The original question was:
“What real practical evidence have you got that dinosaurs were buried real fast and don’t just quote Noah’s flood at me.”
This answer from Joe Taylor, one of the most experienced fossil collectors we know.
I have collected approximately 6,000 dinosaur bones over 34 years in Texas, Montana, Dakota, and other places, so let’s just consider the condition the bones are in when you first dig them up. For this we need to quickly remind ourselves what happens to bones in this present world that come from creatures that die naturally, fall to the ground, decay and or slowly get buried. Since the world of the Dinosaurs is usually presented as a lush tropical environment, particularly in the Triassic and Cretaceous layers that I have mostly collected from, let’s consider that environment first.
In today’s tropical zones, bones from creatures that have died and laid around on the ground for even a short period of time stay wet, and therefore have a lot of biotic action on them ,and eventually decay or are eaten by scavengers. A quick trip through the tropics will show a severe shortage of animal bones on the surface as a result.
Bones in dryer ecological zones tend to get a lot of sun exposure, dry out, crack and split and eventually lose their plasticity. This splitting lets in moisture as mist or rain, as well as sand, and plant roots, so they tend to show signs of severe decay even if they are later buried in flash flooding. A quick trip to see dead buffalo skeletons in Texas proves this. Any present day bones that get buried by local flash floods in arid or tropical zones tend to be re-buried over and over till they wear out.
None of these processes are good for preservation. In rocks which are usually interpreted as the Triassic Swamps beds of Texas, there are crocodilian bones everywhere. I once asked a palaeontologist from the University of New Orleans if they ever find bones of the millions of alligators who have died in the present day swamps, and he said, “No”. The reason is the action of the swamp destroys them.
Yet the fact is that almost all dinosaur bones, from Triassic and Cretaceous layers are in great shape. They do not show signs of pre-burial weathering, and seldom do dinosaur bones show evidence of having been river-rolled. Apart from breaks due to ground shifting during earthquakes, dinosaur bones are rarely broken or smashed up. Even mass death of in today’s world seldom results in any vast burial zones let alone produces any fossils. Yet dinosaur bones were buried and preserved in vast numbers.
Secondly dinosaur bones are usually interpreted as having come from creatures that lived and died in the spot they were found in, but how valid is this? We all know that creatures that die and get slowly buried soon fall apart. Skulls disconnect from back bones, jaws fall apart, etc. Yet many of the dinosaurs I have worked on show good articulation, and even when the bones have started to disarticulate, they are still in close association with the rest of the skeleton. Their bones appear to have stayed within the skin of the animal, only moving around due to explosive gasses from decay which were contained due to having been covered quickly in thick sediments. Rapid and complete burial followed by explosive trapped decay gases blowing bones apart would do this. Slow surface burial would not produce such a result.
These two evidences alone tell us that well preserved Dinosaur skeletons not only were buried quickly, but that that best source of sediment that could bury such huge creatures quickly is catastrophic flooding.
For more information and illustrations by Joe Taylor, see the article Dinosaurs: Evidence for Rapid Burial PDF here.
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