Whale Fossils in Peru: Implications for Geology and the Faith-Science Debate

Speaker: Categories: Oct 08, 2005


[57min, 12sec / 36min, 21sec]


Based on the SDA understanding of the Noachian Flood, how widespread geographically did the water extend? What evidence does science provide to substantiate that belief? How much water would be required to inundate this much of the earth's surface? How much rain would need to fall - and over how long a period of time? How much time would be required for the waters to subside? Into what locations would such waters drain - or would they evaporate? What is the distance from the Middle East (the Mediterranean area) to western South America (the Peru area)? How would you -- or a trained geographer -- describe Peru's nearly 1500 miles of Pacific Ocean coast line? How does this shoreline compare with California's 1200 miles of coast along the same ocean? What is Peru's terrain, again compared with California's? If whale fossils are currently found in Peru, how did they get there?

Dr. Leonard Brand of Loma Linda University, making his first-time presentation at SDAF on October 8 and using some scientific vocabulary most likely unfamiliar to many readers, states:"The Miocene/Pliocene Pisco Formation in Peru contains numerous fossil whales along with other marine mammals and birds, buried in fine sandstone or diatomaceous siltstone. Study of the taphonomy (processes from death to fossilization) of these whales indicates that they are typically well-preserved, articulated to semi-disarticulated but still closely associated. They commonly show evidence that at least some soft tissue was still present when the whales were buried. This evidence requires rapid burial, rather than the typically accepted burial rate of centimeters per thousand years."

"Other parts of the research,"he continues,"have sought to understand why so many whales are concentrated in a relatively small area (up to several hundred in a square mile), why they died, and how so much diatomite could accumulate so rapidly."

He concludes this overview by observing that other earth scientists have not noticed or taken seriously the incompatibility of well-preserved vertebrates and very slow sedimentation rates, apparently because their worldview has not led them to ask the right questions!


Born in North Dakota, Leonard Brand and his wife, Kim, and children, Dennis and Jenelle, now live in Loma Linda. He earned his BA in Biology at La Sierra in 1964; his MA from Loma Linda in 1966; and in 1970 his Ph.D. from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Vertebrate Zoology. He has served in teaching and administrative roles at Loma Linda University from 1969 to the present. He holds numerous awards for excellence in teaching and research as well as grants nurturing further research. His professional I memberships include: the Society of the Sigma Xi, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists, the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Society for Sedimentary Geology. He has made numerous presentations at professional meetings as well as writing and being published in many professional journals. He has authored:Faith, Reason, and Earth History: A Paradigm of Earth and Biological Origins by Intelligent Design, 1997 (also available in Spanish and Portuguese), Andrews University Press; and co-authored with D. S. McMahon,The Prophet and Her Critics, 2005, Pacific Press.

Nature photography, hiking and camping, travelling, boating, carpentry, furniture construction, bird watching, water skiing, music (guitar and trombone), teaching crafts and nature classes to Pathfinders serve as hobby and relaxation interests.

He can be reached via email at: Ibrand@ns.llu.edu.

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