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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CH561.3:

The order of fossils in the fossil record is explained by the animals' ability to escape the rising floodwaters. Slow animals, such as clams, are found low in the fossil record, while quicker animals, such as mammals and birds, appear higher.


Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, p. 119.


  1. Fossils are not sorted according to their ability to escape rising floodwaters. If they were, we would expect to see slow-moving species like sloths and tortoises and every low-elevation plant at the bottom of the fossil record, while fast-moving species, such as velociraptors, pterosaurs, and giant dragonflies, would be at the top. But this is nothing like what we actually observe; in many cases we find just the opposite. For example, in undisturbed strata there has not been a single sloth fossil found below even the highest velociraptor remains, and flowering plants do not appear in the fossil record until after winged insects and reptiles.

  2. Even common present-day floods trap all manner of people and animals. The violence of a flood that could cover the entire earth in forty days would be bound to trap many individuals from even fast-moving species, especially those that were old and infirm, crippled, or trapped in low-lying areas. Therefore, we would expect to find the occasional member of fast-moving species near the bottom of the fossil record. However, the vast majority of fossilized species are only found within certain relatively narrow ranges within the fossil record. For example, human fossils are only found at the very top of the fossil record (Pleistocene period and later), and tyrannosaurs are only found at the end of the Cretaceous period.

  3. The fossil record preserves entire ecosystems, not just individual species. Fossils of one species are found in association with fossils of other species common to their ecosystem. If fossil distribution is dependent on the ability to escape rising floodwaters, then all the species within an ecosystem must be equally capable of escape for them to be preserved together. But since these associated species include both highly motile animals and completely nonmotile plants, this is obviously not the case.

Further Reading:

Cuffey, Clifford A., 2001. The fossil record: Evolution or "scientific creation". or
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created 2003-6-9