Fossil Fuss

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The media framed the supposed irony this way: How could “the greatest promoter of creationism in Alberta,” Edgar Nernberg, be the discoverer of some of the most significant fish fossils in recent history? A writer for the Calgary Sun declared that God apparently “has a pretty ironic sense of humor.”

The fossils themselves did not generate all the media hype, despite being a rare find of complete fish fossils in these layers. The headlines centered on their discoverer, a biblical creationist, who does not believe the bones are evidence for evolution.

Nernberg discovered the bony-tongued fish while excavating a basement with his backhoe. Of course, the fossils did not come with a date stamp of 60 million years old. As Nernberg rightly noted, “We all have the same evidence, and it’s just a matter of how you interpret it.” Nernberg believes these fossils to be just a few thousand years old.

These fossilized fish don’t speak for themselves. When and how these fish were buried can’t be directly tested, repeated, or observed. Paleontologists must infer these facts, based on what a scientist already believes about what happened in the unobservable past.

Biblical creationists maintain that these well-preserved fish fossils must have been buried rapidly, either during or soon after the global Flood.

Unlike in the USA, fossils discovered on private land in the Canadian province of Alberta belong to the government, not the landowners or finders. So Nernberg’s discovery will be housed in Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum.

A paleontologist and assistant professor with the University of Calgary praised Nernberg’s discovery, saying, “Most people would have overlooked these—when these were uncovered, Edgar right away recognized them.” That’s an encouraging affirmation—from an evolutionist, no less—that creationists can make solid scientific observations, too.

Fossilized Fish

Leah Hennel | Calgary Herald | Reprinted with permission.

A major fossil find in Canada was discovered by biblical creationist Edgar Nernberg.

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October–December 2015

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