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Paleontological Evidence 
for Old Age

Made from data from
the Present is Key to Past, 365 Topics in Historical Geology,
by Hugh Rance (revised July 2012)

This data is claimed as independent evidence for an old Earth, but like other dating methods this interpretation assumes conditions similar today, while ignoring the potential affect of a global flood on the data.  This claim is based on the fact that tidal forces from the Moon are slowing the Earth rotation rate.

 It is claimed that stromatolites, fossil tidal rhythmites, and fossil bivalves and coral all have growth indicators showing more days in a year at the time when they lived. However when one looks closely at this data, the claim is shown not to be valid.


Stromatolite - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stromatolites are produced by the activity of  cyanobacteria and living colonies produce 356 layers in year. Fossil "colonies" show have been found with 450-800 layers in apparent agreement with the slowing of the Earth rotation through the geologic ages.

The main problem is that fossil Stromatolites may not have formed from cyanobacteria. Some contain no evidence of the cyanobacteria and carbonate precipitation can result in some very stromatolite like structures, rendering the number of layers meaningless And making it consistent with a global Flood.

Tidal Rhythmites.

Tidal Rhythmites are produced by tidal action, so called fossil tidal rhythmites are assumed to indicate moon's position in the past. The simple fact is that the same patterns occur in varves. So are they rhythmites or varves?  Even experts have a hard time telling them a part in the geologic record. If they are varves then the patterns are meaningless for determining past lunar positions or the number of days in a year. Now rhythmites or varves  look similar and varves can formed at the same time by hydrological shorting. Just what one would expect during a global flood.

Bivalves and Coral.

Coral - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bivalvia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coral and bivalves normally produce one growth ring per day, normally it is 365. Do to the slowing of Earth rotation coral would have had more rings in the past on an old Earth .  Fossil coral and bivalves have been found with 357-450 growth rings. The extra growth rings are assumed to indicated more day per year.

As with most such claims the effects of a global flood are not considered. If a global flood did occur, variation in water movement could have caused more than one growth ring per day. Further more before the Flood there were probably smaller, if any seasonal variations and  this could have resulted in longer lived specimens.

The above comparison between growth rings and alleged age, shows significant variation out side the trend. One even has only about 357, so are we to assume that it is from the future?

When a statistical curve fit is graphed to this data; ( the purple line ) you see that some 6 bivalves / coral data points show more rings than those predicted by the curve, and 6 have fewer. Now sense a third of the bivalves / coral examples have more growth rings than alleged age indicates, they must have had more than one growth ring per day. Seeing as it is possible for coral and bivalves to have more one growth ring per day, then all of the examples could have had more than one growth ring per day.

The purple line is just a statistical curve fit to paleontological data and as such it is not based on actual tidal force data.

When this chart is compared to what the laws of physics say the number of days should be at a given time in the past; ( yellow curve ) based on real tidal drag data; it shows that the paleontological data does not even come close to a fit. Most of the examples are above the curve.

The current rate of change in Earth rotation rate is often mistakenly projected back in a strait line, but the law of physics show that the rate would be higher when the Moon was closer. Even if  the current rate of change is projected back in time, ( light blue line ) the statistical curve line ( purple line) is still way off. The measured rate of slowing is about 8.812 milliseconds / year2. ( based on data from the CRC Hand Book of Chemistry and Physics )

The rate indicated by the statistical curve is 13.14 milliseconds / year2. The result is that there is no correlation between paleontological data and projections based on direct observation of the changes in the Earth's rotation. This is further evidence against the accuracy using paleontological data in estimating tidal effects on Earth's rotation rate. It further indicates that the apparent trend in paleontological data has some other cause. So the rate suggested by paleontological data is no help for uniformitarian geology.


Paleontological data claimed as evidence of and old earth has problems, while the alleged trend in this data does not fit with actual observations of the effects of tidal drag on the Earth / Moon system. Neither do strait line projections or those base on the laws of physics as applied to the problem provide even a close match.

Further more when observed tidal data is projected back based on the laws of physics the maximum age for the Earth is less than 1.2 billion years. Now changes in the Earth or Moon could extend this further back, but extending it back to 4.5 billion years requires one to assume unrealistic conditions.

While it is not possible to precisely establish a maximum age for the Earth / Moon system; based on tidal data; it is necessary to assume unrealistic conditions to stretch it back 4.5 billion years. The data; used to support the claim of significantly shorter days in the past; does not even fit real tidal data.

Not only does paleontological data fail to prove an old Earth, it actually goes against an old Earth position.


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