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Creation  Volume 23Issue 1 Cover

Creation 23(1):56
December 2000

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A living dinosaur?

Dr David Catchpoole and Dr Carl Wieland

dino

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A dinosaur actually living in the world today? According to a report in Papua New Guinea’s The Independent newspaper,1 a ‘dinosaur-like reptile’ was seen on two occasions in the Lake Murray area, in Western Province.

On December 11, 1999, villagers travelling in a canoe reported seeing the creature wading in shallow water near Boboa.

The following day, a Seventh Day Adventist pastor and a church elder say they saw the animal not far from the first sighting.

The creature was described as having a body ‘as long as a dump truck’ and nearly two metres wide, with a long neck and a long slender tail. It was walking on two hind legs ‘as thick as coconut palm tree trunks’, and had two smaller forelegs. The head was similar in shape to a cow’s head, with large eyes and ‘sharp teeth as long as fingers.’ The skin was likened to that of a crocodile, and the creature had ‘largish triangular scoops on the back.’

So what did these eyewitnesses really see? The description does not seem to fit any species known to live on the earth today. However, its large size and crocodile-like skin certainly bring images of dinosaurs powerfully to mind.

The circumstances in which it was encountered are strikingly reminiscent of the river-dwelling sauropod-like animal known as mokele-mbembe, whose sightings in the vast, remote swamps of Africa’s Congo region have led even some evolutionist scientists to speculate that dinosaurs may still be living in the world today.2

For believers in the prevailing evolutionary view that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, the idea that they might be alive today is hard to accept. This is despite the recent discovery of the living Wollemi pine tree,3 also believed, from fossils, to have been extinct since the ‘dinosaur age’.

The creature had ‘largish triangular scoops on the back’

Christians, however, should not be surprised, as the Bible teaches that God created the dinosaurs only thousands of years ago.

So why have dinosaurs (apparently) disappeared? Probably for the very same reasons that wildlife protection agencies give when expressing concern over current extinction rates of animals and plants,4 primarily the effect of man (e.g. through hunting and land clearing).

After the Flood, many of the dinosaurs and other animals are likely to have multiplied across the earth (Genesis 8:17) more quickly than Noah’s descendants (e.g. a rabbit’s pregnancy lasts 31 days; the offspring mature in ten weeks). N.B. also that the people disobediently stayed around Babel, before God judged them.

As human settlement expanded, populations of many animal species would have declined due to over-exploitation (for meat, skins, etc.), habitat loss, or deliberate extermination to reduce the threat of attack. Tales of dragon-slaying heroes like St George may suggest man’s part in the dinosaurs’ demise.

Despite the popular view that such factors have the most impact on amphibians (e.g. frogs), many scientists now recognise that reptiles are in even greater danger of extinction.5 This may help to explain why the celebrated dinosaurs have apparently died out before many of our so-called ‘modern’ species.

So if any dinosaur species are still living, the most likely places to find them would be in biologically rich areas with limited or no human settlement, such as the Congo and Lake Murray regions, as these reports suggest.

Related Articles

Further Reading

References

  1. The Independent (Papua New Guinea), December 30, 1999, p. 6. Return to text.
  2. See Mokele-mbembe: a living dinosaur? Creation 21(4):24–25, 1999. Return to text.
  3. See Sensational Australian tree … like ‘finding a live dinosaur', Creation 17(2):13, 1995; Jurassic bark for sale Creation 19(3):7, 1997. Return to text.
  4. Estimated extinction rates vary wildly, from 1–50 species per day. Myers, N., ‘What we must do to counter the biotic holocaust’, www.nationalwildlife.org/nwf/intlwild/1998/holocaust.html, September 15, 2000. Return to text.
  5. UniSci (Daily University Science News), www.unisci.com/stories/20003/0814004.htm, August 15, 2000. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
Michael S., United Kingdom, 1 January 2014

Or perhaps there was a lack of food post-flood, so they died out, as most of their original food was destroyed, and this would also fit with the evidence. When we think of all of the vegetation in the fossils that no longer exists, we can imagine how difficult it would have been for such large creatures to do well, immediately post-flood. It makes sense that a lot of creatures would have went extinct given the new environment.

Given we see dragonflies in the fossils, the size of birds, we shouldn't forget that every animal stepping off the ark was entering an extremely new and tough environment that was not warm, tolerable and easy, like before.

The present kinds-tally should look scarce compared to the past, if the flood was genuine, and it does! If the flood was a myth, then there would be the same tally, as a glaring error in the text would be that every creature would disembark and then simply carry on as before, without any indication of extinction soaring.

It is a very strong indication that the flood is historical, and the bible trustworthy, given the huge amount of extinction we see from the fossils. That dinosaurs were prone to such extinction means that they were a particularly vulnerable kind of animal, in reference to the new, post-flood conditions, IMHO.

Tom J., United States, 1 January 2014

Evolution does not insist that dinosaurs must have died out 65 million years ago. That is simply what the evidence shows us. If there are still living dinosaurs existing today, that would not mean evolution is wrong. It simply would mean that dinosaurs have lasted longer than the fossil record seemed to indicate.

David Catchpoole responds

Heh, heh ... the softening-up process begins, eh?

(Is there nothing that will falsify evolution?)

Gerda P., Canada, 1 January 2014

Your work will be a major reason that people turn from fraudulent evolution stories to new life in Christ the Lord. On the speculative existence of giant creatures hidden away in murky jungles, or wherever they are 'sighted', you would be wiser to wait until someone actually produces credible photographs, or the physical remains of these elusive, or maybe, non-existent creatures. Sincere thanks for your faithful, quality scholars, who bring so much clarity to the origins debate. Gerda P.

Gerda P., Canada, 1 January 2014

Your work will be a major reason that people turn from fraudulent evolution stories to new life in Christ the Lord. On the speculative existence of giant creatures hidden away in murky jungles, or wherever they are 'sighted', you would be wiser to wait until someone actually produces credible photographs, or the physical remains of these elusive, or maybe, non-existent creatures. Sincere thanks for your faithful, quality scholars, who bring so much clarity to the origins debate.

Shawn O., United States, 1 January 2014

I am not sure if you have heard the news yet, but Dr. Roy Mackal, who led some of the first expeditions into the Congo region in the late 1970's and early 1980's, passed away this past September at a nursing home in San Diego, CA. He was 88. Although a preeminent professor of biology at the University of Chicago, he was thoroughly convinced of the existence of Mokele-mbembe. I am not sure of his relationship with Jesus, but I do believe he was a believer in evolution. I know we all pray that he was wholly following Him before he passed away.

Victor B., Australia, 2 January 2014

I was watching a discussion between Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss - In the context of this article (and related discovery of living fossils and soft dinosaur tissue) - It seems they are poised to change their tune to accommodate these observations into the evolutionary long ages paradigm. In terms of their thinking, contrary to good science - there is nothing! that will falsify evolution.

Rose R., United Kingdom, 3 January 2014

In response to Tom J; if evolution does not insist that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago(which is something I and many others believe evolutionists do say)why then when evidence such as DNA, red blood cells & soft tissue etc is found in dinosaur fossils do evolutionist/scientists say that they are shocked that these could have lasted for 65 million years? Surely that would be the time to admit that this evidence does not point to millions of years and as apparently they don't insist on these millions of years what would be the problem? Apart, of course, from having to admit that what they have been telling the public for the the last 150 + years is wrong. But they seem to just add another twist or imaginary piece to the Myth, oops, I mean Theory of Evolution, whenever new evidence turns up or an old idea is proved wrong.

I don't think anything will falsify evolution because these people have amazing imaginations and will swallow anything as long as God is excluded. It's sad.

The amount of faith it takes to believe in evolution is far more than it takes to believe in a wonderful creator God who loves us.

Keep up the brilliant work you guys do and may God bless you and keep you all.

J. M., Canada, 11 January 2014

Why do we talk about "dinosaurs" as if they're a special class of creature? Dinosaurs are reptiles. Some reptiles are extinct. Albertonykus borealis, discovered in Alberta, Canada, looked like a scrawny chicken. An even smaller dinosaur species, Hesperonychus, was also discovered in Canada. It was about half the size of a small house cat. Like the T-Rex, these reptiles are gone. However, we still have many reptile species such as Crocodiles, Komodo Dragons, Iguanas... Even an evolutionist will admit that crocodile fossils indicate that croc's have remained unchanged "since the time of the dinosaurs".

Dr Carl Wieland responds

Yes, they’re reptiles, but to be fair, that is a very broad category. It would be sort of like saying, if all primates had gone extinct, ‘So what? They are mammals, and some mammals are extinct but we still have other mammals today’. Dinosaurs were a distinctive subset of the Class Reptilia, with many divisions. They were all land animals (some think that e.g. ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs were swimming dinosaurs, and that pterosaurs were flying dinosaurs, but no; they were marine reptiles and flying reptiles, but not dinosaurs). It has to do with some unique shared bony characters, the best-known of which is in the skull, a supratemporal fossa (hollow if you like) in front of the supratemporal fenestra, the main opening in the rear roof of the skull. No lizards or crocodiles or any living reptile has this feature, for instance.

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