Difference between revisions of "Dinosaur"

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Dinosaurs were immensely varied, and included both herbivores and carnivores.  Although many have been found in the fossil record, paleontologists expect that they have barely scratched the surface of the vast genus that the dinosaurs encompassed.<ref>[http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/09/060905-dinosaurs_2.html Vast Majority of Dinosaurs Still to Be Found, Scientists Say], ''National Geographic''</ref>
 
Dinosaurs were immensely varied, and included both herbivores and carnivores.  Although many have been found in the fossil record, paleontologists expect that they have barely scratched the surface of the vast genus that the dinosaurs encompassed.<ref>[http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/09/060905-dinosaurs_2.html Vast Majority of Dinosaurs Still to Be Found, Scientists Say], ''National Geographic''</ref>
  
===Creationist Perspective===
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===Creationary Perspective===
  
 
[[Creationism|Young Earth Creationists]] believe, based primarily on Biblical [[sources]], that dinosaurs were created on day 6 of the [[Creation Week|creation week]]<ref>''Genesis'' 1:25</ref>  approximately 6,000 years ago, along with other land animals, and therefore co-existed with humans.
 
[[Creationism|Young Earth Creationists]] believe, based primarily on Biblical [[sources]], that dinosaurs were created on day 6 of the [[Creation Week|creation week]]<ref>''Genesis'' 1:25</ref>  approximately 6,000 years ago, along with other land animals, and therefore co-existed with humans.

Revision as of 00:34, 1 April 2007

Dinosaurs were large, reptilian creatures which are now believed to be extinct. The word dinosaur was coined in 1841 by Richard Owen[1], from the Greek word δεινόςσαύρα, meaning "terrible lizard".

Highlights of the history of dinosaur paleontology

In the United States during the 1900s, the public imagination was caught by the discoveries of Henry Fairfield Osborn (1857-1935) and the great competitive dinosaur hunters, Edward Drinker Cope (1847-1897) and Othniel Charles Marsh (1831-1899). Exploring in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, they found numerous fossil dinosaurs. Their museums worked out the techniques for mounting and displaying them.

Osborn was a proponent of orthogenesis, as were many paleontologists up through the middle of the twentieth century. These paleontologists interpreted the fossil record as showing sustained, continuing, unidirectional trends in evolution, which they felt required some kind of driving principle in addition to natural selection. As the author of an encyclopedia article on variation and selection put it in 1911,

Selection cannot create the materials on which it is supposed to operate... Both sides concur in the position assumed by Darwin, that the word "chance" in such a phrase as "chance variation" does not mean that the occurrences are independent of natural causation and so far undetermined, but covers in the first place our ignorance of the exact causation.... No doubt a large amount of variation is truly indefinite, so that many meaningless or useless variations arise... But there are several directions in which the field of variation appears to be not only limited but defined in a certain direction.... When beetles, or medusae, or cats vary, the range of possible variation is limited and determined by the beetle, medusa or cat constitution, and any possible further differentiation or specialization must be in a sense at least orthogenetic - that is to say, a continuation of the line along which the ancestors of the individual in question have been forced. Darwin himself showed that different species in a genus, or varieties in a species, tended to show parallel variations.[2]

Roy Chapman Andrews (1884–1960), said to be the prototype for the fictional Indiana Jones, is famous for his discovery of fossil dinosaur eggs in Outer Mongolia.

In the 1970, Robert Bakker catalyzed a new era of dinosaur paleontology with evidence that dinosaurs were fully warm-blooded (endotherms) and fast-moving.[3]

Dinosaur Species

Dinosaurs were immensely varied, and included both herbivores and carnivores. Although many have been found in the fossil record, paleontologists expect that they have barely scratched the surface of the vast genus that the dinosaurs encompassed.[4]

Creationary Perspective

Young Earth Creationists believe, based primarily on Biblical sources, that dinosaurs were created on day 6 of the creation week[5] approximately 6,000 years ago, along with other land animals, and therefore co-existed with humans. As such, they reject the Theory of Evolution and the beliefs of evolutionary scientists about the age of the earth.

They believe that dinosaurs lived in harmony with other animals, (probably including in the Garden of Eden) eating only plants[6]; that pairs of each dinosaur kind were taken onto Noah's Ark during the Great Flood and were preserved from drowning[7]; that many of the fossilized dinosaur bones originated during the mass killing of the Flood[8]; and that some descendants of those dinosaurs taken aboard the Ark still roam the earth today.[9]

They also use archeological, fossil, and documentary evidence to argue that dinosaurs co-existed with mankind until at least relatively recent times.

Because the term only came into use in the 19th century, the Bible does not use the word "dinosaur." However, they are alleged to be mentioned in numerous places throughout the biblical account. For example, the behemoth in Job and the leviathan in Isaiah are sometimes said to be references to dinosaurs,[10] [11], although others have claimed that Behemoth and Leviathan are references to a hippopotamus or elephant and a crocodile respectively. Young-Earth creationists point out that the descriptions don't fit these creatures, including that hippopotamuses and elephants don't have a "tail like a cedar".

Extinction

Creationists reject the "Great Impact Theory" that a meteor struck the earth and caused climatic changes which caused the extinction of dinosaurs and point out multiple problems evidentially with this theory. [12]

Creationists assert that evolutionists are frequently coming out with a "New Theory of Dinosaur Extinction" and that their theories are laden with false assumptions. [13] It is worth noting, however, that more and more of these theories are being harmonized with one another.[14]

Dinosaurs and birds

Creationists contend that the idea that birds are descendants of dinosaurs is not demonstrated by the evidence [15] [16], and that the dinosaur-bird connection is even disputed by some evolutionists.

Dr. Jonathon Safarti wrote regarding dinosaurs being descendants of birds:

The same logic applies to the dinosaur-bird debate. It is perfectly in order for creationists to cite Feduccia’s devastating criticism against the idea that birds evolved ‘ground up’ from running dinosaurs (the cursorial theory). But the dino-to-bird advocates counter with equally powerful arguments against Feduccia’s ‘trees-down’ (arboreal) theory. The evidence indicates that the critics are both right — birds did not evolve either from running dinos or from tree-living mini-crocodiles. In fact, birds did not evolve from non-birds at all! [17]

Creationists also cite the evolutionist Ernst Mayr who in 1942 stated the following:

“It must be admitted, however, that it is a considerable strain on one’s credulity to assume that finely balanced systems such as certain sense organs (the eye of vertebrates, or the bird’s feather) could be improved by random mutations." [18]


The March 2003 issue of Scientific American is also cited by creationists:

"Of all the body coverings nature has designed, feathers are the most various and the most mysterious...The origin of feathers is a specific instance of the much more general question of the origin of evolutionary novelties--structures that have no clear antecedents in ancestral animals and no clear related structures (homologues) in contemporary relatives. Although evolutionary theory provides a robust explanation for the appearance of minor variations in the size and shape of creatures and their component parts, it does not yet give as much guidance for understanding the emergence of entirely new structures, including digits, limbs, eyes and feathers...." [19] [20]

Creationists also assert that the comparative anatomy analysis done by evolutionists comparing bird bones and dinosaur bones is flawed. [21]

Humans and Dinosaurs Coexisting

Creationists use a number of lines of evidence to support their view that dinosaurs and man coexisted. For example, explorers have reported seeing a live dinosaur.[9] A thousand people reported seeing a dinosaur-like monster in two sightings around Sayram Lake in Xinjiang according to the Chinese publication, China Today. An expedition which included Charles W. Gilmore, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology with the United States National Museum, examined an ancient pictograph which is claimed to portray dinosaurs and man coexisting.[22][23]. The World Book Encyclopedia states that: "The dragons of legend are strangely like actual creatures that have lived in the past. They are much like the great reptiles [dinosaurs] which inhabited the earth long before man is supposed to have appeared on earth." [24]. Dragons exist in the folklore of many European and Asian cultures.[25] World Book Encyclopedia says, "In Europe, dragons are traditionally portrayed as ferocious beasts that represent the evils fought by human beings. But in Asia, especially in China and Japan, the animals are generally considered friendly creatures that ensure good luck and wealth."[25] Dragons appear in the flag of Wales, and in traditional Chinese New Years' Day celebrations. The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, a second century piece of art, is said to appear to be a piece of artwork that shows a dinosaur and man coexisting. [26] Creation scientists also see the recent dinosaur tissue find as a strong rebuttal of the claim that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. [27]

Among those who believe in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, one popular theory is that it is a living plesiosaur.[28]

Talk.Origins argues[29] that the inclusion of dinosaurs within many cultures is based on the existence of fossils. Ancient people, unaware that the ancient fossils uncovered by erosion were of extinct animals, attributed the bones to living, magical creatures. This would explain the importance of dragons in Chinese culture - there are a large number of dinosaur (as well as non-dinosaur) fossils to be found in China. CreationWiki's response[30] is that the fossils reminded people of the legends, not that the fossils inspired the legends.


Evolutionary Perspective

The view of evolutionists and others who accept the uniformitarian timescale is that dinosaurs existed on earth from 230 million years ago to 65 million years ago. In this view, the entire population of dinosaurs were wiped out by a mass extinction event (usually thought to be an asteroid) about 65 million years ago. Of course this precludes humans and dinosaurs co-existing.

Extinction

According to most scientists, close to 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, and the beginning of what is called the Tertiary period, an event occurred which has come to be known as the K-T Event. This event would have obliterated most life on Earth, plunging the world into something that would now be likened to global nuclear winter, through which few extant species could survive. Although these scientists dispute the nature of the K-T Event (selecting among any number of catastrophes that could have caused the significant global cooling that resulted), most find that the claimed K-T Event was caused by the collision of a massive asteroid with the Earth, the dust and debris from which would have shrouded the sky for thousands of years, cooling Earth considerably.[31] According to this view, the dinosaurs did not survive this cataclysm.[32] The dust from this impact is supposedly still visible as a line of metal of extraterrestrial origin and is often visible in sediment worldwide, occurring as a result of the vaporization and then fall of dust from the meteorite's impact, and its compression within the subsequent geological record.[33] The crater is also visible.[34]

An Explosion of new species

The mass extinction of the dinosaurs removed a major food competitor, and predator, of smaller animals. As a result of a new "vacancy" in the food chain, following the K-T Event, vast speciation occurred, as the evolutionary pressure of a new cold age propelled animal species to adapt or die out. According to this view, mammals were some of the main beneficiaries of this explosion: their fur allowed them to adapt to the cold, and their small size allowed them to conserve energy relative to the huge dinosaurs of the previous age.[35]

Dinosaurs and Birds

As a number of feathered fossils (claimed to be dinosaurs) have been discovered, and evolutionary scientists claim the similarity in the bone structure between birds and dinosaurs show that modern birds are a descendants of dinosaurs. This is often cited as an example of macroevolution.[36]

References

  1. Dinosaurs and dragons: stamping on the legends, Answers in Genesis
  2. Mitchell, Peter Chalmers (1911), Variation and Selection, Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th edition, volume 27 (TON-VES), p. 906
  3. Benton, Michael J. (2000), Vertebrate Paleontology p. 217
  4. Vast Majority of Dinosaurs Still to Be Found, Scientists Say, National Geographic
  5. Genesis 1:25
  6. Genesis 1:29-30
  7. Were dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?, Creation Ministries International
  8. Carl Wieland, Dinosaur bones—just how old are they really?, Creation, vol. 21 No. 1 p. 54
  9. 9.0 9.1 Robert Doolan, Are dinosaurs alive today?, Creation, vol. 15 No. 4 p. 12.
  10. Allan K. Steel, Could Behemoth have been a dinosaur?, Journal of Creation vol. 15 No. 2 p. 42.
  11. [1], Answers in Creation
  12. Jonathan Sarfati, Did a meteor wipe out the dinosaurs?, Refuting Evolution, chapter 4.
  13. Michael Matthews, Dinosaur demise theory, version #451, Answers in Genesis
  14. More Than a Meteor Likely Killed Dinosaurs 65 Million Years Ago, SpaceRef.com
  15. Bird evolution?, Creation Ministries International
  16. Andy McIntosh, 100 years of airplanes—but these weren’t the first flying machines!, Creation vol. 26 No. 1 p. 44
  17. Jonathan Sarfati, 15 ways to refute materialistic bigotry, Creation Ministries International
  18. In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, Center for Scientific Creation
  19. Michael Matthews, Scientific American admits creationists hit a sore spot, Answers in Genesis
  20. Which Came First, the Feather or the Bird?, Scientific American
  21. Dr. David N. Menton, "Ostrich-osaurus" Discovery?, Answers in Genesis
  22. Doheny Scientific Expedition, Hava Supai Canyon, Arizona, Creationism.org
  23. The Hava Supai Dinosaur Carving, ChristianCourier.com
  24. Quoted in What about the Dinosaurs?, CreationScience.com
  25. 25.0 25.1 Dragon entry in World Book Millennium 2000 CD ROM
  26. Dinosaurs in Literature, Art & History-- Page 2, s8int.com
  27. Carl Wieland, Still soft and stretchy, Creation Ministries International
  28. "New Quest Is Haunted By 'Nessie'", The New York Times, July 14, 1992, p. C4: "Believers say it resembles a plesiosaur and was trapped in Loch Ness during the Ice Age 12,000 years ago. The plesiosaurs were marine reptiles who are thought to have lived 65 million to 200 million years ago."
  29. Claim CH712, TalkOrigins.org
  30. Dragons were dinosaurs (rebuttal of Talk.Origins' claim CH712)
  31. Kevin O Pope, "Meteorite impact and the mass extinction of species at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary," Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, available at [2]
  32. Prehistoric Asteroid "Killed Everything", National Geographic
  33. Ibid
  34. "Dinosaur-Killer" Asteroid Crater Imaged for First Time, National Geographic
  35. Bennet, Shostak, Jakotsky, "Life in the Universe," viewable at [3]
  36. New Dinosaur Discovered: T. Rex Cousin Had Feathers, National Geographic