shoe sole’ 5,000,000 years old,” American Weekly section of the New York Sunday American, October 8, 1922. This paper is no longer in business, and I have not been able to secure a microfiche copy. There may be a mention of this story in a journal cited as follows: Victoria Institute, 80:21, 22 (1948). Harold W. Clark relates this story in his 1929 book Back to Creationism, at pp. 24-26. He writes:
When the discovery was first made, I wrote directly to the American Museum of Natural History, New York, for it was announced that the specimen had been sent there for study. In reply, the curator, W. D. Mathew, stated that he had examined it, but, to quote his exact words, that ‘the discovery is of course arrant nonsense. The specimen is, in fact, a flat siliceous concretion, of a type not uncommon in limestones, with some accidental resemblance to a part of a shoe-sole, weathered to a rusty brown and with a row of little holes near the margin where a band of small calcite crystals, formed at one stage of the growth of the conretion, has weathered out.’ . . . It certainly is remarkable that the ‘flat siliceous concretion’ should resemble a shoe-sole so closely both in shape, color, and in the possession of a row of little holes just where the sewing should be, and not only that, but show some portions of the thread left so plain that the very twist of the thread can be measured.
Jochmans relates a very similar story in “Strange relics from the depths of the earth.” Although Jochman’s story has a different date (1927, instead of 1922) and a different discoverer (Albert E. Knapp, instead of John T. Reid), it is so similar to Cremo and Thompson that it must be a garbled version of the same story (or perhaps Cremo and Thompson’s is the garbled version). I reproduce Jochman’s version here:
One of the most remarkable tracks was found in Fisher Canyon, Pershing County, Nevada. On January 25, 1927, an amateur geologist named Albert E. Knapp was descending a small hill in the canyon, when he spotted the fossil laying topside up among a pile of loose rocks. He picked up the find, and took it home with him. Upon closer examination, Knapp was astounded to discover, "it is a layer from the heel of a shoe which had been pulled up from the balance of the heel by suction, the rock being in a plastic state at the time." The shoe print was in a marvelous state of preservation - the edges of the heel were smooth and rounded off as if cut, and its right side appeared more worn than the left - suggesting it had been worn on the right foot. But what Knapp found really amazing was that the rock in which the heel mark was made, was Triassic limestone—225 million years old—which runs in a belt through the canyon hills he had been exploring. The rock was later examined by an expert geologist at the Rockefeller Foundation, who confirmed Knapp's analysis. The presence of minute crystals of sulphide of mercury throughout spaces in the fossil also testified to it being of great antiquity.
The real surprise about the age-old heel imprint, however, did not come until micro-photographs revealed that the leather had been stitched by a double row of stitches, the twists of the threads is very discernable. One line followed along the heel's outer edge, and the second line paralleled the first precisely, inwards by one-third of an inch. What baffled investigators was the fact that this double-stitching had been done with thread much smaller, and more refined in workmanship, than that used by shoe-makers in 1927, when the fossil print was discovered. As Mr. Samuel Hubbard, Honorary Curator of Archaeology of the Oakland Museum in California, commented: "There are whole races of primitive men on earth today, utterly incapable of sewing that moccasin. What becomes of the Darwinian theory in the face of this evidence that there were intelligent men on earth millions of years before apes were supposed to have evolved?"
[vi]. Jochmans, citing Allen, E.A., American Antiquarian, 7:39 (1885), and Louisville Courier-Journal, May 24, 1953.
[vii]. Cremo, et al., at p. 455, citing W. G. Burroughs, “Human-like footprints, 250 million years old,” The Berea Alumnus, (November, 1938) pp. 46, 47.
[viii]. Cremo, et al., at p. 455, 456.
[ix]. Cremo, et al., at pp. 454-458, citing Kent Previette, “Who went there?” Courier-Journal Magazine, Louisville, Kentucky, May 24, 1953; A.G. Ingalls, “The Carboniferous Mystery,” Scientific American, 162:14 (1940).
[x]. See, e.g., Neufeld, Berney, “Dinosaur Tracks and Giant Men,” Origins, 2(2):64-76 (1975).
[xi]. Cremo and Thompson, at p. 198, citing The Times of London, June 22, 1844. “A few days ago, as some workmen were employed in quarrying a rock close to the Tweed about a quarter of a mile below Rutherford-mill, a gold thread was discovered in the stone at a depth of eight feet.” Dr. Medd of the British Geological survey relates that the stone is of early Carboniferous age. See also Rene Noorbergen, Secrets of the Lost Races (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1977), p. 42
[xii]. Cremo and Thompson, at pp. 798, 799, citing “A Relic of a Bygone Age,” Scientific American, (June 5, 1852). See also Jochmans (who cites Scientific American, 7:298-299 (June 1851)); Noorbergen, p. 41; Brad Steiger, Worlds Before Our Own (New York: Berkeley Books, 1978), p. 7, with illustration between pp. 88 and 89 (see below).
Metallic object found in “pudding stone” of Meeting House Hill
[xiii]. Cremo and Thompson, at p. 805, citing The Morrisonville Times, June 11, 1891. See also Noorbergen, at pp. 41, 42; Jochmans.
[xiv]. Cremo and Thompson, at p. 806, citing the Omaha, Nebraska, Daily News, April 2, 1897.
[xv]. Cremo and Thompson, pp. 806, 807, citing Wilbert H. Rusch, of Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Michigan, who learned of it in 1966 from Frank Lewis Marsh, of Andrews University, who learned of it from Robert Nordling, in 1949. Nordling had visited a friend’s museum in southern Missouri, and found among the curios an iron cup, which was on display along with an affidavit of Frank J. Kenwood of Sulphur Springs, Arkansas. Kenwood signed a sworn affidavit on November 27, 1948, stating, “While I was working in the Municipal Electric Plant in Thomas, Oklahoma, in 1912, I came upon a solid chunk of coal which was too large to use. I broke it with a sledgehammer. This iron pot fell from the center, leaving the impression or mould of the pot in the piece of coal. Jim Stall (an employee of the company) witnessed the breaking of the coal, and saw the pot fall out. I traced the source of the coal and found it came from the Wilburton, Oklahoma mines.” The mines in question are dated to the Carboniferous, about 312 million years old by conventional dating.
[xvi]. Cremo and Thompson, at pp. 809, 810, citing William R. Corliss, Ancient Man: A Handbook of Puzzling Artifacts (Glen Arm, MD: Sourcebook Project, 1978), pp. 652, 653.
[xvii]. The whole subject of out-of-place artifacts, or “ooparts” as Rene Noorbergen referred to them, calls for prudence, caution, and a healthy dose of skepticism. For many years, something called the “Coso artifact” was on everyone’s list of “ooparts.” (See, e.g., Noorbergen, at pp. 43-45). Three rockhounds—Mike Mikesell, Virginia Maxey, and Wallace Lane—found it in 1961 while looking for geodes in the Coso Mountains near Olancha, California. It appeared to be a regular geode, but Mikesell nearly ruined a ten-inch diamond saw trying to cut it in half, because he cut through a piece of metal. They sent the object to Ron Calais, who brought it to the attention of the Fortean Society, which specializes in anomalous finds. X-rays were taken of the rock, revealing that it contained some form of mechanical apparatus that looked a lot like a spark plug. To make a long story short, it was a spark plug. A 1920s-era Champion spark plug, to be exact. A couple of skeptics named Pierre Stromberg and Paul Heinrich submitted the information and X-rays of the artifact to Chad Windham of the Spark Plug Collectors of America, who positively identified it. It turned out that mining operations had been conducted in the Olancha area in the early twentieth century, and the spark plug was apparently discarded at that time and subsequently became encrusted with minerals in a way that mimicked the look of a geode. See, “The Coso Artifact: Mystery from the Depths of Time,” by Pierre Stromberg and Paul Heinrich.
[xviii]. See, e.g., Roth, Ariel, Origins (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 1998), pp. 123, 124; Woodmorappe, John, “A diluviological treatise on the stratigraphic separation of fossils,” Studies in Flood Geology (El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1999), pp. 57-61.
[xix]. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, book I, ch. II, paragraph 3, in Whiston’s Josephus, the Excelsior Edition (London: William P. Nimmo) p. 27.
[xx]. Whitcomb, John C., and Henry Morris, The Genesis Flood (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1961), pp. 25, 26.
[xxi]. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 102 (“Of the vast population of the earth before the Flood, only eight souls believed and obeyed God’s world through Noah.”).
[xxii]. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 99.
[xxiii]. Woodmorappe, supra, at p. 60, citing Schafer, Wilhelm, Ecology and Paleoecology of Marine Environments (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972) p. 20.
[xxiv]. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 107, 108.
[xxv]. Roth, at p. 124.
[xxvi]. Darwin, Charles, The Origin of Species, 1859, (Reprint: New York: Gramercy Books), p. 313.