Sudden Appearance of Flowering Plants Fit Flood Model | The Institute for Creation Research
Sudden Appearance of Flowering Plants Fit Flood Model
A new study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution has claimed that flowering plants, the most common type of plant on Earth, first appeared in small numbers in rocks of the Early Cretaceous. Fossils indicate that these plants became extremely abundant in rocks of the post-Cretaceous (or Cenozoic) after the dinosaurs disappeared in the rock record.1 However, creation scientists interpret these findings much differently. We realize these fossil plants merely record the order of burial in the global Flood.

Evolutionary scientists call the sudden appearance of many types of fossils diversification. They also refer to the origination (first appearance) of a plant its “stem” age and when it became abundant its “crown” age.”2

Flowering plants are extremely abundant today, making up about 4/5ths of all green plants on Earth.2 But the question remains: Where did these plants come from and why do they only appear in rocks so late?

The study authors wrote:

The Early Cretaceous (145–100 million years ago (Ma)) witnessed the rise of flowering plants (angiosperms), which ultimately lead to profound changes in terrestrial plant communities. However, palaeobotanical evidence shows that the transition to widespread angiosperm-dominated biomes was delayed until the Palaeocene (66–56 Ma) [post-Cretaceous].1

In order to better address the history of flowering plants, the co-authors examined 238 types of fossil plants and 16 million occurrences of modern flowering plants.1

Previous studies of this nature only used 30 to 60 fossil records and we wanted to increase this number significantly and set a higher standard for fossil calibration by documenting every part of the process, said Herve Sauquet, one of the co-authors of the study.2

Co-author and evolutionary biologist Susana Magallon, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, concluded:

By estimating both the stem and crown ages for angiosperm families we found a difference of 37 to 56 million years between family origins [stem age] and the beginning of their diversification [crown age] into the living species we see today. To put this into context, the average time lag corresponds to around a third of the entire duration of angiosperm evolution, which is at least 140 million years.2

Creation scientists do not accept these great ages. Instead, we believe that these fossils were buried in the global Flood about 4,400 years ago. However, the first appearances of flowering plants in the Early Cretaceous sediments are a real phenomenon, as are the great numbers of flowering plant fossils found in post-Cretaceous rocks.

Strangely, the authors of this study offered no explanation for the origin of these flowering plants. They identified no evolutionary ancestors or even possible ancestors. It’s as if the flowering plants, both the stem and crown, just appeared out of nowhere, fully formed and functional.

So, is there a better explanation for these fossils? As creation scientists, we believe God created all types of plants on Day 3 of Creation Week. The global Flood buried both plants and animals in the rising flood waters in a definite order, depending on their pre-Flood elevation. We call this ecological zonation.3

Flowering plants were apparently placed at a higher elevation along with the more common mammals, like camels and horses. These were likely the same pre-Flood locations where most of the humans lived. As the waters rose during the Flood year, they buried mostly lowland non-flowering plants and dinosaurs in Cretaceous and earlier rocks. Later, the upland plants and animals were buried in the post-Cretaceous rocks on top of the dinosaurs. It is the pre-Flood uplands that likely contained the higher percentage of flowering plants, easily explaining the order of the plant fossil record.3

Flowering plants did not evolve from non-flowering plants or anything else. All plants were created by God, fully formed, but at different elevations, on Day 3 of Creation about 6,000 years ago. Holding to a biblical worldview and reading the rocks properly leads to the best explanation.

Stage image: Flower fossils in amber.
Stage image credit: Royal Botanic Garden Sydney/Flickr. Copyright © 2020. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.


References
1. Ramirez-Barahona, S., et al. 2020. The delayed and geographically heterogeneous diversification of flowering plant families. Nature Ecology & Evolution.
2. Nield, D. Scientists Create a 'Time Tree' Showing How Flowering Plants Came to Dominate Earth. Posted on ScienceAlert.com July 12, 2020, accessed July 17, 2020.
3. Clarey, T. 2020. Carved in Stone: Geological Evidence of the Worldwide Flood. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research.

*Dr. Clarey is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his doctorate in geology from Western Michigan University.
The Latest
NEWS
RNA Ties and Unties Itself
There are two types of nucleic acids (genetic molecules): DNA and RNA. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a large linear molecule designed to store genetic...

NEWS
Does Oddball Platypus Genome Reveal Its Origins?
How in the world did a creature as odd as the duck-billed platypus originate? This creature lays eggs like a reptile, has venom like a reptile, spurs like...

NEWS
Is Evolution ‘Fake Science’?
The organization BioLogos, which advocates that Christians accept secular evolutionary claims, recently published an online essay entitled “How to...

NEWS
Cambrian Explosion Alive and Well
A new editorial in GSA Today is claiming that secular scientists should cease using the term “Cambrian Explosion.”1 It’s not...

NEWS
Abraham Ate Bananas?
Since the word banana does not occur in Scripture, any evidence of bananas in ancient Middle Eastern diets would have to come from the ground. New research...

NEWS
3-D Human Genome Radically Different from Chimp
All plant and animal genomes studied so far exhibit complex and distinct three-dimensional (3-D) structures in their chromosome configurations depending...

NEWS
Amazonian Artwork and the Post-Flood Ice Age
An extensive series of South American Ice Age artwork may be of interest to biblical creationists. In 2017 and 2018, scientists discovered a nearly eight-mile-long...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Dinosaurs
You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with ICR’s special Creation Kids learning...

NEWS
Inside January 2021 Acts & Facts
How is ICR winning science and scientists back to Christ? What is the significance of fossil bone collagen discoveries? Did pterosaurs have feathers?...

ACTS & FACTS
Savvy Sons of Light
Many Christians grow uncomfortable when their pastor teaches about money. If it’s any consolation, I know many pastors who feel the same way....