A fossilized cowboy boot?

I can’t remember the name of the alert reader who sent me this photo, an exhibit in some creation museum (I believe it’s in Canada, but correct me if I’m wrong).  It shows several examples of how fossils can supposedly form rapidly, with the intent, of course, of casting doubt on the age of supposedly old real  fossil and promoting the idea that the Earth is young.

One of the artifacts is a “fossilized” human leg in a “fossilized” cowboy boot, found in 1980 with the boot dated to about 1950 (top row, middle; click to enlarge):

The response? It’s a fake, of course, not fossilized at all.


  1. Posted September 20, 2011 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    It’s the Big Valley Creation Science Museum in Big Valley, Alberta:

    “Built from the foundations up, for the glory of the Creator, to display the evidence of his handiwork and refute the lie of evolution”

    The website is worth a visit for an object lesson in non-Intelligent Design ~ these loons love to mix’n’match their fonts

    Why does the entire ID community have such a poor aesthetic sense ? Does anybody know of a site that breaks this rule ?

    • S.A.
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      “Why does the entire ID community have such a poor aesthetic sense?”
      I guess because their aesthetic gay folk are forced to be deeply closetted :-))

      • Diane G.
        Posted September 22, 2011 at 3:08 am | Permalink

        Good one! 😀

  2. steve oberski
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    These are the very same fonts used in their big book of bad ideas.

  3. Posted September 20, 2011 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    I love the juxtaposition of topic tags you put on this post.

    Relatively rapid fossilization is, of course, possible (though I don’t think it can be nearly that fast — I’m having trouble finding the information because my Google searches are swamped by damned Creationist websites! Last time I successfully looked this up, I seem to remember it was on the order of a thousand years at minimum, but don’t quote me on that). But even if bones could fossilize in a mere 24 hours, what the fuck would that prove? Scientists don’t date artifacts based on some nebulous criteria like “how fossilized” they are, they do it using radioactive dating and/or by the position of the artifact in the geological strata.

    The existence of fossils gives us much corroborating evidence for evolution, and it allows us to learn so many wonderful things about ancestral organisms… but fossils don’t say a goddamn thing about the age of the earth!

    Why does the entire ID community have such a poor aesthetic sense ? Does anybody know of a site that breaks this rule ?

    It’s not just ID, it’s loons of every stripe. Not surprising, really, when you look at how much competent businesses, etc., struggle in putting together an attractive and functional website. Give the task to a bunch of low-budget morons, and that the results are even worse should not be surprising.

    It is a little weird that it’s not just lack of effort and incompetence, they seemingly go out of their way to make it look bad. But, you know, humans and all…

    • Posted September 20, 2011 at 5:44 am | Permalink

      Heh, speaking of ugly Creationist websites, in my (still unsuccessful) attempts to find out the minimum time it takes for an organism to fossilize, I stumbled across this gem…

      • Posted September 20, 2011 at 5:58 am | Permalink

        Funny. In one sections it says the boot is intact, in the next it says it was fossilized.

      • Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        Delightfully awful. Ttey’re using Angelfire Website Builder with a choice of templates & that’s the one they chose…

        Did you notice the outfit is Taylor Made Fossils ?

        “We provide excellent Dinosaur fossils and dinosaur cast replicas to museums, universities and collectors. […] All items are cast in the best resins available. Colors may vary”

        Weird ~ they also have a “welcome to the Bigfoot” section HERE

        Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti Footprint cast replicas, T-shirts and more!

        One really couldn’t make this stuff up, but obviously they can ~ I wonder what they charge for a decent unicorn fossil ?

      • daveau
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        I love the fossilized clock. “Clocks have not been around for millions of years,” therefore Jebus.

  4. Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Hey, that ain’t nuthin’.

    I’ve seen fossils wearing boots still walkin’ and talkin’.



  5. Stan Pak
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    If the bones are human I would rather call attention of the police since they can be remains of the crime. That would open a chance to examine these bones by independent forensic investigators or pathologists. That would also embarrass publicly those creationist cranks.

  6. Flo M
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Oh, this is brilliantly funny, and so avantgardistic. Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia come to mind. It ‘ready-made’ my morning!

  7. vel
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    the desperation of some theists to have “proof” any “proof” no matter how ridiculous or deceitful shows me just how weak their faith really is.

  8. daveau
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Regardless of the degree of fossilization, the age of the object can be accurately measured using radioactive isotopes. So the boot is 17th century, and a Cambrian fossil is, well, Cambrian.

    • Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      …of course, with the caveat that many fossils don’t lend themselves well to direct radioisotope dating, which is why you’re generally better off dating the strata the fossil was found in. That’s not a problem, though, because you actually wind up with a better metric: instead of relying upon a single method with wide error bars, you use multiple methods. If the multiple methods all line up, you’ve got a great deal of confidence. If they don’t agree with each other, you’ve got some ‘splanin’ to do.

      Astronomers do the same with distance calculations. Nothing beats parallax, but that only works for close objects. But within that range, you’ve got scads of “standard candles” to calibrate — objects whose intrinsic brightness can be accurately determined to amazing precision. You then look for other objects outside the range of parallax whose intrinsic brightness you can measure, and you get the distance by using the inverse-square law combined with their observed brightness. That also gets you to some more exotic standard candles that aren’t close enough to measure with parallax. Put it all together, you’ve got a tightly-woven mesh of observations, all of which agree (again, within well-defined error bars). Oh — and let’s not forget Hubbell’s observations, either the man or the ‘scope named after him. That gets us quite literally back to the dawn of time….



  9. Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The fossilized teddy bear is the nail in the coffin.

  10. Pete D
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Iraan is in TX!? Yet another strike against the Perry candidacy.

  11. sasqwatch
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Gotta love the bright yellow fossil fedora.

    • horrabin
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Evolution? Dick Tracy’s fossilized hat says no!

  12. John Weiss
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    One fine morning, my wife, our young son and I decided to visit Glenrose, TX and it’s famous dinosaur tracks. We’d heard about the alleged human prints that “proved” human and dinosaurs co-existed. The wife and I of course knew that that was the worst sort of nonsense, but what the hell?

    Anyhow, we saw the dino tracks and the “human” tracks. Our son bought the dino’s but couldn’t buy the “human” ones. One would have to have an extreme bias and bad eyesight to see human tracks.

    Upon leaving the park my wife saw Carl Baugh’s Creation Museum, and she insisted that we visit it, sternly enjoining the boy and I not to snicker, not even to talk. OK, we were game.

    We didn’t see Carl. We were shown a rather unconvincing, well actually a rather lame film of Carl pushing his ideas. Our son could barely contain himself, had to be ‘shushed’ by his mother several times.

    There were two good things about the experience. One was that the place was air-conditioned. The other was the “evolution chamber”. This was a large tank in which Carl apparently claimed was evolving life at a high speed, which “proved” that evolution happened at a rate that was Bible approved. Of course the viewing ports were so overgrown with algae that you couldn’t really see anything inside. But I thought that it was rather creative.

    The whole affair reminded me of the old time freak shows on the midway, long since forbidden, at the Texas State Fair. The three of us laughed over it for days, but to be truthful, it was just sad.


  13. Kharamatha
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Shouldn’t take many years to mineralise a boot under beneficial conditions.

  14. Ray
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Another site mentions that with fossil bones, they usually discolor according to what the minerals in the soil are like. That doesn’t help his skeptical remarks at all, there. I’ve seen Iraan, TX, where it was found. The area is heavy with light-colored rock – probably limestone, so the color of any fossil there would likely be that color, too.

    I think the fairest thing is to, well, be fair, and everybody stop trying to PROVE something & let the facts do it. Science now is far too politically correct & too unscientific.

    • Johan Boshoff
      Posted February 4, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      I think you guys are all missing the point completly. I debate many evolutionists, and even if I’m a Christian. I have never brought in the bible into these debates…. But purely on scientific evidence have not been able to be proven wrong.

      The whole point of disproving the time it takes to fossilize something is to prove the the so called evolutionary science is thumb suck. Even carbon dating has a limit as to how far it can date things back. So to claim then that something is 200 millions years old is mere speculation. And if this boot could be let’s say a hundred years old, is it not possible that other fossils might be much younger? And if this is the case, then surely its not scientific, but mere speculation!!! Last I remember science was out to prove things accurately, not speculating.

      As for the strata as someone mentioned. How do you get the age of the strata??? Since carbon dating is already just speculation.

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