Many have heard about polystrate tree fossils, the thousands of trunks found over the last couple hundred years standing upright through multiple rock layers. (Poly means many, strata means geologic layer). Many polystrate fossils (see the list a few paragraphs down) have been buried crossing layers typically claimed to form over many thousands or even a million years. Regarding trees, areas noted for polystrate tree fossils include:
- Joggins in Nova Scotia
- Sydney, Nova Scotia (260 miles from Joggins)
- Lancashire in England
- Germany's Ruhr region
- Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone
- St. Etienne in France
- Blount County, Alabama
- Australia, Eastern U.S., etc.
Google ranks us #1 in searches for:
list of polystrate fossils.
Trees form one kind of polystrate fossil, and this list, as we will see, is not a list of polystrate tree fossils, but far more significantly, it's a list of the kinds of polystrate fossils that exist. Regarding the formation of any kind of polystrate, of course, dead organisms cannot stand for thousands of years waiting to be buried. And characteristically such fossils, as with polystrates trees, show no greater erosion at their top than at their base. So a single true polystrate fossil compresses the time it took to lay down its burial strata into a relatively brief period.
* Textbooks Skip Polystrates: Creationists claim that geology textbooks tend to omit any discussion at all of polystrate fossils. For example, a 2019 list of the top ten current geology textbooks includes Geology: A Complete Introduction. Yet a Google Books search reveals, "No results found in this book for polystrate." And there's The Changing Earth: Exploring Geology and Evolution from the worldwide publisher Thomson Learning. "No results found in this book for polystrate." Then there's Physical Geology 16th edition published by McGraw-Hill. "From inside the book, Your search - polystrate - did not match any documents." Those titles are searchable online. It appears there is a lack of interest in polystrate fossils among old-earth geologists. Just like with the greatest discovery in the history of paleontology, dinosaur soft tissue (see bflist.rsr.org), uniformitarian scientists show a lack of interest about whatever polystrate fossils can tell us about the past.
* Geologists Assigning Polystrates to Creationists: Tycho Brahe unintentionally freed astronomy from deep systemic error by assigning the study of Mars' orbit to Johann Kepler. The needed paradigm shift then happened precisely because Kepler was tenaciously curious about the planet's orbital anomalies. Regarding polystrate anomalies, evolutionary geologists lack scientific curiosity only because they assume a systematic study will not provide signficant support for their own treasured assumptions about the geologic record. Therefore, they have left the task of exploring polystrates to creationists. And explore them we will.
* Evolutionary Explanations for Polystrates: Even though geology textbooks ignore polystrate fossils, explanations can be found at NCSE, Wikipedia, etc. We address below all four evolutionary explanations that we've been able to identify.
EE1 Rapid Sedimentation: As an exception to the (claimed) generally slow formation of most strata, the layers that bury a polystrate are deposited during a "rapid rate of sedimentation", for example, from a river flooding and burying growing trees. (See this at NCSE, the site of Bob's opponent Eugenie Scott. This EE1 is actually the correct explanation except for two big problems presented below at CR1 in our Creationist Rebuttals.)
EE2 Persistent Trees: As at Yellowstone's Specimen Ridge it is claimed that persistent trees became petrified standing through multiple strata that were long claimed to make up 50 successive forests, vertically, each growing and dying out, one forest on top of another, fifty times. Even though the Nat'l Park Service finally removed the exhibit (see below) that makes that false claim, nonetheless it shows an inherent polystrate explanation, that trees can remain vertically long enough for the passage of sufficient geologic time to see the rise and demise of multiple strata of successive forests.
EE3 Persistent Organisms with Rapid Sedimentation: A combination of the first two explanation, with trees, for example, buried by fast sedimentation, followed by a layer of slow sedimentation. For example from Talk Origins, they suggest an initial burial in sediments of "several feet" followed by continued slower sedimentation or perhaps additional rapid sedimentation events. Trees don't die and decay instantly, so polystrate trees remained upright through a sequence of fast sedimentation followed by slow sedimentation.
EE4 Rare Enough to Ignore: Polystrate fossils are extremely rare and mostly a creationist exaggeration so they can be ignored.
* The List of Kinds of Polystrate Fossils: (see examples below)
- Upright trees form only one kind of polystrate fossil, other kinds include...
- A school of jellyfish fossilized across seven vertical layers allegedly deposited over a million-year period
- Fossilized end-to-end leaves standing on edge in super-slow deposited diatoms
- A fossilized pod of whales buried across four geologic strata
- A fossilized whale buried in diatomaceous earth
- A school of tadpoles in diatoms
- Aquatic mesosaur reptile in "annual" varves
- Delicate spines radiating through layers of now sold rock
- Nautiloids in the Redwall limestone which allegedly formed at 4,000 years per inch
- A fossilized school of (an allegedly) extinct trout-perch species
- Three-dimensional trilobites in super-slowly deposited limestone
- Communities of organisms found in limestone
- Dinosaur footprints that deform multiple now rock-hard layers
- Etc. (the millions of fossils that cross strata boundaries or extend vertically through allegedly super-slowly formed rock)