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.
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/bishop-bells-brass-behemoths. Return to text.
- See creation.com/angkor-stegosaur. Return to text.
- See creation.com/still-soft-and-stretchy. Return to text.