Bergmann’s Rule Falsely Refuted | The Institute for Creation Research

Bergmann’s Rule Falsely Refuted

A recent study of dinosaur sizes claims to break Bergmann’s rule.1 Bergmann’s rule was named after biologist Carl Bergmann, who in 1847 noticed that warm-blooded animals tended to be larger in cold climates compared to the same animal in a warm climate. Larger body mass tends to help an animal retain more heat, helping animals survive in the cold.

“The fossil record provides a window into completely different ecosystems and climate conditions, allowing us to assess the applicability of these ecological rules in a whole new way,” said Jacob Gardner, a co-author of the new paper.2

Led by scientists from the University of Alaska, the team studied 339 dinosaurs and 62 fossil mammals, placing them at perceived paleolatitudes3 and under assumed climates at the time of burial.1 Some of the dinosaur fossils studied were found in rocks in northernmost Alaska, in contrast to an earlier study that claimed they lived near the North Pole (about 80°–85° north latitude).4 Publishing in Nature Communications, the evolutionary scientists found no compelling evidence to suggest dinosaurs and fossil mammals followed Bergmann’s rule.1 However, the group also studied extant birds and mammals. Here, they found climatic temperatures did indeed have a small effect on body size, following Bergmann’s rule as expected.

Is this new study sufficient grounds to throw out a 150-year-old biologic rule like the study’s scientists suggest? The answer is no because their results are based on faulty assumptions, making it unlikely they conducted a valid test. They make at least three unverifiable assumptions:

1. The science team assumes there was no global Flood. Conventional scientists disregard the historical accuracy of the book of Genesis and any reference to a catastrophic global Flood. It was the Flood that buried the dinosaurs and mammals outside the Ark, possibly moving them from their original locations.

2. They assume dinosaurs were warm-blooded. There are a lot of published reports that indicate dinosaurs were cold-blooded.5 Cold-blooded dinosaurs likely could not have thrived in extreme cold climates or north of the Arctic Circle as claimed.

3. They assume dinosaurs and mammals lived in high latitudes millions of years ago and were found as fossils near where they lived. Dinosaurs found in supposedly polar climates have baffled conventional paleontologists due to the cold conditions they would have faced and the long periods of darkness. Conventional reconstructions place the Alaskan dinosaurs in about 120 days of total darkness each year, making it difficult for any dinosaur to survive.4

In contrast, ICR’s Column Project team has mapped out the megasequences and sedimentary rocks across multiple continents, using actual rock data to reconstruct the pre-Flood land masses and their environments.6 It resulted in a pre-Flood world that resembled Pangaea and was centered at the equator.6 In fact, nearly all land was at latitudes of less than 45° north or south of the equator.

Our reconstruction places the dinosaurs in Alaska at about 35°–40° north in the pre-Flood world—not at 80°–85° where researchers placed them.6 This provides a much more moderate climate where dinosaurs could have thrived.

Because dinosaurs were most likely cold-blooded and never lived at extreme northern latitudes, the evolutionary scientists failed to properly test Bergmann’s rule. Their assumed paleotemperatures are simply erroneous assumptions, invalidating their findings. Most of the pre-Flood world was likely warm and tropical to subtropical based on the fossils we find globally.6 This is why they found no correlation of size to paleotemperature in dinosaurs or mammals. The temperature likely didn’t vary enough to show any body size effect until after the Flood during the Ice Age.

Making poor assumptions leads to poor results. But if we accept the historical accuracy of Genesis, it all makes sense. Jesus had a perfect plan. Dinosaurs were originally in warm and moderate climates. The Flood inundated these dinosaurs with all other creatures outside the Ark, and it’s possible their bones were moved far from their original locations. Bergmann’s rule still appears to be valid.


  1. Wilson, L. N. et al. 2024. Global latitudinal gradients and the evolution of body size in dinosaurs and mammals. Nature Communications. 15, article 2864.
  2. Dewan, P. 2024. Dinosaurs found to break 150-year-old scientific rule. Newsweek Science. Posted on April 8, 2024, accessed May 6, 2024. Paleolatitude refers to the supposed past location of the rock layer during its deposition and also where the animals found as fossils were assumed to have lived. Conventional science places northern Alaska at extreme high latitudes in the Cretaceous. Contrary to these evolutionary reconstructions, the pre-Flood location is the actual location where the animals resided prior to their inundation. Our reconstructions place these dinosaurs at much more modest latitudes. Later plate movement during the Flood moved Alaska to its present location.
  3. Druckenmiller, P. S. et al. 2021. Nesting at extreme polar latitudes by non-avian dinosaurs. Current Biology. 31 (16): 3469–3478.
  4. Clarey, T. 2016. Dinosaurs Designed Cold-Blooded. Acts & Facts. 45 (1): 15.
  5. Clarey, T. 2020. Carved in Stone: Geological Evidence of the Worldwide Flood. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, 178–179.

* Dr. Clarey is the director of research at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his doctorate in geology from Western Michigan University.

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