Chapter 4  ·  Western Exotics

The Western Cape & Namibia Fossil Sites


There are many fossil sites along the West Coast of Southern Africa, stretching from Cape Town up through Namibia. The Saldanha Bay area is particularly rich in fossils, with the well-known fossil sites of Langebaanweg, Elandsfontein and Hopefield nearby. The important site called Langebaanweg has a mixture of sedimentary rock, containing marine and terrestrial deposits, with phosphate rock and gravel. One of the most productive quarries at Saldanha was the ‘E’ quarry at Langebaanweg, which at its widest is about a kilometre in diameter.

Saldanha Bay, is the largest natural harbour in South Africa

I would like to list the fauna to show you the incredible variety of species that were deposited in one place. This site does not include nearby quarries, which are also very productive. There is no way that such a diversity of species could die at one spot unless the flood was involved. Even the evolutionary palaeontologists agree that there must have been some sort of flooding here. The amounts in brackets give the amount of species, and not the incredible numbers of individuals e.g. over 500 short-necked giraffes.


At least 32 species including the following types:
Foraminifera (6), ostracods (5), top shells (2), periwinkle, snails (7), dove shell, plough shells (6), marginellid shell, chiton, sand mussel and false cockle. The small invertebrates included freshwater specimens now found only in tropical areas. There were high concentrations of land snails found with fragments of mammal fossils. These land snails were found with tortoises and calcareous (chalky) structures, built around the remains of vegetation.

    Lower Invertebrates

The fishes, amphibians and reptiles have been largely unstudied, but more than a dozen species of the following types are represented: Sharks, rays, catfish, other bony fish, frogs, tortoise, turtles, chameleon, gecko, monitor lizard, other lizards and snakes. Fishes destroyed included a six or seven gilled shark, grey or black tipped sharks, oil shark, great blue shark, lemon shark, sand sharks, giant white shark, mako shark, dogfish, angel sharks, skate, sting ray, eagle ray, catfish, various bony fishes, mussel cracker and others.

In one place an unusually large numbers of frog bones were found together, showing even they were sometimes not spared by flooding. An angulate tortoise found at the site is similar to ones found today in the region.


At Langebaanweg bird bones were found making this possibly the largest fossil site for birds in the world. These Varswater deposits in the Cape have produced more than 10,000 avian bones of at least 61 species. This is one of the largest bird accumulations found from the flood.

At least 61 species of the following types were recorded at the preliminary stage of study:
Ostrich, penguin (2), grebe, petrel (3), cormorant etc. (3), gannet, stork, ibis, ducks (3), goose, falcon, hawks (3), a possible vulture, eagle, francolin, quail, crane, rail, bustard, plovers and other shore birds (10), sandgrouse, pigeons and doves (2), parrots (2), owls (2), mousebird, rollers etc. (3), woodpeckers etc. (2), swift, and song birds (9).

Other bird deposit sites in the Cape include Klein Zee, Ysterplaats air force base near Cape Town and Duinefontein, which is the site of the Nuclear power reactor plant. There are also some deposits, which are classified as middens, which appear to fall into the flood category. Interestingly fledgling chicks that died in these deposits are normally at the same age found in the region between December to April, which fits in with the historical date of April/May for the start of the flood.

Bird fossils from the many Western Cape Flood sites include; ostrich, francolin, ducks, geese, grebes, oystercatchers, petrels, pelicans, cormorants, gannets, storks, ibises and spoonbills, a possible vulture, falcons, hawks or eagles. There are also cranes, rails, bustards, shorebirds, sandgrouse, pigeons, parrots, owls, mousebirds, rollers, kingfishers, woodpeckers, swifts, songbirds, penguins, albatrosses, prions, shearwaters, booby, gulls, terns, fulmar and puffins. Parrots no longer occur in the southwestern Cape, being found in tropical wooded areas further north. Ostriches were larger than those found today. Many francolins were found at Langebaanweg and in some sections many dead ducks. Water birds were not spared by the devastating floodwaters. One of the penguins found in the Cape deposits was quite large and almost as big as the biggest penguins today. One prion was a giant and larger than any existing today. Many of the birds were the same size as their modern counterparts.


At least 83 species of the following types are recorded:
Golden mole, shrews (2), elephant shrew, bat, baboon or monkey, pangolin, aardvark, foxes (2), bear, wolverine, honey badger, otter, seal, civets (2), genet, mongooses (5), hyenas (5), sabre tooth cats (2), false sabre tooth cat, lynxes (2), wildcat, unidentified carnivores (4), gomphothere, elephant, hyrax, hipparion, white rhino, peccary, pigs (2), hippo, sivathere, okapi, giraffe, nyala (2), boselaphine antelope, buffalo, waterbuck (2), alcelaphine antelopes (2), steenbok, gazelle, muskox (2), hare, rodent moles (2), porcupines (2), several rats and mice, gerbil, dormouse, and a few whales and dolphins.

In one occurrence of no more than a meter square and a few meters thick, the remains of thousands of small vertebrates were found. These included up to 800 golden moles. In another area, there were an uncounted number of broken bones and teeth belonging to animals ranging in size from mice to whales. Cats included the sabre tooth cat, of which there are leopard and lion sized ones.

The high number of carnivores and tortoises show how these creatures were taking to the higher ground. The carnivores probably did well off the many animals collected together, before they drowned. There were a variety of hyenas. The Civets were larger than those found today and so was the wolverine. Agriotherium was a large bear as big as the Kodiak bear. This bear was similar to the Panda in some ways. It had long legs and was possibly a fast runner. There was a giant pig much larger than the modern bushpig. Many fossilised seals were found in the area, which are similar to the monk seals of the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Hawaii. Some of the seals were still young when they died. The peccary, which is a small pig no longer found in Africa; was present.

The site yielded Giraffes of a great genetic diversity and many were shortnecked forms. The Langebaanweg deposit had the remains of about 500 short-necked giraffes. One short-necked giraffe was found deposited with its limb bones in a vertical position showing a quick deposition. The Elephants were larger than their modern counterparts. The boselaphine antelope found is similar to the blue cow or Nilgai of India. Complete skulls of mammals were rare and no entire skeletons were found, showing the violence of the floodwaters. Predators on the islands, or the process of deposition would have largely damaged the bones in these deposits.

    All Sorts

You can see the amazing mixture of invertebrates, which include fresh water, salt water and terrestrial types. These are mixed in with fishes, whales, terrestrial animals, reptiles and birds. In one place a sharks tooth, sabre-tooth skull, penguin bone and pig skeleton were found together. Terrestrial vertebrates are found with foraminifera and fish teeth. Bird eggshells were found with seashells. The Flood is the only explanation for the mixing of so many species, from so many habitats at one place. The way the fossils were deposited by the water shows a sea current flowing from the Northeast to the Southwest. Some of the fossils may have been burnt by the volcanic activity that took place nearby.

    Saldanha Skull

In 1953 a farmer found a human skull north of Cape Town at the Elandsfontein/Hopefield site. This skull was later named the ‘Saldanha skull’ and was taken to the South African Museum. The scientist working there was not impressed or interested in the skull and dumped it in a storage hut. Luckily a scientist named Ronald Singer retrieved it and noticed the value it had in human ancestry. It consisted of a large skullcap and jawbone of a robust physical person, with a heavy brow ridge. This skull was in deposits of ferricrete and limestone, with fossils of a giant buffalo, a giant warthog like pig, a large elephant/mammoth, small mammals, birds, reptiles and a short-necked giraffe. It appears to be the remains of a young adult male who had similarities with the Rhodesian man.


The Elandsfontein fossil site had calcareous floors that were heavily encrusted with ferricrete and contained about 20,000 mostly mammalian fossils. In one case six large antelope vertebrae were found in an articulated position showing the animal was rapidly covered with sand. The flesh and sinew were still around the vertebrae. The waters deposited the corpses at Elandsfontein so they formed bone circles. One of the palaeontologists, who had excavated at Elandsfontein, had this to say about the site, “Large accumulations of fossil bones over a vast area are freaks: it is not enough to have the right soil conditions to preserve bone; it has to be buried fairly quickly. If these and other conditions can be met, chance alone will not concentrate large numbers of dead animals in the right place. Even in places suitable for fossilisation, only a small proportion of the dead animals are likely to become fossilised after predators and scavengers claim their share and scatter the remains. So many factors are involved that, like winning the football pools, if it should occur it is not likely to happen again. What could have happened at ‘Elandsfontein’?”

    Sea Harvest

Sea Harvest is a site near Saldanha bay, which yielded large and small mammalian fossils. Included in this were a human finger or toe and a tooth. This site is one of many flood deposits found in this area.

    Ancient Ship

There have been many reports given of a 70-foot long wooden ship that was found 10 miles from the sea on the Cape Flats. This ship had a mast and metal pieces and was found in sediment. Over many years, it was broken up for firewood that was carted off to Cape Town. Unfortunately, the ship has now disappeared, so we do not have any wood specimens to confirm the find. There is a possibility that this was a ship deposited by the flood in sediments at the Cape Flats.


The Melkbos site in the Western Cape had calcareous sandstone and sand yielding various large and small mammal fossils. Of about 600 specimens found, there were hyena, panthera (lion/leopard), rhino, equines, hippo, buffalo, large tragelaphus (kudu/bushbuck), reedbuck, hippotragus (sable/roan), wildebeest, steenbok, gazelle, mole, tortoise, ostrich, dog and a possible seal.


A site at Paternoster in the Western Cape is interesting as it shows us the fallibility of carbon dating. This is just one example of the many fossil sites excavated over the years, which have produced faulty readings with carbon dating. Six different types of deposits were found one on top of the other. Levels 1, 5 and 6 were carbon-dated. The top level was dated at 870 +-50 yrs BP using charcoal. The fifth layer was dated using seashells at 3510 +-60 yrs BP. The bottom layer was dated using tortoise shell and was 1000 +-70 yrs BP. The lower level date was just too young and the scientist in trying to make carbon dating work stated that it must have been contaminated by younger material. This word ‘contamination’ is used frequently as an excuse for young carbon dating dates. This gives evolutionists an excuse to throw out any ‘young’ dates in their readings and to excuse any discrepancies, like that mentioned above.

Another interesting thing done was the subtraction of 400 years from reading 5, as he was told shellfish give readings older than what they really are. This shows how fickle the system is and how easy it is to add or subtract years to get the readings you want. Sometimes carbon dating will produce dates very unacceptable to evolutionists. A survey of the 15,000-radiocarbon dates published through the year of 1969 in the publication “Radiocarbon” of ancient specimens, it revealed some interesting facts. Of 9,671 specimens of trees, animals and man, only 12 % yielded a date greater than 12,530 years.

If evolution was true, there should be many older readings. Only 3 of 15,000 specimens dated yielded ages as infinite. If evolution is true there should be thousands of infinite readings, showing the age of an object is older than 50,000 years. Samples of coal, oil and natural gas had radiocarbon in them, showing they are less than 50,000 years old. They were meant to be millions of years old. Deep ocean deposits with supposedly the oldest life forms were dated to 40,000 years of age or less. A small cave west of the Rossing Mountains near Swakopmund in Namibia had its cave sinter dated. Using Carbon-14, dates obtained at this Rossing site were; 26,530 +- 920 yrs BP, 26,680 +- 540 yrs BP and 29,680 + 1480 – 1250 yrs BP. Using the Thorium to Uranium radiometric dating system this same sinter was dated to over 300,000 years.


Dinosaur bones of an Ornithischia were obtained in a well, which was sunk over 100 feet deep 30 miles northeast of Steinkopf in Namaqualand. It was found in a material of clayey sand with calcareous concretions, with some calcified and silicified wood and streaks of lignite. The thick sediments here show that many fossils were deposited at great depths during the flood. Mammals were also deposited in calcareous concretions in this region.


Most of the Namibian fossil sites contain only a few fossils. The Arrisdrift fossil beds are found near the mouth of the Orange River and this is the richest fossil site found so far in the country. The fossils were transported by water in a high-energy environment before final deposition. Only one instance is recorded of skeletal remains occurring in articulation. Most of the skeletal remains are disarticulated, fragmented, abraded and distorted. Encrustations of gypsum have etched and destroyed parts of the specimens. The Arrisdrift fossils include a fish, frog, snakes, crocodile, tortoise, birds and mammals. The bird fossils include francolin, sandgrouse and an eagle. Some interesting mammal fossils include the pika, chevrotain and a bear dog. A ruminant which seemed to be have been common in Namibia was the climacoceras, which was a deer-like ruminant that had similarities with the giraffes.

    Human Cranium

In 1964 at Otjiseva in Namibia 26 miles north west of Windhoek, a human cranium was dug out of an alluvial deposit. As a contractlabourer was fixing a road, he damaged a skull with his pick. The skull was about 30cm down, although a thicker covering of soil had covered the skull in the past. The position of the cranium and jawbone showed that the skull and possibly the shoulder region were deposited in an upright position. Also found with the cranium were some teeth, a welldeveloped chin and the right side of the lower jaw, with one tooth. Some of the strongest bones of the skeleton show fractures indicating that the skeleton was subject to heavy earth pressure. In the same area, a similar heavily fossilised skull was found while digging a well at a depth of more than 10 metres. Unfortunately, it was thrown away. The Otjiseva skull had similarities to the Boskop remains.

    Fossil Wood

Namibia has an abundance of fossil wood indicating that it was probably covered with forests before the flood. These forests would have been suitable for elephants and some of the exotics that were living in this region. There is a Petrified Forest 40 kilometres west of Khorixas. Some of the tree trunks here reach a length of 34 metres and have a 6-metre circumference. These plants were in the cone bearing family, which includes the conifers. Fossil plants found along the West Coast of Southern Africa have been studied and showed that there were tropical to sub tropical conditions along the West Coast. Some fossilised wood has been taken out of ocean sediment off the Namaqualand coast. The wood appears to have been washed offshore by the flood.


The Cape floral kingdom is one of the ‘hotspots’ of biodiversity in the world. It is home to about 8500 species of plants. Much of this vegetation has been called Fynbos. The Cape Floral kingdom can only be matched for species by some rain forests. It is a mystery why there are so many species found in the Cape, which are not found elsewhere and various theories have been suggested. Personally, I think the best explanation is that when the Cape Mountain ranges formed during the flood, they captured sediment that was going to be swept south into the Indian Ocean. In the sediment were plants and seeds that were preserved and were to re-establish themselves here after the flood. Many of the Fynbos plants would have grown further north before the Flood.

    What Was It Like Before?

Pollens and plant deposits around the Saldanha area show it had a warm temperate, mixed conifer forest with subtropical palm dominated vegetation. The soil samples found at some sites in the Saldanha area contained many plants common to the area today, such as the Fynbos. Chenopodiaceae, Metrosideros and Podocarpus are some of the interesting plants that used to grow here. The former plant likes to live near saltpans and marshes. The second is a streamside plant always growing next to fresh running water, which is not found at Elandsfontein presently.

Podocarpus suggests a higher rainfall than the present. Acacia pollen was found at Elandsfontein and the nearest site where acacias now grow is 80 miles to the north, on the other side of a mountain range. The floodwaters may have brought the pollen to Elandsfontein, or they may have grown there. Marula trees that produce very tasty fruits grow about 1000 miles to the Northwest. Did they grow here or was the pollen found at Elandsfontein washed up there? Bushmanland appeared to have been cooler and wetter at that time with well-defined seasons.

It was heavily wooded with tall 'Christmas tree' shaped pines called Araucaria. These trees are related to the monkey-puzzle trees and Norfolk Island pines that are common in South African gardens today. So what did the Cape look like before the flood? From the living endemics and fossils of the flora and fauna, we can guess what the environment was like. There probably weren’t any large mountain ranges found along the coast, like we see today. This may have allowed the interior to be wetter. There was a higher rainfall with hills containing clear running streams. There were thick bush areas, open grassy country and conifer forests. There would have been plenty of Fynbos and the Karroo would not have been the dry barren area it is today. Going up the West Coast to Namibia there would have been a wetter area containing forests and possibly some mountains. There were probably few dinosaurs in the Western Cape. As one went into the Karroo there would have been more dinosaurs and central Namibia would also have had some.