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Dinosaurs -- what are they? Did they - do they - exist? 

The earliest dinosaur fossils were discovered in England in 1822. That fossil was called Iguanodon. The word "dinosaur", which means "terrible lizard", was not used until 1842. By the 1870's there was a world-wide search for dinosaur fossils. 

Dinosaurs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are plant eaters, some meat eaters. They range in size from the size of a chicken to more than 90 tons. Some were armored; some had spikes on their head or tail. Some had large, sharp teeth and others small, blunt teeth. Their tremendous variety and weird shapes, as well as their enormous size, fire the imagination.

Fossil remains of dinosaurs have been found on every continent and every modem day climate zone. They were extremely abundant, and their remains have been found in enormous graveyards.

Horned dinosaurs -- an example is triceratops, which was about 20 feet long and weighed 10 tons. Triceratops had mouth parts uniquely designed to feeding on fibrous plants like palms. The turtle-like beak could rip fronds; then teeth specialized for shearing could chop them up. Another example is styrecosaurus.

 Plated dinosaurs -- this class of dinosaurs had large, bony plates that projected from the back. An example is stegosaurus (literally "plate lizard"), which had two rows of plates down its back. It is proposed that these plates were used for cooling purposes since the bones were laced with channels for blood flow. Stegosaurus was about 20 feet long and weighed 2 tons. The spikes on the tail were 3 feet long and about 6" thick at the base. Its brain was about the size of a walnut.

            Anklosaurus was about 15 feet long, and its entire body was covered with armor. Its tail was shaped like a club.

 Duck-billed dinosaurs -- These were large dinosaurs bearing a wide variety of bony crests on their skulls. An example is corythosaurus, which was about 18 feet long. In corythosaurus an air passage ran from the nostrils through the bill, up into the crest and exited in the back of the mouth. Lambeosaurus had a hatchet-shaped crest.

 Meat-eating dinosaurs -- These are the ones that strike terror in the hearts of children. Allosaurus was 35 feet long and stood about 15 feet high. It head was about 2.5 feet long with lots of sharp teeth about 3" long.

            Tyrannosaurus Rex means "king tyrant lizard" and was the most frightening of all. He was 50 feet in length, stood about 20 feet tall and weighed about 10 tons. Its head was 5 feet long with a mouth that could open 4 feet and was full of teeth 6" long. With all that, its front feet were quite small and too short to reach its mouth.

Big plant eaters -- Diplodocus was almost 100 feet long from head to tail. He was a light weight at 25 tons, and had broad pads on his feet like an elephant.

            Brontosaurus ("thunder lizard") was 70 feet long, stood 20 feet at the shoulders and weighed 30-40 tons.

            Brachiosaurus was called "arm lizard" since its front legs were longer than the rear legs. It was 80 feet long, stood 20 feet at the shoulders and could browse at 40 feet. Although it weighed as much as 90 tons, its brain was the size of a kittens, and it had nostrils on the top of its head.

Birds -- Originally classified as a dinosaur, but now recognized as being a true bird, archaeopteryx was about the size of a pigeon.


Dinosaurs and man

            Dragons: There are many legends of dragons in literature; almost all people have ancient legends of dragons. Particularly important in China and other oriental countries. Taken together they include many different kinds of dragons.

Glen Rose, Texas: During the 1930's a controversial discovery of both human and dinosaur footprints in the Paluxy River bed at Glen Rose. The area is now called Dinosaur National Park. Carl Baugh has been continuing research in this area with a great deal of success.

Dinosaur pictographs made by early tribal artists have been found in Arizona, Siberia and Zimbabwe

Recent times: There are reports of dinosaur-like creatures: Loch Ness, Congo, interior Amazon; a few years ago a Japanese fishing trawler caught a plesiosaur, just recently dead with flesh still on the bones, in its nets. Sadly, they threw the carcass back into the sea. But they did take a picture, which appeared in newspapers.

Dinosaurs in Scripture

What about dinosaurs in the Bible? It is important to note that the English word "dinosaur" was not coined until about 1847, so at the time the translators of the King James Version worked (1611) that word did not exist. There are many descriptions of beasts that closely resemble our current concept of what dinosaurs were like. There are Biblical references to creatures not known today. These references are made to real living creatures such as behemoth, leviathan, dragon, unicorn. Biblical translators have tried to use currently known animals, but their descriptions don't match.  As an example, look at Job 41; some modern translations use crocodile instead of leviathan, but that animal falls far short of the description given in Job. Some of the possible references to dinosaurs include:

  1. Creation: Gen 1:21 - the sea monsters.

  2. Flood: Were there dinosaurs on the ark? The ark was an enormous vessel and would have had plenty of room for young dinosaurs.

  3. Job 40:15-24 - behemoth (brontosaurus?)

  4. Job 41:1-34 - Leviathan - may refer to several creatures.

  5. Job 41:18-21 - fire breather

  6. Psalm 148:7 - sea monsters, dragons.

Dragons: Dragons (Heb: tannin and its root tan) are mentioned 25 times in the Bible. The Hebrew is translated a variety of ways:

  1. Isa 27:1         Dragon that is in the sea

  2. Ezek 32:2     The great dragon that lies in the midst of Egypt's rivers

  3. Mal 1:3         the dragons of the wilderness (some translations use the word jackals)

  4. Mic 1:8:        They made wailing sounds

  5. Jer 14:6:        They pant for air. This would be so since the lung capacity of the large dinosaur is small relative to its body size. Prior to the flood, with the higher atmospheric pressure and oxygen content that would not have been a problem.

  6. Deut 32.33:   They had poisonous fangs  

  7. Ex 7:10:         Some were small  (Aaron's rod became a "dragon")

  8. Gen 1:21:       Some were great monsters