Edgar Nernberg is an avid creationist. He believes the world was created 6,000 years ago and sits on the board of directors of Big Valley's Creationist Museum in Calgary, Alberta. In an amusing twist of irony, the backhoe operator stumbled across 60-million-year-old fossils while excavating a basement — which some scientists are describing as one of the most important archeological finds in decades.
Nernberg's job as an excavator exposes him to countless fossils, but when he saw the ones from the basement, he knew something was different and contacted University of Calgary paleontologist Darla Zelenitsky.
"When the five fish fossils presented themselves to me in the excavator bucket, the first thing I said was, 'You're coming home with me,' the second thing was, 'I better call a paleontologist,'" he said, according to the university.
The university said of the extraordinary discovery: "The unearthing was astounding, as five nearly perfect fish fossil specimens were concealed in a block of sandstone in the Paskapoo Formation, a roughly 60-million-year-old rock formation that underlies Calgary."
The irony of the finding? The ancient fossils were perhaps lost on Nernberg, whose belief in creationism is impervious to this discovery.
The power of belief. Despite having unearthed the fossils, Nernberg's belief the world was created by god 6,000 years ago is unshaken. "No, it hasn't changed my mind. We all have the same evidence, and it's just a matter of how you interpret it," Nernberg told the Calgary Sun. "There's no dates stamped on these things."
Nernberg's inability to be affected by his discovery has left many exasperated by creationist dogma. Isotopic dating used to gauge the age of fossils is not comparable to a date stamp, according to him ,and it will therefore not change his mind.
Regardless of Nernberg's suspicion over the date of the fossils, they will still be studied at Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta and might even be put on display.