Bone Digger REVIEWS 


I enjoyed it immensely. What a tribute to a man who deserves it.  You did a great job and it was a blessing...
...Keep up the good work in His service.
--Buddy Davis, Answers in Genesis/Creation Museum artist, musician and speaker 

reviewed by Terry P. Beh (emphasis added)

All about creationist field paleontologist and fossil preparator Joe Taylor, the new documentary DVD, Bone Digger, by first-time filmmaker, Whitney Yule, does a good job of capturing the essence of the long-haired, West Texas bachelor, who has spent much of his life digging up fossil evidence for creation. Utilizing a mosaic- or montage-style that at times seems a purely random combination of scenes, by the end of the film it becomes clear that Yule has successfully created a fully fleshed-out portrait of the colorful character Taylor is known to be.

At a little over one hour-long, while Bone Digger certainly provides a good look at Taylor’s prep work with bones and fossils, more than anything else it presents an in-depth personal portrait of the man. Shot mostly in and around Crosbyton, Texas, Taylor’s hometown and the location of his Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum, the flesh and blood of the film are loosely hung on the backbone of the making of a saber-tooth cat (Smilodon Californicus) skull cast, one of Taylor’s most popular products. Along the way, from the removal of the plaster-white cast from its mold to the glossy, finely stained and painted finished product, Yule captures Joe’s garrulous nature, philosophical musings and corn-ball sense of humor (i.e., one of the creationism’s most knowledgeable fossil men, he intentionally mispronounces debris as “durbis,” to emphasize his West Texas “hick” credentials). At one point, Taylor states that, due to the rigors of the field, paleontology is generally a bachelor’s domain, something Yule plays up with interview footage of his co-workers, Henry Johnson (widowed) and Joel Peck (divorced). In fact, some may wonder if one of the main questions Yule was seeking to address in the movie is: Why is an interesting, skillful, funny, caring guy like Joe Taylor single?

Along with scenes of the creation paleontologist at work, especially on the Smilodon skull, Bone Digger delves into Taylor’s background as an artist, musician and father figure when he lived and worked in Hollywood in the early 1970’s. Painting billboards and album covers for many music stars, including John Denver, the Jackson Five and others, a musician himself, Taylor was also part of the Hollywood Jesus Movement scene, doing artwork for and befriending a number of early Christian rock stars, like Larry Norman. In a nice touch, Yule includes some cuts from an album Taylor recorded at the time called Spirit Truth in the film’s soundtrack. Yule also introduces us to Taylor the family man. Though a life-long bachelor, who now lives by himself in a hundred-year-old house in Crosbyton, during his Hollywood years he helped raise over seven fatherless boys and girls. Asked why he would do such a thing, Taylor simply explains that if you’re a Christian man and there are kids without a father in your neighborhood, “you’re chosen.”

We learn that Taylor’s interest in creation science was initially peaked by a Duane Gish creation/ evolution debate he attended in 1972, when he first realized that the facts were on the side of his Christian faith but was puzzled by the lack of fossil evidence from creation science. “They didn’t have any bones,” he says. That led him to get fossil preparation training at the La Brea Tar Pits in Southern California, working on the remains of Ice Age mammals, like saber-toothed cats and mammoths. Taylor returned to Crosbyton in 1984, home to many Ice Age and Triassic fossils, where he started doing creationist paleontology full time and opened the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum. At the film’s end, Taylor occupies a theater-style chair in his museum, explaining the prime motivation for what he does one last time (which also serves as the DVD's theme): that lies—especially the lies of evolution—hurt people by leading them away from essential truth. At this point, not only have Taylor’s artistic skills been beautifully displayed in the completed Smilodon skull cast, but somehow, through all the “random” clips and jagged scenes Yule has skillfully weaved together like a jig-saw puzzle, we know who Joe Talyor is.

...anyone who knows Joe Taylor will find Bone Digger a highly accurate and enjoyable portrayal—and probably learn a few new things about him, as well. And for those unfamiliar with Taylor, it’s a great introduction. All in all, the film is really quite an achievement for the creative, young, first-time filmmaker, Miss Yule.

Terry Beh is a writer who lives in Castle Rock, Colorado, and has participated in numerous dinosaur digs with Joe Taylor. An article he wrote on Taylor, “God’s Bone Digger,” appeared in the April 2000 edition of “New Man” magazine. 
Phone: Producer Whitney Yule 817-914-7928