What About the Dinosaurs?

Author: Curt Sewell
Subject: Creation Overviews
Date: 11/8/1999

We hear a lot about dinosaurs, but most of it is from the evolutionist position. What do creationists believe about dinosaurs? When did they live? Why did they become extinct? Were there dinosaurs on the Ark with Noah? Are dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible? Did birds evolve from dinosaurs? Let’s see what we can learn.

First, the word “dinosaur” is not in the Bible because that word wasn’t invented until the mid-1800’s. That word means “terrible lizards.” However, the Bible mentions “Leviathan” and “Behemoth,” which were probably dinosaurs. Job 40 and 41 describes these, and they don’t sound like any modern creatures, even though some believe they might be crocodiles or hippopotamuses (but then the descriptions don’t fit).

The taxonomy of all true dinosaurs is as follows: Phylum Chordata, Sub-Phylum Vertebrata, Superclass Tetrapoda, Class Reptilia, Subclass Diapsida. This subclass includes Order Saurischia (lizard-hipped) and Order Ornithischia (bird-hipped) dinosaurs. There are many families and species within these two orders. We’ll only mention a few.

Order Saurischia includes Sauropods (the huge plant-eating “gentle giants” such as Apatasaurus and Diplodocus, shown at right) and Therapods (carnivorous .giants such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, and Struthiomimus, shown at left). These Saurischia types all were lizard-hipped, that is, their pelvis contained three bones pointing in three different directions.

Order Ornithischia had four suborders — the Ornithopods (including the crested Hadrosaurs and Spoonbills), Ceratops, Stegosaurs, and Ankylosaurs (see pictures at right). These were all huge plant-eaters. All of the Ornithischias were bird-hipped, that is, their pelvis had three bones, two of which pointed backward, similar to modern birds.

When did the dinosaurs live? Evolutionists say their domain ranged from some 200 million years ago until their extinction 65 million years ago. But this is circular reasoning, based on the assumption of evolution, and there are many good reasons to doubt it. The Bible says that all the sea-creatures were created on the 5th day of creation week, and land animals were created on the 6th, just before humans. Leviathan (Job 41) was probably a sea-monster, while Behemoth (Job 40) represents the dinosaurs that lived on land. They were both living at the same time as humans.

The description of the Great Flood of Noah is found in Genesis 6:9 – 8:19, and is also referred to in many other spots in the Bible. Genesis 6:20 says that God caused pairs of all the kinds of air-breathing animals to come to Noah, for loading onto the Ark. Noah didn’t have to go searching and capturing them. All he did was to gather food and take care of them, after building the Ark according to God’s directions. Until the 19th century, that Ark was the largest boat ever built — designed for stability, not for speed. Thus dinosaurs were certainly on the Ark with Noah and his family. They were probably juveniles, not the huge full-grown monsters whose fossilized bones are usually found today. It’s likely that God also caused most of the larger creatures on the Ark to go into a state something like hibernation, so there wouldn’t be a lot of activity and confusion. And at that time all humans and animals were herbivorous (plant-eaters), and co-existed peacefully, until after the Flood. In Genesis 9:1-7 God authorized people to begin eating meat, and said that animals would begin to fear them. This was just before God issued his rainbow covenant, saying that never again would He send an earth-destroying flood. We should notice that, if that Flood were just local, God’s promise has been broken many times, since we’ve had many bad floods — but none that changed the entire earth surface. That Great Flood must have been world-wide.

It’s possible that an asteroid impact played a part in all of this. The Bible says the “fountains of the deep were broken open,” and that most of the water came from that. A large impact could have broken the crust enough to start a chain of volcanoes. That Flood drastically changed the climate and ecology of the world. Even though dinosaurs were on the Ark, and some partially reestablished themselves, it seems certain that most of the dinosaurs couldn’t flourish in the post-Flood atmosphere, especially during the ice age that probably followed, a few centuries later. Thus most dinosaurs drowned in the Flood, many being swept into “dinosaur graveyards,” found today. Those that survived the Flood couldn’t survive the colder, drier climate later. This is what caused their extinction.

Did birds evolve from dinosaurs? Evolutionists have good imaginations. That’s what many of their beliefs are based on, rather than solid evidence. Their “world view,” or basic philosophy, is purely materialistic, and all their “scientific” explanations must exclude any reference to intervention by a supernatural power (God). Thus they must seek a materialistic explanation for everything, and evolution is the only process other than direct creation that could account for the variety of life — so birds must have evolved from something (in their mind). Mammals aren’t found in the fossil record until later than birds, and fish don’t seem like likely ancestors for birds, so some sort of reptiles seem (to them) to be the logical ancestor. They ignore the fact that all reptiles are cold-blooded (birds are warm-blooded), and the reptilian breathing mechanism is totally different from that of birds. The only problem they publicize is “how did scales evolve into feathers?” And that’s really only a minor detail.

Evolutionists make much about the pelvic bone structure of dinosaurs — some are called lizard-hipped and some are bird-hipped. But when they guess about the ancestor of birds, they choose some of the smaller dinosaurs such as Compsognathus, one of the Caelurosaurs, which was chicken-sized and shaped a little like a bird. But these are Therapods, which are lizard-hipped. All of the bird-hipped dinosaurs are huge, cumbersome Stegasaurs, Ankylosaurs, etc. — creatures more like a hippopotamus than anything bird-like.

Now here’s an interesting conjecture. Folklore all over the world has stories of fire-breathing dragons — the story of King Arthur’s knights of the Round Table is the best-known example. Now I know that we can’t prove anything from folklore. But how did those stories first get started? There must have been some real basis. And there is at least one insect today, the Bombadier Beetle, that can spew a firelike jet of hot smoky acid from its tail nozzle. This is a very effective defense mechanism. And the heads of some of the Crested Hadrosaur fossils have strange bony structures with internal channels. No one is sure what their function was; temperature regulation is the most commonly guessed explanation. But could these have been chemical reservoirs? Could the passages that lead down to their mouths have been used as squirters? Could some of the dinosaurs have actually been fire-breathing dragons? Maybe so.