This frequent question, asked in just this way, implies many questions related to dinosaurs--a word meaning "terrible lizards." When did they live? What killed the dinosaurs? What were they like? What does the Bible say about them? There were about 300 different types of dinosaurs. Most were large; some even gigantic. One adult dinosaur was as tall as a five-story building. However, some were small, about the size of a chicken. Could so many large animals have fit on the Ark?
If we focus on one question, "When did they live?", most of these other questions will fall into place. There are two common, but quite different, answers. Evolutionists say that dinosaurs lived and died at least 60 million years before man evolved. Others believe that the earth is young and that man coexisted with the dinosaurs. Others believe that God created all living things during a short time--during the creation week. Therefore, man and dinosaurs lived at the same time. If we look at the evidence, sorting out these two very different answers should be easy.
Did the dinosaurs live and die at least 60 million years before man evolved? Almost all textbooks that address the subject say so. Movies and television vividly portray this. One even hears it at Disney World and other amusement parks. Some will say that every educated person believes this. We frequently hear stories that begin with phrases such as, "Two hundred million years ago, as dinosaurs ruled the earth, . . ." But none of this is evidence; some of it is an appeal to authority. (Evidence must be visible, measurable, and verifiable.)
Did man and dinosaurs live at the same time? Scientists in the former Soviet Union have reported a layer of rock containing more than 2000 dinosaur footprints alongside tracks "resembling human footprints." Obviously, both types of footprints were made in mud or sand that has since hardened into rock. If they are human footprints, then man and dinosaurs lived at the same time. Similar discoveries have been made in Arizona. If it were not for the theory of evolution, few would doubt that these footprints were made by humans.
The Book of Job is one of the oldest books ever written. In it, God tells Job of his greatness as Creator and describes an animal, called Behemoth, as follows:
Behold now, Behemoth, which I made as well as you; He eats grass like an ox. Behold now,his strength in his loins, And his power in the muscles of his belly. He bends his tail like a cedar; The sinews of his thighs are knit together. His bones are tubes of bronze; His limbs are like bars of iron. Job 40:15-18
Marginal notes in most Bibles speculate that Behemoth was probably an elephant or a hippopotamus, but those animals have tails like ropes. Behemoth had a "tail like a cedar." Any animal with a tail as huge and strong as a cedar tree is probably a dinosaur. The remaining description in Job tells of a giant animal not alarmed by a raging river and difficult to capture.
The next chapter of Job describes another huge, fierce animal, a sea monster named Leviathan. It was not a whale or crocodile, because the Hebrew language had other words to describe such animals. Leviathan seems to be a plesiosaur (PLEE see uh sore), a large seagoing reptile that evolutionists say became extinct 60 million years before man evolved. If the writer of Job knew of a plesiosaur, then the evolution position is wrong, and man knew the dinosaurs.
On April 25, 1977, a Japanese fishing ship, off the east coast of New Zealand, caught a huge monster that had been dead for about a month. From a depth of 900 feet, the foul-smelling animal was hauled on board and disengaged from the net. One crew member was alert enough to take five photographs. He also sketched the animal. The rotting corpse weighed 4,000 pounds and was 32 feet long. A piece of its flipper was cut off before the ship's captain had the putrid carcass thrown overboard to avoid contaminating the ship's cargo of freshly caught fish.
When the photographs were developed and shown to local scientists, no one could identify the animal. A panel of eminent marine scientists was asked to study it. The piece of flipper was analyzed chemically as similar to that of a fish or possibly a reptile but not a mammal, such as a whale. The animal's neck was too long to be a fish. Furthermore, it had vertebrae, as --something not present in many fish, including sharks. The opinion that the monster was a plesiosaur grew as all other contenders failed to fit the criteria, especially its size and the presence of four flippers. Finally, the Japanese government commemorated the discovery of an apparent plesiosaur with a postage stamp
Other governments directed their fishing ships in the area to the spot where the find of a century had been thrown overboard. An estimated twenty Japanese, eight South Korean, and thirty Russian ships participated. Reportedly, the Russian crew members were told that if they found the monster but could not stand its smell, they (not the monster) must go overboard. Neither the monster nor any of its kind were found.
If the Loch Ness monster exists, it too could be a plesiosaur. Other monsters resembling a plesiosaur have been reportd off the coast of California. There are other reports, not yet confirmed by physical evidence and teams of scientists, of dinosaurs living today. For the past three centuries, reports have come from Zaire in western Africa that dinosaurs exist in remote swamps. These stories are often from educated people, eyewitnesses, and others who can quickly describe dinosaurs. Although they did not personally see dinosaurs, two expeditions, led by biochemist Dr. Roy Mackal of the University of Chicago, verified many of these accounts, some from scientists. If the accounts are correct, then man and dinosaurs are contemporaries. Consider the interesting subject of dragon legends. Most ancient cultures have stories or artwork of dragons that strongly resemble dinosaurs.
The World Book Encyclopedia states that:
The dragons of legend are strangely like actual creatures that have lived in the past. They are much like the great reptiles [dinosaurs] which inhabited the earth long before man is supposed to have appeared on earth. Dragons were generally evil and destructive. Every country had them in its mythology. The simplest and most obvious explanation for so many common descriptions of dragons from around the world is that man once knew the dinosaurs.
What caused the extinction of dinosaurs? The flood did. Since dinosaur bones are found among other fossils, dinosaurs must have been living when the flood began. There are dozens of other dinosaur extinction theories, but they all have recognized problems. Most of the food chain was buried in the flood. Therefore, many large dinosaurs that survived the flood probably had difficulty feeding themselves and became extinct.
Were dinosaurs on the Ark? Of course they were. God told Noah to put representatives of every kind of land animal on the Ark. (Some dinosaurs were semiaquatic and could have survived outside the Ark.) But why put adult dinosaurs on the Ark? Young dinosaurs would take up less room, eat less, and be easier to manage. The purpose for having animals on the Ark was so they could reproduce after the flood and repopulate the earth. Young dinosaurs would have more potential for reproduction than old dinosaurs.
Most, if not all, dinosaurs hatched from eggs. The largest dinosaur eggs ever found were a foot long. Hatchlings, even after a year of growth while on the Ark, would be quite easy to handle.
Possibly dinosaurs became very large, because they lived to great ages. Humans could live for more than 900 years. If whatever caused man to live so long had the same effect on dinosaurs, they could have grown very large. Reptiles, unlike other animals, continue to grow throughout their lives. Perhaps large dinosaurs, which are similar to reptiles in many ways, were just old.
References and Notes
1. Alexander Romashko, "Tracking Dinosaurs," Moscow News, No. 24, 1983, p. 10.
2. Paul O. Rosnau et al., "Are Human and Mammal Tracks Found Together with the Tracks of Dinosaurs in the Kayenta of Arizona?", Parts I and II, Creation Research Society Quarterly ; Vol. 26, September 1989, pp. 41-48 and December 1989, pp. 77-98. Before 1986 many thought dinosaur tracks and human tracks were together along the banks of the Paluxy River in Texas. Some, but not necessarily all, of the humanlike tracks were apparently made by a portion of a dinosaur's foot. The film (Footprints in Stone) and book (Tracking Those Incredible Dinosaurs by John Morris) which popularized the man-track idea have been withdrawn. A few creationists still maintain that some of the Texas manlike tracks were made by humans. However, this author believes that the Paluxy tracks should be studied more and many questions satisfactorily answered before claiming that human tracks are along the Paluxy River.
In Uzbekistan, 86 consecutive horse hoofprints were also found beside supposedly 90-100 million-year-old dinosaur tracks. Evolutionists have almost as much difficulty believing that horses and dinosaurs lived together as they do man and dinosaurs. Horses allegedly did not evolve until many millions of years after the dinosaurs became extinct. See Y. Kruzhilin and V. Ovcharov, "A Horse from the Dinosaur Epoch?", Moskovskaya Pravda [Moscow Truth],5 February 1984. For a report of quadruped hoofprints alongside 1000 dinosaur prints supposedly 210 million years old, see Richard Monastersky, "A Walk along the Lakeshore, Dinosaur-Style," Science News, Vol. 136, 8 July 1989, p. 21.
3. Leviathan is also mentioned in Psalms 74:14 and 104:26 and in Isaiah 27:1. Both Leviathan and Behemoth are described in the apocryphal book II Esdras. II Esdras 6:49-53 says these beasts were created on the fifth day and given separate territories because of their large size.
4. John Koster, "What Was the New Zealand Monster?", Oceans, Vol. 10, November-December 1977, pp. 56-59.
5. Randall A. Reinstedt, Shipwrecks & Sea Monsters of California's Central Coast,1977, pp. 157-167.
6. Roy P. Mackal, A Living Dinosaur? (New York: E. J. Brill, 1987).
"Living Dinosaurs?" Science 80, November 1980, pp. 6-7. Jamie James, "Bigfoot or Bust," Discover,March 1988, pp. 44-53.
7. Lorella Rouster, "The Footprints of Dragons," Creation Social Science and Humanities Quarterly,Fall 1978, pp. 23-28.
8. Knox Wilson, "Dragon," The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, 1973, p. 265.