The sessile status and high preservability of plants make them good taxa for studying fossil record order and discriminating among the various mechanisms creationists have advanced for explaining fossil order. Although the creation model does not make specific predictions about the order of fossil appearance for the plants, evolutionary theory does. The first appearance of higher plant taxa occur in an order strongly correlative with the order of evolutionary branching predicted from published cladograms. The higher plant taxa represent a strong stratomorphic series. The probability that this pattern could be arrived at randomly is so low as to suggest that an explanation is required in the young-age creation model.
The synapomorphy sequence of plant cladograms is consistent with a character trend up the cladogram towards increased resistance to dessication (or increased terrestriality) and is highly correlative with the stratigraphic order of both first appearance and maximum diversity. It is proposed that the Flood destruction of pre-Flood floating forest biome would explain this data. In a fashion analogous to the plants of a quaking bog, it is suggested that the floating forest biome grew out over the ocean through an ecological succession of rhyzomous plants of steadily increasing size generating and thriving upon an increasingly thick mat of vegetation and soil. It is suggested that the plant succession from open water inward began with horneophytes, and continued with a sequence of rhyniophytes, zosterophyllites, and progymnosperms. This was followed in turn by a full forest biome including herbaceous lycopods and ferns on the forest floor, seed ferns in the understory, and arborescent sphenophytes and lycopods making up the canopy. It is also suggested that living in the floating forest was a succession of animals (the Paleozoic ‘land’ animals). This would have included the large Paleozoic insects as well as the Devonian aquatic tetrapods (like Ichthyostega) in pools on thinner portions of the forest floor and a wide variety of large amphibians (including the labyrinthodonts) on the thicker sections of the forest.
Not only does the Flood destruction of the floating forest explain the first appearance and maximum abundance order of fossil plants and animals, it also explains the strong association of Paleozoic plants with marine sediments and how the pre-Flood world could support the plant biomass represented in the Carboniferous coals. It also incorporates the pre-Flood floating forest theory of Joachim Scheven, and the floating logmat theory of Steven A. Austin for the origin of coal. It is further suggested that the residual catastrophism of the post-Flood period prevented the restoration of the antediluvian floating forest biome and resulted in the extinction of most of the Paleozoic plants and ‘land’ animals.
Pre-Flood, Floating Forest, Fossil Record Order, Stratomorphic Series, Coal, Ichthyostega, Plants, Animals, Fossils, Biogeography
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Wise, Kurt P.
"The Pre-Flood Floating Forest: A Study in Paleontological Pattern Recognition,"
Proceedings of the International Conference on Creationism: Vol. 5, Article 31.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.cedarville.edu/icc_proceedings/vol5/iss1/31