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Dreadnoughtus!

Colossal evidence of Creation and the Flood

by

Published: 13 September 2014 (GMT+10)

The word ‘dreadnought’ evokes the idea of a seemingly invincible and titanic war machine and literally means ‘fearing nothing’ (from ‘dread’ plus ‘nought’). In recent history, it was the name given to a particular battleship HMS Dreadnought commissioned in 1906. With its steam turbines and all–big-gun armaments, it was so much faster and more powerful than the previous generation of battleships that they became obsolete—‘pre-dreadnoughts’. This new ship gave its name to a whole new class of battleships.

Dreadnoughtus-schrani

So Dreadnoughtus schrani seems a fitting name for a newly found dinosaur (found in Southern Patagonia, Argentina) that would surely have inspired dread in any creature near it. (Dreadnoughtus is the genus name; schrani is the species, after Adam Schran, Founder/CEO of software company Ascentive, who financially supported the research.)

The most complete fossilized sauropod dinosaur skeleton yet discovered belonged to an immense creature estimated to be around 25 metres (85 feet) long, to weigh 60 tonnes (65 tons), and as tall as a two-storey building just at the shoulder. And it was apparently not even fully mature at the time of death, as shown by the incomplete fusion of shoulder bones and young-looking bone-growing cells.1

Obviously impressed with the imagined potency of the herbivorous1 creature, discoverer Ken Lacovara (PhD, Associate Professor, Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science, College of Arts and Sciences, Drexel University) describes Dreadnoughtus this way:

“ … everything about this dinosaur is giant, the femur [the longest, thickest leg bone] is 6 feet tall…the tailbones are gargantuan with huge muscle scars that show us it 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 … a dinosaur in this mass range, 65 tons, is really pushing the limit of what is physiologically possible…”2

And the nature.com paper reporting the new discovery says, “… genus name alludes to the gigantic body size of the taxon (which presumably rendered healthy adult individuals nearly impervious to attack) …”1 

Amazing preservation

One of the main items stressed in the reports is the quantity and quality of Dreadnoughtus’ remains. More than 45% of its bones were found, and 70% of the types of bone, while the second best comparable Titanosaur sauropod candidate (Futalognkosaurus) only had approximately 15% recovered (and about 27% of the types of bone)1. Other candidates for the largest dinosaurs are known from much fewer remains, such as Argentinosaurus (maybe 82 tonnes [90 tons], but only 5% of the skeleton found), or Amphicoelias fragillimus (claimed at 40–60 metres [130–200 feet] long and 122 tonnes [134 tons], but known only from one incomplete vertebra). Dreadnoughtus is much bigger than other gigantic dinosaurs known from relatively complete skeletons, such as Giraffititan brancai (formerly Brachiosaurus brancai, 34 tonnes [37 tons]). As for possible predators, even one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex (e.g. ‘Sue’), was a puny 6.5–9.5 tonnes (7–10 tons).

And one article hinted at the possibility of this fossil yielding soft tissue findings, to add to the growing list of discoveries, when it said,

Other work with Mary Schweitzer at North Carolina State University aims to recover ancient cells and soft tissue from the animal to understand its biological makeup.3

Regardless of whether soft tissues are present, how would such a massive beast (as well as another smaller titanosaur3 along with fragments of other dinosaurs as well3) be preserved so completely? Here are some suggestions from two different articles:

The dinosaur died after the ground on which it stood turned to quicksand in the wake of a flood, based on sedimentary deposits found at the site, researchers suggest. “The rapid and deep burial of the Dreadnoughtus type specimen accounts for its extraordinary completeness”.4
In the late Cretaceous period, the site was a mixed forest of conifers and broad-leafed trees cut through by meandering waterways. The rivers were prone to flooding, and the sudden surge of water would have turned surrounding flood plains into sinking sand. The Dreadnoughtus was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time. “Shortly after these individuals died, or as they died, they were buried quickly and deeply in what was essentially quicksand. That led to the high number of bones and the exquisite preservation,” Lacovara said. 3

And a third posited:

The Patagonian rocks from which it was pulled suggest that the young animal’s life was cut short in a catastrophic flood.5

Evidence for evolution?

Now many will believe this is yet more proof of an evolutionary history, but consider what has actually been found. An enormous, extremely powerful herbivore with gigantic legs and a massive tail, was buried in sedimentary rock caused in flood-like conditions. And the amazing preservation of the animal shows all of this (preservation and rock formation) happened very quickly or the animal would have disarticulated and rotted away.

So even though the majority of the popular articles put all of the facts regarding Dreadnoughtus into an evolutionary framework, what has been found fits perfectly with the Genesis account of a recent creation followed by a global flood. This would have generated massive amounts of mineral-rich sediment that would have buried animals and hardened very quickly. Even the depiction of the creature fits beautifully with the description of one of the ‘chief creations’ that God made given in the book of Job.

Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox.
Behold, his strength in his loins, and his power in the muscles of his belly.
He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together.
His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron.
He is the first of the works of God; let him who made him bring near his sword!—Job 40:15–19.

Now compare the description in Job to that given by evolutionary palaeontologist Ken Lacovara earlier in the article and you will see once again that far from the observable ‘facts’ disproving the Bible, they actually fit quite well. Actually there isn’t an observation that an evolutionist or a creationist make on which they do not agree (we are all observing the same things). What we disagree on is the interpretations of the facts observed.

Hence far from Dreadnoughtus being new evidence for evolution, it is actually wonderful support for the truth of God’s Word.

[Update: A later paper claims that the original estimate for the mass of Dreadnoughtus was too large by about a factor of two, although Lacovara disputes this.6]

Related Articles

Further Reading

References and notes

  1. Lacovara, K.J. et al., A gigantic, exceptionally complete titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from southern Patagonia, Argentina, Nature Scientific Reports 4(6196), September 2014 | doi:10.1038/srep06196. Return to text.
  2. Geggel, L., Dreadnoughtus dinosaur weighed whopping 65 tons, feared nothing, 4 September 2014, livescience.com. Return to text.
  3. Sample, I., Battleship beast: colossal dinosaur skeleton found in southern Patagonia, 4 September 2014, theguardian.com. Return to text.
  4. Owen, J., Dreadnoughtus schrani: the newly discovered biggest dinosaur ever, 10 September 2014, independent.co.uk. Return to text.
  5. Amos, J., ‘Dreadnought’ dinosaur yields big bone haul, 4 September 2014, bbc.com Return to text.
  6. Bates, K.T. et al., Downsizing a giant: re-evaluating Dreadnoughtus body mass, Biology Letters, Royal Society, 10 June 2015 | doi:10.1098/rsbl.2015.0215. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
Aaron Z., Canada, 20 September 2014

When I heard about this find on the radio I was surprised to hear that 70% of bone types was a high percentage. That leaves 30% to speculation and assumptions. Even more surprising is the extrapolation of a dinosaur from a single bone fragment. Why would they even publicize information based on so little evidence?

Calvin Smith responds

Hi Aaron, yes finding any vertebrate animal with more than one or two bones is fairly unusual so a find like Dreadnaughtus' is a big deal. :)

Sarah M., Canada, 20 September 2014

Question: could a huge, cold-blooded animal such as this survive in any of our current weather conditions? I.e. wouldn't it be too cold for a cold-blooded creature of that size to survive even in the warmest of our climates today?

Calvin Smith responds

Hi Sarah, thanks for your comment.

Scientists are now thinking that dinosaurs weren't cold blooded OR warm blooded but something in between as this Nature article points out- http://www.nature.com/news/dinosaurs-neither-warm-blooded-nor-cold-blooded-1.15399

Peter H., Canada, 19 September 2014

Thanks for posting this. Excellent.

tony B., France, 19 September 2014

I think we can safely assume that this creature was not of the 'kind' that entered the Ark.

Calvin Smith responds

Hi Tony, thanks for your comment.

I think the only thing we can assume is that this was not the size of the animal that went on the Ark, not the biblical kind (there would have been sauropods come on board the Ark).

Dinosaurs apparently had a 'teenage growth spurt' where they would have grown very quickly during that time (5 tons per year). You can read about that here http://creation.com/how-did-dinosaurs-grow-so-big

So Noah wouldn't have had to bring huge ones on board. As a Great Dane owner I can attest to how rapidly a creature can grow during its formative stage! :)

G. B., Australia, 19 September 2014

I am surprised that the only ref in the OT to dinosaurs is a single vague ambiguous ref in Job. Yet dinosaurs must have dominated biblical life and absolutely terrorised all humans. Yet only the one single ref? And even then God had to show it to Job. Surely Job would have seen these things himself. Could it be that dinosaurs preceded humans or is there another explanation

Calvin Smith responds

Hi Geoff, thanks for your comments.

I don't know why you would consider the reference in Job to be vague when as I pointed out in the article the description given in Job is incredibly detailed (more detailed than any other animal described in the Bible) and is readily recognizable as something we would today describe as a sauropod dinosaur. There is nothing vague about it.

As for there only being one reference to it, what difference does that make in order for it to be valid? Whole doctrines can be made from one verse. Regardless, the Bible does also references the fire breathing Leviathan, and its description matches what we would commonly refer to as a dinosaur like creature as well.

Incidentally, the ability to breathe fire conjures up the idea of a ‘dragon’ (creatures mentioned being seen in recent history by people groups all over the world), and the word dragon is used quite a number of times in our older Bible translations as real creatures and could easily be referring to dinosaurs (the Hebrew word Tannyn is often translated as dragon). Type in the word dragon as a key word search in the KJV in Biblegateway.com for example and you will see over 20 references to dragons being mentioned.

As for dinosaurs terrorizing humans, dinosaurs like other animals would have stayed away from human settlements for the most part (and been ‘encouraged’ to stay away also, hence to prolific amount of dragon legends) and vice versa, just like other dangerous creatures today.

And lastly I am at a loss to see where from the biblical text you would get the idea that Job had not seen these creatures on their own and that God had to ‘show it to Job’. The word ‘behold’ does not carry the connotation that God was revealing the creature to Job for the first time.

Biblically dinosaurs (and their remains) could not have preceded humans because then their death would also have preceded Adam’s fall which introduced death into the world (death would have taken place before the reason death came in the first place happened).

I recommend looking up some of our articles in our dinosaur area of our topics section (creation.com/dinosaur-questions-and-answers) and/or you read Dragons or Dinosaurs (castore.creation.com/catalog/dragons-dinosaurs-p-1593.html?osCsid=fk13uju86etn5sd4pflpt16b01) and Dire Dragons (castore.creation.com/catalog/untold-secrets-planet-earthdire-dragons-p-1720.html).

I hope this helps clarify things.

Blessings…

ken G., Australia, 19 September 2014

It's a long way from Uz to Patagonia how would Job have seen them.If they were buried in Noah flood they coundn't have been in the Ark

Calvin Smith responds

Hi Ken, thanks for your email.

You seem to be confused as to the timeline the Bible records and the idea of dispersion after the flood.

God sent two of every, seven of some air breathing land animal kinds to the Ark before the Flood. This would have included (most likely juvenile) dinosaurs such as the sauropod dinosaurs (mentioned in the article).

All of the other animals would have been destroyed in the flood and many of them would have been fossilized at that time (this would explain the fossils mentioned in the article).

After the Flood the Ark would have come to rest and the animals would have dispersed from that central point, reproducing after their own kind.

Job would have seen similar animals to the ones that were buried (not the exact same animals).

I hope this clarifies things for you.

Robin M., Australia, 18 September 2014

Well I was excited about the book and movie "Evolution's Achilles" Heels and now with this find it really means that "then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free" passage from John 8 verse 32 will resound around the world about creation and The Creator!

David W., United States, 15 September 2014

Interesting that the largest dinosaur found to date was found in a region (Patagonia) that currently lays claim to having the smallest examples of may kinds alive today. Smallest deer species, smallest cat species, etc. Perhaps things aren't always as they have been ... hmmmm.

Joe F., United States, 13 September 2014

Traditionally, liberal theologians have speculated that behemoth was a hippopotamus or an elephant. Neither can be. God describes this creature as the "chief of the ways of God." That is, he is God's mightiest creation. But next to one of these, a hippo or an elephant would resemble the family dog. Usually, biblical Christians use the tail as the primary argument against this viewpoint, and it's true the tails of hippos and elephants in no way resemble what is described in Job. But the position of behemoth as God's mightiest creation eliminates anything alive in the world today. What's more, the wording of Job ("Behold behemoth ...") clearly implies that Job could see, or at least had seen, one of these creatures. That would only be possible if one or more had survived Noah's flood, which in turn means it - and possibly other kinds of dinosaurs, as well - was on the ark.

john P., Australia, 13 September 2014

A gigantic dinosaur- as you mention in Job 40. 15-19. Job would have been suitably impressed when the Lord showed him one of these creatures! Powerful evidence indeed of the truth of God's Word and the Flood of Noah

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