What is a fossil? The Word Web Pro 6.72 defines a fossil as the remains (or an impression) of a plant or animal that existed in a past geological age and that has been excavated from the soil. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –Fossils (from Latin fossus, literally “having been dug up”) are the preserved remains or traces of animals (also known as zoolites), plants, and other organisms from the remote past.
At the local dinosaur museum in Fruita, Colorado, is an interesting sign, giving their definition of a fossil – fossil (fòs’ el) n. – Any evidence of life more than 7,000 years old. This sign, or one very similar to it, has a history. We first saw the sign pop up in a smaller museum in Grand Junction before they took over the museum in Fruita.
When I say pop up, I mean it just appeared one day. Ironically, this was about the time when a gentleman we know was doing a lot of volunteer tours in the smaller museum. He was an enthusiastic young earth creationist, and very open about his belief that most of the fossils in the museum were a result of the Biblical flood some 4500 years ago.
So, was this a counter by the museum to invalidate his teaching? I have no evidence to say they did it intentionally. However, it seems interesting for the sign to just appear when their viewpoint was challenged. I have visited many other museums since we first saw that sign, and I have never seen anything close to the definition used here locally.
A local college geology professor shared with one of his students in 2010, “We don’t know what happened. Just make something up. Get it published. People will quote you. It will stand for 50 years before someone will test it and find out it isn’t true.” I guess if you are a museum, you can do the same thing … make up whatever you want, put it on your wall, and don’t worry about being challenged … at least for 50 years or so.
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