Chalicotheres are problems for YECs

Chalicotheres are Perissodactyls. Perissodactyl is the scientific name for odd-toed ungulates. Odd-toed ungulates are animals like horses, rhinos, and tapirs that are hooves, but put all of their weight on their third toe in the middle.

Chalicotheres are unique animals. But they are not like some bizarre lemur that has adapted to an island environment. Chalicotheres are a Super Family- meaning there are three different families of chalicotheres. Or in YEC terms – chalicotheres represent three different kinds. AiG is aware of chalicotheres. In fact, they wrote a blog post in 2014 about the animals. They even feature a model chalicothere at the Ark Encounter!

r/Creation - Chalicotheres are problematic for YEC

Noah feeding a chalicothere

Paleontologists discovered the strange mammals back in the late 19th century. But ever since the 2000’s paleontologists keep finding more and more fossils of chalicotheres. The animals are found in a variety of environments, on almost every continent, and across a wide range of strata. See fossil info here. So where is the problem for YECs?

First, ALL chalicothere fossils are post-flood. Even if you think that the flood boundary is in the late-Cenozoic (which has problems), they are all post-flood. Even the AiG blog post admits that they are post-flood animals. YECs assume the Ice age occurred in the 250 years after the flood.

This is a lot of info, so let me be specific with the problems chalicotheres present for YEC:

  1. Two chalicotheres disembarked from Noah’s ark 4,400 years ago in Mesopotamia. Then in the next 250 years, chalicotheres diversified into dozens of species, spread out across the entire world, into a diverse array of habitats, and then suddenly died. All of them. Without a single one surviving. And presumably without any human ever getting to see one of these creatures. There are hundreds of chalicothere fossils all over the world. If fossilization (after the flood) is so rare, how many chalicotheres were alive? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?
  2. Some might argue that the Ice Age wiped them out. But not all chalicotheres would have been impacted by The Ice Age because according to this Ice Age Map the chalicotheres in Africa and Asia would have been fine.
  3. Chalicotheres were found in China, Germany, Greece, Pakistan, Kenya, Florida, California, Texas, South Africa, Mongolia, Mexico, Ethiopia. All OVER the world. But the only fossils we have are buried in sedimentary rock after the flood. What fossilized all of these animals? YECs admit that the global flood didn’t bury ANY of the hundreds of chalicothere fossils.
  4. YECs like to point out the problems with dinosaur fossils that have been discovered with soft-material. But why haven’t we found ANY soft material in the chalicothere fossils? They were all buried in the last 4,100 years or so.

tldr; big slothy horse makes it seem like earth longer than 6,000 years old

YEC views that have changed over the last 40 years

YEC has evolved over the last 40 years.

1. The geologic column is generally accepted as accurate The most influential YEC book (perhaps 2nd to the Bible) is The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb and Morris. Back in the ’70s, the authors were keen on discrediting the standard geologic column as a uniformitarian heresy. However, decades and many, many oil drills later, YECs now accept the geologic column (though not the ages).

2. Biologic diversity is a result of natural selection. Decades ago, natural selection was only supported by “evolutionists” or “secularists.” But even Answers in Genesis now incorporates natural selection into their theories. One of the Ark Encounter’s zoologists explains at 11:03 on video YouTube video made during the quarantine. Also, it is worth noting that in the video around the 2:15 mark, the AiG speaker states that there were about 6,800 animals on the ark. Those 6800 animals diversified into what species exist today (and those who are extinct). Contrast that with p. 69 of The Genesis Flood where the authors argued no more than 35,000 individual vertebrates were required to be on the ark.

3. Not all fossils are a result of Noah’s Flood
YECs know that the flood boundary is a crucial part of their theory. Where the floods end in the geologic record determines what animals died during Noah’s flood and which were created afterward. The problem is that YECs cannot decide where the global deluge starts and stops according to the rocks. Some argue that it is at the K-Pg boundary, but many YECs claim it is much later in the fossil record in the late Cenozoic. Well..there are those outliers that claim it is at the Lower Carboniferous.
Of course, either way- later Cenozoic or K-Pg boundary creates a dilemma. Unlike Ken Ham’s claim that a global flood means millions of fossils buried in rock all over the world, we also have lots and lots of fossils that were made in the 4,400 years since.

4. “Statistical Baraminology” has blurred the lines between kinds
Statistical baraminology was championed by the YEC biologist Todd Wood and retired vet turned baraminologist Jean Lightener. Statistical baraminology plots data sets of animal morphology and groups animals together. YECs have concluded that there is a lot of similarity between birds and theropod dinosaurs; see here. Paleontologist and YEC critic Phillip J. Senter has used baraminological methodology to show birds are dinosaurs. Also, YEC scientist Todd Wood has been heavily criticized for his work that shows an overlap between Austropolethicus and Homo sapiens. Not to mention the Ark Encounter video where the AiG zoologist admits that synapsids are mammal-like reptiles. Also, according to this article, dinosaurs might have had feathers.

5. Radiometric Dating is accurate for “relative dating
Given the countless amount of YEC hours spent debunking radiometric dating, this should come as a surprise. In a 2018 paper, the leading geologist of YEC (Andrew Snelling) admits on p. 3 of this paper the following. “Some of the minerals found in the supergene weathering zones of ore deposits can be date using the Ar/Ar radioisotope method. It could be argued that the method is unreliable and so cannot provide absolute dates. However, when it is carefully used it can still provide relative dates anchored to the biblical parameters for subdividing and dating the rock record.”