Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mammoths

Yoel Natan has an article rejected by Creation magazine on his website, along with Creation's responses to it. Besides the objections they raise, there are a few more problems:

1. What is the specific density of a mammoth? They may sink on all fours, as he said, but unless the upper body is less dense than water, once the legs hit bottom, the mammoth, which is top heavy, will procede to tip over on its side, and not be buried standing up.

2. Is there any evidence of struggle in the sediments covering the mammoths? If they had died of asphyxiation, aka, drowning, we would expect them to have churned up a considerable amount of dirt. They are, after all, the size of elephants.

3. Elephants can swim. We can hypothesize that mammoths could as well. They would not simply drift to the bottom, but swim for their lives. And, since they're the size of elephants, it would take an awful lot of water to (a) flood them out, (b) be deep enough for their variable bouyancy to orient them upright in their drift to the bottom, (c) be deep enough that they couldn't pop a trunk above the surface for a snort, and (d) be turbulent enough for them to be unable to swim.

4. Mammoths are huge. Water is full of scavengers, particularly at the bottom. There needs to be some mechanism to cover a mammoth quickly, so that the scavengers wouldn't rip it apart. Even if the water was cold enough that there were few scavengers, the mammoth would still need a thick enough layer deposited that it wouldn't be torn away by the next spring flood, thereby exposing the year-old carcass to scavengers.

That mammoths were well preserved even though it was warm enough for grass and flowers to grow is less of a wonder when one considers how the Ice Man was found with grass tucked into his shoes for insulation.

5. This is just silly. The Ice Man was found on a mountain. According to Collin's Military Geography, 1000 feet of altitude is the equivalent of traveling 300-400 miles towards the poles. Ice Man was found about 7000 feet above sea level. Assuming that, that was the height at which he was killed, and not brought down further by glaciers, the weather at that level was the equivalent of 2100 to 2800 miles further north--in short a dramatic climate change. He could have easily lined his shoes with grass at a lower altitude, and then been killed at a grass-free higher altitude.

The reason may be that such specimens were accumulating for decades in frigid river and lake sediments. Then Siberia plunged into the deep freeze that created permafrost.

6. Water is a unique substance in that it becomes more dense as it cools to 4 degrees celcius, and then less dense as it continues freezing. Thus a lake will cool evenly until the whole body of water is approximately 4 degrees celcius, and then form an ice sheet on top. Elephants require large quantities of liquid water, year round. Therefore, the lakes, at the very least, would have had to form an ice sheet thin enough for mammoths to easily break it. With such a thin layer, the frigid lakes would have been approximately four degrees celcius at their bottoms. What is four degrees celcius? It's the temperature you have on your fridge. Do things mold and rot in your fridge? Are animals used to such an environment able to survive in such waters, as they do today? The carcasses would mold, rot, and be eaten at the bottom of such frigid lakes.

In short, there's a good reason why Creation rejected the article. It doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

3 Comments:

Blogger Noumenon said...

Do you want Yoel to read this? I'm not sure how strong of criticism he wants to deal with. I'm surprised he doesn't comment on or argue with Creation's rejection letter. If they're not off base, why repost the article without reworking it?

6:55 AM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

I'm not sure. I don't believe he reads my blog, as I've said many things which would have prompted his ire, and have yet to see a comment. This originally came from an e-mail, and the people who read my blog also got the e-mail.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Hamlette said...

This originally came from an e-mail, and the people who read my blog also got the e-mail.

Ahhh, we of tiny readerships.

This is why my writing blog, which is listed on places like the NaNo site, is seperate, actually. So I can post stuff on my hamlette blog that the world at large probably won't read. My writing blog is less personal. And probably more boring. Blah blah blah.

8:42 AM  

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