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Dinosaur figurines from Acambaro show human/dino association (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Dinosaur figurines from Acambaro show human/dino association (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CH710.2:

Thousands of clay and stone figurines discovered in Acambaro, Mexico include figurines of dinosaurs. They are apparently from the pre-classical Chupicuaro Culture (800 BC to 200 AD). Radiocarbon and thermoluminescent dating gives them even older ages. These figurines show that the ancient people were familiar with dinosaurs.

Source: Swift, Dennis et al., n.d. The dinosaur figurines of Acambaro, Mexico.


CreationWiki response:

This one is can best be described as a draw. Both sides make good points but neither side fully disputes the other. Below are those points that need to be addressed. (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

3. If authentic, the figurines imply even more archeological anomalies.
  • If the figurines really were based on actual dinosaurs, why have no dinosaur fossils been found in the Acambaro region?
Fossil formation is not common. Most of the time when an animal dies it is quickly eaten and the bones are scattered and totally decay. Fossilization takes special conditions of preservation and mineralization. Bones left out in the open will not be fossilized. Recently-living dinosaurs in a given area may not have left any identifiable remains, just as we have no fossils of many other creatures in areas that they habitat today.
* Why did no other Mexican cultures record any dinosaurs?

Here are some possibilities.

  • Other Mexican cultures may not have considered them worth mentioning. In this case the question needs to be asked, did they fail to mention other animals known to live in the area?
  • Other Mexican cultures recorded dinosaurs but the records have not been recognized as such due to evolutionary bias.
  • Other Mexican cultures may not have been as near dinosaur habitats as were the people of the Acambaro region.
* What caused the dinosaurs to disappear in the last 1100 years?

There are two possibilities.

  • They were hunted to extinction.
Many creatures have become extinct in the last 1100 years. Why should dinosaurs be any different?
  • They may have been driven deeper into the jungles.
This has some support in the form of a report of a dinosaur in a Mexican lake.
4. There is no credible information to support the claims. The only sources are pseudoscience journalists, creationists, and crackpots, who have obvious ulterior motives for gullibility.

First of all, this is an Ad Hominem argument.

The argument can be equally made that the evolutionists have ulterior motives for attacking such claims.

If creationists show any gullibility in this area, it is only a reaction to evolutionary bias. The problem is that evolutionary bias prevents such claims from getting a fair hearing in the general scientific community. The result is that when evolutionists point out problems—even legitimate ones—it is easy for a creationist to dismiss them as coming only from evolutionary bias.

Some time this bias is obvious enough to be easily seen through, but other times it take a lot of effort. Some times this bias thwarts even the most objective effort to get at truth, simply because the claims made by evolutionists can not be conclusively shown to be either true or false. The result is that the claims only serve to muddy the water.

This is the case with these figurines, but in this case those making the original claim have made enough mistakes to call the claim into question. Unfortunately the figurines themselves by their very nature give no clear clue one way or another. This is why it can best be described as a draw.

Their own dating results are discordant with each other and with the ages of the native cultures, and even attempting to do carbon dating on the inorganic figurines shows their incompetence.

This is without question one of the biggest blunders that tend to discredit this claim. Carbon dating might give a clue as to when the clay was formed but it would say nothing as to when the figurines were made. At best it places a maximum age on the figurines and in this case it is a minimum age that is needed.

However the carbon 14 dates could still be useful the testing the authenticity of the these figurines. Not beyond any doubt, but enough to tilt the balance one way or the other. If carbon dating of agreed authentic clay artifacts from the area shows the same basic pattern of discordance it would suggest that the figurines are authentic since it would mean that the clay came from the same source. If however a set of authentic clay artifacts showed a good degree of concordance then it would sugest that the figurines are fakes.

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