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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CC362:

There are many places where fossils occur in great numbers. These vast fossil beds indicate catastrophic rapid burial, not gradualistic conditions.


Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, pp. 97-100.


  1. Great numbers of fossils in one area indicate great numbers of animals dying in that area (or, in some cases, their bodies being transported there). Usually, this argues against rapid burial, because that many animals are not found together at once in life. A simpler explanation is that animals have died in the area over many years. For example, one mass burial is at the La Brea Tar Pits, which have been trapping animals for thousands of years.

  2. In fact, vast fossil beds are evidence against catastrophic rapid burial. One formation alone (the Karroo Formation in Africa) is estimated to contain 800 billion vertebrate fossils. If that is just 1 percent of the world's fossils, there must be 2100 vertebrate animals per acre, far more than we see today (Schadewald 1982). Fossil plant remains, such as coal, are almost 100 times more massive than living plant biomass (Poldervaart 1955; Ricklefs 1993).

  3. Mass kills can occur through normal processes. Every year, hundreds of wildebeests drown during river crossings on their annual migration. Their bodies wash up on river banks. Collapse of the stream banks could bury many. Other local catastrophes can also kill many animals at once.


  1. Poldervaart, Arie, 1955. Chemistry of the earth's crust. pp. 119-144 In: Poldervaart, A., ed., Crust of the Earth, Geological Society of America Special Paper 62, MD: Waverly Press.
  2. Ricklefs, Robert, 1993. The Economy of Nature. New York: W. H. Freeman
  3. Schadewald, Robert J., 1982. Six 'Flood' arguments Creationists can't answer. Creation/Evolution 9: 12-17.

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created 2003-6-23