This article is from
Creation 41(3):32–35, July 2019

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Creation for Kids

Did dinosaurs and man live together?

by and Lita Sanders (née Cosner)

Published in Creation 41(3):32–35, 2019

© Dorling Kindersley Ltd / Alamy Stock Photoman-and-dinosaurs

Can you imagine living around dinosaurs? They would certainly be interesting, and sometimes terrifying, additions to our landscape! But did dinosaurs and man ever really live at the same time?

Some scientists say that dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago—long before man lived on the earth, so they never lived together. But the Bible says that God created man and land animals on Day 6 of Creation Week around 6,000 years ago—so we know dinosaurs were created the same day as people (Genesis 1:24). We need to keep in mind that there were no carnivorous meat-eating animals before Adam sinned, so at first dinosaurs would not have been feared and would have lived peacefully alongside humans and all the other created kinds.

What would we expect to find if dinosaurs and people ever lived together after the Fall? For one thing, people would write about fantastic, huge reptiles and draw them. They might fear them—especially if they were big and scary and ate meat. They might hunt them, and call people who killed dinosaurs ‘heroes’. Does this sound familiar?

Photo 31813569 | Welsh Flag © Megadinheiro | Dreamstime.comflag-welsh
Welsh flag

Why dinosaurs aren’t mentioned in ancient literature

The word dinosaur is a modern word, coined in 1841. If we are looking for dinosaurs in ancient writings, we need to look for an ancient word that means a big reptile. And there’s a word for these creatures, all over the world. And that’s dragon. The word ‘dragon’ is found in the Bible over 20 times!

Dragons were big scary lizard-like creatures. Sometimes they had wings and flew, sometimes they didn’t. And around the world, there were stories of great heroes—dragonslayers—who fought and defeated these terrifying creatures.

But wait—there are stories of dragons that also breathed fire and had hoards of gold, and these don’t sound like things real animals do. We can expect that people made up details to dragon stories, especially as dinosaurs became rarer and fewer people saw one for themselves. Many stories from different cultures lead us to believe that dragons were real. Sometimes they were exaggerated, but more reliable writers rejected the magical tales and taught that dragons were just another kind of animal.

How did ancient people know what dinosaurs looked like?

Ancient people drew and talked about dragons. And some dragons looked a lot like dinosaurs. Look at this Mesopotamian cylinder seal (figure 1). Those carvings look like long-necked dinosaurs!

Louvre Museum, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commonsfig1-mesopotamian-cylinder-seal
Figure 1. Mesopotamian cylinder seal

The (figure 2) carving is on an ancient temple in Cambodia. Can you see what kind of dinosaur this is? You are right, it looks just like a stegosaur!

Harald Hoyer from Schwerin, Germany, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commonsfig2-cambodian-dinosaur-sculpture
Figure 2. Cambodian dinosaur sculpture

In traditional Chinese writing, the character for the word ‘dragon’ (龍, lóng), may have even been based on stegosaurs. The bottom-right part of the symbol suggests spines and a pointed tail. The dragon is also one of the 12 animals of the Chinese calendar. All the other animals are well known, but to the makers of this calendar the dragon is treated as just as real. Actually, the modern Chinese word for ‘dinosaur’ is kǒnglóng (恐龍), ‘fearsome dragon’.

An Irish writer around the year AD 900 also recorded an encounter with a large animal with thick legs, strong claws and ‘iron nails on its tail’—what do you think this animal might have been? The fact that ancient people knew what these creatures looked like before fossil finds and museum exhibits can only mean one thing, they saw them with their own eyes!

Is it possible some dinosaurs are still alive today, hiding in remote places?

Could dinosaurs still be alive today? Probably not. Even though there are occasional stories of dinosaurs, it’s really unlikely that there’s a population of dinosaurs somewhere we haven’t looked. The big ones like sauropods would have been spotted. Finding them alive wouldn’t be a problem from a biblical perspective, but it would be a major problem for an evolutionist.

As much as we might want to see dinosaurs today, some were huge, and some became terrifying predators. Maybe we should be glad they went extinct!

Fast facts!

Fast facts

  • Order: Ornithischia—bird-hipped dinosaurs
  • Suborder: Thyreaphora—armoured herbivores
  • Size: 7.5–9 m (25–30 ft) long, 4 m (14 ft) tall, 3 tonnes
  • Diet: plant-eater
  • Fossil finds: North America—Colorado, Wyoming; Europe—Portugal
stegosaur Illustration 9265414 © Ajtooley | Dreamstime.com
Posted on homepage: 8 May 2024

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