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Time Represented in Outcrops

Time Represented in Rock Outcrops

The strata in Figure 1:1 show a relatively small segment of rock. Figure 1:1 also shows four fossils--a one-toed horse, a frog, a trilobite, and a coral.

While the one-toed horse (genus Equus) dates from less than 5 million years ago (Ma), the coral could be Cambrian (>500 Ma). This makes a several meter outcrop of rock appear to show a half-billion years of rock deposition. While there are certainly gaps (unconformities) of this much time, what one would tend to see would be the old corals set right below the younger horse, without trilobites and frogs in between.

Figure 1:1, therefore, is misleading in that it suggests a very long span of geologic time can be shown in a few layers on the side of a cliff. This might be a tenet of Young Earth Creationism, but geologists would tend not to find such a range of fossils in such a short succession of strata.

Explore Evolution claims:

Another problem is that fossils don't always appear in the order they're predicted to.
Explore Evolution, p. 27

This is blatantly false. In fact, fossils show a great uniformity in terms of their stratigraphic position in rock outcrops. In every case where, for example, an older fossils is set stratigraphically above a younger fossils, this can be explained by features such as reverse faulting.

The fossil record seemed to show a trend from simple to complex.
Explore Evolution, p. 17

Complexity in organisms can be subjective. In many ways, fossils from the middle Cambrian show features as complicated as modern animals: eyes, teeth, claws, digestive tracts, articulated limbs, exoskeletons. While we can discern an increase in brain size and complex behaviors in our own species as it evolved from earlier hominids, complexity in body design is more problematic.