Ammonite Genus Perisphinctes
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Tridactyl Dinosaur Track Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas (b)
Dinosaur Valley State Park The many prints in the shallow river include both carnivorous dinosaurs and plant-eating dinosaurs. (c)
Ammonite Genus Scaphites
Fd. Colorado, USA (e)
State Historical Survey Committee Monument (Texas) acknowledging dinosaur Tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park (a)
The original dinosaur tracks exposed at the Joanna's Tracks trackway (d)
Paluxy River dinosaur tracks challenges the geologic time scale
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Many sauropod and tridactyl tracks and their trackways have been found in the limestone bed of the Paluxy River near the town of Glen Rose, Texas. [1] These tracks and trackways were left as the dinosaurs traveled through lime mud that hardened to become part of the limestone in what has been named the Glen Rose Formation. This formation extends over a large area of central Texas [2] and varies in thickness being about 229 feet at the Paluxy River near Glen Rose. [3]


The Glen Rose Formation is sedimentary rock and has been dated at about 115 to 105 million years old under the conventional Geologic Time Scale (GTS) based on the type of ammonite index fossils found within the formation. [4] So, based on this dating scheme, the dinosaur tracks have been claimed to be around 100 million years old.  The assumptions behind the GTS will be discussed later.  But if these dates are true, the evidence in the ground should not contradict that conclusion, but it does.


Drill cuttings from cores in the Glen Rose limestone have found abundant carbonized wood fragments through its composition.  Over the years, researchers have had some of these fragments carbon-14 tested yielding dates of only a few thousand years old. [5] So, if the limestone formation contains wood fragments throughout correctly dated at a few thousand years old, the limestone, the dinosaur tracks, and the dinosaurs that made them cannot be older than these fragments. 


Carbon-14 (14C) is radioactive has a half-life of 5,730 years +/- 40. Half-life is the time interval required for half of the remaining quantity of the isotope to decay. Thus, the amount of the parent isotope remaining after one half-life is 1/2, after two half-lives is 1/4, after three half-lives is 1/8, etc. “(A) lump of 14C, as massive as the earth would have all decayed in less than a million years.”[6] Clearly, the 100 million age by the GTS is vastly incorrect for this formation.  There are also many fossils (e.g. coal, oil) from other areas of the earth 14C dated as thousands of years old but tens and hundreds of millions by the GTS.


One criticism of the 14C dating method results is the potential of contamination that can obscure the true age of the organic sample. Laboratories (Beta and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS)) that perform 14C dating are aware of this potential and have developed highly effective techniques including acid and alkaline washes to remove all potential sources of contamination.  Currently, there are about 150 AMS facilities around the world


Why then is the GTS so far off? The obvious answer is that it must be off because some or all the assumptions used in producing it are incorrect.  But what is behind these assumptions?  The answer to this second question is found in the conflict between the young earth creationist and old earth materialistic philosophies.


Young Earth


The Genesis account for creation and the flood are rapid supernatural events:


1.  God’s creation of the universe and everything in it occurred in six days, and

2.    God’s destruction of a corrupted world by rapid worldwide catastrophic flooding occurred for about one year that even exceeded the highest mountains. This worldwide flooding destroyed all man, beasts, and creeping things from the face of the earth and birds of the air, except that which were saved on Noah’s ark.


From the genealogical records and historical events in the Bible, the creation occurred about 6,000 years ago and the worldwide flood about 4,500. By the biblical account, the earth is young and no geological formation or the fossils could be older than about 6,000 years.  This young earth age is in conflict with the uniformitarian decay assumption that will be discussed later.  Biblically, major portions of the geological strata were formed during the first three days of creation week and during the flood year.


Of the three rock types (igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary), fossils are only found in sedimentary rocks, except some fossils may rarely be found in metamorphic slate.  Sedimentary rock layers formed during creation week would have been created instantaneously or within days with no fossils and those formed during the Genesis flood within minutes, hours, days, or weeks of each other with a plethora of fossils resulting. 


Old Earth


The development of the GTS is premised on materialistic philosophies that affect the interpretation of observations, use of assumptions and application of principles.  The cornerstones of GTS are uniformitarianism, deep time, and evolutionary theory.


Beginning in the 19th century, some Western European geologists stated that the geological features they observed could not possibly have developed in a few thousand years but involved deep time based on the current slow rates of weathering, erosion, deposition, and lithification.  In geology, this idea of using current processes to figure out what happened in the past has been summarized in the statement “the present is the key to the past.” Today, this concept is further refined in what is known as uniformitarianism, “the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in our present-day scientific observations have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe.” [7] It should be emphasized that uniformitarianism is only an assumption that cannot be proven because its proof would involve universal observations for all times and places.   


One of the more important concepts in geology is the law of superposition. This law may be defined as “In any undeformed sequence of sedimentary rocks, each bed is older than the one above and younger than the one below.” [8] The law of superposition is intuitively correct but by itself provides no absolute dating for the beds or strata but only relative dating.  Also, early on, it was noted that “Strata laid down at the same time in different areas could have entirely different appearances.” [9]


Fossils play a major roll in the GTS. Near the beginning of the 19th century in Western Europe, it was observed that certain kinds of fossils in sedimentary rock are typically found above other kinds of fossils laterally. [10] This seemed to fit well with evolutionary theory that was beginning to take hold in scientific circles where an organism evolved and later died out to be replaced by other often more advanced organisms.  So, the lower kinds of fossils were assumed to be older than those above them.  Fossils of the same type anywhere in the world were also assumed to be approximately the same age.  However, age is not the only possibility as there are sound hydrodynamic reasons for the order that fossils would have been sorted during the biblical worldwide flood. [11] Also, during in the 19th century, a relative time scale using the concept of periods of time (e.g. Cambrian, Devonian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous) was developed based on the relative positions of the different types of fossils in the geological column. Geologists in determining what relative period a formation belongs use index fossils, when possible. Index fossils are selected because they a widespread around the world and had existed supposedly for a short period of time.


However, relative time (assuming positioning of fossils represent differences in time) does not tell if there are a few minutes involved or hundreds of millions of years. Then, radioactively was discovered in the late 19th century and radiometric dating began in the early 20th century.  


But radiometric dating, if it works at all, could only work on igneous rocks since “those are ones that form by cooling and locking atoms in place.” It could not work on metamorphic rocks because “recrystallization redistributes atoms and obscures signal.” Also, it does not work on sedimentary rocks as it can only date the individual grains of the rock source but not the date of deposition. [12]


Therefore, this too complicated the process of making an absolute time scale as fossils are only found in sedimentary rocks or in rare cases in metamorphic slate. To solve this problem, the sedimentary rocks were radiometrically dated indirectly by using the law of superposition and the radioactivity of igneous inclusions interacting with the sedimentary layers in the form of sills and dikes.


Further Discussion


Returning now to the question, “Why then is the GTS so far off?” As stated earlier, it must be off because some or all the assumptions used in producing it are incorrect. Many of these assumptions are presented in the old earth section of this article.        


All radioactive isotope dating depends on the assumption of uniformitarian radioactive decay throughout all times.  On this one assumption, the absolute dating in the GTS rises or falls.


In 1997, a group of young earth scientists began discussions with the “goal to clarify the chronology of earth history and search tor a fundamental correction to the usual assumptions of deep time.” These discussions lead to the RATE project which “was sponsored and promoted by three leading creation science groups, including the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society.  Answers in Genesis gave startup support for the project.” This project lasted eight years and cost around two million dollars. [13] [14]


In their investigations into the rate of radioactive decay, the RATE researchers found multiple strong evidence (e.g. zircons allegedly 1.5 billion years old [15] having  huge quantities of helium from uranium decay in them that should have diffused thousands of years ago [16] [17] [18], parentless polonium halos [19], and measurable 14C intrinsic to diamonds that should be 14C dead [20]) supporting the hypothesis of one or more recent  periods of greatly accelerated radioactive decay. The higher the actual radioactive decay sometime in the past compared to the assumed uniformitarian decay in radiometric dating, the older the sample will appear. Therefore, greatly accelerated radioactive decay rates would explain the incorrect deep time ages of millions and hundred of millions of years compared to thousands for the Glen Rose formation and test results below.  


The RATE group investigations also demonstrated that the absolute and relative time assumptions for major portions of the GTS are incorrect. They obtained from the U.S. government ten coal samples from the Eocene (3 each), Cretaceous (3 each), and Pennsylvanian (4 each) of the GTS [21] dated by the GSA GTS at 56.0 to 33.9, 145.0 to 66.0, and 323.2 to 298.9 million years old, respectively. [22] [23] The U.S. government had collected and stored the coal samples in such a way as to prevent contamination. The RATE group sent these ten samples to one of the foremost AMS laboratories in the world to be prepared and tested. Besides pretreating these samples to remove any contamination, procedural blanks were utilized to subtract any storage, handling, and processing contamination. The results indicated that the samples were very nearly the same age and thousands of years old not the tens and hundreds of millions in the GTS. This is consistent with these coal strata all being buried at nearly the same time during the worldwide Genesis flood. [24]


The Paleo Group has had dinosaur bone samples for Acrocanthosaurus, Hadrosaurus, Apatolsaurus, Mosasaurus, and Triceratops 14C tested by AMS and/or beta decay by various laboratories in the United States, one in Germany and one in Sweden. All the samples were from the Cretaceous period of the GTS, except the Apatosaurus was from the Late Jurassic period.  All the samples were a few thousands of years old by 14C dating and not the tens and hundreds of millions in the GTS. [25]


Although radiocarbon dates for the above coal and dinosaur bones fall relatively close to the biblical dates, they still do not match the biblical dates and appear about 20 to 50 radiocarbon thousand years older.  This may result due to a couple of assumptions in the 14C dating method.  Like the long half-life isotopes that experienced a period or periods of accelerated decay,14C may have also experienced accelerated decay but to a much lesser extent. Any accelerated decay will make an organic sample appear older than actual under the uniformitarian radioactive decay assumption.


Also, the 14C dating method is dependent on knowing the atmospheric 14C/12C ratio at the time of the organism’s death, but the atmospheric14C/12C ratio has been shown to vary over time and this ratio may have been much different before the biblical flood.  The reported radiocarbon dates for the coal and dinosaur bones are not absolute dates. They would have been reported based on assuming the atmospheric14C/12C ratio at the time of the organism’s death (oDC) was equal to the standard 14C/12C ratio for modern atmospheric carbon (sMC). No matter what the real age of the fossil containing intrinsic 14C being tested, if the oDC was actually1/2, 1/4, 1/8 or 1/16 of the sMC, the fossil will appear approximately 5,730, 11,460, 17,190 or 22,920 years older than the real age, respectively.  


Choosing to explain the positioning of the various types of fossils in the geological strata by uniformitarianism, deep time, and macro evolutionary [26] assumptions is flawed for numerous reasons. If the uniformitarian radioactive decay assumption is true, then the short half-life14C and long half-life isotope dates should match, but they do not by tens and hundreds of millions. Also, non-uniformitarian events occur often (e.g. tectonic events such as earthquake induced tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, and irregular weather induced events causing major flooding and erosion) so basing deep time on uniformitarianism cannot be defended with any certainty.  Macro evolution has never been observed and the sudden appearance without precursors of almost all body types during the Cambrian explosion testifies against it. Even the supposed mutations driving macro evolution have been shown to be destructive with very few exceptions.


“Creationists agree there is a general order in the fossils... stratigraphic differentiation.”  Well known mechanisms of stratigraphic differentiation used by biblical creationists include ecological zonation, differential escape, and hydrodynamic sorting. [27]



The following are logical conclusions that may be deduced from the information in this article:

1.    Dinosaurs roamed the earth a few thousand years ago.

2.    The coal deposits of Eocene, Cretaceous, and Pennsylvanian divisions of the Geologic Time Scale (GTS) were formed at or nearly at the same time probably during the biblical worldwide flood and only thousands not tens and hundreds of millions of years ago.

3.    Carbon-14 dating of organic fossils with intrinsic carbon will provide reasonably accurate results within thousands of years for the oldest samples.   

4.    The tens and hundreds of million years discrepancy between short half-life 14C and long half-life radioactive isotopes dating methods is probably mostly due to greatly accelerated decay in the latter.

5.    Dating methods using long half-life radioactive isotopes are invalid.

6.   The deep time and macro evolution assumptions on which the GTS is based are false.

7.    The GTS neither provides a true relative or absolute time history.


More research is necessary to thoroughly validate these conclusions.




(a) Nicolas Henderson from Coppell, Texas, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

(b) Diane Turner from Arlington, United States, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

(c) Robert Nunnally from Allen, TX, USA, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

(d) Lance L Hall, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

(e) DanielCD, photo taken May 14, 2005, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported,via Wikimedia Commons




[1] Mapping Dinosaur Tracks, Dinosaur Valley State Park,

[2] Glen Rose Formation, Wikipedia

[3]Glen Rose Formation (c. 108-113 mya),

[4] Glen Rose Formation, Wikipedia,

[5] Morris, John D, Paluxy River: The Tale of the Trails, Acts & Facts, Apr. 30, 2013,

[6] Sarfati, Jonathan, Diamonds, a creationist’s best friend, Apr. 2020, https;//

[7] Uniformitarianism, Wikipedia,

[8] Lutgens, Frederick; Tarbuck, Edward, Essentials of Geology, 9th Ed., (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006), 477

[9] Geologic time scale, Wikipedia,

[10] Brown, Walt, In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, Special Edition, (Phoenix, Arizona: Walt Brown, 1996), 22

[11] Ibid.

[12] Geol 102 Historical Geology, University of Maryland,

[13]The Rate Project, Institute of Creation Research,  

[14] DeYoung, Don, Thousands… Not Billions, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2005), 17-19

[15] Humphreys, Russell; Austin, Steven, etal., Helium Diffusion Rates Support Accelerated Nuclear Decay, Answers in Genesis, Feb. 2, 2011,  

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ashton, John F., editor, in six days, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2000), article by Baumgardner, 235

[18] DeYoung, Don, 78

[19] Ibid., 95

[20] Vardiman, L, et al., eds, RATE II: Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth: Results of a Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative, (Vol. II), (San Diego, CA: Institute for Creation Research and the Creation, 616

[21] Morris, John, The Young Earth, (Master Books: China, 1994, 2007), 66

[22] GSA Geologic Time Scale v. 5.0, The Geological Society of America,

[23]Glen Rose Formation (c. 108-113 mya)

[24] Baumgardner, John, Carbon Dating Undercuts Evolution's Long Ages, Acts & Facts. 32 (10), 2003,

[25]Implications for Radiocarbon (C-14) Ages for Dinosaurs, Paleo Group,

[26] Macro evolution is “the idea that all forms of life developed gradually from very different and often much simpler ancestors, and that all lines of their descent can be traced back to a common ancestral organism.” Davis and Solomon, The World of Biology, 3rd ed. (Philadelphia, PA: Saunders College Publishing, 1986), 686

[27] Order in the Fossil Record, Creation Ministries International, May 30, 2015 (GMT)