A team of researchers in Australia have been studying a mass of exquisitely preserved fossils found in the Central Tablelands in the Australian state of New South Wales. The deposit contains a great variety of plants and animals, including insects, spiders, fish and a bird feather. The fossils are so well preserved that microscopic structures and soft tissues can be clearly seen. Scientists were also able to identify pollen grains on the insects, and the stomach contents of fish.

According to Matthew McCurry, of the Australian Museum, who led the study, “Our analyses suggest that the fossils formed when iron-rich groundwaters drained into a billabong, and that a precipitation of iron minerals-encased organisms that were living in or fell into the water.”

The rich diversity of the fossils, including many rainforest plants indicate they lived in a warm, moist environment. McCurry commented: “The fossils we have found prove that the area was once a temperate, mesic rainforest and that life was rich and abundant here in the Central Tablelands, NSW.”

The fossil site is dated as 16 million years old, putting it in the Miocene epoch, considered to be a time when Australia was starting to dry out, and the landscape was changing from widespread rainforest to scrubland and arid regions.

Sources: Science Alert and SciTech Daily 7 January 2022; ABC News 8 January 2022; Science Advances 7 January 2022, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abm1406

Editorial Comment: The description “The ‘Dead’ Heart of Australia” comes from the headline in Science Alert and SciTech Daily. While this may inspire visions of scientists toiling in a lifeless desert in a remote area of outback Australia, the Central Tablelands is a farming and woodland region in the mountain range that runs parallel to the eastern seaboard.

This region may not be lifeless, but it is no longer a rainforest. It has a temperate climate with frosty winters, and the areas that are not farmed are dry sclerophyll forest, consisting mainly of gum trees and scrubland. This fossil site, with its rich diversity of plants and animals, is a good reminder that climate change is real and Australia has dried out significantly, but it happened without any human industry.

For those who don’t speak Australian, a billabong is an oxbow lake. However, merely falling into a lake would never preserve the delicate structures and soft tissues found in these fossils. The exquisite preservation of these fossils could only happen if they were rapidly and deeply buried before any decay processes could destroy the delicate structures. Such fine preservation and the huge variety of organisms, including fish, land animals and land plants, fits well however with it being a washed in deposit, where floodwaters have washed across the landscape collecting and mixing whatever was living there and then dumping it quickly.

PS – Climate change has been happening ever since God warned Noah that there would be hot times and cold times as long as the earth endured. See Genesis 8:22.

Creation Research News 9 February 2022

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