Best of 2017: Sixth Extinction

by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

Geologists reassessed the abundance of fossils in Earth’s uppermost rock layers this year, and they believe they found a remarkable sixth global extinction event.1 Their discovery has two significant implications.

When a variety of fossilized life forms found in one rock layer no longer occur in rock layers above, evolutionary scientists call that change in fossil type an extinction event. This assumes that eons separate the layers. And it assumes the creatures were evolving.

For decades, fossil experts recognized only five major extinctions. However, more extensive and accurate fossil counts from around the world, recorded in an online database, revealed creature cut-offs in upper, Cenozoic layers that researchers now interpret as a sixth worldwide mass die-off.

What should this mean to the scientific community at large? It implies that sometimes even the basics of a discipline, like the long-held five extinctions of paleontology, fall short.

This revelation also bears significance for Flood geology. Instead of representing extinction events separated by millions of years, Flood geologists interpret all the places where fossil types change rather abruptly as water-borne phases of Noah’s Flood year. The Flood’s liquid violence accounts for sudden animal and plant burial, and its worldwide extent as specified in Scripture explains the worldwide extent of the supposed extinctions. Also, the Flood’s relatively recent occurrence explains why so many of those buried bones still retain original organics inside the long-buried creatures.2

This new wide angle fossil analysis suggests that Cenozoic rocks may contain fossils from the Flood, too.

There weren’t five separate extinctions, or even this sixth one in Earth’s upper rock layers. Just one Flood accounts for all these mass die-offs, in huge, rapid, muddy sequences, as befits the Bible’s brief but precise description.3

Whether interpreting rocks from a secular or biblical perspective, new (and more accurate) data can and should reshape old ideas.


Pimiento, C. et al. 2017. The Pliocene marine megafauna extinction and its impact on functional diversity. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 1: 1100-1106.
Thomas, B. 2017. Best of 2017: Fleshy Fossils. Creation Science Update. Posted on December 28, 2017.
Genesis 7:22: “All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.”
* Brian Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on January 2, 2018.

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