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Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Class Information
Class Sauropsida
Sub-class Diapsida
Infra-class Archosauromorpha
Order Information
Superorder Dinosauria
Order Ornithischia; Saurischia
Population statistics

Dinosaurs are animals, often believed to be extinct, that range in size from a few ounces to some of the largest land animals ever to exist. The word dinosaur was coined in 1841 by Richard Owen[1], from the Greek words for "terrible lizard", and reflected the creatures' large size and fearsome appearance to the early paleontologists.

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.

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 superorder that the dinosaurs encompassed.[2]

History of dinosaurs

The Flood, by Michaelangelo, detail from the Sistine Chapel, 1509.

Creation science asserts that the biblical account, that dinosaurs were created on day 6 of creation[3] approximately 6,000 years ago, along with other land animals, and therefore co-existed with humans, thus debunking the Theory of Evolution and the beliefs of evolutionary scientists about the age and creation of the earth.

Creation science posits that dinosaurs lived in harmony with other animals, (probably including in the Garden of Eden) eating only plants[4]; that pairs of each dinosaur kind were taken onto Noah's Ark during the Great Flood and were preserved from drowning[5]; that many of the fossilized dinosaur bones originated during the mass killing of the Flood[6]; and that possibly some descendants of those dinosaurs taken aboard the Ark are still around today.[7] At least 300 distinct genera of dinosaur have been identified.[8]

Archaeological, fossil, and documentary evidence supports the logical conclusion that dinosaurs co-existed with mankind until at least relatively recent times.[citation needed]

Because the term only came into use in the 19th century, the Bible does not use the word "dinosaur." However, there are numerous references throughout the biblical account. For example, the behemoth in Job and the leviathan in Isaiah are clearly references to dinosaurs,[9] [10] although others have claimed that Behemoth and Leviathan are references to a hippopotamus or elephant and a crocodile respectively. However, the Biblical descriptions do not fit those creatures, note that hippopotamuses and elephants do not have a "tail like a cedar". Furthermore, even if the terms did refer to other animals, this does not necessarily invalidate the existence of dinosaurs. The Creation account was not intended as a comprehensive list of all animals God created - it does not for instance state explicitly that He created the ferret. However, Genesis does state that God created all animals, which would include any not mentioned by name.


Creation science rejects the great impact theory, and find a number of faults in that theory.[11] Despite these critiques, the great impact theory is widely considered by the scientific community to be fact. However, those scientists cannot prove the great impact theory definitively.

Creation scientists point out that evolutionists are frequently coming out with new theories to explain the supposed extinction of the dinosaurs, and that those theories are laden with false assumptions. [12].

Dinosaur-like creatures in history and modern sightings

Creation science cites a number of reasons to believe that dinosaurs have existed until relatively recent times, and perhaps still survive.

Charles W. Gilmore, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology with the United States National Museum, examined an ancient pictograph which he claimed portrays dinosaurs and man coexisting
  • There have been a number of sightings of dinosaur-like creatures reported by the best of the public.
    • A thousand people reported seeing a dinosaur-like monster in two sightings around Sayram Lake in Xinjiang according to the Chinese publication, China Today.[7]
    • Locals in the Congo have reported a creature they name Mokele-mbembe[7][13], and from its description it appears to be a small plant-eating dinosaur. The reports have been taken seriously enough that a biologist from the University of Chicago has made several expeditions to find the creature. Another biologist has reported seeing the creature.[7]
    • Dinosaur-like creatures have been seen by several people in two different parts of Papua New Guinea since 1990.[14]
  • There are drawings of creatures resembling dinosaurs.
    • An expedition which included Charles W. Gilmore, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology with the United States National Museum, examined an ancient pictograph which he claimed portrays dinosaurs and man coexisting.[15][16].
    • The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, a second century BC piece of art, contains a portion which depicts a group of Ethiopians hunting what some claim appears to be a dinosaur; there is much debate on this, however, and most modern art historians consider the mysterious animal to be a lion or a crocodile (the latter theory is supported by the presence of the Greek word for "crocodile" written near the image of the mysterious animal). [17]
A portion of the Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, depicting the hunting of an animal which is often said to resemble a dinosaur (but which appears to be labelled "crocodile" in Greek).
  • Engravings in the floor of Carlisle Cathedral appear to be of dinosaurs. They are on the tomb of bishop Richard Bell, who died in 1496.[18]
  • Creatures matching dinosaurs and similar creatures have been described by various people groups.
  • Descriptions of dragons are widespread and match descriptions of dinosaurs, showing that dragons were real creatures and were actually very likely dinosaurs.
    • 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." [19] Dragons exist in the folklore of many European and Asian cultures.[20] 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."[20]
    • Dragons appear in the flag of Wales, in traditional Chinese New Years' Day celebrations, and in the Chinese calendar. Every other creature on the calendar is a real creature.
  • That dinosaurs are not known from the fossil record above the Cretaceous strata is not reason to believe that they have not survived until more recent times.
    • Living specimens of orders of animals that were believed to have been extinct for millions of years have been found before, such as the Diatomyidae Squirrel [21], the Wollemi Pine [22] and the Coelacanth [23] [24].
  • The recent dinosaur tissue find is a strong rebuttal of the claim that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. [25]

Dinosaurs and birds

Creation science shows that the idea that birds are descendants of dinosaurs is not demonstrated by the evidence [26] [27], and that the dinosaur-bird connection is even disputed by some evolutionists.

In his article, "Fifteen ways to refute materialistic bigotry", Dr. Jonathan Sarfati 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![28]

Creation science also cites the evolutionist and atheist Ernst Mayr[29] who 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." [30] [31]

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

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...." [32] [33]

Creation science also shows that the comparative anatomy analysis done by evolutionists comparing bird bones and dinosaur bones is flawed. [34]

Evolutionary/Old Earth Perspective

The view of atheists, 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 a meteorite) about 65 million years ago. This precludes humans and dinosaurs co-existing.


According to evolutionists, 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 believe 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.[35] According to this view, the dinosaurs did not survive this cataclysm.[36] A layer of rock containing high concentrations of Iridium, a metal that is extremely rare on earth but common in asteroids, is said to be due to the vaporization and then fall of dust from the meteorite's impact, and its compression within the subsequent geological record.[37]The evidence of a large impact crater can be found in rocks of the Yucatán Peninsula of the supposed age of this layer.[38] [39] Creationists assert that the assumptions underpinning the methods used by modern geologists are incorrect, and even though the validity of a large impact is accepted, this does not constitute proof that the impact caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.[Citation Needed]

An Explosion of new species

Evolutionists speculate that a 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, it is theorized that 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.[40]

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.[41]

Dinosaur fossils, human fossils and geological strata

Some evolutionary scientists assert that if human bones aren’t found with dinosaur bones, then dinosaurs and man didn’t live together.[42][43] Creation scientists point out that this is a false assumption; if human bones aren’t found buried with dinosaur bones, it simply means they weren't buried together.[42]

Evolutionists speculate that radiometric dating of rocks containing dinosaur bones indicates them to have formed between 65 million years ago and 250 million years ago, whereas rocks with human bones in them are dated as being much newer (less than 5 million years old). Creation science shows that those methods of dating rocks provide false results, and therefore reject this argument.[44]

Creation science points out that the fossil record contains mainly marine organisms and that a small sliver of the fossil record contains vertebrates and thus shows that we shouldn't expect to find many human fossils at all.[42] Moreover, as the biblical Flood would be a marine catastrophe, it would be expected that marine fossils would dominate the fossil record. This is in fact what we find.[45]

Approximately 70% of the Earth is covered in salt water which would also explain the dominance of marine fossils. In addition, creation scientists show there may have been a small pre-flood human population and that massive amounts of flood sediment are why we haven’t found human fossils in pre-biblical flood sediments.[45] Also, creation scientists point out that we don't find human bones buried with coelacanths yet humans and coelacanths coexist today.[42]



Herbivorous species were almost all quadrupedal. They carried peg-like teeth which cut, rather than chewed, plant material; grinding of food was aided by gastroliths. Carnivorous species were exclusively bipedal.

  • Sauropoda
Species of this infraorder are characterized by long necks and tails, barrel-shaped bodies, and column-like legs. In three families (notably Diplodocidae, Brachiosauridae, and Titanosauroidea) there are species which are of extreme size, in excess of 125 feet in length and 100 tons, making them the largest animals to have walked the earth.
  • Theropoda
Exclusively bipedal; forearms meant for grasping or holding. Fossil evidence for several species indicate pack hunting.


Species of this group were all herbivorous; most were quadrupedal. Front teeth were lacking, while a predentary bone was present in the front of the lower jaw. Several species (mainly within Ceratopsia) had a distinctive parrot-like beak.

  • Ceratopsia
Species of this infraorder carried one or more horns on their heads, as well as a shield-like frill to protect the neck.
  • Stegosauria
Large dinosaurs with a row of bony plates on top of their backs, and several spikes used as a defensive weapon at the end of their tails.
  • Ankylosauria
Heavily-armored dinosaurs, some with a row of spikes along each side, and possessing a bony tail club.
  • Ornithopods
Large, herd-dwelling dinosaurs that could run bipedaly. Several species had a "boss" of bone on their heads (Pachycephalosaurs) which may have been used for head-butting similar to bighorn sheep; others a crest of bone (hadrosaurs) which may have been sound resonators.

In Popular Culture

Dinosaurs have been a fixture of popular culture since their discovery. It is theorized that some of the myths of fantastical creatures stem from the accidental discovery of dinosaur fossils. More recently, dinosaurs have featured in popular stories including books, movies, television, video games, even music.

Dinosaurs were introduced to a wide modern audience when movies like the Jurassic Park series were released.

See also


  1. Grigg, Russell, Dinosaurs and dragons: stamping on the legends, Creation 14(3):10–14, June 1992
  2. Vast Majority of Dinosaurs Still to Be Found, Scientists Say, National Geographic
  3. Genesis 1:25
  4. Genesis 1:29-30
  5. Were dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?, Creation Ministries International
  6. Carl Wieland, Dinosaur bones—just how old are they really?, Creation, vol. 21 No. 1 p. 54
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Robert Doolan, Are dinosaurs alive today?, Creation, vol. 15 No. 4 p. 12.
  8. USGS [1]
  9. Allan K. Steel, Could Behemoth have been a dinosaur?, Journal of Creation vol. 15 No. 2 p. 42.
  10. [2], Answers in Creation
  11. Jonathan Sarfati, Did a meteor wipe out the dinosaurs?.
  12. Michael Matthews, Dinosaur demise theory, version #451, Answers in Genesis
  13. Mokele-mbembe The Living Dinosaur!
  14. Anon., A living dinosaur?, Creation 23(1):56, December 2000.
    Irwin, Brian, Theropod and sauropod dinosaurs sighted in PNG? 1st July, 2008 (Creation Ministries International).
  15. Doheny Scientific Expedition, Hava Supai Canyon, Arizona, Creationism.org
  16. The Hava Supai Dinosaur Carving, ChristianCourier.com
  17. Dinosaurs in Literature, Art & History-- Page 2, s8int.com
  18. See picture on page 241 of Batten, Don, et. al., 2007, The Creation Answers Book.
  19. Quoted in What about the Dinosaurs?, CreationScience.com
  20. 20.0 20.1 Dragon entry in World Book Millennium 2000 CD ROM
  21. Diatomyidae Squirrel [3]
  22. Wollemi Pine Biotechnology Australia [4]
  23. Sulawesi Coelacanth. University Of California, Berkeley[5]
  24. More on the Coelacanth marinebio.org[6]
  25. Carl Wieland, Still soft and stretchy, Creation Ministries International
  26. Bird evolution?, Creation Ministries International
  27. Andy McIntosh, 100 years of airplanes—but these weren’t the first flying machines!, Creation vol. 26 No. 1 p. 44
  28. Jonathan Sarfati, 15 ways to refute materialistic bigotry, Creation Ministries International
  29. Matthews, Michael, 99 and still fighting God, 8th December, 2003 (Answers in Genesis).
  30. In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, Center for Scientific Creation
  31. Find the full quote on [7], starting from line 6.
  32. Michael Matthews, Scientific American admits creationists hit a sore spot, Answers in Genesis
  33. Which Came First, the Feather or the Bird?, Scientific American
  34. Dr. David N. Menton, "Ostrich-osaurus" Discovery?, Answers in Genesis
  35. 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 [8]
  36. Prehistoric Asteroid "Killed Everything", National Geographic
  37. Ibid
  38. "Dinosaur-Killer" Asteroid Crater Imaged for First Time, National Geographic
  39. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/education/events/cowen1b.html
  40. Bennet, Shostak, Jakotsky, "Life in the Universe," viewable at [9]
  41. New Dinosaur Discovered: T. Rex Cousin Had Feathers, National Geographic
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 Hodge, Bodie, If humans and dinosaurs lived together, why don’t we find human fossils with dinosaur fossils? Answers 1(1):52, May 2006.
  43. Claim CH710 (The TalkOrigins Archive)
  44. http://creation.com/radiometric-dating-questions-and-answers
  45. 45.0 45.1 Hodge, Bodie, Why Don’t We Find Human & Dinosaur Fossils Together? (chapter 13 of the New Answers Book), 2006.