Dinosaurs and Humans—Together?
Why is it so difficult for people to accept that dinosaurs and humans once lived together? No doubt one of the reasons is due to the fact that for many years, we have been inundated with information—on television, in books, in classrooms, in movies, in magazines, and on all sorts of paraphernalia—suggesting that dinosaurs and humans are separated by 60+ million years of geologic time. Thus, evolutionary scientists (and those who accept their timeline) have constructed a barrier that must be broken down in order to get people to consider the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans.
A second reason why people are uneasy about the idea of dinosaurs and humans living contemporaneously on Earth is that in the twenty-first century, mankind is accustomed to thinking that almost all dinosaurs were enormous killing machines. Geologist John Clayton has suggested, for example: (1) “It is ludicrous to suggest that man cohabited with the dinosaurs in an Alley Oop kind of world” (1991, p. 37); and (2) “Man could not have lived in a world full of dinosaurs, so by the time God created Adam the dinosaurs were gone” (1990, p. 14).
People apparently seem to think that dinosaurs would have killed all of the humans by biting them in half with their super-sized teeth, or by hunting them down and cutting them open with five-inch long, sickle-like claws. People think that the large plant eaters would have crushed humans with their massive feet, or smashed them with their huge tails. Humans are just too small, dumb, and scrawny to have lived during the time of the dinosaurs. At least that seems to be the way evolutionary scientists, moviemakers, book writers, and magazine editors portray these “terrible lizards.”
Truly, dinosaurs were remarkable creatures. Some were extremely large. Others were smaller, but with sharp teeth and long claws. Some had big heads, some had giant tails, and some had both. Others were covered with spikes or armored plates. People in general seem to think of them as being almost invincible—animals that lived during a time in which man simply could not have survived. They would have been unapproachable, and certainly, untamable. Right? Just how is it that creationists can reasonably believe that dinosaurs and humans once lived on this Earth together at the same time?
EXTRAORDINARY EXISTING CREATURES
Most people today, it seems, are constantly on the go. Whether man or woman, young or old, with children or without, we (especially in America) are a busy people. Time seems to leave us before we realize we had it. We go to school, attend classes, and learn what we are told. We work hard, and we play hard. But how often do people step back from the hustle and bustle of life, take a deep breath, and think outside of the proverbial box? Consider the topic of dinosaurs. Rather than thinking critically about the possibility of humans and dinosaurs coexisting on Earth at one time in the past, most students are content to swallow everything a high school teacher or college professor tells them about the “wild world” of dinosaurs. In the classrooms of evolutionary scientists, thinking outside the “evolutionary box” (e.g., questioning whether it is logical to believe in the cohabitation of dinosaurs and humans) is not acceptable conduct.
The truth is, humans live in a world that is home to many incredible creatures. Numerous large animals, some of which are very intimidating, cohabit this Earth with humanity, and have for thousands of years. Man generally shies away from some of these animals. Others, however, he has been able to nurture and tame.
Komodo Dragons are the world’s largest lizards. They can grow to be 10 feet long (almost twice the length of an average human) and can weigh as much as 275 pounds. Still, their short, stocky legs can carry them 15 miles per hour (as fast as most dogs run). After stalking and killing deer, wild boar, and other prey, they devour their dinner in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, these amazing creatures can consume up to 80% of their own weight. A 100-pound Komodo can eat 80 pounds of food in one meal! And, as if that is not enough “bad news” about an animal with which we share this planet, millions of deadly bacteria grow inside its mouth, and make any bite poisonous and potentially fatal. Yet despite its size, sharp teeth, speed, power, poison, and digestive habits, neither this animal, nor any other large reptile (e.g., the anaconda), has kept man from flourishing on Earth.
While continuing to think outside of the “dangerous dinosaur” box, consider the world’s largest land animal with which we share the Earth today—the imperial elephant. With somewhat amusing features (like long “noses” and big ears), these awesome animals can reach weights of up to 11 tons (22,000 pounds!). One elephant easily could kill a man just by stepping on him with one foot, or by striking him with its powerful trunk. Yet, for thousands of years, humans have been known to live with, and even tame, these massive beasts. Over 2,200 years ago, the empire of Carthage, led by its infamous general, Hannibal, used tame African elephants to cross the Swiss Alps and battle the Romans. Today, many elephants still are being controlled by man. Tamed elephants are used in various Asian countries in religious ceremonies, or to do physical labor like hauling lumber or transporting people from place to place. Elephants also are frequently seen performing at circuses. Amazing, is it not, that humans have trained these creatures, which can outweigh them by as much as 20,000 pounds—to perform some of the same tricks we train dogs to perform?
Humans have been able to live alongside elephants for thousands of years. Some humans and elephants even have become very good “friends.” Why, then, is it so hard for people to think of humans living together with some of the large dinosaurs? Yes, some dinosaurs like Brachiosaurus grew to be about four times larger than the largest elephants. Surely we would all agree, however, that if man can work, play, and go to battle alongside (or on top of!) elephants, it certainly is not absurd to think that humans did similar things with certain dinosaurs—especially when you consider that the average dinosaur (about the size of a large cow—see Horner and Lessem, 1993, p. 124) was reasonably smaller than the average elephant.
Whales are the largest animals of which we are aware that have ever existed on Earth—larger than any shark, elephant, or dinosaur. Blue whales have been known to weigh as much as 400,000 pounds (200 tons!), possess a heart the size of a Volkswagen Beetle®, and have a tongue large enough to hold 50 people. Yet, humans have hunted many species of whales for centuries. Furthermore, whale researchers and photographers have been able to get close enough to touch these massive creatures in the open ocean.
Killer whales (also called orcas) are another one of God’s magnificent creatures with which we live on the Earth. Orcas are one of the oceans’ fiercest predators, able even to kill much larger whales, including blue whales, when swimming in packs (referred to as “pods”). They hunt so well that very few animals can escape their predatory practices. Orcas eat hundreds of thousands of pounds of mammal and fish meat every year. Seals, sea lions, walruses, otters, polar bears, and even a moose have all been found in the stomachs of these ferocious creatures.
Amazingly, these incredible “killing machines” (weighing up to 11,000 pounds!) can be captured, tamed, and trained to do all sorts of things. The famous orcas living at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, occasionally take their trainers for rides on their backs. Trainers of orcas even have been known to stick their heads inside the whales’ mouths (which usually hold about 40-56 large, 3-inch-long teeth) without fear of getting bitten.
How can a mere 150-pound man teach a 10,000-pound whale to jump hurdles, ring bells, and perform other tricks—without being harmed? The answer is found in the fact that God made man in His own image, and gave him the ability to have dominance over the lower creation. As early as Genesis chapter one we read:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (1:26-28, emp. added).
Regarding this supremacy that God gave mankind over His creation, the psalmist added:
What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! (8:4-9, emp. added).
The reason man can tame and/or live with even the largest and most vicious creatures on Earth is because God created man “higher” than the animals, and gave him the ability to “subdue” them and have “dominion” over them. If man, in the twenty-first century, can live with (and tame) such amazing creatures as the Komodo Dragon, the elephant, the blue whale, and the killer whale, as well as lions (“the king of all beasts”), tigers, and bears, it should not be difficult to accept the fact that man once lived and interacted with dinosaurs. James wrote: “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind” (3:7).
EVIDENCE FROM DRAGON LEGENDS
Most people likely are unaware that the word “dinosaur” was not coined until the 1840s. Thus, if these creatures lived alongside humans prior to that time (and the evidence indicates that they did—see Thompson and Harrub, 2003, pp. 197-226), they were not called dinosaurs. So what were they called? Dragons. Numerous cultures throughout the world possess ancient stories about “dragons” that closely resemble what we today would call dinosaurs (which is to be expected if dinosaurs and humans actually lived together). From ancient texts in Mesopotamia, China, and Europe, creatures with scaly skin, slender necks, and long tails are described.
In far-eastern countries such as China, dragons often are described in ancient writings. Some of them are said to have been domesticated, and even were used to pull the chariots of Chinese rulers. Also, many of the ancient Chinese people are said to have used “dragon bones” for special medicines and potions. While visiting the continent of Asia in the 1200s, Italian explorer Marco Polo said that he saw long reptiles called Lindworms that easily ran as fast as a horse! In the British Isles, hundreds of dragon stories have come down to the present day. One account told of an animal with a crested head, teeth like a saw, and a long tail. Also, in 1449 in England, it was reported that two huge reptiles were seen fighting on the banks of the river Stour.
The epic poem Beowulf describes a battle in Denmark between a man named Beowulf and a terrible monster called Grendel. Beowulf was a real person. He lived from A.D. 495 to 583, and was king of a group of people known as the Geatingas. Grendel was a bipedal creature that possessed large, powerful jaws, and had small, weak forearms. (Beowulf slew him, you may recall, by tearing off one of those arms.) As Bill Cooper inquired:
Is there a predatory animal from the fossil record known to us, who had two massive hindlegs and two comparatively puny forelimbs? There is indeed.... I doubt that the reader needs to be guided by me as to which particular species of predatory dinosaur the details of his physical description fit best (1995, pp. 159,160).
Could it be—Tyrannosaurus rex?! Why not? The description of Grendel, recorded sometime before the tenth century A.D. (over nine centuries before the relatively recent discovery of dinosaur fossils), more closely resembles a Tyrannosaurus rex than any animal alive today. (NOTE: There is no indication that either Beowulf or Grendel was mythical in nature.)
If humans today can manipulate animals that are 100 times their own size (e.g., the elephant), that have a mouthful of 3-inch-long, dagger-like teeth (e.g., the killer whale), or that have claws that could be used to rip human beings apart (e.g., lions, tigers, and bears), why is it so difficult to believe that humans and dinosaurs once inhabited this Earth at the same time? Admittedly, many human lives likely were lost to certain species of dinosaurs for various reasons. But, for thousands of years, people also have lost their lives to animals that still inhabit the Earth today (like sharks, tigers, lions, poisonous reptiles, bears, elephants, etc.). Although we probably will never know exactly which details of the countless number of dragon stories are fact or fantasy, the simple truth is that the huge lizards in them sound very much like some of the dinosaurs we know once existed. Ancient paintings, figurines, rock carvings, and other such illustrations also have been found throughout the world that point to a time when dinosaurs and humans once roamed this Earth together. One cannot help but wonder, if they never did coexist (as evolutionists would have us believe), what logical explanation can be given for the existence of hundreds of dragon legends, and the thousands of artifacts that either describe or depict these creatures hundreds or thousands of years before modern man began learning about dinosaurs as a result of the fossil record?
Sadly, however, it is not just evolutionists who take issue with the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs. In a book he authored in 1998 titled The Genesis Question, well-known progressive creationist Hugh Ross ridiculed the concept that the biblical creatures, behemoth and leviathan, were dinosaurs or dinosaur-like animals. According to Ross, “No creatures on Earth, alive or extinct, fit the literal descriptions” of the animals that God described to the patriarch Job in Job 40:15-41:34. Furthermore, “No dinosaur...ever breathed fire or smoke or had bones of iron and brass” (p. 48). Ross has chosen to believe that the magnificent creatures described by God in His second speech to Job were the hippopotamus and the crocodile.
Like so many professed Christians who have tried to amalgamate the long evolutionary ages with the biblical account of Creation, Ross’s reservations to accept the likelihood of behemoth being a dinosaur and leviathan being a dinosaur-like, water-living reptile are not the result of a sensible, judicious exegesis of the biblical text. A man who believes that dinosaurs “dominated the Earth’s land and sea life from 250 million to 65 million years ago” (p. 48), and that “no credible evidence whatever suggests the coexistence of primates and the great dinosaurs” (p. 49), obviously will have a difficult time accepting that behemoth and leviathan (which existed at the same time as Job) were dinosaurs or dinosaur-like animals. [For additional information on the cohabitation of humans and dinosaurs, see Thompson and Harrub, 2003. For a discussion on the reality and the identity of behemoth and leviathan, see Lyons, 2001.]
Two of the main reasons Ross gives for rejecting the dinosaur-like features of these creatures are: (1) “no creatures on Earth, alive or extinct, fit the literal descriptions;” and (2) “no dinosaur...ever breathed fire or smoke.” According to Ross, such “facts” present a problem when Bible students understand these creatures as being dinosaurs.
We wonder if Ross could answer two questions for us. First, although admittedly no creature alive today fits the “literal descriptions” of leviathan and behemoth, how can Ross confidently assert that no extinct animal resembles the description of behemoth or leviathan? How does Ross know the description of every creature that has lived on the Earth? How does he know what feats they were capable of performing? Ross might suggest: “But common sense tells us that no creature had ribs of ‘iron’ or bones of ‘brass’ ” (cf. Job 40:18). True. But when God employed such metaphors and similes, any reasonable Bible student can understand that He was stressing the fact that behemoth’s bones were incredibly solid—like they were made of solid metal. Interestingly, although dinosaurs had the largest, most massive bones of any known animal that has ever walked the Earth (e.g., one fossilized Argentinosaurus vertebra was five feet high and five feet wide—see Meyer, 2002), and even though they are known to have the most massive tails of any animal ever known (e.g., the 40-foot-long tail of Diplodocus), which could reasonably be likened to a “cedar” (Job 40:17), Ross has chosen rather to believe that behemoth was a hippo—an animal with a tail shorter than many dogs and cats.
A second question we would appreciate Hugh Ross answering for us is how he can be so certain that “no dinosaur...ever breathed fire or smoke.” By his own candid admission, Ross never has seen a dinosaur (since he believes they became extinct 65+ million years ago), and thus he obviously never has observed every dinosaur that walked on land (or dinosaur-like reptile that swam in the oceans). As Henry M. Morris observed in his book, The Biblical Basis for Modern Science: “To say that the leviathan could not have breathed fire is to say much more than we know about leviathans (or water dragons or sea serpents)” (1984, p. 359, parenthetical item in orig.). When a person considers that electric eels can produce enough electricity (500-600 volts) to stun a horse without ever shocking itself, that anglerfish and fireflies can manufacture “light,” that the Komodo dragon can store deadly bacteria inside its own mouth, and that bombardier beetles can produce a caustic, noxious fluid that can be expelled from their bodies at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it is not difficult to accept the possibility that certain dinosaurs or dinosaur-like, water-living reptiles were capable of expelling certain hot gaseous fumes that might ignite.
Hugh Ross, it seems, has forgotten that all animals, including the dinosaurs, were designed and created by God on days five and six of Creation. If Jehovah wanted to create one or more dinosaurs that could expel fire, smoke, or some deadly chemical out of their mouths without harming themselves, He certainly could have done so. Bearing in mind the way that God described leviathan to Job in Job 41:18-21, and considering that many secular stories have circulated for millennia that describe “fiery dragons,” it is logical to conclude that He did create such creatures. It seems fitting to ask Dr. Ross the same rhetorical question God asked Abraham long ago: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Who is Hugh Ross to say that “no dinosaur...ever breathed fire”?
EVIDENCE FROM THE BIBLE
Although evolutionists are quick to discount anything that the Bible has to say about the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs, anyone who claims to be a Christian (and thus trusts the Bible to be God’s revelation to man) must accept whatever information they find in the Bible to be accurate. In regard to the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs, many modern-day “Bible believers” either have rejected what the Bible has to say on the subject, or else they never have given it much thought in light of various Bible passages. According to the Scriptures, the whole of God’s earthly creation was brought into existence within six days. Exodus 20:11 states: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (cf. also Exodus 31:17). The apostle John declared that “all things were made by Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). If God created the Earth, the heavens, the seas, and everything in them in six days, what does that omit? It omits absolutely nothing! [NOTE: Genesis 1:31 records that the Creation was “perfect,” and Genesis 2:1 states that it was “finished.”]
The Genesis record goes on to inform us that no animals were created before day five, at which time God created sea-dwelling creatures and birds (Genesis 1:20-23). On the sixth day of Creation, Genesis chapters 1 and 2 indicate that God made all of the land animals, as well as the first two humans, Adam and Eve. According to Genesis 2:19-20,
Out of the ground, the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him (emp. added).
God miraculously “brought...every beast of the field” to Adam in order that he might give them names, and also realize that his mate had not yet been created by God. A Christian cannot reasonably reject the view that dinosaurs (as land-dwelling animals) and humans once lived together, because Adam lived alongside dinosaurs. He even gave them names. Just as Adam lived on the Earth as a contemporary with such “intimidating” animals as lions, bears, rhinoceroses, hippopotami, and elephants, the inescapable conclusion is that he also lived with dinosaurs. [NOTE: Through the years, attempts have been made to introduce into the biblical record the concept of an old Earth so that evolutionary concepts (such as the separation of men and dinosaurs by millions of years) could be made acceptable to Bible believers. These attempts (generally known as the Day-Age Theory and the Gap Theory) have failed, because the premises upon which they were developed were false. For an in-depth refutation of these theories (and others), see Thompson, 2000.]
Bible believers who question the possibility of humans being able to cohabitate the Earth with dinosaurs should consider the types of creatures with which Noah and his family cohabited for more than 365 days while on the ark. Genesis 7:13-16 states:
On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark—they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in (emp. added).
Representatives of all kinds of the land animals of the Earth were on the ark. Earlier, God had instructed Noah, saying:
And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive (6:19-20, emp. added).
Similar to how God “brought” the animals to Adam centuries earlier in order to be named, He told Noah that all of the animals he was to take on the ark would “come to” him. Animals of all kinds migrated to where Noah lived, and joined him and his family on the ark. For a little over one year, Noah and his seven family members lived on a boat with bears, bats, alligators, gorillas, lions, tigers, and many other animals that humans normally try to avoid. Also included in this list of land animals would have been dinosaurs (since by definition dinosaurs are land-living animals). If dinosaurs were living during the time of Noah (and there is overwhelming evidence that they must have been, since humans after that time have encountered dinosaurs), the simple truth is that they were on the ark.
Sadly, it is very unpopular to teach that mankind once coexisted with dinosaurs. The average person has been programmed by his or her environment to think that humans and dinosaurs never could have lived together. Not only are we told that dinosaurs became extinct over 60 million years ago, but the mindset of most people seems to be that even if this alleged 60-million-year gap of time did not exist, these creatures would have been far too dangerous for us to exist along with them. Even many Christians have a difficult time accepting the idea of humans and dinosaurs cohabiting the Earth at the same time. For some reason, when these Christians read the Creation account or rehearse the story of Noah and the Flood, they rarely consider these accounts in light of the many kinds of animals that have since become extinct.
Draw a human standing next to a dinosaur (except for cartoonish purposes), and prepare to be ridiculed. Draw a human riding a small dinosaur, and you likely will be labeled eccentric. Few people seem to care that ancient art depicts Indians riding these creatures, or that certain ancient Chinese writings mention dinosaur-like creatures pulling the chariots of Chinese rulers. Even many “Bible believers” seem to dismiss the historical and biblical evidence of humans and dinosaurs living at the same time and within close proximity to each other. But draw a picture of a man riding on the back of a 20,000-pound elephant, and no one has a problem with it. Write an article about the woman you saw at Sea World riding on the back of an 8,000 pound killer whale, or about how she stuck her head inside the whale’s massive mouth, and everyone understands these stories as being acceptable observations of reality. Tell a friend about the man at the circus who has tamed lions, tigers, and bears, and that is nothing but old news. Just refrain from telling people about the evidence for man’s coexistence with dinosaurs, because “that is absurd”—or so we are told.
If man can tame many types of dangerous and ferocious animals that live on Earth today, why is it so difficult to think of man being capable of surviving alongside dinosaurs? Ancient man was able to build pyramids that stood nearly 500 feet high. He constructed the Great Pyramid with over two million blocks of stone that had to be cut, transported, and assembled to create the almost six-million-ton structure. To this day, modern man still does not know exactly how the Egyptians built these great pyramids. More than one thousand years before astronomers discovered that the length of a year was precisely 365.2422 days, ancient man (without any help from computers or modern measuring devices) calculated the length of a year as 365.2420 days long. He also figured the orbital period of Venus to be 584 days, when current science shows it at 583.92 days. Our early forefathers were capable of tunneling through rock in order to mine precious metals from deep within the Earth (Job 28). Humans formed tools out of bronze and iron (Genesis 4:22). And a man named Noah even built an ark thousands of years ago that was larger than many ships of today (Genesis 6-8).
Our forefathers were not the ignorant, unlearned nitwits that many evolutionists today make them out to be. Rather, our ancestors were intelligent individuals who were more than capable of surviving alongside dinosaurs. They were made in the image of God, and given dominion “over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28)—including the dinosaurs.
DINOSAURS AND HUMANS—
WHERE IS THE FOSSIL EVIDENCE FOR THEIR COEXISTENCE?
But if dinosaurs and humans did once live as contemporaries on Earth, why is it that human fossils have not been found alongside, near, or in the same strata as dinosaur fossils? If they lived together and died together, shouldn’t there be evidence from the fossil record of their coexistence?
Admittedly, at times questions like these appear somewhat puzzling. We know from the biblical record that dinosaurs and humans coexisted. Furthermore, various ancient paintings, figurines, rock carvings, and historical references confirm they were contemporaries upon the Earth. Why, then, at first glance, does the fossil record seem not to corroborate this information?
First, fossils are rare. Not every living plant, animal, or human fossilizes after death. In fact, it is extremely rare for things once living to fossilize. Dead animals lying in a field or on the side of the road do not fossilize. In order for something to become fossilized, it must be buried rapidly in just the right place. Consider as an example all the bison that were slaughtered and left to rot on the prairies of the Old West. In those days, you could buy a seat on a train, pull up to a herd of bison, and keep shooting out of the window until you were either out of bullets or your barrel overheated. When everyone had enough, the train would move on, leaving the dead and dying animals behind. By 1885, millions of bison had been reduced to just 500 (Jones, n.d.). What happened to all of their remains? We do not see them on the prairies today. Why? Because their bones and flesh were scavenged by worms, birds, insects, and other animals. The smallest portions were digested by bacteria, fungi, and enzymatic degradation until the buffalo remains were gone. Even oxygen plays a part in breaking down the chemicals that make up the living body. Evolutionary scientist James Powell described another situation where a rather large population of animals died. He wrote:
[I]n the winter after the great Yellowstone fires of 1988, thousands of elk perished from extreme cold coupled with lack of food. Late the following spring, their carcasses were strewn everywhere. Yet only a few years later, bones from the great elk kill are scarce. The odds that a single one will be preserved so that it can be found 65 million years from now approach zero. At best we can expect to find fossil evidence of only a tiny fraction of the animals that once lived. The earth’s normal processes destroy or hide most of the clues (1998, p. xv).
Normally, as Powell indicated, living things do not fossilize. Under normal conditions, living things decay and rot. It is atypical for plants and animals to fossilize, because they must avoid even the tiniest of scavengers, bacteria, fungi, etc. For bones to fossilize, they must be buried—the deeper and sooner the better. Fine sediments, like mud and silt, are good because they block out oxygen. In this “protected” environment, bones and teeth may last long enough to mineralize. But, normally, carcasses do not find themselves in such environments.
Second, although dinosaur graveyards have been discovered in various countries around the world (e.g., Tanzania, Africa; Jenson, Utah [USA]) where thousands of dinosaur bones are jumbled together (obviously due to some sort of catastrophe—e.g., a flood), most people are unaware of the fact that, in museums, “in spite of the intense popular and scientific interest in the dinosaurs and the well-publicized efforts of generations of dinosaur hunters, only about 2,100 articulated dinosaur bones (two or more aligned in the same position as in life)” exist (Powell, 1998, p. xv, parenthetical comment in orig.; see also Dodson, 1990, 87:7608; Lewin, 1990). Furthermore, in an article in the October 1990 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Peter Dodson of the University of Pennsylvania reported that almost half (45.3%) of all dinosaur genera are based on a single specimen, and 74% are represented by five specimens or less (p. 7608). Even some of the most famous dinosaurs are based on a fraction of what they were originally. For example, the 120-foot-long Argentinosaurus replica (housed in the Fernbank Museum o Natural History in Atlanta, Georgia) is based on only 10 percent of its remains (a dozen backbone vertebrae, a few limb bones and part of the hips) [Meyer, 2002]. Truthfully, although dinosaurs have captured the attention of scientists for more than 150 years, their fossilized remains are not as prevalent as many would think.
Third, humans make up an infinitesimal portion of the fossil record. Due to the number of drawings of our alleged human ancestors that appear in the news on a regular basis, one might get the feeling that hominoid and human fossils are ubiquitous. But such is not the case. More than two decades ago, in an article in New Scientist, John Reader wrote: “The entire hominid collection known today would barely cover a billiard table (1981, 89:802). One year later, Lyall Watson similarly stated: “The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin” (1982, 90:44, emp. added). It is true, of course, that additional alleged hominid fossils have been discovered since Watson and Reader made their comments, but none qualifies as a legitimate human ancestor (see Harrub and Thompson, 2003, pp. 14ff.). In a conversation with James Powell, president and director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, renowned evolutionary paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey gave some insight into her frustrations in searching for hominid (or human) fossils when she described her “nearly futile hunt for human bone in a new field area as four years of hard work producing only three nondescript scraps” (see Powell, 1998, p. xv, emp. added). More recently, David Begun concluded an article in Science titled “The Earliest Hominins—Is Less More?,” by admitting: “[T]he level of uncertainty in the available direct evidence at this time renders irreconcilable differences of opinion inevitable. The solution is in the mantra of all paleontologists: We need more fossils!” (2004, 303:1479-1480, emp. added). Although hominid/human fossils are the most sought-after fossils in the world, scientists readily admit that few such fossils have been found.
As you can see, the question “Why don’t we find dinosaur and human fossils together?” is extremely misleading. The truth is, fossils themselves are rare. And, of all those things that do fossilize, it appears that less than 1% are vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, or mammals) [see Snelling, 1991, p. 30]. Furthermore, human fossils make up a microscopic part of the fossil record. Searching for one is like trying to find the one proverbial needle in a haystack. The real question then, is not, “Why don’t we find dinosaur and human fossils together?,” but, “Where are all of the human fossils?”
Simply because human fossils apparently have not been found with dinosaur fossils does not make the case for the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans any less credible. Think about it. Where are the human fossils that have been found with the recently extinct Pyrenean Ibex? Can we prove that Dodo birds and humans once lived together by observing their fossilized remains together in a particular layer of rock? We know that they once coexisted, but can a person point to the fossil record for such information? The chance of finding human fossils is rare. The chance of finding exactly the combination of fossils for which one is searching (in this case, dinosaurs and humans) is even less likely.
Fourth, considering that sedimentary rocks (the sort of rocks in which fossils are most likely to be found) cover two-thirds of the continents and are over a mile thick on average, even if there are dinosaur and human remains fossilized in the same rock, the chance of them being exposed, discovered, recognized, and reported together is very improbable. They might be exposed somewhere in the world today (like in a mine, road cutting, or a cliff), but unless they are discovered before the wind, Sun, and rain reduce them to dust, such exposure is useless to scientists.
Furthermore, it may very well be the case that these bones have been discovered together in times past, but for at least two reasons, were not reported. First, someone who might have found these bones in a quarry, could react by saying, “Hey look guys, it’s a bunch of old bones. But quick, pass me another stick of dynamite so we can get the next ton of coal out of here.” The proof that men and dinosaurs were fossilized together may have gone up in smoke years ago. Second, it may be possible that human bones have been found by scientists alongside dinosaur fossils, yet simply have not been reported widely. By saying this, we do not mean to accuse evolutionary researchers of dishonesty. Rather, we simply believe they are afflicted with presuppositions that have affected their judgment. It is evolutionary geologists and paleontologists who are doing most of the research in this area. If they did happen upon human fossils and dinosaur fossils in the same strata, is it not possible that they would think to themselves, “Oh, these human fossils are an anomaly; they cannot have actually existed in this time period because evolution is true”? If evolutionists can “confuse” a dolphin’s rib for a human collarbone (Anderson, 1983, p. 199), or an extinct pig’s tooth for a human tooth (e.g., Nebraska Man; see Harrub and Thompson, 2003, pp. 88-89), then similar mistakes could easily be made concerning human and dinosaur fossils. If one ever has been found with another, scientists could have misinterpreted the “anomaly.” Because (from an evolutionary perspective) human fossils “shouldn’t be where they are,” they might very well not get reported as being where they are!
Additionally, we find a number of evidences in the fossil record which clearly refute the evolutionary notion that humans and other large mammals were not present during the “age of the reptiles.” Evolutionary timelines present mammals as having evolved from reptiles. Raven and Johnson, in their college text, Biology, wrote: “During the Mesozoic Era, the reptiles, which had evolved earlier from the amphibians, became dominant and in turn gave rise to the mammals and the birds” (1989, p. 432). George Gaylord Simpson and his co-authors contended that no “advanced mammals” were present during the age of the dinosaurs. Why not? The dinosaurs allegedly became extinct in the Cretaceous Period, and the only mammals that had evolved up to that point were “small, mostly about mouse-sized, and rare” (1957, p. 797, emp. added). This is a logical explanation if one contends that mammals evolved from reptiles, because that scenario require mammals to appear much later in the picture.
But therein lies the problem. A significant discovery, reported in the January 13, 2005 issue of Nature, has challenged everything evolutionists have ever maintained regarding the cohabitation of dinosaurs and mammals. The Associated Press noted:
Villagers digging in China’s rich fossil beds have uncovered the preserved remains of a tiny dinosaur in the belly of a mammal, a startling discovery for scientists who have long believed early mammals couldn’t possibly attack and eat a dinosaur (Verrengia, 2005).
Not only is there substantial proof of large mammals coexisting with dinosaurs, but now we also have scientific evidence of a large mammal eating a dinosaur! Scientists discovered the fossil remains of two different mammals. One (Repenomamus giganticus) was 50% larger than mammals previously considered to be living alongside dinosaurs. The other, Repenomamus robustus, was fully intact—and had a dinosaur in its stomach. Yaoming Hu and his co-authors wrote in Nature:
During preparation of the specimen, a patch of small bones was revealed within the ribcage, on the ventral sides of the posterior left thoracic ribs and vertebrae, where the stomach is positioned in extant mammals. Unduplicated dentition [teeth—EL/BT], limb bones and phalanges [bones of the toes or “fingers”—EL/BT] in the patch confirm that these bones belong to a juvenile individual of Psittacosaurus, an herbivorous dinosaur that is common in Jehol Biota. The serrated teeth in the patched skeleton are typical of juvenile Psittacosaurus. The skull and most of the skeleton of the juvenile Psittacosaurus are broken, disarticulated and displaced, in contrast to the preservation of the R. robustus skeleton, which is essentially in its original anatomical relation. Although fragmentary, the bones of the Psittacosaurus are packed in a restricted area. These conditions indicate that the juvenile skeleton ofPsittacosaurus is the remaining stomach contents of the mammal (Hu, et al., 2005, 433:151).
In discussing this amazing find, Nature writer Anne Weil observed: “Discoveries of large, carnivorous mammals from the Cretaceous challenge the long-held view that primitive mammals were small and uninteresting. Have paleontologists been asking the wrong question?” (2005, 433:116, emp. added). Maybe a better question would be: Have paleontologists been analyzing the data via evolutionary presuppositions?
It may be that dinosaur and human fossils will never be found together. But, regardless of whether they are or not, the evidence for the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs at one time in the past is undeniable to the unbiased truth seeker. Human footprints in coal veins that are allegedly 250 million years old, human artifacts buried in limestone dated at 135 million years old, clay figurines of dinosaurs from an ancient civilization in Mexico, ancient dinosaur petroglyphs, and much, much more, all point to a conclusion that evolutionists will not accept—dinosaurs and humans once lived on Earth together.
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