Post-Flood Marsupial Migration Explained
|Author: Robert Byers
One of the most common criticisms that creationists face is that the exclusive marsupial fauna of the Australian region appears to be great evidence against the story of the Ark and animal migration from it.
The fact that only marsupial creatures (excepting rodents, birds, reptiles and insects) and no placental animals live in Australia creates problems for the creationist claim that all dry land animals migrated from the Ark 4500 hundred years ago. How could just the marsupials migrate exclusively to Australia and no other kinds like lions, wolves, rabbits, or moles?
Creationists must address this important matter because it appears logical and evolutionists often cite it. We must be able to give good answers to all questions based on our confidence in the Bible as the accurate account of beginnings. These answers can be interesting and even advance studies in biogeography and biology. A careful examination of fossil and living creatures does provide a persuasive answer that all creationists can boldly and simply assert.
The marsupial nature of Australia is not an anomaly but rather a revelation of the true history of animal migration and adaptation after leaving the Ark. It suits creationists fine.
MARSUPIAL HISTORY A NEW EQUATION
The exclusive marsupial history of Australia need not be an anomaly of animal migration from the Biblical Ark but rather indicates that a new equation needs to be introduced.
I will first list the way science organizes present and past mammals.
Science organizes them according to shared body structure attributes that they believe indicate a common origin for each group. It is the inner skeleton or biological workings that they say indicate relationships of mammals. Other then this they have no evidence of evolution. It is all interpretation of what can be observed in living and fossil mammals.
Now let us examine a selection of the numerous examples of similar creatures from different ancestors as evolution teaches. Modern evolutionary biology and palaeontology teaches that mammals can be divided into great orders, representing present living creatures or others only known by the fossil record. Many of these orders are now extinct as far as evolutionists see it. According to them, all lived from the time of the demise of the dinosaurs to present. Evolutionary geology sees that to be the Cretaceous-Tertiary time division, about 60 million years ago. Creationists view this to be the time after the creatures left the Ark, about 4500 years ago. An order is a division of creatures that, by its body evidence, is believed to have a common ancestor. In the mammal world, this common ancestor was an original, nondescript, rodent-like creature. An order is then divided up by families and then by species.
The animal orders we know today include placental mammals. The orders of placental mammals will not be discussed. They include all present bears, cats (big or small) dogs (big or small), horses, camels, elephants, rhinos, hippos, hyena, tapirs, gazelles, rabbits, moles and all the rest. What is of interest are the non-placental orders found today and in the fossil record.
- One order known only from the fossil record covered the whole world except for South America and Australia. It is called Creodonta. This order had bear, dog, cat, hyena, and wolverine shaped creatures, amongst others.
- Another order called Archtocyonia, known only from the fossil record lived in Asia and North America and had bear, dog, and hyena shaped creatures.
- An order known only from the fossil record called Pantodonta lived in Asia and had bear, tapir, hippo shaped creatures etc.
- An order mostly known from fossils but include some living forms is called Hyracoidea. These are found living in Asia and had animals shaped like horses, tapirs, and rabbits.
- An order called Litopterna lived in South America known only from the fossil record had animals shaped like horses, camels, gazelles, rhinos etc.
- An order called Pyrotheria that lived in South America found only in the fossil record was shaped like elephants.
- An order known only from the fossil record is called Notoungulata. It is found in South America and had animals shaped like horses, rhinos, rabbits, rodents.
- The order of Marsupialla, known from fossil and living animals had representatives in both South America and Australia. In South America there were marsupials shaped like dogs, cats, otters, rabbits, jerboas and kangaroo rats. Also, in Australia in fossil or living form Marsupials were shaped like cats, dogs, moles, mice and others.
In the above descriptions of animals is found the great explanation that is promoted today in evolutionary biology and palaeontology. They call it “convergent evolution.” According to this idea, over long time periods, natural selection causes the same forms of animals to evolve from unrelated ancestors. In every case, they trace the ancestry from an unrelated non-descript rodent size animal. This is the only explanation for the similarity of shape of creatures they insist must be unrelated according to evolution. While looking alike, a placental mole and a marsupial mole have a different reproduction system.
The problem is that this is actually a definition masquerading as an explanation. Giving a phenomenon an evolutionary name does not explain the phenomenon.
In the present orders and the eight orders of animals listed above we can constantly find bear, dog, cat, horse-like creatures appearing in orders of animals that are said to be completely unrelated. This is a most striking thing about the fossil record and about the marsupial situation in Australia today.
The whole landmass of the earth was as it is like in Australia today. It had creatures exactly like creatures elsewhere but totally unrelated according to evolutionary theory.
Creationists have a better explanation for the observation that unrelated creatures share similar characteristics. The reason also for the seeming anomaly of an almost exclusive marsupial fauna in Australia today can likewise be explained from a creationist model.
The evolutionary idea is wrong and unnecessary as an explanation. The remarkable similarity of creatures in the fossil record (yet said to be unrelated orders) is better explained by saying that they are designed as the same creatures after all. There has been no “convergent evolution” on such a major and repeating scale but rather these animals with similar morphology are the same kind from the same pair off the Ark. After the migration from the Ark minor or micro-evolution by environmental influences brought relatively minor changes to the geographically separated descendents. These changes would of affected all the creatures in that area in the same way. The small differences in bone structures or reproduction, as in the case of the marsupials, that are used to separate same-shaped animals are not convincing or even prompting evidence of different original ancestors. Instead these changes are only an adaptation to local areas by the same creatures from the same parents from the Ark. Different areas produced different results and this affected all the animals in that area. The animals in that area are not related by their adaptation but only had similar adaptation.
For example: The above descriptions show five orders of unrelated animals (evolution says) Present, Creodonta, Arctocyon, Pantodont, that each had a bear like creature. These orders covered the world at some point in the past. We as creationists can confidently and simply assert that these are not different orders but instead the same bear kind (from the pair off the Ark) with just different adaptations due to time and place. Only the present bear still exists.
The evolutionist must say these orders are unrelated bear-shaped not the same bear but bear-shaped creatures that evolved from natural selection from different ancestors. This is indeed remarkable! As the list above shows this is a constant theme in the fossil record.
In like manner, all these orders have bear, dog, cat, tapir, horse, hippo, rhino, wolverine, rabbit shaped creatures that creationists insist are from the same ancestor straight off the Ark. These are not actually different orders of different animals with different ancestors but instead the same kind of animals as elsewhere with variation due to area.
Now let’s examine the South American fossils. These creatures were much like horses, camels, rhinos, and even elephants. Evolution says there is no relation between them and our present ones and evolutionists would have you believe that convergence created this similarity of form. Note that they do not explain how this could happen; they simply give it by definition.
Horse and elephant shaped creatures appearing in different parts of the world with no biological relationship between them at all is an astonishing concept. To say that rather the relationships between creatures is determined by minor bone structures or reproduction styles is not just unproven but unreasonable. Yet that is what evolutionary biology and palaeontology teaches in all their literature.
The best explanation is that these South American horse and elephant shaped creatures are in fact the same horse and elephant as our present ones and have the same lineage back to an original pair coming off the Ark. To say that they are a different order on some minor but common characteristics by where they have been found has been the error of present evolutionary biology.
Now let us examine the presumed marsupial anomaly in Australia.
Using the same line of reasoning, creationists can boldly say the Marsupial creatures of Australia are simply the same creatures as elsewhere on the earth now or in the past. The wolf and cat (now extinct) and mole shaped marsupials of Australia are the relatives of wolfs, cats, and moles elsewhere on the earth now and in the past. All are the descendents of the original pairs from off the Ark; likewise the other marsupial creatures of Australia are relatives of past creatures elsewhere on earth either extinct or extant.
The marsupial creatures are not related to each other because they are marsupial. (That’s irrelevant). That is just an adaptation or a continuation of some ancient adaptation due to the environment.
Marsupials are the same creatures that filled the earth elsewhere after the Flood. Australia is not a strange aberration to creationists but rather the marsupials are a revelation a greater story or equation of post flood migration and adaptation.
Creation theory has an equal and even more plausible explanation for the seeming anomaly marsupial concentration and exclusivity of Australia in the present and past as indicated by the fossil record. In addition, an equal and also more plausible explanation exists for similar animal groupings in the past, shown in the fossil record, who looked similar to present and past creatures elsewhere but said to be unrelated by modern science. This second matter is not so well known by the public and even well-read creationists.
Present evolutionary biology and palaeontology contends that over great lengths of time natural selection brought about same kind of creatures at different times on different parts of the world from totally unrelated non descript rodent like creatures. These include bear, dog, cat, horse, and elephant shaped creatures with no biological relation whatsoever evolved in numerous places around the world from different ancestral tiny creatures. They call it called convergent evolution. This is a great theme in evolutionary biology.
Creationists can confidently present a better argument than before for the suitability of present and past animal distribution based on a model accepting the Biblical flood and its aftermath animal dispersal.
The fossil record shows same shaped creatures in different areas of the world with minor differences. These creatures while shaped like other creatures in the world have minor similarities to each other in each particular area that they live in. And so a bear and cat shaped creature would have a similar ear bone arrangement or foot arrangement in that area. And while evolution will say that the ear or foot arrangement indicates common ancestry, creation theory can on contrary contend these creatures are just bears and cats the same as elsewhere who due to some influence in the area, adapted some minor ear or foot arrangement. All bear and cat creatures descended from the pairs from the Ark.
This all leads to the seeming anomaly of Australia with its exclusive marsupial fauna. Australia is not an aberrant anomaly but rather a revelation of the true story or equation of post flood animal migration and adaptation.
These minor similarities of marsupials and bone structures in the creatures of Australia are irrelevant as to their origin and ancestral relationship. The origin and relationship of these creatures is the same as all creatures similarly shaped elsewhere on the earth now or in the past. Marsupial dogs and cats are the same kinds as regular dogs and cats, and likewise related to dogs and cats (in the fossil record but now extinct) also with minor regional body differences that lived in certain places on earth.
Only the marsupial mole, same as the placental mole elsewhere hints at the common adaptations after the flood.
The marsupial creatures of Australia are the absolute same ones as elsewhere that filled the earth after the flood. The same body type is the evidence of ancestry and not minor matters as reproduction. The present attempt of science to group animals and their relationships by reproduction methods or minor bone structures has been the error of modern evolutionary biology and palaeontology.
To the organized creationist community I make this contribution believing that it is true. Yet also believing a previous problem can be turned into an exciting example to creationists, Christians, and the scientific world how faith in the accuracy of the Bible and study of what data there is can place creation theory in the forefront and eye to eye with the truth of origins with anybody.
Mammal Evolution: An Illustrated guide. R, J, G. Savage.Facts on File Publications. 1986.
Evolution, Mammals and Southern Continents: Allen Keast. Albany State University. 1972.
Prehistoric Life; The rise of the Vertebrates. David Norman. Macmillan. USA. 1996
Edited by Doug Sharp 10/17/2005