Do fossils require millions of years to form? Hardly! Even secular geologists now recognize that rocks form very quickly. The key is the right chemical conditions, not time. See for yourself with a simple experiment.
Everyone knows that the fossils we find all over the world took millions of years to form—scientists proved that years ago, right?
Actually, even secular geologists recognize that fossils form rapidly. If they didn’t, the organism would decay so quickly there would be almost nothing left to fossilize!
Scientists constantly test ways to understand and replicate the process of forming fossils. Taphonomists (those who study how to make fossils) have demonstrated the astonishing speed of fossilization. Some fossils can be generated in days, or even hours!1
Fossils can form in a wide variety of ways. Some common methods include:
Fossils can form under all kinds of conditions all over the world. While water and dissolved minerals are usually needed to form the three types of fossils above, many processes—coalification, compression, freezing, desiccation (drying out), to name a few—do not require either.
Though there are numerous ways to make fossils, fossilization is somewhat rare today. Why is that?
God created the world to efficiently recycle organic matter. When something dies, scavengers, fungi (like mushrooms), and/or bacteria normally consume it. This process of decomposition leaves nothing behind to fossilize.
However, massive catastrophes like Noah’s Flood would produce the conditions necessary to quickly bury and protect creatures so that they can fossilize. It appears that God wanted to leave abundant evidence of His past judgment of mankind’s sin.
While scientists are still trying to sort out the complex details about fossilization, one fact is undisputed—it can be amazingly fast.
Fossils are rare today, but you can make them in your own home! Try the following experiment and watch a kitchen sponge “fossilize!”
(Adults should supervise the experiment and perform all cutting.)
Once dry, compare the two sponges. Break the fossil in half. What happened to the sponge material? Was it encased (permineralized) or replaced (petrified)?
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