Dinosaurs are almost certainly extinct

It is time to let go of the idea of ‘living dinosaurs’

by , , and

Published: 22 February 2018 (GMT+10)
ica-stone
The ‘Ica Stones’ show dinosaurs in the tail-dragging poses of outdated reconstructions, just what a forger would have copied if he were working several decades ago. It is unlikely they have been drawn from an observation of a real dinosaur, with the tail horizontal at the hip. This is one of those things we would love to be true, but since the evidence is equivocal, we should put it on the back shelf.

The thought that dinosaurs might be living in some long-forgotten corner of the world has fanned the flames of curiosity for a long time. Many of our supporters believe it is true, and we have done much to support the possibility over the years. However, it is time for a critical reassessment.

Since biblical creationists are already held to a double standard, we should seek to find the best arguments. At the same time, we must be free to allow older, outdated arguments to wither on the vine, when we find them. Science changes, but the Bible does not. Thus, we deny that the Bible is a scientific textbook, since textbooks always contain mistakes and always become outdated! But when the Bible does touch on scientific aspects, it is always accurate, because the One who inspired it knows all the science that there is to know. Our Arguments we think creationists should not use page and this response to a critic serve as a clear record that we want to use the best arguments. We are also willing to contradict what we may have said in the past when an argument becomes untenable. We believe that ‘Living Dinosaurs’ has become one of those arguments.

This is an emotional argument for many people. Human nature makes us look for the ‘magic bullet’ or ‘knockout punch’ evidence. For many, this seems to be wrapped up in their faith that the Bible is true. But we have said many times that we should not put our faith in science. The propositions of Scripture, and what can be logically deduced from them, should be held strongly, but models that creationists have developed to elucidate them should be held loosely. Remember that the Lord Jesus Himself reminded us that some will not believe even if one was to rise from the dead (Luke 16:31), and we have multiple eyewitness testimony that this event occurred. We already have tons of evidence to refute the evolutionary view of dinosaurs and to support the correct biblical view that dinosaurs did not die out millions of years ago such as:

Akerbeltz, wikimedia commonsWollemiaPineCones
Wollemi pine—like “Finding a living dinosaur!” But it didn't sway evolutionists.

We can deduce from the Bible that the earth is not millions of years old (science agrees, by the way), that God created many different ‘kinds’ of living organisms, and that two of every (unclean) kind were on Noah’s Ark. Scripture does not speak directly about dinosaurs, nor should we assume it is a comprehensive book on animal taxonomy, but we have enough evidence to conclude that dinosaurs certainly existed. If we are to fit them into biblical history, they would have been on the Ark, because they were air-breathing land animals, and therefore they would have been alive at least early in the post-Flood era. We note that many land animals have gone extinct. The promise God made to preserve animals on the Ark was a general promise, not a specific claim that every species, or indeed every kind, would remain on the earth indefinitely. Indeed, extinction is just another reminder of the Fall and how the earth is subject to continuing decay.

And the Bible has depictions of some fascinating creatures such as the behemoth in Job 40:15–18, which seems to fit the description of a sauropod dinosaur, such as Dreadnoughtus. No living creature has a tail that could be compared to the cedar, the largest tree in the middle-east.

The evidence is strong that they lived in the post-Flood era, and there is nothing that categorically tells us they must be extinct, so the idea that they might still be alive is tantalizing.

Cryptozoology

This brings us to a discussion about cryptozoology. This is, literally, the ‘study of hidden animals’. It is an attempt to prove that creatures widely regarded as extinct or imaginary are actually alive but merely hidden. Such creatures are called ‘cryptids’. CMI has printed multiple articles on this subject over the years, based on information then available, and we do not regret having written them. While we have never claimed that dinosaurs are still alive today, we have always remained open to the possibility of finding one. Why wouldn’t we be?

However, we have now had decades to verify the claims. To date, not a single one has been confirmed. Keep in mind that this is not for a lack of looking. And as time goes by, it is increasingly unlikely that we will ever find one. What about the argument, “One can only say they don’t exist today if we could explore every inch of the earth at the same time.” This is actually nonsensical, because we could apply it to anything that we want—even non-existent or imaginary things like fairies that people believed in over 100 years ago (based upon alleged eyewitness testimonies).

In addition, unlike the oceans, which are more difficult to explore due to the extreme depths and lack of light, we have explored essentially the entire surface of the earth. From time to time we have found weird and wonderful creatures and species that we did not even know existed, but these have generally been small creatures, and they usually belong to an already-known taxon, such as the okapi (a member of the family Giraffidae, named in 1901) and the saola (a muntjac ‘discovered’ by a son of Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900s, it was finally found alive in Vietnam in 1992). In the case of dinosaurs, we know what to look for. We have their fossils (meaning they are dead), and we have pretty much explored the whole planet.

But the areas that are least explored (e.g. the Congo and West Papua) are the places where dinosaurs are supposedly living today, so we are left in a difficult situation. Good people are reporting on living dinosaurs in areas that are so remote that it is not easy to validate the claims. Yet, even though these reports go back decades, there are never secondary sightings, ergo, none have been validated. That is a critically important point. It is not like no humans live in these places. Loggers, explorers, drug runners, poachers, and subsistence farmers regularly traipse the back woods areas of the world. It is nearly impossible to find places not impacted by humans, thus observed by humans. In the 1800s, people went to the western US looking for living dinosaurs. They were not there. There were other sightings over the years and multiple expeditions to remote areas looking for dinosaurs. They were never found.

Due to the tension between the verbal reports and the absence of hard evidence, we hesitate to simply throw everything out. But our position is no longer “wait and see”. Instead, it is time to say that living dinosaurs no longer exist unless there is proven evidence to the contrary, otherwise claims that dinosaurs must still exist will be used by the evolutionists as yet another club with which to beat creationists.

This does not mean we reject the idea that dinosaurs previously lived with man, only that they are extremely unlikely to be living today, and there are strong creationist scientific reasons for saying so. Reporting responsibly and cautiously on alleged eyewitness accounts is not unreasonable, so long as we don’t exaggerate or overdo it. For instance, if someone heard about Mokele-Mbembe (a sauropod-like creature reported to be living in the Congo basin of Africa) and wanted to check out how strong the evidence was, or how weak, it would not be irresponsible if our website, meant to be a definitive source of biblical creationist ideas, had articles on it, based upon the trustworthiness of the report.

Many of our friends are also cryptozoology buffs. We do not wish to contradict them in public, and we wish them good success in their search. However, we have reached the point where it is no longer credible to simply assume dinosaurs exist and only need to be found. Moreover, valuable Christian resources are being devoted unnecessarily to what appear to be fruitless endeavors, rather than supporting ministries or efforts we believe are more demonstrable in bearing fruit (that is, helping to bring people to Christ, our #1 priority). All the evidence indicates dinosaurs are not still here. Of course, we would love it if they were, just as we would love it if someone was to discover Noah’s Ark. So, we take no pleasure in having to pour cold water on such claims, and our purpose is not to ‘debunk’ for the sake of it.

We are already fighting on a major front with our opposition to mainstream scientific belief on evolution. It is therefore important to maintain integrity in our creationist arguments, and not be sensationalists, even if this means loss of opportunity for ministry exposure or even loss of financial support from well-meaning Christians who get excited about such claims. We are suggesting that we need to use wisdom and discernment here, allowing old ideas to be retired and focusing on the best current ideas to promote biblical creation, with the ultimate aim of promoting the Gospel and being used by God to lead others to Christ.

Does it even matter?

We must ask, however, why this is so important for biblical creationism? If a living dinosaur species were found, evolutionists would still not change their minds. They would just incorporate it into their pre-existing worldview. We know this because many ‘living fossils’ have been discovered (such as the wollemi pine and the coelacanth), and there are many fossils out of their assumed evolutionary place. They even said finding the wollemi pine was like “Finding a living dinosaur!” But putting aside some of the easily-forgotten sensationalist headlines, the general reaction is, “Huh. Isn’t that interesting? One of them managed to stay alive all this time.” We can confidently say that living dinosaurs would not be the death-knell of evolution. Therefore, why spend such valuable resources in looking for them?

Alternatively, some of our supporters feel that cryptozoology is an embarrassing chapter in our history, and thus should be buried as deeply as possible. We are suggesting that, instead, we should lay it aside and focus on the most powerful, up-to-date Achilles’ heels of evolutionary theory.

Testimonies are not proof

None of the crypto material can be scientifically documented since it is made up of personal testimonies. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable for a number of reasons, including those related to our fallen, human condition, and usually involves individual sightings (not sightings by groups of people). Even honest people can be prone to confirmation bias, so they ‘see’ what they are expecting to see. For instance, millions of people claim to have encounters with extraterrestrials, but we can say for certain that they did not have an encounter with a being from some distant planet.

Every case must be judged on its merits, and when we do this with dinosaur claims, sadly, the evidence comes up lacking. But most are not even first-hand testimonies. Instead, second-hand and sometimes even third-hand ones have been submitted to our community as ‘proof’. This is not scientific evidence. Even alleged first-hand evidence is tricky. There have been cases of scientists deliberately misleading people in the past, and so we need to make sure our own house is in order. One way to do this is to avoid sensationalist or unsubstantiated claims (e.g., the many archaeological ‘discoveries’ of the late Ron Wyatt, any one of which would have made for a once-in-a-lifetime discovery, but none of which could be verified due to ‘special circumstances’). Our rule of thumb should be to not accept any testimony unless backed up by solid evidence (i.e. catch one!). As stated above, we are already held to a double standard. Let us, therefore, hold high standards ourselves and not fall prey to wishful thinking.

Scientific issues and problems for large animals

Large animals need a population if the species is going to persist for centuries, but most alleged sightings are of individual animals. While it is true that some carnivores are solitary, all this means is that the population density is low. They still need a population size of tens of thousands to maintain genetic viability over time. And the individual animals, especially the large ones, do not stay put. Ask any farmer on the edge of elephant territory how hard it is to live. If they are alive, dinosaurs must reproduce. They need mates. They must travel. And they would not live forever. But there is no evidence they are actually alive.

Humans live all over the world, and satellites do a pretty good job of looking at the whole earth comprehensively in real time. The imagery has enough resolution to see large animals from space, and let us not forget what can be seen from lower-flying aircraft. We can see elephants and whales in those images. Why no large dinosaurs? Claiming they live in dense jungle and therefore cannot be seen is an example of ‘special pleading’. In fact, one of the authors of this article has seen firsthand how large animals like elephants make clearings in dense canopy. In short, it is fairly easy to see where large animals have been. They remove trees and brush and dung deposits are everywhere (they are large animals after all). They cannot help but modify their environment over time. Claiming ‘living dinosaurs’ are diminutive is another case of special pleading. It just so happens that the last remote places on earth where dinosaurs might live are also the only places where they might still be hiding. Yet all we have for evidence is verbal testimony from prior decades. This is not scientific data and so we are forced to take a step back and say that we actually have no evidence.

Dinosaurs cannot live in a sparse desert environment like the Australian outback because they need a lot of food. Giant marine reptiles cannot be out in the open oceans for the same reason. The open oceans are extreme deserts. Large animals need to live near a food source, and all such oceanic areas are currently being exploited by human fishing activities. Could they be hiding in dense jungles of Central Africa or on remote Pacific islands? Think of the crypto evidence we have been presented with thus far: it is sparse, based almost solely on verbal testimony, and follow-up expeditions have failed to substantiate any of the claims.

As mentioned earlier, science cannot prove the non-existence of anything, within reason. You can easily prove an African elephant is not sitting on your lap, but you cannot prove there is no elephant within a hundred miles of your location. Yet there comes a point where it is reasonable to conclude if an elephant is nearby. They leave evidence behind. They make noise. People would notice. In a similar way, it is reasonable to conclude that dinosaurs do not exist. The world is getting ‘smaller’ by the day and evidence for their being among us is not increasing. In fact, the opposite is true, hence this article.

Giant marine reptiles1 are likely the root source of some of the living dinosaur claims (e.g., “Nessie”). But things like plesiosaurs were air-breathing, meaning they needed to be at the surface most of the time. We know that giant marine mammals exist, precisely because we see them surface to breathe. They may be able to dive to extreme depths, but they stay on the surface for most of their lives. While it might be true that cold-blooded reptiles need to breathe less than mammals, and some turtles can remain submerged almost indefinitely, large animals need more oxygen. Active hunters also need more. Giant marine reptiles would need to remain near the surface. They cannot be hiding at depth.

Conversely, we knew the giant squid existed because of the evidence of huge sucker-disk scars on sperm whales, who hunt them for food. They evaded detection for many years because they can live in very deep water and don’t need to breathe air, but we knew they were there. We have fishing boats anywhere in the oceans where there are fish, and human eyeballs and video cameras cover most coastlands. Similarly, Loch Ness in Scotland has lots of tour boats and many hotels on its shores. The famous Nessie photos that spawned the legend have now been revealed as a hoax. But think of the industry that grew around it!2 Plus, sensors and automatic cameras have been installed all around the area, by people hoping to ‘catch’ Nessie, but without result. If Nessie was a plesiosaur, and if the story was inspired by historical sightings from centuries ago, she is certainly not alive today. It is time to move on.

Evidence

wikipedia.orgDreadnoughtus
Dreadnoughtus: The behemoth in Job 40, with a tail described “like a cedar” was probably something like this. The discover Ken Lacovara said that Dreadnoughtus “essentially had a weaponized tail that was 30 feet long … this incredibly large and muscled individual that would have feared nothing in its landscape … this is an incredibly bulky, massively muscled tail, everything about this speaks to its power.”

Clear and unmistakable photographs, animals in a cage, DNA … these are the evidences required by modern science. Even then, photographic and video evidence has become too easy to fake nowadays,3 so we should be skeptical of any new ‘photograph’ of a living dinosaur. But millions of people in the world today have a high-quality camera on their smart phone, and yet we have essentially no unambiguous photographs anyway, so the point is moot. At least show us some photos, not grainy images or excuses for why we don’t have good ones.

Some evidences are better than others. We are not the ‘evidence police’, but we prefer Bishop Bell’s brass behemoths and the Angkor Wat stegosaur over most other examples. Similarly, the Behemoth in Job 40, with its tail compared to the Middle-Eastern cedars, seems to be a huge, herbivorous sauropod. (We recommend Vance Nelson’s book Dire Dragons for more good examples of these).

Some evidences are of more questionable quality. For example, the Ica Stones show dinosaurs in the tail-dragging poses of outdated reconstructions, just what a forger would have copied if he were working several decades ago. It is unlikely they have been drawn from an observation of a real dinosaur, with the tail horizontal at the hip. This is one of those things we would love to be true, but since the evidence is equivocal, we should put it on the back shelf.

In a court of law, one is ‘innocent until proven guilty’. This is not true in science. Instead, we have developed a negative process, where hypotheses are always challenged, and conclusions are not (supposed to be!) drawn until the alternatives have been shown to be unworkable.

Some ‘evidence’ needs to be avoided altogether. Examples include the Paluxy tracks, which all major creationist groups agree are not evidence of human and dinosaurs living together. Also the Japanese ‘plesiosaur’, which was clearly a basking shark.

The Australian Bunyip illustration is also not what we thought. We have learned that this was not the illustration from the original 1845 newspaper article reproduced in 1991 (?), but was drawn in 1991 by a staff illustrator, Kevin McNulty, albeit drawn in a style that made it appear ‘old’—and hence the understandable confusion. The Geelong Advertiser did publish an article on the bunyip in 1845. In that article the newspaper promised that an image would be published in the next issue, but that issue happens to be missing from the archives, so we cannot validate the original. Many CMI speakers have used this example in the past, inadvertently but wrongly promoting the illustration as ‘from 1845’. Note, however, that the artist’s 1991 drawing is a reasonable representation of the detailed description published in 1845, but it is not the original 1845 drawing. If it was, it would make a strong case for the bunyip being a hadrosaur-like creature. So, it is not the strong evidence that it appeared to be. Lesson learned. We should always be prepared to correct or qualify ‘favourite’ arguments in the light of new evidence.

The quality of any piece of evidence is important. If we cannot use something in a courtroom or in a scientific debate, why would we even bring it up? And how is this helpful to our supporters if they likewise can’t back up their claims? Why should we use doubtful arguments when there are stronger ones available? And if the arguments don’t even convince reputable creationists, why would they convince evolutionists? People are trusting us to give them good arguments, so it is critical for us be selective about the information we provide.

Dragon legends

Dragon legends most likely derived from post-Flood interactions of humans and dinosaurs, and biblically we know that they must have been on the Ark. But one cannot discount the slight chance some of the stories may have come from pre-Flood legends, dreams, or just people’s imaginations. Coupled with the fact that no unequivocal dinosaur remains have been found in layers most biblical creationists would call ‘post Flood’, this is a real sticking point. The ‘latest’ dinosaur remains are from Mesozoic layers. While it is true that any layer with dinosaurs in it would automatically be labeled “Mesozoic”, this is not really a circular argument. An entire suite of plant and animal fossils are found together in the “dinosaur” layers, which most of us believe are Flood deposits.

Case in point, we do not find T. rex bones with mastodons, and most creationists place mastodons after the Flood. These later layers are simply absent of dinosaurs. One way around this is if we place the Flood/post-Flood boundary higher in the fossil record. This would mean that most all fossils are in Flood deposits, not from later times like the Ice Age. But we have unequivocal evidence of animal remains from more ‘recent’ times. This includes camels, horses, lions, bunnies, and bears, just not dinosaurs.

Another technicality is the fact that we do not see fossils of large creatures forming today. When an animal dies, the flesh and bones almost always break down quickly. The Flood was a great fossil-generating engine, and those conditions do not exist anywhere on earth today, except on a very limited and small scale in a select few places. However, this does not mean we have no evidence of post-Flood animals. We see animal bones all the time in archaeological settings. Spines from fish and sea urchins are abundant in modern oceanic sediments. Etc.

While we do have historical evidence for them, dinosaurs/dragons must have been incredibly rare to leave no post-Flood fossils behind. This is not impossible, and evolutionary theory requires this to be true in many cases (e.g., why are no whale fossils found with coelacanth fossils?), but the evidence against recently-living, and especially currently-living, dinosaurs is strong.

wikipedia.orgCoelacanth
Coelacanth: This was supposed to have died out with the dinosaurs, but really is alive today. If we can find a supposedly extinct creature like this which doesn't need to breathe air, how much more should we have discovered any living plesiosaurs, which do need air, if there were any.

Conclusions

Let’s be discerning. Let’s engage our minds with the best arguments. Let’s major on the best evidences—and we have some very good ones in this very area—and put the lesser ones on the back shelf. Let us especially reject the bad evidence when found. Why use the doubtful evidence before the clear? ‘Living dinosaurs’ was a good idea from the past and was associated with the birth of the modern creation movement. However, and despite a lot of effort on the part of some, it did not pan out.

This does not mean that dinosaurs are not a great entry point for the creation/evolution debate. Quite the opposite, because the evidence we have gives us some of the strongest refutations of the grand scheme of evolution. ‘Living dinosaurs’ is not nearly as good an argument as soft tissue preservation and carbon-14 in dinosaur bones. The former remains undocumented, the latter comes straight to us from the laboratory. Which do you think is a better argument?

References and notes

  1. Some confuse the extinct giant aquatic reptiles (e.g. mosasaurs and plesiosaurs) with dinosaurs. They are reptiles, true, but not dinosaurs. Return to text.
  2. How scientists debunked the Loch Ness Monster, vox.com/2015/4/21/8459353/loch-ness-monster, 23 January 2018; ‘Best ever’ photograph of Loch Ness monster revealed as a fake, telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/10355915/Best-ever-photograph-of-Loch-Ness-monster-revealed-as-a-fake.html, 23 January 2018. Return to text.
  3. But it was much harder to fake high-quality photography in the past, and digital video manipulation technology did not exist until recently, so we should not be skeptical of the NASA moon landings, etc. See Apollo Moon Landing Hoax and the relevant section in Arguments we think creationists should not Use. Also, beware of people who make claims about video and photographic ‘evidence’ while promoting flat earth and geocentrism. Their errors are too numerous to document here. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Exploring Dinosaurs with Mr Hibb
by Michael Oard, Tara Wolfe, Chris Turbuck, Gary Bates
From
US $17.00
Guide to Dinosaurs
by Brian Thomas and Tim Clarey
US $17.00
Hard cover
Dire Dragons
by Vance Nelson
US $30.00
Hard cover
Dinosaur Challenges and Mysteries
by Michael Oard
From
US $19.00

Readers’ comments

Stef H.
Quote: “The ‘latest’ dinosaur remains are from Mesozoic layers.”
This is incorrect. Later layers are not absent from dinosaurs at all!
Dinosaur fossils are dragged up from the ice age bottom of the North Sea. More examples are listed in literature underneath. Standard procedure for secular scholars is to redate the Cenozoic layer to Mesozoic, or to assume a rework process by which the fossil became ‘out of place’. So, when a mastodont and a dinosaur fossil are catched in the same fishing net, the mastodont becomes Cenozoic and the dinosaur becomes Mesozoic. I call that an organized fraud. I hope that the quote above was a type error.

Literature:
1- Buffetaut, E. & Post, K., 2001 - Mesozoic reptiles from the North Sea - DEINSEA 8: 33-40 [ISSN 0923-9308]. 09 November 2001;
2- Mike Oard, Dinosaurs Challenges en Mysteries (2011), Appendix 3 ;
3- Paleocene dinosaurs and the reinforcement syndrome - creation.com;
4- End-Mesozoic extinction of dinosaurs partly based on circular reasoning - creation.com
Robert Carter
Stef,

Thank you for writing in and directing our attention to the problem. I checked Oard's references in Dinosaur Challenges and Mysteries and checked the articles on creation.com (Paleocene dinosaurs and the reinforcement syndrome and End-Mesozoic extinction of dinosaurs partly based on circular reasoning) and the article from the secular literature. After doing so, I do not believe my statement needs to be modified. I was writing a little sarcastically, knowing that there is some disagreement within the evolutionary community whether or not dinosaurs all went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous or if they persisted for a little while afterward. I was also aware of Mike's writing, of course. The fossils from the North Sea, however, make a pretty good case for reworking, as dinosaurs should not have been walking around in an area where there were perhaps a million people (the now submerged Doggerland), and since other parts of the area were scoured by massive Ice Age drainage (thus providing a way to get fossils from distant areas to the bottom of the North Sea). Either way, there is little evidence for dinosaur fossils in layers much later than the Cretaceous. Thank you for pointing out that there was a discrepancy between the several sources on creation.com. I will let this stand as a correction and a source for other readers to compare the various statements, if they are interested in doing a little homework.
Ad M.
I have read the book: 'After the Flood' from Bill Cooper. He mentioned in his book a few extraordinary animals who lived together with people in a specific time after the Flood. That's quite interesting!
David B.
I've always had a great interest in cryptozoology and maintain hope that another case like the coelacanth and wollemi pine will turn up. However, I agree that creationists should direct their research, funding, and teaching elsewhere. I'm not convinced of the value of many of the "dinosaur" depictions.

I fear the main reason "dinosaurs are alive" and similar things have been so popular is that they are so entertaining and exciting to audiences of creationists.

Unfortunately, the best and strongest arguments tend to be relatively boring and technical. Knowing the history and philosophy of belief in creation and the rise of evolutionism puts things in a whole new light, but can be hard to put in terms the average audience gets excited about.

Abiogenesis, soft tissues dated tens of millions of years or more, ID theories and the complexity of life are exciting but tend to be hard for most people to fully understand. Yet all the more reason to present and explain them.

BTW, I find it ironic that, meanwhile, evolutionists are now saying dinosaurs ARE alive -- as birds! And most creationists need to look at and present this subject in a different, more accurate way, too, but that's another subject.
M. K.
Please comment on the recent reports and photo of baby dinosaur remains supposedly found in India with skin still attached. Obviously, it would sound more plausible if it was found at the base of a glacier (i.e. like the Ice Man in Austria) but the picture certainly looked like a baby dinosaur. Gratefully, Mike
Robert Carter
From all appearances, they found a dead cat. Maybe it was another animal specific to the Indian subcontinent, but it was cat-sized. They discovered the dead animal in a building that had not been opened in several years. Clearly, the critter had gotten inside and then died there, to be partially mummified. Sensationalist reporting caused people to not cast a critical eye on the specimen itself. Take a close look at the photos. It was not a dinosaur.
Bob S.
Dinosaurs are extinct, though their evolved ancestors are among us today: birds.
Robert Carter
That is nothing more than a throw-away line and certainly is not supported by the information on our website. See our Dinosaur Q&A page.
James P.
Your article does take a wise approach to this subject, making an informed decision about the (un)likelihood of dinosaurs alive today. Of course, you do affirm that dinosaurs did once live alongside humans, as Job 40-41 evidently indicates. Yet at some point during the past 4,300 years, whether earlier or more recently, each of the dinosaur species preserved on the ark became extinct, probably primarily through human hunting (e.g. Genesis 9:2-3; 10:9; Job 40:24; 41:1-8, 26-29).
Even so, secular scientists and conservationists are always excited to discover new so-called 'Lazarus' species, creatures once presumed extinct but then rediscovered in very small populations, usually in isolated locations. It is entirely reasonable, therefore, to make the assessment that dinosaur species should now likewise be presumed 'extinct', until firm corroborated evidence comes to light for their continuing existence.
If you are going to write a 'sister article' drawing together the evidence for dinosaur-human interaction, I am sure you will make more reference to Leviathan, a sea creature described in Job 41 and depicted in plain observational language associated with ships in Psalm 104:26 (referring back to the 'great sea monsters' of Genesis 1:21).
Thank you for risking the objections of friends to call for greater levels of proof before we make the claim that certain species of dinosaur are 'critically endangered' rather than 'extinct'.
Robert Carter
Thank you. More details on the historical and scientific dinosaur record can, of course, be found on our Dinosaur Q&A page.
Otto I.
Just caught up with this great article, very well reasoned but still hard to ignore the many brief sightings over decades. I have one relevant comment though: As dinosaur means "terrible lizard" the crocodile immediately springs to mind as the most obvious example of a living dinosaur. Remember there were a huge number of variations of dinosaurs living in all environments - sea, water, land and air. Is it that we are so familiar with the crocodile that we ignore it? Surely it may be the only successfully adapted dinosaur still alive today!
Robert Carter
Comparative anatomy tells us that crocodiles are very different from dinosaurs and therefore cannot be classified with them beyond the level of "reptile". But turtles and snakes are also reptiles. And, the giant aquatic reptiles (like mosasaurs and plesiosaurs) are different enough that we do not call them dinosaurs. Ditto the flying reptiles (pterosaurs). So, even though the idea is interesting, sadly we cannot say that crocs are "living dinosaurs". But this brings up a puzzle. Why did only certain reptile groups die out? And, along with turtles, crocodilians, and snakes, how did the butterflies survive the supposed meteor strike that killed off the dinosaurs?
Gerald B.
But Noah's Ark has been found and visited by many! Measured and analysed by archaeologist Ron Wyatt...it's just off-limits, in Northern Turkey - on a trajectory from the Great Pyramid through Jerusalem...in the mountain range of Ararat, just where the Bible said it is... and its petrified dimensions are also as long as the Bible said: 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, i.e. 515x80 Imperial feet. the three decks voluminous enough for 750+ double-decker busses, or all the land creatures, plants and seeds and fodder for fifteen months at sea. Of course the sea creatures survived the Flood...but couldn't evolve simply because the only effective influence for individual species genetically is to adapt to respond to living conditions for survival of the fittest - DNA is fixed and miscegenation among similar species tends to produce hybrids which are sterile...so no new species possible after Creation!
Robert Carter
Sadly, the many supposed discoveries of the late Ron Wyatt are included in our list of Arguments we Think a Creationist Should Not Use. The Ark has certainly NOT been found, neither is the rocky structure he claimed the actual Ark. Please, we are encouraging people to do their homework. The material you are citing is actually worse than the evidence for living dinos.

DNA is certainly NOT fixed. Where did you get that idea? And the word "miscegenation" is loaded with racist baggage, which we uncategorically reject (not trying to cast aspersions at you, but I would never use that word). And, hybrids are generally not sterile. You have more studying to do. Please take time to look over the material on creation.com.
Dennis S.
In fairness the picture of the ICA stone is of a dinosaur standing not walking There are dozens of ICA stones with the dinosaur walking tail sticking out behind erect position This was a criticism in the 80s when it was thought dinosaurs dragged their tails I have photographed all the dinosaurs in the ICA stone collection Submitting them to dinosaur experts Nany of them have amazing anatomical accuracy predating new discoveries
Robert Carter
Dennis, I hesitate to argue against you. You are "on side", as it were on nearly all other creation issues. But, we have for a long time argued that the Ica stones are not a good argument.

To be fair, your article Can the Ica Stones Be Independently Authenticated? will be available soon. Here is a link to the Journal of Creation page for our readers to check over time. In this article you claim that a dino-depicting stone had (finally) been excavated in an archeological dig. Yet, the representation on that stone is hardly lifelike. And the fact that the Cabrera specimens are in many ways unlike the newly discovered stone (as per your statements in the article) makes me wonder even more about the authenticity of the stones in the Cabrera (private) collection.

But there are four dinosaurs depicted on the stone in the image we used in our article. The stegosaurid and the ceratopsid do not factor into this discussion, but the theropod and the sauropod certainly do. They simply do not look like an eyewitness testimony to the modern concept of dinosaur posture. Instead, they look like the way we used to think dinos held themselves, or worse. They also typify some of the most iconic dinosaurs known, which is perhaps not surprising.

In the end, this is one of those arguments we want to be true but are forced to put on a back shelf. The evidence is simply not strong enough. If more dino-depicting stones can be found in archeological settings, great. Even better, maybe further finds will approach the Cabrera specimens in quality and style. For the moment, however, we wait.
Brian I.
Mokele-Mbembe is the strongest case for a living dinosaur and this article does not deal adequately with the evidence for this alleged creature. The late Prof. Roy Mackal (an evolutionist) went on two expeditions to the Congo to investigate this creature and wrote a book on this subject. There are reasons for the lack of definitive evidence to date. These include the vastness of the search area, difficult terrain, limited funding, limited time, and the local people's fear of the animal and talking about it to outsiders. The animal is semi-aquatic, so it would not easily be detected by satellites.

The claim that eyewitness testimony is "notoriously unreliable" is not convincing. Dozens of local, independent eyewitnesses have claimed to have seen Mokele-Mbembe over the decades. If these eyewitness accounts can be dismissed as "confirmation bias", then the eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:6) could likewise be dismissed as "confirmation bias". People who dismiss the evidence for Mokele-Mbembe without analysing it properly could also be accused of bias.

The claim that dinosaurs (such as Mokele-Mbembe) could not exist because a population would be required for survival is not convincing, because the surviving animals could be on the verge of extinction. A small breeding population could still be surviving but slowly heading for extinction, and this is probably the case for Mokele-Mbembe.

This article has many unsubstantiated, unreferenced claims. Of course creationists should not use the claim of possible living dinosaurs as evidence for creation, as there are much better arguments. Some evolutionists may become creationists if a living dinosaur was found, because not all believers have the same level of commitment to evolutionary theory.
Robert Carter
Yes, M-M is the best case. But it is also unsubstantiated. Hence, even though there is circumstantial evidence for its (prior) existence, there is no hard evidence. So we agree with your conclusions that there are better arguments for creation.

Do you think an evolutionist would be convinced by living dinos? Perhaps, but probably not, because most have not been convinced by the many other living fossils that have already been found.

Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. This point is not even debatable. Ask any judge or lawyer. Comparing this to the witnesses to the Resurrection is stretching things too far. The witnesses to Jesus' life events wrote everything down, called for confirmation from other witnesses, and most went to their graves early due to believing it. This is unlike the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, most (all?) of whom recanted, or the Watergate conspirators, who could not keep their lies secret for a week. Thus, there are different levels of eyewitness testimony. Yet, although the M-M eyewitness material is considerable, the fact that the beast has yet to be found is a major problem.

Our main contention is that science requires hard evidence and such evidence has not been brought forth in this case. Thus, we are advocating that people put this on the shelf and use better arguments. If a dinosaur is found alive in some forlorn corner of the world, great, but we are not holding our breath in the meantime.
Michael B.
Under the article section "Does it even matter?"
"If a living dinosaur species were found, evolutionists would still not change their minds. They would just incorporate it into their preexisting worldview."
I think we've seen this clearly demonstrated in the saga of "soft dinosaur tissue" where their final verdict is that the tissue survived because it turns out blood is a great preservative. OK, they said it was the iron in the blood but what's the difference?
Frankly I'm surprised that they were even able to suggest this as solution to their dilemma with a straight face or that they haven't been more heavily called to task with this ridiculous claim.
Your Brother in Christ,
Michael B.

Richard P.
For years I have felt a vague discomfort with some people's zeal for supporting creation science with cryptozoology. (Too many fuzzy photographs!) But you have now formulated an articulate, detailed, and forthright assessment of the issue. Well done!
Josef L.
I really appreciate CMI's desire to use only the best arguments. I've been skeptical of living dinosaur claims for quite some time: [link deleted per feedback rules]
Matt D.
Thanks for catching-up on the scientific consensus. I look forward to your retreat on the igneous origin of evaporites, the existence of ancient reefs and the concurrent deposition of shallow marine shales replete with conodont zonation.
Robert Carter
This is hardly the place to introduce such off-topic ideas. However, I deal with these supposed "reefs" in my DVD talk Coral Reefs and the Flood. You can find it on our webstore (sku 30-9-628).

[Reader, take note that we are not discussing the "coral reefs" most of you are familiar with, but a geological definition more like 'something that looks like it might have been made by animals a long time ago and sticks upward in the geological column'.]

Using the "reefs" deep underground in Alberta Canada that are used for oil exploration as an example, I know the geological community believes these are true reefs, but there are significant problems with this interpretation. 1) Biological reefs tend to grow toward the light, toward the food, and/or toward the current. These "reefs" point more or less straight up. 2) A reef needs a framework builder (e.g., corals, clams, and maybe, just maybe, sponges) to support the structure. 3) Those supposed reefs are embedded within salt deposits. No biological community of that nature exists today in any evaporative basin, because the salt content (high enough to precipitate out of solution) would kill the reef-building animals. Yet there are, what, thousands of meters of salt deposits surrounding the so-called reefs? You are not going to get active reef-growth alternately interspersed with salt deposition tens of thousands of times in succession over millions of years. 4) if these are truly reefs, the basin must have been filling in as the reefs grew. How did the animal community not change as the depth changed? How did the current pattern not change over time? How did the rate of sediment accumulation and reef growth exactly balance the rate of sea level rise, over millions of years? While there are certain things that make these formations appear to be biologically-derived structural reefs, there are so many unanswered questions remaining that any reasonable person should take a step back and re-think the old interpretation.

If someone reading this wants to know more about coral reefs, I have written about them here and here.
Chuck R.
Response to Robert Carter –
You’ve mistaken my point to be that I think a T-Rex type dinosaur is a giant roo which was not my assertion. The comparison that I am making is that physically, the T-Rex and the roo both have a large heavy tail, and both carry a large percentage of their body weight centered over their hips. From a balancing perspective when traveling, the roo is horizontal, but again I am not implying that the T-Rex traveled in leaps and bounds like a roo, but yes, it’s very likely that the T-Rex when traveling would too have been horizontal.
My assertion is that because a T-Rex type critter, like the roo, carries a large amount of weight over its hips, and like a roo or even a bird, when at rest they squat down and park their tails on the ground. To think that a T-Rex type critter would for all its life spend it standing horizontally; perpetually supporting that weight does not make sense, and likewise does not fit what we observe with physically similar creatures today
Robert Carter
You did not quite understand my comment, but we can let that slide. The main point is that, while there are similarities between animals with heavy tails and a horizontal [traveling, as you say] position, the scale differences between a T. rex and a kangaroo are enormous. It is not a matter of saying "small animals do it, so large ones should do it also". This reduces to a 'burden of proof' argument and at this point in time the burden of proof indicates the Ica Stones did not represent dinosaurs as they should have existed but dinosaurs as we thought they existed about 50 years ago.
Frank M.
Thanks for this informative article. Since CMI proclaims the truth of Genesis 1-10, perhaps it is time for a "critical reassessment" of your questionable interpretation of Genesis 6 and the "Sons of God"? Here are some arguments why the "Sons of God" mentioned in Genesis 6 are humans:

1. People are called "...‘sons of the living God.’” (Hosea 1:10) and "You are the Sons of the LORD your God...” (Deuteronomy 14:1) in the Bible. So the title "Sons of God" applies to people and angels.

2. The title "Sons of God" is never applied to adversaries of God (such as demons), but is given to people and angels in service of God.

3. Marriages in the Bible are always between a man and a woman, never between an angel and a woman, and where in the Bible are angels ever depicted as desiring women, like men do?

4. About the Nephilim, the Bible says: “They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” (Gen. 6:4). The Bible clearly states that the Nephilim were men, and the Bible describes men as human males who have a human father and a human mother.

It is time for Christians to discard the science fiction interpretation of the "Sons of God" in Genesis 6 as being fallen angels, just as it is time for Christians to discard unsubstantiated claims of living dinosaurs.
Robert Carter
Frank,

This is off topic. There are better places to vent your disagreements on this issue. Our position is summarized nicely in Who were the Sons of God in Genesis 6?. Also, see The return of the Nephilim and The Watchers and genetic diversity. Each of your four points can be answered easily, yet this is hardly the place to do so. And, I am afraid you left several items off your list that would have significantly weakened your case. The interested reader is encouraged to dig a little deeper by following the links I provided.
Jay Zeke M.
Some (unfortunately) very good points. I do have two questions, though. First, most of your points apply to larger dinosaurs. I could take your point about a massive sauropod clearing forests, for example. But what about smaller dinosaurs, like compsognathus? (Note that I'm not trying to argue "they're more feasible, so they must exist!"). Though I've long given up using evidence for their modern survival, I'm not giving up hope just yet ;)

Second, what are your thoughts on the "dragon" in Revelation? Is it possible that God has preserved some dinosaur like creature, and we just haven't found it yet because we're not supposed to?
Robert Carter
1. The arguments about the required population size, animal wanderings, etc., still apply to small dinosaurs. 2. There are different schools of eschatology that might have different explanations of the "dragon" in Revelation. I hesitate to give out my personal view, because most of eschatology is outside CMI's mandate to teach creation. We do touch on end times theology, but only when there is a direct link to creation. See, for example, The New Earth.
Chad A.
What an unfortunate article. It misrepresents cryptozoology with an inaccurate definition, it exaggerates the number of people who have sought living dinosaurs (I personally know several; there aren't many others), it ignores the vast size of many scarcely inhabited areas where such reports often originate (the Congo Basin alone is about the size of Mexico), it ignores ethnozoological barriers (taboos), it spins uncited stories that sound inaccurate to this cryptozoological researcher of 20+ years (when in the 1800s did people go west in search of live dinosaurs?), and it forces a false dichotomy of belief vs disbelief regarding these alleged creatures. As philosopher Michael Polanyi noted, for any given proposition one can believe [p] true, disbelieve [p], believe [p] cannot be proven, or believe [p] has not yet been proven. As someone who takes both creation science and cryptozoology seriously, the latter belief state is the only rational position to take when there is good, though circumstantial, evidence (most of which you do not cite, nor do you even offer a brief bibliography for readers to consult on their own) but no tangible proof as yet. One does not have to "believe" dinosaurs exist to disagree with your poorly argued position, that we must "disbelieve" dinosaurs still exist. Those of us who take this seriously, and investigate seriously, do not do so to prove evolution is false or that creation is true. It is an investigation worth making because people, including Christians, sometimes missionaries, see things that can't be explained away as known species. I certainly don't have to rely on crazy carvings or weird artifacts; there is far better evidence available. The good Drs. should probably stick to UFOs; cryptozoology deserves better.
ZiYu Z.
just some second thought for Ica stone carvings,
[link deleted per feedback rules]S051ZcQyxQ, Don Patton seems to argue that some carvings are fake but some are real ones;
besides creationwiki seems to suggest the authenticity of most stone carvings, say "stones dug up in the 1950s and 1960s have images of Apatosaurus with the correct head" ,which seems to vindicate the authenticity of the carvings.
[link deleted per feedback rules]Ica_stone
Robert Carter
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and we simply feel this evidence is not strong enough to warrant the claims being made.
Erin C.
This is sound advice. Even the redeemed are subject to "confirmation bias" and "Semmelweis reflex". Believers can be guilty of not listening to the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit sometimes only brings enlightenment through prolonged effort on our part to understand matters.
Thus, creationists can debate the merits of competing geological frameworks, working towards a unity, that may not be achieved before the rapture. The one thing the believer has done, however, is recognize the preeminent authority of Scripture. The unbeliever can cognitively understand the authority of Scripture, but not believing it, he doesn't apply the idea.
Julie N.
Thanks for a good article that was written, as others noted, quite graciously without mocking or slamming doors emphatically.

Like God, we humans like mystery. Modern life/technology/massive internet information is sort of killing mystery, or so it feels like. Cryptozoology is like mind candy for mystery lovers, fun to theorize and imagine...but I genuinely appreciate what you've said here.

Still...it would be so cool. But yeah. Good article.
Christian R.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for publishing this article! I've been a skeptic of the notion of "living dinosaurs" for a while now for many of the reasons you listed and it makes me cringe when my fellow creationists use the "living dinosaur" argument in their talks. It's great to see that a major creationist organization is putting this information out there so other creationists can avoid using bad arguments like this and focus our attention on scientifically valid dinosaur-related evidence against evolution. And as Meg S. stated, I too would be interested in a "'sister' article that gives us, just as concisely, a listing of the really good, solid evidences we have for dino/man interactions in history."
Chuck R.
You’re questioning of the Inca Stone being authentic or not because it shows an older outdated tail dragging position needs to be cautioned.
First, we have no indisputable records of how a T-Rex type creature lived and functioned in its daily life.
Second, the current popular stance of the T-Rex in a bird-like position is very favorable to the belief that dinosaurs evolved into birds.
And, we do have a creature now living that is very similar physically which does spend time at rest sitting on its tail – the kangaroo.
Robert Carter
Chuck,

The horizontal position of the dinosaur tail is good science. It fits the anatomy, it makes sense from a balancing perspective, etc. And, not only is the kangaroo tail is anatomically much different from a dinosaur tail but one cannot simply scale-up anatomical features. In the same way, there are people who advocate that giant people once existed, but the skeletons they say show evidence of these people do not show legs that are proportionally thicker. You can't linearly scale a body, because the relative mass goes up with the cube of the bone lengths.The kangaroo sits on his tail...because he can. Large dinosaurs would require very different tail structures that would prevent them from 'kangarooing'.
Tom M.
Thanks for an important and well-written article. Many Christians still subscribe to the “silver bullet” mindset – that discovering this or that thing will destroy modern materialistic paradigms. But many such things have already been discovered and continue to be discovered. The materialistic “matrix” simply absorbs and normalizes them, even if it means a laughable set of assumptions, or just plain cognitive dissonance. Finding a live sauropod in the Congo would not change anything, although it would certainly be a fun discovery. Even if someone were to find real remains of Noah’s ark, there would be no way to truly validate the claim of authenticity, even if “Shem Was Here” were inscribed in the pitch on the gopher wood. Christians need to stop wasting valuable mental energy on such things. On a broader note, articles like this improve the quality and credibility of CMI’s site (not that the site isn’t excellent already). Personally, I believe it would also be useful to be more proactive in identifying issues and arguments where creationist models could use further research or refinement. Part of equipping people to discuss such things is giving them an idea of where the other side has a legitimate point. And you do that in some cases, but I believe your already outstanding work would be more useful if there were more of it. In any case, many blessings to you as you continue this vital work.
Meg S.
What a timely, well-considered, and graciously written article that nevertheless does a clear job of brushing away some embarrassing cobwebs from our creationist house. As a scientist by training, working and socializing most often with sold-out-to-deep-time evolutionists (Christian believers or not), I have often found myself ridiculed and apologizing for the uncritically accepted views of some creationist speakers regarding “eyewitness” testimonials about dino sightings. Having been involved with missionaries who live in and travel to some of the most remote areas of the Congo, I have long believed the arguments put forth in this article for rejecting the idea that dinos could be “hiding out”, and these missionaries have made short work of any such accounts. Indeed, the laboratory discoveries are exciting beyond measure and a solid starting point for witnessing to evolutionists, far more so than any wishful thinking and fuzzy photos could be.
I wonder if the authors of this article might consider a “sister” article that gives us, just as concisely, a listing of the really good, solid evidences we have for dino/man interactions in history. I know there are many links to such evidences, but there is power in the punch of a single article.
Thank you and all at CMI for your open, honest attitude to the history of the creation science movement (how grateful we must remain to those courageous pioneers who forged the way), and most of all for your faithfulness to the Word.
James H.
"No living creature has a tail that could be compared to the cedar."
The largest crocodile tails could be compared to a cedar, though I don't think the passage was talking about those.
king T.
I really want to thank you guys for all the research work you put into these articles.
Thanks for keeping us who cannot afford the time or do not have the requisite background on the straight and narrow especially with articles like this one and "The arguments creationists should not use" which sharpens the thought processes and keeps us from making some rather glaring mistakes in our travails with evolutionists.

May God richly bless you in what you are doing. Keep up the good work!

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