Why don’t we see any human fossil remains from the flood?
This is a question I get many times from Christians. Not atheists—we’ll get to the reason for that later…
It really is a legitimate question, so let me rephrase it a different way:
The catastrophic flood of Noah’s day ended up burying almost every living thing at the time. That would have included the human population living in the 2300’s BC, obviously except for the 8 people on the ark.
So where are all the human skeletons?
There’s no doubt we find a ton of marine fossils almost everywhere we look. Whether Crinoids in my backyard of Tennessee, or coral on the tallest mountains in the world, there’s clearly been a lot of water in earth’s past. Then we go to places like Colorado, Germany, and Argentina and find giant dinosaurs encased in rock. We find land mammals buried in the exposed rock layers of Texas and California as well as many other places.
Then we get to humans.
We’ve got a few garbage bags full of bones total for all the humans that seem to have existed more than four thousand years ago.¹
Even if you include the bones from all the ape-like creatures that secular anthropologists say evolved into humans, they don’t add too many specimens.
Let’s think about how this works
When the fountains of the great deep broke open, it would have stirred up mud and sent waves of sloshy sediment across continents.
- The first thing to get buried would be sea creatures in the pre-flood oceans; becoming trapped in the mud. Like I said, we find plenty of those.
- Next, the waves and sediment would have washed onto the shore and started rising, burying all of the creatures living in marshes and lowlands. That was probably the end of a lot of the dinosaurs and amphibious creatures.
- The water continued to rise until many land mammals on the upper continents could no longer run.
But what about the humans? Well, sometimes we don’t act very intelligently, but we’re still a lot more reasoning and logical than any animal. Humans obviously don’t live underwater, so they would have already been living in areas higher than pre-flood sea level. They’ve got an advantage right there. Then, you can bet when water began to rise, they would have climbed as high as they could…
Then they would have floated for as long as possible.
They may have survived for a short while by grabbing floating logs and driftwood. But with all of the marine creatures swimming near the surface of the water to get away from the mud, there would be some really large predator animals feeding on bodies. When the humans couldn’t survive any longer, they would have died and floated on the water’s surface.
The sad fact is that a lot of them bloated when they died, floating on top of the water as they decayed. Their bones would have scattered as they sank to the bottom of the water, making it hard to find complete human skeletons. And because many of the sinking bones would have landed on top of most of the flood sediments, fossilization wouldn’t take place because it requires burial.
One of the most obvious reasons humans would have survived longer than animals is often overlooked but might be the most basic.
Because God gave Noah the instructions on how to build an enclosed ship that would survive the flood we somehow get the impression that no one had ever built a canoe, raft, or any floating vessel before the flood.
That’s not indicated in the Biblical record. They were highly civilized and more than likely knew how to build small structures (boats) that floated on lakes or bodies of water.
What Would You Do?
So if you started to see the waters rise and had been listening for years to some man named Noah talk about a great flood… wouldn’t you climb on board the nearest boat or even a crudely constructed raft to try and wait out the flood?
You might have survived for days longer than the animals, maybe even weeks. But the volcanic activity and the tremendous amounts of salt deposition from sediment erosion would have made the sea waters undrinkable…
Dehydration would set in.
And tsunami-like waves begin washing over the continents capsizing small floating boats or rafts.
To make the problem of finding human remains even worse, it appears that a lot of the last layers of the flood to be deposited where human skeletons would have settled were mud. And, over most of the earth, these layers were immediately washed into ocean basins as the floodwaters began to recede—taking much of the human remains with it.
This top layer quick erosion is confirmed by recent geological research, but very little archaeology has been done underwater to uncover human remains.
- The fact is, we are more resilient and creative in the face of catastrophe than most animals, meaning we are probably the last to die during a global deluge.
- Humans would have been in the top layers, and many of the human remains were swept away, broken apart, or scattered during the flood. That’s actually logical. Even most dinosaur remains are also scattered and disarticulated.
- The majority of human skeletons we find today are from after the flood, and that is to be expected if the Biblical history is correct.
This is a Bigger Puzzle for the Evolutionists
If modern humans have been evolving from ape-like ancestors for the past few million years, then there’s a giant problem!
In fact, there is a 5 billion-skeleton problem. There should be at least 5 billion individuals who have lived and died over that time, and that means that the fossil record should show millions of skeletons of human and almost-human remains.
Guess what we find?
A single bag of bones. That’s right, a few hundred specimens, mostly incomplete.
Remember, I told you there was a reason that atheists don’t bring up the lack of human fossils? It’s because this truth is powerful evidence that goes against their humanist religion of chance.
There simply hasn’t been enough time for evolution to occur, and that should be expected. That’s what the Bible told us all along.
- To see the best collection available of all human and supposed-ancestral humans, see The Smithsonian’s collection
The fossils are there, but the earth has since turned under like a plowed field. We do not have the technology to go that deep.Also, much has been burned up in lava.You can still see sea fossils on high mountains. This is a result of the ‘flip flopping’ of the planet.
Although there are a few places where everyone agrees the layers have been overturned (such as the Matterhorn), you seem to assume the entire earth has experienced this level of upheaval. No geologist, secular or biblical, believes this because the evidence doesn’t fit such an assumption.
For more, Dr. Clarey’s work is powerful. I especially appreciate his research on the extent of up-swells we see of the flood as it built to its climax: https://www.icr.org/article/assembling-pre-Flood-world
Thank you, David. I hope that many unanswered questions will be answered during the thousand-year reign of Christ. In the meantime, I rejoice over every bit of science that proves the Bible was right all along. God bless you and pray for your work.
David, I never thought about this, but it is something to think about, and here in your article you made a very good point Thank you.
That is an excellent, excellent point! And I suppose that it is quite possible that many may not have died directly from the flood and rains. If they had scrambled, as you say, for floating debris or boats, they may have survived the initial drowning, only to starve to death waiting for the flood waters to subside. They most likely didn’t have “disaster packs” ready and waiting. So they gripped a piece of floating tree, only to float for days on end before hunger and hypothermia killed them. Then, falling in the water, they bloat, rot, fall to pieces and sink as scattered bones never to be found again (sorry to be grossly descriptive). What a picture of judgement! But also remember the ark: what a picture of Salvation! William
I would add that probably most of the human fossils we do find, as well as some of the mammal fossils, were probably deposited after the Flood. There’s good evidence that the Flood was pretty much over by the time the last Tertiary layers were deposited (see this article by Dr. Tim Clarey: https://www.icr.org/article/rocks-reveal-the-end-of-the-flood). After-affects of the Flood may have caused many of these fossils, either by burying the corpses that were left or, by chance, preserving the remains of later humans. The latter was probably pretty rare, for the same reason that secular geology (which invokes only local events) can’t adequately explain the billions of fossils on earth.
Anyway, great article. I have to admit I hadn’t thought a lot about the possibility of people using boats and other flotation devices to survive the Flood. Thanks for the interesting read!
Thank you David, for answering my question. It has been on my mind for years and I have asked several pastors but no one has offered any explanation, until now! I will ponder your points more. I too had never thought of people clinging to flotsam. What a horrible slow death! I thank God for Jesus Christ and the cross! Thanks again, David for your time and interesting research! God bless you and all your staff!
I don’t know….
i think we’re still missing something in our thinking. We know that metallurgy was established prior to the Flood (Gen 4:22), and surely there were big sturdy construction works that existed prior to the Flood. These metal tools and large buildings did not float for weeks. Whereas the buildings may have been demolished, you’d think that we’d still find remnants of these buildings in clusters, with maybe a family huddling in a closet, within the fossil record, and you’d think we’d find metal artifacts, also.
I believe I’ve read an occasional report of a metal hammer in a coal bed, or etc., but there seems to be a real rarity of pre-Flood artifacts. I’m not confident that the “humans were smart enough to float for weeks” idea explains this lack of pre-Flood artifacts.
I’m not saying this idea is wrong (it’s probably correct); I just am not sure it really answers the question.
I like the way you’re thinking, but here’s something to keep in mind about antediluvian culture. We’ve got to picture the lushest tropical setting where raising food and maintaining decent shelter is far easier than for those in temperate or arctic climes. There would be no need for metal structures even if they were skilled enough to make them.
And for me, I don’t expect to find clear artifacts of a culture God went out of his way to scrub from the face of the earth. If there were large metal works beforehand, I would anticipate God would make sure they were melted by volcanic activity. Look at what happens to God’s enemies with Sodom, Gomorra, or Babylon.