The so-called ‘Age of Dinosaurs’
Why there never was a ‘land before time’ millions of years ago!
No matter where Creation Ministries International speakers go, they are practically guaranteed to be asked about dinosaurs in question time. Both Christians and non-believers want to know how we can answer the evolutionary interpretation for the supposed ‘Age of Dinosaurs’, both from the Bible and science.
Most people don’t picture a T. rex walking along with a duck flying overhead, but that’s what the fossils prove!
A classic evolutionary portrait of dinosaurs, such as above, typically depicts a group of them in a forest of exotic tropical-looking plants, with various reptilian creatures sprinkled about and a volcano erupting in the background. It gives the impression of a ‘land before time’ when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
Typically, a chart showing the geologic column will be offered nearby (below), showing the so-called ages of Earth’s geologic history with the order and timing of when Earth’s life forms supposedly appeared. Usually ‘simple’ organisms will be shown at the bottom, marine animals next, reptiles after that, dinosaurs appearing, then mammals and finally humans at the top.
Many people get the impression that the remains of such creatures always appear in that order in the fossil record (with the understanding that there were millions of years of time separating the groups shown on the chart).
Many still think that mammals and dinosaurs, for example, never coexisted, or if they did it was only for a short period when only small shrew-like mammals were present.
However, the facts show otherwise. Gradually, more and more evidence is being discovered that is consistent with what we know from the Bible, namely that dinosaurs and other creatures all lived and died at the same time.
To the surprise of many, ducks,1 squirrels,2 platypus,3 beaver-like4 and badger-like5 creatures have all been found in ‘dinosaur-era’ rock layers along with bees, cockroaches, frogs and pine trees. Most people don’t picture a T. rex walking along with a duck flying overhead, but that’s what the so-called ‘dino-era’ fossils would prove!
A creature called Gansus was found, supposedly 120-million-years-old. Apart from a few features (like wing claws, still found on some modern birds) it looked very much like a modern duck or loon. But the standard dinosaur-age scenario is so entrenched, that one National Geographic News article declared:
“It may have looked like a duck and acted like a duck, but Gansus was no duck.”6
Being partial to ‘farmer logic’ myself, I feel that if it looks like a duck and acts (quacks, even?) like a duck, it most likely is some sort of duck!7
Many people are surprised when they hear of these creatures being buried together and wonder why they never heard of it before. Below is one evolutionary paleontologist’s explanation.
“We find mammals in almost all of our [dinosaur dig] sites. These were not noticed years ago … . We have about 20,000 pounds of bentonite clay that has mammal fossils that we are trying to give away to some researcher. It’s not that they are not important, it’s just that you only live once and I specialized in something other than mammals. I specialize in reptiles and dinosaurs.”8
Consider how many more fossil mammals in ‘dinosaur rock’ are likely being similarly ignored in other parts of the world, with the likelihood of finding even more representatives of the same kinds as modern-day mammals.9
Interviewed in Creation magazine,10 Dr Carl Werner pointed out that already over 432 mammal species have been identified in ‘dinosaur rock’, including nearly 100 complete mammal skeletons. Yet in his extensive travels to 60 museums across the world researching his documentary series, only a few dozen of these species were featured in displays, with not one complete skeleton.
As for the ‘Age of Dinosaurs’, another evolutionary paleontologist explains;
“In a sense, ‘The Age of Dinosaurs’ … is a misnomer … Mammals are just one such important group that lived with the dinosaurs, coexisted with the dinosaurs, and survived the dinosaurs.”11
So, what happened to the dinosaurs?
Evolutionary scientists have offered a variety of explanations for what they think happened to the dinosaurs. Here’s a partial list:
- A large asteroid collided with our planet long ago.
- As a high-roughage plant group became extinct, the plant-eating ones died of chronic constipation, leading to the death of the carnivores dependent on them.
- They became addicted to plants with narcotic properties.
- The world’s climate became either too hot, too cold, too dry or too wet.
- A supernova exploded nearby, showering the earth with radiation.
- Mammals ate their eggs.
There are serious problems with the evidence proposed for any of these events. Take the large asteroid impact theory, for example. Why would that event only wipe out the dinosaurs and not the ducks, squirrels, beavers, etc. that co-existed with them as mentioned above? Not to mention lizards and crocodiles, supposedly their close cousins? Some evolutionists dispute the evidence of this impact as causing dino extinction12 (cf. p.8). No one event that has been proposed by evolutionists can completely explain the evidence (which is why there are so many different ideas about what happened to dinosaurs).
Creationists suggest that most dinosaurs died and were buried in the great Flood described in Genesis 6–8 (for which there is a huge amount of evidence). Two of each kind were preserved on the Ark, of course, thus surviving the Flood.13 With their numbers greatly reduced, all animals would have been subject to many pressures, such as varying climates (including the Ice Age14) following the Flood. They may have had a unique physiology that made them less able to adapt as rapidly to the many different environments after the Flood. For example, evolutionists have suggested that dinosaurs may not have been warm-blooded or cold-blooded, but something completely different from either. They may have had a unique type of metabolism, unlike any living animals today.15
This may have contributed to them becoming extinct, along with the very same reasons animals become extinct today (being hunted, disease, climatic changes, habitat changes etc.).
Some dinos, at least, must have survived until relatively recent times—for example, evidence of UK dinosaur depictions from the 1400s,16 and a Cambodian stegosaur carving centuries (but likely not millennia) old.17 This is completely unacceptable to ‘old-Earth’ believers, of course, who insist that the last dinosaur died out 65 million years ago, way before people arrived.
But there is other evidence, too, that literally shouts that the dinosaur fossils cannot be millions of years old—the discovery of soft tissue, including not just stretchy ligaments with identifiable proteins, but flexible transparent branching blood vessels, containing an ooze that could be squeezed out like toothpaste. And inside these vessels were the easily identifiable remains of red blood cells, even showing the nuclei,18 typical of reptiles (cf. pp.13–14).
When you put all of the evidence together, dinosaurs are no problem for a Christian worldview. God made them, along with the rest of His creation, around 6,000 years ago. We find their fossilized bones alongside those of other animals because of the great Flood around 4,500 years ago. They lived after the Flood but gradually died out (like so many other species have).
There is no ‘huge mystery’ about the existence and extinction of dinosaurs when viewed from the perspective of God’s Word. The Bible actually provides a better explanation for these things than does the evolutionary view.
References and notes
- Cretaceous duck ruffles feathers, BBC news, www.bbc.co.uk, 20 January 2005. Return to text.
- Mesozoic Squirrel, Nature 444:889–893, 2006. Return to text.
- Swimming with dinos, www.museumvictoria.com.au, 24 January 2008, accessed 1 October 2010 Return to text.
- Early Aquatic Mammal, Science 311 (5764): 1068, 24 February 2006. Return to text.
- Dinosaur-eating mammal discovered in China, www. nhm.ac.uk,14 January 2005. Return to text.
- Scott Norris, news.nationalgeographic.com/news, 15 June 2006. Return to text.
- At the least, the same created kind as modern-day ducks. Return to text.
- Interview with Dr Donald Burge, curator of vertebrate paleontology, College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum by Dr Carl Werner, 13 February 2001, in Living Fossils—Evolution: The Grand Experiment, Vol. 2, New Leaf Press, 2009, p. 173. Return to text.
- Many modern animals are of course the genetically impoverished descendants of the pre-Flood representatives of their kind—thus you would not expect to find a fossil badger completely identical to today’s badger in ‘dinosaur rock’, any more than you would expect to find a Pekingese dog in the pre-Flood era. Return to text.
- Living fossils: a powerful argument for creation, Creation 33(2):20–23, 2011. Return to text.
- Interview with Dr Zhe-Xi Luo, curator of vertebrate paleontology and associate director of research and collections at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, by Dr Carl Werner, 17 May 2004, in Ref. 8. Return to text.
- See creation.com/dino-impact. Return to text.
- See creation.com/dinos-on-ark. Return to text.
- See creation.com/ice-age-q&a. Return to text.
- See www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/res/education/akdino/dino_warm_or_cold_blooded.html. Return to text.
- See creation.com/brass_behemoth. Return to text.
- See creation.com/angkor-stegosaur. Return to text.
- See creation.com/still-soft-and-stretchy. Return to text.
Following Jeremy's logic, what are your thoughts regarding other mystical creatures found in various cultures such as unicorns, pegasi, griffins, lamassu, etc...Are these too a cultural memory of creatures now extinct?
Hi Hillary, thanks for your email.
To my knowledge creatures such as you mentioned (winged horses, hawk/lion hybrids)have not been reported as having been seen by cultures as real creatures for the most part, where people groups all around the world have reported sightings of huge reptilian beasts commonly referred to as 'dragons' (References to 'unicorns' [one horn, or one line of horns] could be attributed to real creatures such as Rhino's etc rather than horned horses however.) And of course there is no physical evidence (fossils) to support them as well.
The relationship between dragons and dinosaurs has been noted even in encyclopedias like The World Book Encyclopedia (Vol. 1, 1973, page 265, Knox Wilson, “Dragon”) in which it said 'The Dragons of legend are strangely like actual creatures that have lived in the past. They are much like the great reptiles, which inhabited the Earth long before man is supposed to have appeared on Earth.'
Dragons are so prolific in literature worldwide that atheist and evolutionist Carl Sagan actually wrote a book 'Dragons of Eden' to try to explain them away because he understood that if people recognized that Dinosaurs had been seen by people this would be a blow to evolutionary beliefs.
"The pervasiveness of dragon myths in the folk legends of many cultures is probably no accident....It is a worldwide phenomenon."
Carl Sagan, The Dragons of Eden, Ballantine Books, 1977, pg. 149-150)
As skeptic Louis Jacobs (author and former president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology) once said of the association between dragons and dinosaurs; “Such an association would dispel an Earth with vast antiquity. The entire history of creation, including the day of rest, could be accommodated in the seven biblical days of the Genesis myth. Evolution would be vanquished.”
So Sagan actually came up with the idea that at one time when we were still on our evolutionary journey and were still some simple rodent etc we saw the dinosaurs and the memory became imprinted into our subconscious. This memory was transferred through evolutionary time until we became human and remembered having seen them thus giving rise to the 'dragon' legends. He called this the 'R- complex'.
"The R-complex is functioning in the dreams of humans; the dragons can be heard, hissing and rasping, and the dinosaurs thunder still."
Carl Sagan, The Dragons of Eden, Ballantine Books, 1977, pg. 157
Such is the level of evolutionary story telling that he was willing to accept (which virtually no credible modern scientist would accept today) to try to explain away such damning evidence that dinosaurs and people co-existed.
May I suggest the books 'Dragons or Dinosaurs' and 'Dire Dragons' for more information on this.
I hope this helps.
Creation Ministries International
Could it be that many of the "dragon" myths in various cultures throughout the world in places as diverse as Ancient China, Midieval and preRoman Europe, South America, and othe cultures are based on real examples of "Dinosaurs"?
Absolutely! Check out these two dinosaur books available on our webstore for fantastic information showing just that connection between dragons and dinosaurs.
Creation Ministries International
I would love it if folks from creation.com could visit Fossil Rim in Glen Rose, TX, where they have physical evidence of man and dinosaur coexisting (human footprint within that of a dinosaur's). Bring information like that in this article and what is found at Fossil Rim really leaves an evolutionist with no leg to stand on. This article and its fellows are timely and crucial in a world clinging to falsehoods. God bless you and take care.
Amy W. in Odessa, TX
Hi Amy, thanks for your email.
On our site (Creation.com) under the 'Topics' button is a section called 'bad arguments' (http://creation.com/qa#bad_arguments).
Unfortunately one of the arguments we feel is not a good one is the dinosaur and human tracks you mentioned. Here is the section on this claim from our website;
“Paluxy tracks prove that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.” Some prominent creationist promoters of these tracks have long since withdrawn their support. Some of the allegedly human tracks may be artefacts of erosion of dinosaur tracks obscuring the claw marks. There is a need for properly documented research on the tracks before we would use them to argue the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs. Research to date has not been promising about the tracks, however—see Human and dinosaur fossil footprints in the Upper Cretaceous of North America? But this does not mean that there isn’t good evidence that dinosaurs and humans co-existed—see Q&A: Dinosaurs.
Please visit the link above as it has more information embedded.
1.For CMI’s point-by-point response to an attempted critique of this page, see Maintaining Creationist Integrity (http://creation.com/maintaining-creationist-integrity-response-to-kent-hovind.)
I hope this helps.
Creation Ministries International
My argument is that there are thousands of mammal species (current and extinct) that rival the dinosaurs for size and habitat – giant herbivores like indricotherium, brontotheres and ground sloth, countless big cats, and so on – and yet not one fossil of these thousands of species has been found below the top of the Cretaceous. Similarly, of the thousands of known dinosaur fossils, not one has been found above the base of the Paleocene. In the context of a global Flood with water speeds estimated by David Allen at up to 100 km/h, how can this possibly be the case?
Hi Alex, thanks for your email. You say there have been no examples of certain creatures found below the top of the Cretaceous, but how do you know? Remember the quote from Dr Donald Burge from my article?
“We find mammals in almost all of our [dinosaur dig] sites. These were not noticed years ago …”
In 1961 a geologist discovered dinosaur bones that were fresh (not permineralized) in Alaska. He assumed that these were bison bones. It took 20 years for scientists to realise they were dinosaur bones! (http://creation.com/fresh-dinosaur-bones-found). People tend to not find things they aren't looking for.
Perhaps scientists have certain creatures bones mixed in with the Dinosaurs but they just haven’t been ‘noticed’ yet. Thirty years ago when I was in school I could have asked your same question about squirrels, beavers, ducks etc and creationists wouldn’t have been able to show you the evidence for them. Would that prove the creationist model wrong? Would finding some of the creatures you mentioned buried with dinosaurs cause you to abandon evolutionary theory? Probably not. Evolutionists will simply re-work the evidence into their model.
As a matter of fact one of the problems with your argument is that there have been a number of cases of early Cenozoic dinosaur bones or eggs, that have either been re-dated or claimed reworked from the Cretaceous (“Oh look, dinosaur bones. These must be Cretaceous rocks after all…”).
CMI has reported on this circular reasoning several times in the Journal of Creation. There is one well known case of dinosaur bones in the Paleocene of the San Juan Basin of New Mexico that cannot be attributed to reworking because the bones are of large dinosaurs.
So there is a lot more to the story, and there is a lot of circular reasoning applied to make the fossils fit the evolutionary mould. Many of these examples are summarized in Appendix 3 of Michael Oard’s book "Dinosaur Challenges and Mysteries" available on our webstore.
Creation Ministries International
If there was no 'Age of Dinosaurs' why are dinosaur fossils entirely missing from both the top and the bottom of the sedimentary sequence?
Hi Alex, thanks for your email.
We wouldn't expect to see dinosaur fossils in the lowest sedimentary layers because we believe that they (the layers) are the result of the great flood described in Genesis 6-9. What would get buried first of course are the creatures at the lowest part of the oceans and we wouldn't expect land animals to dive to the deepest depths then any more than we would today.
Then as the land started getting covered different creatures in different ecological niches and their inhabitants would be buried at different times. Of course in such a catastrophic event we would expect creatures to be struggling to survive and moving around as well as they could to avoid danger etc. So we would expect an overall pattern in the fossil record but with some overlap and anomalies in it.
If your argument is that if creatures that aren't found in the top of the sedimentary sequence don't because they died our millions of years ago then what do you do with so called 'living fossils'?
Creatures like the Coelacanth were supposed to have died out 60 million years ago. Their fossils are only found in layers assigned to that age by evolutionists. But they are alive today, so how come no fossils in the last 60 million years (in the 'upper sediments'?
Here are some articles for your consideration.
Some questions for an evolutionary worldview would be; "If there was an 'age of dinosaurs' how come un-fossilized soft tissue has been found several times now if dinosaurs are supposed to have lived 60 million years ago? (creation.com/dinosaur-soft-tissue-and-protein-even-more-confirmation) Why are there pictographs and carvings of creatures a typical seven year old would identify as dinosaurs found from cultures dating long before books showing their reconstruction from fossils existed if no one has ever seen a live dinosaur? (creation.com/angkor-saw-a-stegosaur)."
No matter what the answers (one can always come up with an answer to fit the facts when you are talking about the past that no one observed),in the end it’s not a matter of ‘creation facts’ vs ‘evolution facts’ because creationists and evolutionists actually have the same facts.
We all interpret these facts according to our pre-existing worldview presuppositions. That worldview, in turn, then enables us to interpret these facts and they become ‘evidence’ for our beliefs.
For example, when an evolutionary geologist looks at the many sedimentary layers in the walls of the Grand Canyon, he ‘sees’ it as evidence for millions of years of Earth history. This is due to his pre-existing belief (from what he’s been taught in the classroom) that these layers built up from slow, gradual deposition of sediments, year after year.
However, a creationist geologist can interpret the exact same facts (i.e. layers in the canyon walls) and see these as evidence for Noah’s catastrophic, globe-covering Flood. Neither one was there to see those layers form in the past.
In short, there are no facts which can force a conclusion one way or the other when it comes to trying to determine what happened in the unobservable, unrepeatable past.
When making a judgment on which set of facts/evidences makes more sense, both sides bring their own worldviews, experiences and biases to the table.
So, what you believe about where we all came from (our history) is a key to your interpretation of the facts. I hope this helps.
Calvin Smith, did you happen to hear the one evolutionary explanation about dinosaurs being killed by their own flatulence? I just about died laughing when I heard that one.
Hey, maybe that's the answer as to what happened to the dinosaurs Jesse, they heard the 'flatulence theory' of dinosaur extinction and they laughed themselves to death! :)
Evolutionists have long recognized that mammals and dinosaurs co-existed, since they place the origin of both groups in the late triassic epoch over 200 million years ago, so this comes as no surprise to anyone.
You say that creatures such as ducks, platypuses, and squirrels have been proven to have lived alongside dinosaurs. I dont think thats correct.
The duck find you reference is dubious and bird experts disagree that it was a member of the anatid family. Some call the fossil unidentifiable.
Gansus is not classified as belonging to any living order of birds. Apparently the skull was not found which means its not certain that it looked like a duck.
Ancient monotreme fossils have been found in the mesozoic, but they arent identified as platypuses or any other modern monotreme since the fossils are fragmentary.
The squirrel you reference is actually Volaticotherium which is not a squirrel or even a rodent. It belongs to a completely extinct order of mammals.
The beaver-like mammal is Castorocauda which is classified as a docodont, a completely exinct order.
The badger-like mammal is Repenomamus, which is a triconodont, another extinct order of mammals. All these extinct orders are said to have died out tens of millions of years ago, and have no modern representatives, so I think its dishonest to say that it has been proven that dinosaurs walked alongside modern mammals and birds.
Hi Alex, thanks for your email.
Your statement "...this comes as no surprise to anyone." is absolutely incorrect. I can tell you from personal experience that I have met many hundreds of people (both creationists and evolutionists) that have been exposed to this type of information at CMI presentations that were completely surprised by the fact that birds like ducks and mammals like platypus and beavers etc lived with dinosaurs. That is why I wrote the article, because evidence like this supports the biblical account of a great flood burying creatures together within a short time period VS an evolutionary explanation of different creatures existing apart from each other and being fossilized separated in time by millions of years.
Since you claim that "You say that creatures such as ducks, platypuses, and squirrels have been proven to have lived alongside dinosaurs. I dont think thats correct" and "I think its dishonest to say that it has been proven that dinosaurs walked alongside modern mammals and birds" can I expect that you will be contacting National Geographic, Nature Magazine, the BBC, Science Magazine etc to inform them that they are wrong? Or will you just criticize creationists for citing them?
Since the examples of animals found in dinosaur era rock that I quoted were all from evolutionary sources (where they described them as the types I mentioned) you can take it up with them as far as you not thinking the evidence stacks up as explained in my article.
For example this article (see link below) contains a video from an evolutionist explaining that modern birds existed alongside dinosaurs for example (creation.com/werner-living-fossils). Your comments are not fighting against creationist conclusions but evolutionary ones!
Logically, these evidences point away from evolution. To be fair to evolutionists it does not follow that you "therefore must be Creationist", in order to solve the problem. BUT, it does mean that to remain intellectually true, you have to at least MOVE AWAY from the paradigm that is not reflected as holding any truth.
So I would say to honest evolutionists, yes - you don't have to accept creation BUT be honest with yourself, the evidence is consistent with creation, not evolution, unless you are dependent upon some very severe mental gymnastics.
It's fine to say, "well, if I'm honest I just don't know what happened in the past because of conflicting evidences."
That is acceptable as a scientific attitude.
When there are only two possible mutually exclusive conclusions in solving a problem, the law of the excluded middle in logic applies. Since there are only two possible explanations of origins exist (we were created or we are the result of natural causes), evidence against one position actually bolsters the other position.
For those that say there may be a possible third option to explain existence the onus is on them to articulate it.
Creation Ministries International
This is a great article by Calvin Smith, which shows that the evidence does point to biblical creation and that humans did once live alongside dinosaurs, as well as a few might still be living out there in the world in remote rich biological swamp areas. Truly the earth is about 6,000 years old and there was a global flood about 4,500 years ago as recorded in Genesis.
All praise to God the Father and our Saviour, Lord Jesus Christ for all this amazing and abundant evidence.
Clearly the bible is right and evolution is completely wrong.
Keep up the Good work CMI.