8 more things that are older than Adam

8 more things that are older than Adam August 8, 2013

Ken Ham and other young-Earth creationists maintain that the universe is about 6,000 years old. (They claim the Bible says this. Go check and see if it actually does. I’ll wait.)

Here are eight more things that wouldn’t exist if what Ken Ham says were true.

1. A 45,000-year-old hand axe found on Crete. Archaeologists found it while searching for “tools employed by seafaring people who had plied nearby waters some 11,000 years ago.” So instead of finding human tools twice as old as Ken Ham’s universe, they found human tools more than seven times as old as Ken Ham’s universe.

This gravesite near Haifa, Israel, is twice as old as the universe of the young-Earth creationists.

2. A 12,000-year-old Natufian cemetery, where mourners left flowers in the grave: “In a series of recently excavated graves near Mt. Carmel, Israel, that are dated to 13,700 to 11,700 years ago, a team of archaeologists from the University of Haifa and elsewhere found impressions made by flowers and other plants apparently buried beneath the dead.”

3. A 120,000-year-old case of fibrous dysplasia. Discovered from a tumor in the rib of a Neanderthal who lived in what is now Croatia.

4. A 16-foot-long, 72 million-year-old dinosaur tail recently unearthed in northern Mexico. Scientists say it’s from a hadrosaur. Ken Ham says it’s from a victim of Noah’s flood.

5. A 23 million-year-old lizard fossil, preserved in amber, also found in Mexico.

6. Equus lambei, an extinct species of horse that “roamed the Yukon more than 700,000 years ago.” Equus lambei was in the news recently after scientists successfully sequenced the DNA of its genome.

7. The 50 million-year-old fossils of “ancient crocodiles … fish, freshwater shells and plant impressions” stumbled on by excavation workers at a railway station in Brisbane, Australia.

8. Doggerland. The North Sea wasn’t a sea at all 20,000 years ago, when “Global sea levels were as much as 400 feet lower than today, Britain was part of Continental Europe and terra firma stretched from Scotland to southern Norway.”

Where the North Sea now sits once was Doggerland, home to:

Human hunters, who caught fish and fowl and gathered plants. Archaeologists sifting through seabed artifacts have developed a sketchy portrait of these human societies: Perhaps 10,000 people or more, clustered here and there in grass huts in waterside camps.

But this homeland was doomed. Water began encroaching around 18,000 B.C. as a natural climatic shift melted the ice sheets mantling Scandinavia. Seismic surveys and ice cores from Greenland, among other evidence, suggest sea level rose by as much as six feet a century during a series of melting events. As coastlines retreated, the northern North Sea formed, and when temperatures jumped again, the southern North Sea became an archipelago of low islands.


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  • TheBrett

    1. This one is cool because it means our 45,000-year-old ancestors were fooling around in boats, I think (I don’t know if the Sea of Crete would have been dry land in the last Glacial Epoch). We already knew they could do that, since it was the only way they could have gotten to Australia even during the peak of the last glacial epoch, but it’s cool to have more confirmation of that.

    4. It still shocks me that not one species of non-avian dinosaur survived the Chixculub Impact 65 million years ago. I almost wonder if some of them did in places like Antarctica (where they would have been adapted for long periods of time with no sunlight anyways during the winters), but we can’t find out because it’s buried under several kilometers of sheet ice.

    8. It’s on the list of Now Submerged Ice Age places that would be cool to see if I had a time machine, although my #1 place to see would be Beringia.

  • Daniel

    8. It’s on the list of Now Submerged Ice Age places that would be cool
    to see if I had a time machine, although my #1 place to see would be

    Doggerland still exists in various UK car parks after about 10p.m.

    I have lowered the tone.

  • Alix

    #4: I thought the current theory was not that the impact itself slaughtered all dinosaurs instantly, but that it was the trigger for a series of destructive events, all of which would’ve triggered chains of events resulting in the deaths of the dinosaurs. So (me being pedantic again) most dinosaurs survived the impact itself, and the die-off took some time.

    But I’m with you on wondering about the small dinosaurs, at least. Or at least, I’m wondering if we need to radically rethink timelines – for when dinosaurs transitioned more to birds, for when the final die-offs happened.

    Also, other archosaurs survived – a lot of amphibious or aquatic stuff, like crocodilians.

  • Alix

    Prehistory rocks.

  • ReverendRef

    1. This one is cool because it means our 45,000-year-old ancestors were fooling around in boats

    I’m sorry . . . I read that article and I saw no reference to boat sex.

  • Guest

    Most archosaurs didn’t even survive past the Triassic-Jurassic extinction. Only one lineage of birds (there were a few other lines that went extinct along with the non-avian dinosaurs) and some crocodylomorphs made it out of the Cretaceous extinction. (I don’t know details about crocodiles, sorry.)

  • Alix

    Good point.

    (Can you tell I have trouble keeping track of lineages?)

  • Hawker40

    “Standing up in a canoe. The hard way.”

  • J_Enigma32

    I got three more to add:

    9. Pando – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pando_%28tree%29

    It’s the oldest living organism at around 80,000 years old; the dates are all over the place for Pando, from 80,000 years old to over 1,000,000 years old, given that it’s a clonal organism and those can be rather difficult to age. But all dates confirm that it’s certainly older than 6,000 years old, since it was alive 10,000 years ago to see the climate shift in North America.

    10. The Eridani Supervoid: http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2010/08/the-eridanus-void-does-a-megamassive-black-hole-onebillion-light-years-across-exist-a-galaxy-most-po.html

    With a redshift of z ~1, the supervoid was something like 13 billion light years away by the time it’s (absence) of light reached us. It also screws with current cosmological model, since we don’t have an idea how something that freaking huge could be that freaking empty and could exist (a side fact: if you lived in the heart of the supervoid, you would not even know that there was a universe full of stars and such until around 1960. Just imagine that; from just about the moment of creation to 1960, there would be NO evidence of any other galaxies beyond your own. And then all at once you see everything – imagine the social impact that’d have).

    11. The Kali Yuga – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kali_Yuga

    At 480,000 years long, the current Yuga is 48-80 times longer than the current guestimates given by creationists (since they don’t have an ACTUAL date, they can only give you a nice round number, since that’s how literalism works – by guessing). What? If you get to cite your religion to back up your claims, why can’t I cite mine (technically someone else’s, but the point stands)?

  • JustoneK

    well, they weren’t originally.

  • J_Enigma32

    They were rutting the boat.

  • Just the other day, I saw something which suggested that the Chixculub impact wasnt large enough to have caused such a major extinction, rather that it made an already ongoing extinction event due to a periodic uptick in vulcanism worse (The next day, I saw something which said, instead, that, yes, it was the Chixculub impact, but only because it happened to strike an area rich in sulfur, which is a particularly terrible thing to have tossed up into the atmosphere in large quantities)

  • Carstonio

    Ironic that Fred uses the same argument that Sam Harris used. The latter’s example of things older than Adam was the Sumerians’ invention of glue. But Harris was slamming an entire religion, instead of a subset with a tribalist political and cultural agenda. While he deserves condemnation for assuming that Ken Ham’s stance is typical of US Christians, much of the problem is the propaganda tactic used by Ham and his colleagues. They’ve convinced millions of non-YECs to believe that “evolution” is an atheistic mishmash of natural selection and abiogenesis, or more correctly, badly misunderstood versions of those hypotheses. It’s the scientific equivalent of the straw woman version of feminism as hostile to men, motherhood and family.

  • ReverendRef

    Okay, okay . . . Hawker40 & J_E nicely proved otherwise.

  • Kiwibrit

    All very interesting but would any of these creationists accept the “dating” of all these examples or would they just come up an explanation of why none of the finds are really that old?

  • Depends. Some would tell you that none of the finds are really that old, even if their only evidence to the contrary was “The Bible says the universe is not that old.” And… yes, even if, as the first paragraph points out, they have no evidence for that statement.

    Some, usually those few foolish weak souls who have doubts about the Bible, or about Christianity, or simply doubt that their pastors are right about everything, will go “But how do you know they’re that old?” And some will research and listen to the answer and go “…huh. What else is the church lying to me about?” And some will research and listen to the answer and go “The church warned me about your lies; you cannot tempt me.”

  • Anton_Mates

    There’s decent evidence for a few different lineages of birds making it through. Specifically, the paleognaths (ostriches and such), galliformes (chickens & such), anseriformes (ducks & such) and neoaves (pretty much all other modern birds) had already diverged before the K-Pg extinction. Probably. Likewise, among the crocodilians, the three groups of crocodiles, alligators and gavials had already diverged.

    Of course, each of those groups could have been perpetuated by just one or two species surviving through the extinction. So it’s not necessarily the case that many bird or crocodilian species made it through, either.

    Champsosaurs also survived; they were convergent with crocodilians, but were probably not archosaurs.

  • And others, like Ken Ham, will simply deny that science knows what it’s talking about. The 101 evidences of a Young Earth is almost exclusively based around this approach — the rebuttal in the previous link demonstrates that their evidences frequently contradict a working understanding of the science involved and often contradict their own claims for the “proper” age (“Mitochondrial Eve is only 200,000 years old, therefore Young Earth Creationism is correct by default.” “Uh. No. Even if you were right, 200,000 years is still 194,000 years older than your claim”).

  • reynard61

    OT, but is anyone else sick of that damned “Ulta” ad? It used to have that little “x” that I could click so that I could get rid of it. Now it doesn’t even give me *that* tiny bit of mercy! Fred; if you’re reading this, please consider asking Patheos if there’s *some* damn thing that they can do about that infernal, intrusive ad! Thanks in advance.

  • Maniraptor

    This is true. However, it is worth remembering (as I’m sure you do) that there were a heck of a lot of enantiornithines and hesperornithids that were doing pretty well until K-Pg, and the confuciosornithids had already evolved, diversified, and died out some 50 million years prior iirc.

    So while neornithids had already diverged, they were also just one subset of the birds that were around. (Obviously “birds” is always a handwavy definition, but “things most people would call birds if they saw one” would probably include most of the above.)

  • Maniraptor

    How so on rethinking the dinosaur-bird “transition”? Birds have been around for a looooong time. Not having to compete with other small dinosaurs anymore should logically have helped, but there was plenty of bird diversity before the extinction.

    Probably some non-avian dinos survived as Dead Clades Walking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_clade_walking) but if a few things died out at 63 mya instead it wouldn’t really require that much of a rethink, cool as it might be.

    Apropos of very little, I ran into a guy on Twitter who was convinced that parrots were descended from psittacosaurs. It was adorable.

  • The_L1985

    I used to own a copy of AiG’s The ANSWERS Book, which insists that radiocarbon and other similar dating methods are inherently flawed.

  • The_L1985

    On the mobile version? Yeah, that bugs me too. But for me, it’s a Clorox ad for some reason.

  • Eric Boersma

    It’s a corollary to Rule 34: if boats exist, someone is having sex in them.

  • Sue White

    The universe of creationists is a tiny, finite, uninteresting and human-centered place. Not unlike their God.

  • Jim Roberts

    “11. The Kali Yuga – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
    At 480,000 years long, the current Yuga is 48-80 times longer than the current guestimates given by creationists (since they don’t have an ACTUAL date, they can only give you a nice round number, since that’s how literalism works – by guessing). What? If you get to cite your religion to back up your claims, why can’t I cite mine (technically someone else’s, but the point stands)?”
    I’ve used this is a debate with a creationist. i studied the Kali Yuga pretty extensively for notes in a D&D campaign and could really hold my ground on it. It was . . . unexpectedly effective.

  • ReverendRef


    And I just noticed that Disqus placed my mea culpa above my original comment and the replies to it. So anyone who’s confused . . . Disqus.

  • Jim Roberts

    Is that the one that has the description of the paper that an object might be as much as 100 times younger than originally thought as proof of a young earth, even though it means that the object is 50 000 years old? (Just one more magnitude to go!)

  • Panda Rosa

    I’ve mused on the “6000” year figure, and find myself using it as a milepost for the beginning of accessible human history, ie, the beginning of things like recorded knowledge (hieroglyphs, cuniform), building cities, making artistic things like decorated bowls, jewelry, and the like. Of course this is crude, and probably inaccurate, but the 4004 BCE is helpful as a yardstick. People were doing more involved things far earlier, such as the boat example, but all I mean is that the details are more obscure before then.
    Just my two cents.

  • The_L1985

    Among others. A caption of another of these carbon-dating “bloopers” illustrations says, “Could living snails have died 27 million years ago?” (with the implication that ALL radioisotope dating is just as flawed) It also implies that ALL radioisotope dating is C-14 dating, which is idiotic on the face of it.

  • The_L1985

    The Sumerians had writing 1000 years before that, though.

  • I’ve heard some very creative examples, including that God somehow made radioactive decay speed up and then slow down just in time for us silly-goose humans to believe the Earth is much older.

  • Some would tell you that none of the finds are really that old, even if
    their only evidence to the contrary was “The Bible says the universe is
    not that old.”

    One of the more tedious things about it is that if you’re at all literate, the bible actually says exactly the opposite. They try to add up all the grandfathers and prove that the earth is not very old, but if you actually pay any attention to the sense of those passages, the point of them is — and i’m quite sure anyone who was reading the bible in the ancient world would say the same — “The earth is really really old. Older than you can imagine. So old that even if you go back to your grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather, it’s still older than that.” You’re not supposed to add them up and say “A mere six thousand years”, you’re supposed to say “What’s the biggest number you can think of? More than that.”

  • Alix

    I was meaning more in the popular conception of the extinction, since you’re right, it doesn’t change much. But most people I talk to still haven’t quite fully made the dinosaur-bird connection, or still think it entirely happened post-extinction (somehow), or still think the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous was a sudden singular event.

  • Albanaeon

    They do realize that radioactive decay releases heat, right? That’s why nuclear reactors work.

    Imagine a couple *billion* years of radioactive decay in the space of a thousand. Genesis would read, “God looked down and saw all He created was a cinder…”

  • Indeed. :P

    There are some alpha emitters whose decay rates are high enough that the heat released will slowly vaporize them. (O_O)

    Imagining uranium and thorium spreading themselves out that way and in the process killing off everything seems like it would be the opposite of the life-forming plan God would have in mind.

  • reynard61

    You have to reload the page in order for your new comment to appear in the proper place.

  • ReverendRef

    Though I had done that. I still use a pocket calendar and pencil, so what do I know?

  • Exactly! It’s like every other God-in-a-box statement. Rather than imagine the universe is greater than we think, or that God is greater than we think, it’s shrinking in terror from the idea that we could possibly be so small.

  • The mobile site once gave me this one. I snickered about it for far too long. (Mostly because as I recall, it was for a paid service.)

  • “Could living snails have died 27 million years ago?”


    Undead snails? Perhaps. Living snails? Not so much.

  • Daniel

    Yeah, but not very good writing. Predictable, lazy characterization, stock characters and trite contrived endings. If you want to call that writing…

  • I really like how they shrunk down the “closer to” part. I would almost suspect them of attempting false advertising.

    It’s like how a restaurant billboard once said in big letters, FREE BEER

    only the fine print read

    FREE peanuts with BEER available all day.

  • stardreamer42

    Precisely. You can’t make a dent in these people by presenting counter-evidence, because they flatly reject the counter-evidence as being false. You can’t reason with people whose first line of argument is that reason doesn’t count.