In coarse quartzose sandstones of stream channels of Antarctica's Transantarctic Mountains, fossil bones of the definitive reptilian genus, Lystrosaurus, were found. Deemed typical of Lower Triassic forms, it has been uncovered also in South Africa, India and China. In the sandstone, mudstone and white quartz pebbles are intruded along with the bone fragments. Logs and coal are at the same depth. Volcanic material is above and below. Remains of between 40 and 50 specimens are among the more than 400 specimens of other species in the same deposit. Numerous fossil relations have been shown between South America and Southern Africa, though not yet the Lystrosaurus. The China parallel introduces properly the Pangean connection.
Pangean world distributions of many species of flora and fauna, both fossil and living, can be traced. Living species that have no way of traversing present-day barriers are discovered to exist on both sides of the barriers, as the tigers of Africa, India and Siberia. Extinct species of one area are alive in another area, impassibly separated by modern geography, as the elephants and camels of North America, probably miscegenable with those of Africa. Specimens of the same extinct species are found in areas separated by modern geography.
A collapsed time schedule for the creation of the ocean basins demands a reconstruction of how aquatic species developed. Pangea was a world of small waters. Small and shallow lakes and swamps are conducive to the generation of individual variations within species and the prolongation of their careers. Whales and sharks travel great distances, but do not need to do so; they can flourish in a Tethyan sea; so with every other aquatic species. The great deeps are a last resort.
The eels from everywhere descend to breed from their rivers into the salt ocean and there find the Sargasso Sea, the great belt of weed-bearing waters on both sides of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. They die there and their young swim for thousands of miles and years of time to find the rivers of Europe and America. The American eels have 104 to 111 vertebrae, the European 114 or 115, and n'er the twain shall meet.
Igor Akimushkin conjectures that eels originated or dwelt in the intercontinental fissure when it opened up an asserted 130 million years ago, not far from their fresh waters. Then they expanded their mobility to follow the drifting continents  .
Fitting the case to the quantavolutionary theory, it would appear that the Sargasso Sea is a part of the old Tethyan world-girdling shallow freshwater sea; that for breeding the eels found the gulfweed more necessary than the saltwater noxious; that there has been too little time to cast off the habit of traversing great distances, or of adapting to seawater for the long adult life; and that the small differences between American and European eels are an additional indication of a recent common ancestry. The Sargasso Sea seems to be growing, which, since it must precede the eels, indicates that it may not have been in existence long. In sum, eel migrations are as much a proof of continental rafting as continental drift is proof of the reason why eels must be astonishing long-distance travelers.
So also with aquaticized birds: if they migrate today intercontinentally, it is a stretching of their original habits; the irregular geometry, followed by birds that fly away from the arctic directly south and then veer at sharp angles to find their winter grounds, and vice versa to return, may be a function of land-mass migrations; the birds seem to be pursuing their original routes. If so, there may have been little time in which to evolve more efficient habits.
The Pangean shallow waters life centers were mostly wiped out, but survivors could readily adapt to the continental shelves and slopes, and the shallow and middle depths of the new ocean basins. (Wegener once alluded to the exclusive presence of shallow-water fossils in marine paleontology.) A typical succession pattern for the survival of an aquatic species would be to migrate or be turbulently transported from a Pangean center in a flooding action that settled into a temporary pond on the way across the land and towards what was to be the ocean. By the time of arrival at the finalized ocean shelf, where almost all aquatic species concentrate, the ocean waters bordering the land were quiet and cooled enough to permit proliferation. The exponential arithmetic for the growth of the population of the species at this stage would produce numbers sufficient to choke the oceans in a thousand years.
In the oceanic abyss, few species are found, and the same species are more commonly found on the continental shelf with few mutations. There is no exclusively abyssal flora or fauna, nor any "living fossil ancestors." The fact, however, that species do inhabit the abyss signifies that the abyss, were it old enough and the conventional processes of evolution occurring, would be teeming with adapted and mutated species.
The same logic would explain the scarcity of life forms in the high mountains, in the atmospheric bands, deep, below the land surface, and in the deserts. The inhospitability of these environments is only relative to dubious premises. Conventional long-time uniformitarian evolution and adaptation would have permitted all niches to become life-niches. Recent catastrophes provide of extinct niches such as would support a 50-foot winged dinosaur. If the oceanic salt seas carry few analogous niches for today's species, the reason may be limits imposed by the recency of drastic change, rather than limitations of nature.
Rocks dredged from the bevelled tops of a number of seamounts carry imbedded fossils of current species that give 8 to 12,000 years readings on C14 dating (probably 4000 years old, then). The abyssal floors contain many bones, remarkably preserved. Large shark teeth of unknown species abound. Elephant teeth are found far down the continental slopes of North America. Their preservation for more than several thousand years is unlikely.
The mountain is a new life-niche for mankind. A swamp is preferred. The altitude of the ruined city of Tiahuanacu is too high for the natives to reproduce themselves readily; they used to descend to the plains for the purpose. Either they were correct or had been living too brief a time up high to be sure. The mountains rose after the city was flourishing. Generally, if mountains were old, they should support many more life forms than is the case. The erect posture of humans is well-adapted to sky-watching and life in the swampland; wading and carrying were greatly facilitated (as probably with certain dinosaur species). The food supply of swamps is lush and the fish and game of swamps easier to catch than the animals of the plain and mountain. It is a common error to portray hominids as living in the African climates of today and exerting themselves in the pursuit of large animals. Findings of bones pounded and scraped by hand-axes relating to hominoids might only signify omnivorous scavengers.
Large attached organisms are rare on the most recent oceanic ridges. The proliferation of such species on such ridges, that are rich in flora and fauna, is to be expected after a brief passage of time. The intense activity of the ridges several thousand years ago blocked their prompt development.
A distinctive southern flora, Glossopteris, found nowhere in the northern regions, is found as a fossil in India, Australia, South Africa, South America, and Antarctica. The case of India is doubly significant because a northern, adaptable, counterpart to Glossopteris exists but has never been found in India which is attached to Asia. This fact not only indicates continental rafting, but also recent continental rafting; there has been too little time for overland diffusion to have occurred.
Identical genera of late Permian fauna are found in Northern Russia and South Africa. A fossil dinosaur of five continents (North America, South America, South Africa, Europe, and Asia) is known. Pangean distribution is generally confirmed. South America and South Africa, however, do not share mammalian identity today; cats are the only common genera. Many mammals common to both areas existed in Pangean times, before the catastrophes. Flora and invertebrates present a different picture today: there are numerous identities.
Evidences of paleozoic faunal commonalty between North America and Europe are common. Many extinct Bohemian forms are replicated in extinct Texas forms, for example. During the paleozoic and mesozoic, some identical flora were to be found in East Asia and Western North America, and others in Eastern North America and Western Europe.
The age-breaking catastrophes, since they came from the skies, handicapped severely large land animals. Most of the dinosaurs were wiped out at once; the larger mammals were mostly exterminated in one brief period. Elephant remains have been found in South America in Chile, Venezuela, and Brazil, as well as alive in Africa and India. Mastodon remains were discovered in Ecuador and Colombia. Elephant fossil bones were found in a Brazilian bed, or nearer to the sea than that same bed, which contained hundreds of modern human skeletons mixed among numerous marine shells and nodules of carbonaceous matter; these were discovered about 1827; the bed was referred to as of limestone and of tufa (volcanic lava).
Piles of torn and mashed mammalian remains (mastodons, mammoths, bison, etc.) along with remains of many types of contemporary flora and other fauna, are discoverable in Alaska and Siberia. They are found in muck pits. They portray instant disaster by tidal and atmospheric forces. Large deposits of bones are found in Baja California (Mexico) cast up by the same kind of forces, uniting elephants and sharks in death.
Most species of large mammals suffered extinction in undeniably modern times. (In 1975 a radiocarbon dating of a mammoth find placed it at only 400 B. C.) The species that could betake themselves to high ground or fly quickly from one place to another survived in larger numbers. Humans were among the survivors. Maybe it will be also shown that humans were present when the continents split apart. The implication of such proof is that an ecumenical culture must have existed prior to the Lunarian diaspora.
The references to the catastrophic extinctions at "the end of the Pleistocene" mark the end of the ice age, which should, according to conventional theory, have been a blessing to most species, but was a universal disaster; life was first threatened by advancing ice and water, and then practically destroyed by the forces that broke up the ice and by ice break-up as well.
Many voluminous deposits of destroyed life occur in areas far beyond the tropical or temperate climate where the same or related species exist today. Injections of space gas at very low temperatures, associated once or several times with the tilting of the Earth's axis, may be evidenced in well-preserved, suddenly frozen life forms found in various places. Moreover, in every area of the globe where collective disaster is manifested among the plant and animal species, the geology of the areas usually confirms the biology: ooze and clay boundaries shift in the deposits of the ocean beds; organic layers are sandwiched between inorganic; ash is generally distributed on several levels of many marine and terrestrial sediments. Each level represents a general disaster; some stand for world disasters. Conflagration, tides, atmospheric violence, and other disastrous forces can probably be discovered wherever the mind is directed. Or so it seems.
Nature lends her occasional favors of fossils in a cruel way -by disasters. Human cult practices provide on occasion fossil cemeteries; otherwise human paleontology, too, would be dependent on the rare, unplanned event of a Pompeii. It is a euphemism, and misleading, to speak of "fossil cemeteries," or even of '" fossil assemblages," but, too, "dump," 'heap," "deposit," 'collection," 'aggregate" and other words are also questionable. Perhaps "fossil deposit" would be best, signifying many life forms concreted with clay, pebbles, and sand.
Fossil deposits may include on the one hand mineralized or petrified remains, or on the other hand preserved organic remains. The basic principle of fossil analysis requires every fossil occurrence to be approached as a catastrophic event. Quick burial of a potential fossil is essential. Then, occasionally, one or more of several chemical processes will preserve some of the organic structure itself, or an image of it, for posterity. R. Redfern summarizes fossilization for us, letting disaster pop out of a fully uniformitarian ideology in an analogy of the "fossil food" in a supermarket.
Paleontologists sometimes find fossilized animals preserved in an almost complete state: sloths in arid caves, mammoths packed in ice, and men in peat bogs. Such effective preservation was the result of rapid reduction of moisture content or temperature, impregnation with chemicals, exclusion of air, or of a mixture of all four. Although we would hardly call preserved food 'fossil food' when we buy it from a supermarket, there is really nothing new about desiccation, deep freezing, chemical additives, vacuum packaging, and various combinations of all four  .
If all the remains of all that has ever lived had been preserved, might they exceed in mass the Earth itself? Termites and many insect species are considered geologically ancient. There is said to be a half-ton of live termites for every living human being. Considering that entire islands and hills have been found composed of mammoth and large mammal bones, and considering the huge fossil beds of vegetation, we can be sure that recent catastrophes have laid down the organic soils of today and a great deal more that has been eroded or quantavoluted since then.
What dies is thus quickly recycled biotically, unless some geological intervention occurs. And this intervention that fossilizes is almost always connected to the cause of death. The fossil record therefore is distorted as to populations of the species and to a lesser degree to the kinds and numbers of species.
Not all is known about fossilization, and less is realized. Ardrey mentions that the waters of Lake Victoria (Africa) were once fossilizing animals quickly and well because of some unknown quality probably not now present. E. R. Milton describes his examination of a petrified tree trunk in Alberta (Canada)  :
The piece... was pure clear silica inside, it was coated with a rougher opaque crust of partially fused sand. The tree whose stump was petrified was alive five years ago! After the tree was cut down to accommodate the right of way for a new power transmission line, an accidental break allowed the live high-voltage wire to contact several tree stumps still in the ground. The power was cut off within hours of the break. All of the tree roots which contacted the broken wire were fossilized... Obviously, electricity can metamorphose matter quickly.
One's mind reverts to earlier passages of this book where the presence of heavy electric fields and poisonous gases are given credence; perhaps these may have helped in the fossilizing process.
A fossil is typically an accident, a disaster, an anomaly. We should not find in Ecuador a mixture of mastodon bones, pottery, and coal. Nor reptiles with full stomachs, pterosaurs swallowing food, a mammoth with buttercups in his teeth, or an ichthyosaur mother in the throes of birthing her infants. The very existence of fossils reflects, says C. B. Hanson, "inefficiency in the natural systems for recycling organic material." He experimented with sending mammal bones down a flume in a laboratory in attempts to replicate natural conditions. M. Coe studied the decomposition of elephants in a Kenyan drought, and concluded that only rapid burial would allow any chance for fossilization  . There was no question here of the elephants being assembled to die and then deeply buried away from water and doused with petrifying chemicals so as to produce one of the fossil assemblages so commonly found in natural history. In fact, the best case of a fossil assemblage that geology can afford from historical times is the resort population of Pompeii and Herculanum smothered and buried by the gases and ashes of Vesuvius in 79 A. D.
The following exchanges concerning a fossil conglomerate of prehistoric Nebraska clarifies the issues, as perceived by uniformitarians and catastrophists  . We quote the catastrophist:
"In the American Museum of Natural History (New York) there is on display in the Late Mammals room (Room 3, 4th floor) a rectangular fragment (about 1.7x2.5 m, and 15 to 50 cm thick) of a bone breccia from a 'fossil quarry' near Agate, Sioux Co., Nebraska. Most of the bones are from a small, two-horned rhinoceros, Dicera-theriurn, with minor amounts from Moropus (6%), a clawed mammal related to horses, and from Dinohyus (1%), a giant piglike mammal. Extrapolating the quantity of individuals that make up this fragment over the total volume of the breccia layer (360 sq. m 15 to 50 cm thick), one arrives at 8200 Diceratheria, 500 Moropi and 100 Dinohyi. This breccia is believed (by Museum officials) to have formed in quicksand. The accompanying text reads:
The accumulation of bones is believed to have been formed in an eddy in the old river channel at a time when the valley was not so deeply cut out as it is now, and the river flowed at the higher level. A pool would be formed at this eddy, with quicksands at its bottom, and many of the animals which came to drink at the pool in the dry seasons would be trapped and buried by the quicksand. The covering of sand would serve to protect the bones from decay and prevent them from being rolled or water-worn by the current, or from being crushed and broken up by the trampling of animals that came to drink. But the sand of a quicksand is always moving and shifting around (whence its name of quick-sand), and with it the buried bones would be shifted around, disarticulated and displaced, so that when finally buried deeper by later sediments of the river valley they would be preserved as they are seen here, complete and almost undamaged, yet all the bones separate and disarticulated.
"I wonder whether the inventor of this mechanism has done his best to find an actualistic example of quicksand sucking up animals (with a lesser density than itself) in such a selective manner. Or is this another example of a gradualistic mechanism being preferred at all costs, even if it violates actualistic principles and physical laws? Has the possibility of a herd suddenly buried by a landslide or a liquefied sediment been considered? Are the properties of the overlying sediment compatible with this hypothesis? If so, it would be interesting to investigate this possibility also for other bone breccias, and to find out whether such breccias are more common from certain periods of Earth history than from others."
The story and comments are those of Hans Kloosterman, Editor of the magazine, Catastrophist Geologist.
Kloosterman's note receives a reply from Richard H. Tedford, Department of Vertebrate Paleontology, the American Museum of Natural History:
The hypothesis you object to also bothers me. The hall displaying the block of bones is to be revised and that will give us the opportunity to revise the captions for the exhibits. I think the critical evidence here is the extent of disarticulation of the remains which implies dismemberment of the carcasses and transport in a fluid and I see nothing improbable in the ordinary hydraulic agencies in a fluviatile regime. The concentration of remains can also be attributed to irregularities on the floor of the channel (observed during excavation) and the development of local eddies over the larger bones first deposited that trap further remains being swept downstream. The catastrophic factor may be the cause of death of a large group of animals and there are ways to assess this (unfortunately not tried with reference to the deposits in question), but normal stream transportation and deposition seems to me to be sufficient to explain the resulting deposit.
Richard H. Tedford
The American Museum of Natural History
Dept. of Vertebrate Paleontology
New York, USA
And, in rebuttal, Kloosterman writes the following:
If we first of all keep separate the two possibilities: death and deposition by the same or by different causes, the disarticulation of the remains certainly suggests that death has occurred previous to deposition, but the high bone-to-sediment ratio of the layer and the paucity of species suggests rapid burial after death, pointing to a connection between the causes of death and burial. Museum specimens will provide no answer to these problems and we will have to go back to the field, and also compare the characteristics of many different bone layers. Are layers when consisting of only a few species always composed of herbivores? Are their sedimentological characteristics different from other bone layers? Doesn't there exist any classification of bone layers, or have I just been unable to find it?
The issue is attacked by a hydrologist:
The quotation from the American Museum of Natural History implies that a pool, formed at an eddy in a river would have a quicksand bottom. There is only one way such quicksand could form, and that is by upward movement of groundwater through the bottom of the pool (see reference on Ink Pots springs). While this is not uncommon, there is no evidence (e. g. sorting of the sandy matrix of the bone breccia) presented for this.
Again referring to my Ink Pots paper, it is clear that density differences between quicksand and "trapped" animals do present a problem. The animals may have died from exhaustion, but they would not have been "sucked in". Lacking further evidence for the quicksand hypothesis, I think the mud flow (liquefied sediment slide) solution is more likely.
The only way to solve this question is to collect all the evidence, including grain size distribution throughout the deposit, and detailed description of all "foreign matter" in the sediment.
Robert O. van Everdingen
Hydrology Research Div., Environment Canada
Van Everdingen R. O., 1969: The Ink Pots--a group of karst springs in the Rocky Mountains near Banif, Alberta. Can. J. Earth Sci. 6/ 4: 545-554.
And Kloosterman concludes the case:
The problem here is that an equally strong and pervasive uniformitarian influence exists in sedimentology as in paleontology, with, in the interpretation of sediments, an aversion to even such common and minor catastrophes as rapid mass movements. Even if we are willing to consider catastrophist hypotheses, some basic data may be lacking, and thus the "cooperation" of the two specialities may lead to a typical case of "cross sterilisation," so common between two different disciplines or even branches of the same discipline.
Enlightening as these comments may be, it is noteworthy that what to this author seems to be the more likely solution of the problem is not mentioned. The animals are of distinct species and were killed together, their bones disarticulated, and their bodies concurrently buried, in a (probably presumed) "eddy" of a now extinct river. No indication of water-wear or scavenging affects the bones. Probably a large cyclone was involved; the animals were picked up, torn apart, dumped, at some distance, and buried in a matrix of debris that was also being transported. If the conglomerate contained more species, further study might reveal a possibility of a water tide as the prime factor.
K. E. Chave's tumbling barrel experiments, in which shells and skeletons of marine animals were subjected to water, chert pebbles, and sand abrasion at 30 revolutions per minute, saw a reduction to under 4 mm grains of most of the structures within 183 hours, with perhaps 40 hours representing a half-life figure for average structures  . Complementary reduction occurs biochemically and by the action of other animals.
Clearly, then, given 200 hours of rolling about, little identifiable fossil life would remain. Supposing that the rolling were stretched out in a tide or current, about 300 kilometers of movement at one kilometer per hour would reduce practically all life forms to grain size in a bio-mineral soup, which, when motion ceased, would be deposited and in a matter of days form a strong deposit, partly mineral and partly biological. The tide would be moving much faster in any disastrous scenario. The rate of destruction would increase with the speed. Therefore, a fast tide in a few hours over a stretch of a few kilometers would render the fossil record something readable, if at all, by electron microscope and paleobiochemistry.
If tides had totally overrun the globe, the fossil record would be much less -all the less because tides dig up old deposits as they move, too. On the other hand, is the fossil record so generally rich as to imply large expanses of peaceful, tideless time when shells could find a quiet home, preserved, until pushed into visibility, there to encounter aeolian forces? Looking at the question in another way, where in the world would a fossil go to rest undisturbed by currents, electricity, and chemicals for a million years, or a hundred million, or a billion? "Hitler's Festung Europa (Fortress Europe) has no ceiling," we used to say in 1944. Has any fossil anywhere an anti-electro-chemical fortress, a Festung Fossilia with a ceiling? If we had available to us a thorough paleontological survey and map of the Earth above its granites, we should be able to answer the question of the age of the surface since its last scourings. We do not have it.
Discovered fossil assemblages number in the hundreds, although they are not nicely inventoried. They occur on every continent, in many countries, in high and low latitudes, whenever land animals, plants and marine life have thrived. A large number remain to be discovered. A list of over fifty is before me as these lines are written, and I realize that they are almost all either late Cretaceous (reptiles) or late Pleistocene (large mammals), and that one must take into account many times this number for the aforesaid periods and then every "rich fossil bed" that graces the boundaries of the total phanerozoic calendar.
An item from Chemical and Engineering News comes to mind  . Workers "found the fossil skeleton of a baleen whale some 10-12 million years old in... diatomaceous earth quarries in Lompoc, Calif. .... The whale is standing on end in the quarry and is being exposed as the diatomite is mined... The fossil may be close to 80 feet long." A sarcastic reader wrote in (March 21, 1977) that "Everybody knows that diatomaceous earthbeds are built up slowly over millions of years as diatom skeletons slowly settle out on the ocean floor. The baleen whale simply stood on its tail for I00,000 years, its skeleton decomposing, while the diatomaceous snow covered its frame millimeter by millimeter." That is, catastrophes affect the minute as well as the great life forms.
We do not know what proportion of fossils contributing to paleontology was derived from conglomerates as against individual finds. As expected, no one has sorted the assemblages into those involving collective catastrophe and those accumulated by normal individual disasters. A committee of experts would probably find few if any of the latter category, some of doubtful origins, and the majority to be collective disasters.
It would not take long today to conclude, for example, that the famous La Brea (Los Angeles) tar pit and similar pits, discovered many kilometers away, portray catastrophes. The conglomerates of smashed and disarticulated bones of discordant species (saber-toothed tigers, peacocks, etc.), gravel, and asphalt point to a paradise of wild life suddenly devastated and revived only as the dry, thinly populated land, poor in fauna, of recent historical times. The time of the La Brea incident has had to be lowered drastically; for one thing, human bones have been found there; but also, the assemblage has been connected with other major events, such as the drying of lakes, placed at about 3500 years ago.
On the principle of "the Great Contrary" as the ancient Chinese called it, it would seem that the uniformitarians have received their chief input to the reconstruction of ancient species from the catastrophes that they would deny, just as the omnipresence of strata upon which they depend for their geology carries the heaviest implication of repeated disturbances of the Earth's surface.
Fossil conglomerates are not partial to genera or to epochs. Many recent studies have been based upon material dredged from marine sediments, and concern minute organisms or creatures. These, too, usually mark boundaries ordinarily termed epochal, or climatic, or even catastrophic, for they involve abrupt terminations of some certain composite of species. Thus, when suddenly a thick band of coccoliths is dredged up from the bottom of the Black Sea, aged perhaps three to five thousand years, a sudden end to a regime becomes apparent: a deluge of strange waters, an abrupt climate change, an electric shock transmitted throughout the body of water, or a sudden break in the food chain occasioned by similar events  . We speak more of this when we come to discuss extinctions.
At Bearsden, near Glasgow, a fossil conglomerate termed Carboniferous by age is found. Marine and freshwater strata are interlaced; marine and non-marine life-forms are present, not necessarily tied to their "appropriate" rock strata (land plants and marine animals are mixed); crustacean and shark fossils (rapidly decomposable) are found in high degree of preservation [7A]. Though often the material of coal beds, they are not carbonized. A series of tidal thrusts is to be assumed; further, coalification does not occur, it appears, unless an independent heated element is added before or after dumping. The evidence is consistent with the catastrophic theory of coal formation.
Coal deposits are fossil conglomerates of a most impressive kind, and call upon the winds, the tides, and the giant bulldozers of ice and rock.
Quotations from botanist Heribert Nilsson are pertinent  :
Even if our peat-moors grew to a thickness of 2,000 meters, nothing would be similar to the Ruhr Carbon or any other coal district... If the possibility of an autochtonous formation of the seams is judged from the point of view of the amount of material available, the results must be considered as highly improbable. A forest of full-grown beeches gives material only for a seam 2 cm. It is not unusual that they are 10 meters thick, and such a seam would require 500 full-grown beech forests. Whence this immense material? How was it deposited all at once? Why did these masses of living organic material escape decay, why was it not completely decomposed?"
To what degree sediments are "rock fossil assemblages" is unknown. They too, with or without fossils, can be transported by high-energy vehicles. If a tree stands vertically in a sediment does it not demand that its whole depth of burial should be carried throughout its stratum wherever it leads and the whole be considered instantaneous? Should not the vertical great whale referred to above be a measure of a whole stratum's instantaneity? A stratum can only be as thin as its tallest fossil will allow. A poly-strata fossil wipes out practically all the temporal pretensions of the blankets of its bed. Ideally, it should wipe out all identical blankets everywhere.
A famous instance of ancient catastrophic fossilization was introduced by Hugh Miller in 1841 in regard to the Old Red Sandstone  :
The River Bullhead, when attacked by an enemy, or immediately as it feels the hook in its jaws, erects its two spines at nearly right angles with the plates of the head, as if to render itself as difficult of being swallowed as possible. The attitude is one of danger and alarm; and it is a curious fact... that in this attitude nine tenths of the Pterichthes of the Lower Old Red Sandstone are to be found...
At this period of our history, some terrible catastrophe involved in sudden destruction the Fish of an area at least a hundred miles from boundary to boundary, perhaps much more. The same platform in Orkney as at Cromarty is strewed thick with remains, which exhibit unequivocally the marks of violent death. The figures are contorted, contracted, curved, the tail in many instances is bent round to the head; the spines stick out; the fins are spread to the full, as in Fish that die in convulsions... The record is one of destruction at once widely spread and total, so far as it extended... By what quiet but potent agency of destruction were the innumerable existences of an area perhaps ten thousand square miles in extent annihilated at once, and yet the medium in which they had lived left undisturbed in its operations?
The depth of the fossil bed was immediately determined. Miller gives it at over 8000 feet. Hence all sandstones of this type everywhere in the world must be treated hypothetically as quantavolutionary. This promptly casts suspicion upon all rocks in the 360 ° global ambiance of the sandstones.
It seems that this episode, which fascinated the scientific public over a century ago, is due for a reassessment in the light of current knowledge especially since a new element is found at the well-known scene, radioactivity. "Anomalous high radioactivity has been detected in Homosteus, a fish from the same Old Red Sandstone beds in which Pterichthyodes occur," writes Hans Kloosterman  . We have mentioned similar cases earlier. Kloosterman continues:
Latter-day uniformitarians tend to explain the radioactive anomalies by differential absorption of radioactive elements posterior to deposition. Conceivably this will bear out to be correct, but it could be only a partial explanation. Has any study been undertaken to find out whether high radioactivity in fossil bones correlates with the great faunal breaks of the Earth's history?
Radioactivity does not kill and assemble fauna quickly. It is associable with forces that do so and it implies exoterrestrialism: cosmic lightning and electrical discharges; freezing, gassing, and smothering fall-out, and incoming tides that have been radiated elsewhere.
Many microchronic catastrophists, hot on the scent of fossil absurdities, believe in the contemporary existence of species that are conventionally placed in superposition and assigned sequential periods of existence. The number of individual anomalies -a cold-water clam in a hot-water clam bed or a dinosaur among mammoths -is too small. Indeed, I have read of no incontrovertible case of major consequence for the reconstruction of time and evolution. The most sophisticated of their concepts seems to be fossil zoning, by which, if I understand rightly, is meant the simultaneous growth of ecological sets of a greatly different order. These sets are shuffled about as the scene changes, under castastrophic duress. One ecology is piled upon another and a long temporal sequence is assigned to the whole and its parts.
I can conceive how, let us say, continental tides of translation might sweep in and deposit a life zone upon one area; also I can conceive of another wave, reverse or oblique to the first, carrying upon the same area a second layer of fossilized sediments, and, in the end, of the second being given incorrectly a much younger age that the first. I cannot conceive, on the other hand, of nature being so neat, so orderly, or so given over to long range thrusting. One bears in mind that the longer the transport, the worse the conditions for fossilizing. Also, the chances that a tide or bulldozer will pick up inter-zonal species are excellent and therefore will place not only 'A' upon 'B' but 'B' upon 'A'. But such occurrences are quite rare, and almost always distinguishable. The inconsistency would be noticeable. One cannot but feel at times that paleontologists have a lore that is locked out of the literature and that would emerge upon systematic questioning. Thus, what are the statistical parameters of fossil deposits in situ: how often, for instance, are fossil beds pure and how often apparently heterogeneous and to what degree? Are fossil deposits of ancient ages more likely to be heterogeneous than late fossil beds? If fossils usually travel, as Ager says, do they travel with their own age group? Does the age-pure rich fossil bed indicate, not a long, but a short chronology, because the fossils have not had time to be mixed or destroyed?
No part of the world is without fossil deposits. This would indicate that no part of the world has escaped catastrophic experiences. Marine fossils are of shallow seas: the oceans may be too young to have spawned new species, much less to cast them over the continents.
A great many fossil deposits are assigned old ages. The horrified fish of the Old Red Sandstone referred to earlier are Devonian and given hundreds of millions of years. The theory of this book has been tending toward confining biosphere catastrophes to the nearby ages and to an early period of "radiant genesis," defined in Solaria Binaria, with a stable intervening period. Either the ancient assignments will have to be re-timed or we shall have to give up this notion of a long period of Pangean stability during which quantavolutions were in abeyance. (See, e. g. the time charts following the text.)
We cannot conclude here from the study of fossil deposits that all major disturbances have been recent. But these conglomerations lend direct and substantial support to the quantavolutionary theory that Earth changes have been sudden, large-scale, and intense, and that most, if not all, have been very recent.
Notes (Chapter Twenty-six: Fossil Deposits)
1. Animal Travellers, loc. cit., 126-46.
2. Corridors of Time: 1,700,000 Years of Earth at Grand Canyon (N. Y.: Times Books, 1980). Cf. G. M. Price, Evolutionary Geology and the New Catastrophism (Mountain View, Calif: Pacific Press, 1926), 234-9.
3. V S. I. S. Rev. 1 (1980-81), 10-1.
4. Fossils in the Making
5. 2 Catas. Geol. 1 (1977), 1-2; Ibid. nš 2, inside cover.
6. K. E. Chave, "Skeletal Durability and Preservation," in J. Imbrie and N. Newell, Approaches to Paleoecology (N. Y.: Wiley, 1964), 377-82.
7. Chem. and Engin. News, Oct. 11, 1976, quoted in III Kronos (Eall 1977), 68-9.
7A. 5 S. I. S. Workship 1 (1982) 28-9 citing Nature (17 June 1982), 574.
8. Egon T. Degens and D. A. Ross, "Chronology of the Black Sea over the Last 25,000 years," in Chemical Geol. (Elsevier: Amsterdam, 1972), 4; also, with J. Mac Ilvaine, 170 Science (9 Oct. 1970), 163-5.
9. Quoted by Bennison Gray "Alternatives in Science," VII Kronos 4 (1982), 15, from Nilssen's "Summary of the facts and leading principles concerning the non-evolutionary phenomena in the world of biota and the theory of emication," based upon his Synthetische Artbildung: Grundlinien einer exakten Biologie, 2 v., Lund: Gleerup, 1953).
10. The Old Red Sandstones (Edinburgh, 1941), 48.
11. Kloosterman, et al. (supra, fn 5) citing S. H. U. Bowie, D. Atkin, "An Unusually Radioactive Fossil Fish from Thurso, Scotland," 177 Nature (1956), 487-488; W. R. Diggle, J. Saxon, "An Unusually Radioactive Fossil Fish from Thurso, Scotland," 208 Nature (1965), 400.