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The creation of the dumb dinosaur – a work of contemporary journalism?

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An honest journo friend protests this typical legacy mainstream media story about dinosaurs, “Dinosaur moms showed ‘limited maternal care’”:

Nesting site in South Africa shows female Massospondylus gathered to lay eggs and take care of their offspring,

The species utilizing the site was the six-metre-long Masso-spondylus, and females appear to have congregated in groups to lay their eggs and – at least temporarily – raise their young.

The discovery suggests at least “limited maternal care” may have been practised by the mother dinosaurs as the newborns gained weight and increased their chances of survival around the nest site.

Such signs of a “primitive form of parental care” and other evidence gleaned at the South African site underscore its significance “for understanding the evolutionary history of reproductive behaviours in dinosaurs,” the researchers state in their paper, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

– Randy Boswell, Postmedia News January 25, 2012

What bothers the journo friend about this otherwise honest piece of work is that we haven’t the least idea what “limited maternal care” means in the context, and no one bothers to ask the scientists.

That’s because the journalist imbibes, with his draft of lager, a Darwinist worldview in which there is some kind of “ascent” over time of nesting creatures, from less care to more care? Is there?

In the modern world, we have reptiles that lay their eggs and move on, come what may, and reptiles like the  alligator who, most definitely, does nothing of the kind.

We don’t know that any evolution was involved because we don’t know how the behaviour originated, in either case. With alligators, it seems to be obligatory, due to the need to protect the nest’s temperature. But the alligator cannot understand that fact in a rational way, so just how the behaviour got started is still a puzzle.

Cow alligator defending nest from conservation crew:

Cow and bull alligator guarding nest:

3 Replies to “The creation of the dumb dinosaur – a work of contemporary journalism?

  1. 1
    Barb says:

    That article is just vague enough to qualify as mainstream science: what is limited maternal care? Limited in comparison to what?

    I live in Florida and I can echo the videos posted: DO NOT mess with the alligators. Ever.

  2. 2
    astera says:

    It is interesting to see people comment and giving vague accounts of animal behavior based on mineralized remains. In my opinion there is really nothing that would connect the two. Proper science would have you observe the behavior physically and only once you have observed actual behavior would you be able to begin to draw some conclusions.

    Another question that begs an answer is: “How does Uniformitarianism and Fossilization connect?” Can you really have fossils form under uniformitarian conditions? Why do we not see ample examples today of fossils forming under prevailing conditions? What are the differences between the world we live in today and the world the dinosaurs lived in? During that time large animals could be covered in sediment over long periods of time, without decay setting in and preserving as a result even the skin, soft tissue and stomach contents. How is this possible?

  3. 3
    tjguy says:

    Here is a write up on this from a creationist perspective:

    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....e-01282012

    At the risk of disturbing this touching scene of maternal devotion, we should examine several key points. First of all, while eggs were in tightly packed clutches, the researchers specified there was no “definitive . . . evidence of nest construction.”1 Furthermore, the tracks offered as evidence for dino babies remaining near their nests were not found where the eggs were found. There were no dinosaur tracks at all “within the nest-bearing succession”1 “Numerous tiny prints are scattered”1 elsewhere on broken slabs along with fossil evidence of swimming fish.

    The 10-meter thick road cut (containing the 2-meter thick bed with the eggs) consists of many layers of fine sediment with “small desiccation cracks, wave ripples, and wrinkle marks”1 indicative of “repeated [at least 20] low-energy flooding events and ponding, usually followed by desiccation,”1 according to the authors. However, ripples and wrinkle marks are made by moving water, and cracks do not necessarily imply desiccation. Cracks are equally consistent with rapid water drainage from recently deposited, rapidly buried sediment. The weight of subsequent sediment deposits would have squeezed water out of the underlying layers of sediment containing the eggs and tracks, causing those layers to eventually dry, shrink, and crack.4

    The researchers admit, “[t]he precise time interval separating each nest level is difficult to assess.”1 Thus, even though the researchers believe dinosaurs returned seasonally, the layers could have been deposited within hours or days of each other, with some layers burying clutches of eggs. There is no evidence the dino-mommies built any nests at all. We don’t even know whether they dug out some sort of hole, but given the tendency of evolutionary paleontologists to explain bird behavior as an evolutionary derivative from dinosaurs, we need to avoid thinking of these so-called “nests” as some sort of bird-like construction.

    The researchers also suggest the tender image of dinosaur mothers arranging eggs after laying them. But the last time we saw the arrangement of small fossils being offered as evidence another creature had intentionally arranged them, we were reporting on the ridicule certain members of the scientific community received when they suggested a giant squid played with its food.5 The dinosaurs may have simply laid their eggs all at once, as other reptiles do. The image of dino-siblings toddling around the nest doesn’t seem supportable either. There appears to have been sufficient calcium carbonate (a natural cement, now concentrated in nodules)1 originally dispersed through the in the water-borne sediment to preserve tracks, yet no tracks were preserved near the nests. Furthermore, no dino-toddlers were buried with the eggs and embryos. The dino-daycare seems uninhabited.

    Meanwhile, dino babies were leaving their tracks elsewhere to be preserved by sudden burial in sediment borne by surging floodwater carrying fish. Since no actual hatchlings or tracks were found near the eggs, the relationship of the 15 mm tracks’ owners to the parent dinosaurs can only be a matter for speculation. The researchers described the eggshells as being extremely thin.1 Some living reptiles retain their eggs until the shells thin completely away and give birth to live young. Little is known about dinosaur reproduction, but based on the various reproductive strategies seen in living reptiles, it is possible these sauropods laid their eggs when they were nearly ready to hatch. Perhaps the mother dinosaurs retained eggs in their bodies as long as possible during turbulent conditions, allowing longer for development. But whether or not these dinosaurs would have normally cared for their young simply cannot be determined from these fossils.

    The biblical account of the global Flood about 4,300 years ago explains these findings. Conventional dating of this Jurassic layer as 190 million years old is based on a number of unverifiable assumptions. The layers of the geological column are predominantly a record of the order of burial during the Flood, not millions of years of evolution. Larger animals would have been able to flee the rising water for a time. The Flood did not instantaneously cover the whole earth but according to Genesis chapter 7 rose over a period of weeks. Thus as oceanic water carrying sediments surged repeatedly over the land, dinosaurs carrying eggs would likely have hastened to deposit them on any briefly exposed land after the water ebbed and temporarily receded. Each surge of water would have deposited a fresh load of sediment, burying the latest batches of eggs as well as fresh tracks made by very young dinosaurs. The evidence from Rooidraai is therefore fully consistent with biblical history. Truly, as the researchers say, “unusually intense, out-of-season flooding events” rapidly buried these eggs. An apt description of the rising waters of the biblical Flood!

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