The Great Alaskan Dinosaur Adventure
Item # 0890512329
Table of Contents:
Preface and Acknowledgments 7
1. North to Alaska 13
2. What Did We Get Ourselves Into? 19
3. Mosquitoes and the Ziploc Bag 35
4. The Eighty-Pound Dinosaur Jaw 41
5. Mosquitoes — Rare, Medium, or Well-Done 53
6. Out on a Limb — Branchiosaurus 65
7. Disaster Strikes — Quicksand 71
8. Dinosaur Bones Frozen in Time 83
9. More Mosquitoes and the Melted Toilet Seat 93
10. Stranded, Rescued, Jailed! 101
11. Life in an Eskimo Village 113
12. Stuck in the Arctic Ocean on an Eskimo Caribou Hunt 119
13. Where Do We Go from Here? A Postscript 131
Dinosaur Bones — Frozen in Time
Monday, July 18
The fog that rolled in with the cold north wind off the Arctic Ocean lasted all night. At 8:00 the sky appeared to be cloudy, and the temperature was about 40 degrees (F). We had waited a long time for this day. We had endured many struggles and hardships to finally make it to this point. We rejoiced in the Lord that yesterday was over and everything turned out well. Before we left, we thanked the Lord for a new day. We had a very relaxing morning. No one was up early because of
our hard day the day before and the cool morning temperatures. Some of us just didn't want to get out of our nice warm sacks. Besides, Sunday had been anything but a day of rest. After getting up, most of us did a little wash. We had some really muddy clothes from being in the river and in the quicksand. The sun tried to poke through the clouds a few
times. The wind died down and a few of the mosquitoes came back. Obviously, the river continued to fall as evidenced by the wide and wet muddy areas exposed on the beaches. After lunch we hiked down to see if we could find some bones.
About 1:00 we began our two-mile hike to the bone site. We were careful to avoid the quicksand Dan was stuck in the night before. We certainly didn't want to go through that ordeal again! When we came to a place that looked questionable, we sent one guy on ahead to test out the mud. Getting stuck was better for one guy than for all of us at once. In fact, Dan did get stuck again, but this time he was able to work his way out. The weather cleared up and the skies were partly to mostly sunny. Large grizzly tracks were in the willows along the way. They looked fresh. We were surprised we hadn't seen a bear. We hoped that when they heard us coming, they'd take off and avoid us. Taking no chances, Buddy and Mike both carried their guns in case of attack.
We easily found the Liscomb Bone Bed. Mike had become very proficient with the G.P.S. and he led us right to it. Before the trip we had received coordinates from someone who had collected at the site previously. There were scattered bits of bone in the rubble above the bed. After removal of the rubble, we found the bones were coming from two coal layers and a gray shale layer sandwiched between. We were digging on a steep slope 15 feet above the river. We could not believe how many bones were present! Most of the bones we found were disarticulated (they were not lying next to each other in their original life positions). Because of this and the abundance of bones, one is led to believe these are the bones from many animals, not just one or two. Most have been identified as coming from the Hadrosauridae family (known as duckbill dinosaurs). What kind of water catastrophe occurred to deposit these bones from all these animals? Noah's flood? Or perhaps these were post-flood deposits occurring before or after the Ice Age.
When vertebrate animals die, other animals usually scavenge them. Bacteria also play their role, and in a matter of years (or less) there are no remaining traces of the organism if it dies on land. By far, land would be the normal place for a land animal to die. For example, there were millions of buffalo that roamed the prairies of North America 150 years ago. Where are all of their skeletons today? They have long since disappeared because of the decay process. If something does not happen to a skeleton to prevent decay, it will never become fossilized. The dinosaur bones we found were the result of water deposition. Dinosaurs were land animals. How did their abundant remains end up in water-laid deposits?
One hypothesis is that the dinosaurs drowned during Noah's flood. Their dead, decaying bodies then bloated and floated in the flood waters. As decay progressed, parts of their bodies would fall to the sea bottom and be buried (preventing further decay) by the sedimentary processes of the flood. This is a possible explanation for finding the usual occurrence of partial and disarticulated dinosaur skeletons in water-laid deposits. The bones of the Liscomb Bone Bed seem consistent with this hypothesis. It was interesting to note that modern marine "seashells" occurred in the sediments immediately above the bone beds. There was no obvious non-conformity (erosional surface) between the rocks containing the dinosaurs and these "seashells." This suggested the shells were deposited soon after the dinosaurs and not millions of years later as a conventional view would teach.
The Liscomb Bone Bed has produced the most important dinosaur remains from Alaska. We collected bones on and below the surface. We found both fossilized and what appeared to be unfossilized bones. After digging down about three feet, we found more bones frozen in permafrost. We were seeking the frozen unfossilized bones for our research, although we collected some fossilized bones as well. Both types were found together. (We are not sure how to explain it.) One can tell right away whether a bone is fossilized or not because of its weight. The fossilized bones have had minerals deposited within the pore spaces of the bone making them heavier. Within two hours we had plenty of bones for our project. We were surprised at their abundance. John thought we might have needed several days to collect the bones we would need. The Lord was good — He provided everything we found. All the struggles we endured were worth it. After collecting, we had a prayer of thanksgiving and praise for our wonderful Creator. We could not help but praise the Lord for His goodness to us. As we hiked back to camp we wondered how important the bones might be that we were carrying on our backs. What would they contain? Could they help us answer some questions concerning the creation/evolution issue? Only time would tell.
It takes much faith to believe these bones might be 70 million years old. We cannot even imagine how long a million years would be. In the past there may have been countless freezes and thaws that had the potential to destroy the bones. As we were digging we saw the sun melt the ice around the bones and watched some of them turning into a sawdust-like powder. Other bones came out in perfect condition. The older the bones, the more potential they have for being destroyed. The fact that some bones are found in pristine condition may suggest that they are not millions of years old. It is our belief that these dinosaurs lived only thousands of years ago, and have not been buried for millions of years.
From an evolutionary point of view, approximately 65 million years separates the time these bones were buried and the time of the Ice Age. It is amazing these bones refused to decay and/or become fossilized before they were frozen — if one believes that millions of years existed. Compared to the faith of the creationist, the faith of the evolutionist certainly is incredible. Henry Morris wrote (Impact #111, September 1982): "But the faith of the evolutionist and humanist is of another order altogether. His is a splendid faith indeed, a faith not dependent on anything so mundane as evidence or logic, but rather a faith strong in its childlike trust, relying wholly on omniscient Chance and omnipotent Matter to produce the complex systems and mighty energies of the universe."
Perhaps dinosaurs lived alongside man. If one leaves out the evolutionary bias of time we can look at Scripture and see what it says. Any child would come to the conclusion that dinosaurs, along with the other land animals, were created on the sixth day of creation (Gen. 1:24-31). The large creatures described in the Old Testament Book of Job (chapters 40 and 41) fit the descriptions of large dinosaurs and extinct marine reptiles that Job had seen. We do not believe there was a gap or a previous fallen world when the dinosaurs lived. Exodus 20:11 confirms this: "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day."
It certainly seemed like the enemy had done everything possible to discourage us from getting to the bones. We had been put through the fire with mosquitoes, hypothermia, quicksand, and exhaustion. Our MRE dinner was delicious that night!
We were surprised to see two boats today. Both were heading upstream at full throttle. We saw one while we were digging at the bone bed and another at dinner. We didn't expect to see any civilization up here. After dinner, some of us went over to a quiet part along the edge of the river to wash up. The water was too cold to take a full bath. John tried to wash his hair, but the ice-cold water gave him a headache when he poured it over his head. It was the same feeling one gets when they eat or drink something that is too cold too fast. At 10:00, we headed to bed, again rejoicing in the day's events.