Natural Pitfall Traps on Naturalis Historia

@Joel_Duff has written several blog posts about fossil evidence that flies in the face of young-earth constructs, especially when investigating the greater context beyond just the bones themselves, and this is another interesting one:

I enjoyed it partly because I had no idea there were ever such things as “bear-dogs” or that deer-like creature (dinosaurs get all the glory when it comes to extinct creatures, apparently!), but this paragraph near the end stood out to me too:

Unfortunately, fossil locations such as this one will either not be mentioned in the creationist literature or will be written about vaguely as being easily explained as an ice-age event that took place over just a few hundred years but the specific geological context of the fossils will not be mentioned. It is a hear-no-evil see-no-evil approach that has served Ham and his colleagues well for a long time. I don’t expect that will change anytime soon but I do feel for Christians that have grown up following YEC literature and are then exposed to places like this fossil site only to discover that creationist’ geology has ill-equipped them to explain the origin of these fossils.

This is very true, and these are the kinds of details I never heard about growing up. I hope that those who find this kind of information troubling will have the courage to look beyond AIG’s hand-waving (because it can be a difficult and painful thing to do at first), and will also keep in mind that the Naturalis Historia blog is one of many places where an honest exploration of the evidence is not treated as at all “threatening” to Christian faith.


Interesting to see us talking about literal pitfalls, rather than allegoric pitfalls! I thought the article was interesting in talking about how predators entered due to the structure of the pitfall, then were unable to get out, which is unusual.


Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

Me neither! How cool.

Agreed. Some of my favorite extinct creatures are mammals! Off topic, but just for fun:

  • the glyptodon, a Volkswagen-sized armadillo

  • the thalassocnus, an entire lineage of extinct marine sloths

  • and the nine-foot-long rodent Phoberomys pattersoni.

Anyway, back to the topic, I love @Joel_Duff 's voice in everything he writes. May his tribe increase!


Got to really watch out for those allegorical ones:-) But seriously, the means by which most predators got stuck is obviously speculative. The rather large percentage of carnivores of various types and spread over time, as evidenced by their spacial positions in the sediments, requires an explanation that involves different predators coming in at different times. A reasonable hypothesis seemed to be that predators would smell or hear dying animals and be too tempted by the possible easy meal that they would take larger risks than usual. I wonder if animals might assume their could be an alternative exit or do they calculate that they will have to return by the same path they enter? That would be some interesting data if anyone has ever looked as such things in modern animals.


Sinkholes are common in Florida and many other areas. I live in an area of limestone and associated caves, one of which is called Dead Man’s Hole where bodies were dumped back in the Civil War. Future paleontologists will probably have fun figuring that one out. In any case, there are probably areas with active sinkholes that would make for interesting study.

My prediction is that AIG and company will assert that the fossils are out of sequence because they are within an older strata and then present this as evidence that evolution is wrong.

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