Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Even Answers in Genesis concede the "Cambodian Stegosaurus" is not evidence for human-dinosaur coexistence

Young earth creationist assertions that humans and dinosaurs coexisted are of course nonsense. The last non-avian dinosaurs died out at the end of the Cretaceous around 65 million years ago while the oldest reliably dated Homo sapiens fossils are nearly 200,000 years old. Fossil footprint evidence alleged by YECs to show that humans and dinosaurs coexisted such as the Paluxy River tracks are conceded even by some YECs to be bogus. The claim that 'soft tissue' in dinosaur bones proves the fossils are young is falsified by the securely dated strata in which the fossils were found, confirming their great age, while showing that organic molecules can be preserved for millions of years if the conditions are right. That leaves YECs with nothing other than fanciful interpretations of ancient artwork as evidence for their claims.

One of the more popular examples is a carving at the Ta Prohm temple in Angkor, Cambodia, dated to the 12th / 13th century CE, which some YECs allege is a depiction of a stegosaurus:

Those with more than a nodding familiarity with stegosaurus anatomy would realise that any similarity is at best superficial:

The lack of the tail spikes alone is a major problem for the YEC argument, along with the proportion of the head size and body. Arguably the biggest problem, as Glen Kuban notes is that the 'back plates', which are arguably the main reason YECs have latched onto the carving to support their claim it is a depiction of a stegosaurus, are also found on other animal carvings:
On actual stegosaur skeletons, the plates are typically more numerous, in double rows, more pointed and triangular, and larger toward the middle of the back than the head or tail. One might argue that the plates could have been stylized or similfied by the artist, but this does not go far, since a larger problem exists. That is, similar lobes (evidently representing decorative, floral flourishes) occur on many other animal carvings at the temple, including a bird and an apparent water buffalo, where they are virtually identical to the "plates" on the carving in question, but are clearly not back plates.
Kuban also notes that the absence of reliable, credible contemporary records of such large animals roaming Cambodia is difficult at best to reconcile with the YEC claim that the carving is evidence that dinosaurs were roaming Cambodia 700-800 years ago.

Now, even Answers in Genesis have conceded that the 'Cambodian Stegosaurus' is less than convincing:
Taken together, the ambiguity of the back structures as “back plates,” the lack of tail spikes, and the clear possession of an abnormally-large head with a pair of some type of protrusions (either external ears or horns), neither of which are found in stegosaurs, provide more than sufficient grounds for biblical creationists to at least question the identification of the bas-relief carving at the Ta Prohm temple at Angkor, Cambodia, as a post-Flood depiction of a stegosaur.
When even Answers in Genesis question something, it's time to seriously question your support of that argument.