I’m excited about this post. I’m also worried. Some of this is going to sound strange, to go against what you might think is firmly established, and you might reject it without considering the evidence. Please keep an open mind and let’s see where modern science takes us.
When I was a kid, I was enthralled by dinosaurs. I still am. They were real, yet more fantastic than many fictional creatures. I remember admiring the brontosaurus; a gigantic plant-eating creature with an enormous tail. A brontosaurus, or a cousin of a brontosaurus (there’s a lot of confusion over the names of dinosaur species, for reasons I won’t get into here) found in Argentina was 130 feet long and weighed 100 tons! That’s well over ten times the weight of a large elephant. Dinosaur fossils are all over the world.
Scientists have found these fossils contain not just bones, but soft tissue, original dinosaur proteins. Proteins are complex formations of amino acids linked together, and they decay over time. Crudely stated, flesh rots. Scientists have found collagen throughout dinosaur fossils. Collagen is a structure protein that helps build bones, tendons, and cartilage. Scientists have found also dinosaur skin, complete dinosaur cells, dinosaur blood vessels, and even dinosaur ink!
How is this possible? I was taught, and most likely you were taught too, that dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. Yet soft tissue has been found in fossils of dinosaurs that supposedly became extinct over 200 million years ago. For that reason, initial reports of dinosaur soft tissue were laughed at. But the findings are so numerous, so detailed, and so amazing that they are now accepted. Scientists have found soft tissue in dinosaur fossils.
If you search the internet on this subject, you may find suggestions that perhaps iron in some of the specimens helped preserve the soft tissue. One experiment added iron to soft tissue, sealed it, and the soft tissue survived for two years. But I, for one, don’t think you can extrapolate that into a conclusion that soft tissue can survive for hundreds of millions of years. These fossils weren’t sealed, they were buried alive in water and rock, and then subjected to pressure, heat, and cold. More careful experiments have found that, even under ideal conditions, soft tissue cannot possibly survive for one million years.
So when did dinosaurs live? You have two conflicting theories. The original theory, what I was taught, was that we can date rocks accurately by measuring their radioactivity, and that’s how we know the dinosaurs became extinct many millions of years ago. But, and I don’t want to get into this too deeply right now (maybe a later post), radioactive testing is far from exact. Rocks created by volcanic explosions in human history (like Mount St. Helens) have been dated as millions of years old. A lot of assumptions go into radioactive dating, including how much radioactivity the rock had when it was formed. Radioactive dating also yields inconsistent results, depending on what radioactive isotope is being measured. One way scientists date objects is by carbon-14, which has a half-life of 5,000 years (half of it decays every 5,000 years.) This means after 100,000 years the amount of carbon-14 will be too small to detect. Yet carbon-14 has been found in all fossils, so the radioactive dating of fossils by carbon-14 indicates they are not millions of years old.
You might ask why, if dinosaurs lived just thousands of years ago, there are no records of people coming into contact with them? Well, and this may surprise you (as it did me), there are! Dinosaurs have been found painted on cave walls. Here is a website that collects pictures.
I hope you take the time to read it carefully. You will see an intricate stone carving of a stegosaurus on a column of an 800-year-old temple in the jungles of Cambodia. How did that happen? Some suggest dinosaur paintings were just the work of primitive imaginations. But why do these drawings, from all over the world, look like the modern reconstructions? Look at that stegosaurus carving carefully. Obviously, the artist had a real stegosaurus for a model.
Two dinosaurs are mentioned in the book of Job, which may be the oldest book in the Bible. Here’s God speaking in Job 40:15-18:
Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox. Behold, his strength is 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.
Tail stiff like a cedar? Cedars in the Middle East grow to 40 feet. What kind of animal has a tail 30 or 40 feet long that sticks out straight? Only one I can think of is a brontosaurus. No animal currently living comes close.
There are many reports of people encountering dinosaurs. Alexander the Great reported seeing a huge hissing dragon in a cave. Roman historians report flying serpents with deadly poison. Other examples are given on this website.
I made a serious mistake when I wrote Counting To God. I accepted the standard theory of deep time and millions of years, and I refused to look at evidence it could be wrong. I am now transformed by the evidence. I am now convinced that Adam and Eve and Noah were real people for a multitude of reasons.
You may say, so what? Who cares whether dinosaurs lived thousands of years ago or millions of years ago. But if you are a Christian, or considering the Christian faith, it’s very important. This post is already longer than most, so if you want to explore that issue, and see even more evidence that dinosaurs lived among us, please watch the movie “Is Genesis History?” It’s available on Netflix.
Thanks for reading.