A dinosaur fossil expedition for home educators has excavated a large, rare, intact allosaurus, a discovery that organizers say helps debunk the theory of evolution.
The fossil measures more than 22 feet in length and 10 feet in height, with a complete skull more than a yard long. Allosauruses are believed to be a close relative of the tyrannosaurus rex, differing from the T-rex primarily in size and cranial capacity.
Under the leadership of Doug Phillips, president of Vision Forum and an adjunct professor of apologetics with the Institute for Creation Research, and Peter DeRosa, a veteran archaeologist and paleontologist with Creation Expeditions, the team of 30 home schoolers spent a week earlier this month hunting for and excavating fossils in a privately owned location in the Skullcreek Basin of northwest Colorado.
Of the 37 allosauruses that have been discovered around the globe, only 13 have been found with more than 25 percent of the fossilized remains intact, explained a statement released by Phillips and De Rosa. Of those 13, just three complete skulls have ever been recovered. Nearly 70 percent of the Skullcreek allosaurus has already been found, lending credence to speculation that it may prove to be the best-preserved and most fully articulated, or connected, allosaurus yet to be excavated, the statement said.
"Most people do not realize that there is a tremendous paucity of dinosaur bones available to scientists," said Phillips. "Ninety-five percent of all the fossils in the world are marine invertebrates; 95 percent of the remaining 5 percent are plants. The vast majority of the rest of the fossil record are fish and insects. Only a fraction of a percent of the remaining fossil record includes land vertebrates, and those finds usually consist of less than one bone. To find a complete allosaur is simply historic."
DeRosa commented on the possible time of death of the giant animal.
"The evidence strongly points to a relatively recent and catastrophic event similar to that described in the Bible as the flood of Noah's day," he said.
"We found a complete section of vertebrae more than 12 feet in length, which was fully articulated. The dinosaur appears to be in much the same position as he was at the time of his death and burial, which must have been virtually instantaneous, and caused by a catastrophic event. Not only was this fully articulated dinosaur found lying in a bed of leaves and plant debris, but there is wood from trees mixed in among the bones, some of which contains petrified and unpetrified elements in the same piece of wood. If this creature were millions of years old, the evidence would look quite different."
Phillips contends that the discovery of such a valuable dinosaur by creation scientists may well send shockwaves through the scientific community.
"Up to now, a well-funded and insular community of evolutionary theorists have dominated the field of paleontology, directing most of the large dinosaur finds to research and museums committed to interpreting the fossil evidence through the faith-driven assumptions of evolution," said Phillips. "To have a dinosaur of this size and significance within the camp of scientists committed to the creation model is nothing short of a coup d'etat."
The DeRosas, who have a contract on the fossil rights to the property and own the right to the material they excavate, had been working the site well in advance of the arrival of the home-school expedition. Their preliminary work over a period of months led them to believe that they had an allosaurus, but it was not until the home-schoolers arrived and performed the heavy lifting of moving a lot of dirt that evidence was found to validate their suspicions.
Home-school dad finds skull
According to the organizers' statement, the discovery of the allosaurus skull came at the last moment of the last day of the trip. With just minutes to go before calling quits on the expedition, Dr. Bruce Bellamy, a home-school father from Clinton, Mo., broke dirt on what would prove to be the neck vertebrae leading up to the skull.
"I placed a $250 bounty on anyone who found the skull," Phillips said. "It was just a small incentive for my team, of course. The actual skull could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Last week, DeRosa brought in a fresh team of professional excavators to remove the skull from the ground for preservation. It is not yet known when the skull will be available for viewing.
Bellamy, as it turns out, was not the only one to uncover a last-minute prize. Just yards away, on a second site, 9-year-old home-schooler Haley Meadows was dusting away dirt with her brush when she found the claws of a 100-foot sauropod, presently believed to be of the rare ultrasaurus variety, according to Phillips.
"What is amazing about this sauropod is the fact that it constitutes an entire hill," Phillips said. "This is an enormous and impressive creature. Everywhere we dig we seem to be finding more bones, from six-foot femurs to ribs to vertebrae."
Home educators paid $950 a person to study dinosaurs, learn excavation techniques and uncover dinosaur bones. The privately owned area was once described by National Geographic as one of the 50 best fossil dig sites in the world.
"The home-schoolers on this trip paid for the privilege of shoveling dirt, hacking at rocks and the possibility that some of them might uncover dinosaur bones," Phillips said. "Many of our guests came with minimal expectation, but the dig proved successful beyond the imagination of both trip sponsors and participants. There is not one child in a million who gets an opportunity like this. This is what home education is all about."
Added DeRosa, "The story behind the location of this site is perhaps the greatest miracle. Through a series of remarkable events, more than 120 acres fell into the hands of the current owners, a Christian home-schooling couple committed to biblical creationism."
The owners have been approached by museums, television networks and leading evolutionists who have expressed a strong interest in the fossils found on the property.
"I am sure the evolutionists would love to get their hands on these bones. Who can blame them," Phillips said. "It is like a gold mine for paleontologists."
Creation Expeditions, which believes the land may contain dozens of more fully articulated dinosaurs, hopes to be excavating the site for years.