The recent observation of ‘floating islands’ large enough to support trees and monkeys provide interesting support for the biblical framework of animal dispersal after Noah’s Flood. Current long-age theories of biogeographical dispersal struggle to explain how rafting across oceans could be viable. However, the Flood would have provided much fodder for the formation of large floating vegetation mats akin to modern ‘floating islands’, but much larger, potentially enabling them to survive trips even across oceans.

There are numerous small floating islands on isolated water bodies adjacent to the Magdalena River of northwest Columbia. The rafts are composed of aquatic plants, bound together and floating. As the floating islands grow, they can support large woody vegetation such as vertical trees. These floating islands typically are 30 m long, but some are greater than 100 m long. One floating island was observed to have trees up to 10 m tall and monkeys on the limbs. Theoretically, as the river floods, it could pick up one of these floating islands and send it downriver to the ocean, where it could even float for a distance on the ocean. Apparently, ocean travel has not been observed. Still, the authors believe this observation provides the potential for explaining cross-ocean transport.

Photograph of one of the floating islands on the Magdalena River during the December 2016 field trip (credit UF). As a scale guide, the raft is about 80 m across. Also note that O’Dea et al. (2016) includes video footage from 2010 of similar scale rafts travelling down the Chagres River in Panama.

Despite the new observation, the evidence still suggests that the uniformitarian ideas of vegetation rafts and short-lived land bridges are very unlikely. For one, the rafts would be too small, assuming the vegetation was ripped up by a storm, deposited in a river, and carried to the ocean. Then there are the numerous other challenges presented by Mazza et al. listed in tables 1–3.

Creation scientists have a much better option for explaining biogeography. First, the rafts of logs and vegetation are a result of a violent global Flood, so they do not have to drift down a river to the sea, but would already be floating on the oceans. Based on the estimated amount of coal, it is likely that the pre-Flood biosphere had about 10 times the amount of carbon, which could translate into 10 times the number of plants and trees compared to the present earth. Although masses of this vegetation were deposited within the sedimentary rocks, much of it would have continued to float on the oceans after the Flood. These logs and vegetation mats could be extensive and thick and last many years. They should be able to transport small animals, and possibly relatively large animals, across water bodies. The ocean currents and winds during the Ice Age would have been different than they are today. Although we do not know these variables, we are not constrained to explain biogeography by the present-day water currents and wind patterns. Moreover, there was much more rain during the early- to mid–Ice Age, so the need for fresh water on the log mats would not necessarily have been a problem. It is likely that plants and even trees grew on these post-Flood floating islands, providing food for animals. I have observed plants growing on wood pilings (figure 1), so the same thing could occur on the floating islands.

Article: A floating island with growing trees and monkeys observed IN SECTION: PERSPECTIVES by Michael J. Oard in Journal of Creation 2022 Vol 36, Issue 3

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