Evolutionists believe that the dinosaurs evolved, while creationists believe that they were some of the ‘beasts of the earth’ created by God, along with the other land-dwelling animals on Day Six of Creation Week (Genesis 1:24–31).5 Who is right?
British anatomist Sir Richard Owen strongly opposed Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Owen introduced the word ‘dinosaur’ in 1841. If evolution is true, we should expect that:
There would be fossil evidence indicating the ancestor of all the dinosaurs. There would be fossil evidence of intermediate forms showing many stages in the formation of such diverse characteristics as the plates and spikes of the armoured dinosaurs (stegosaurs), the one-to-seven horns of the horned dinosaurs (ceratopian), the distinctive beaks of the duckbilled dinosaurs (hadrosaurs), the thick skulls of the boneheaded dinosaurs (pachycephalosaurs), and also the wings of the flying reptiles (pterosaurs), the distinctive features of the various marine reptiles, and so on. In fact, all dinosaurs appear fully formed in the fossil record, without trace of an ancestor, and there is not one single dinosaur fossil that can be called an intermediate form between any of the types known.
Creationist Expectations On the other hand, if creation is true, and the dinosaurs were created on Day Six of Creation Week, we should expect that:
Dinosaur fossils would appear suddenly in the fossil record, that is, without ancestors and intermediate forms. In fact, this is what is observed. If dinosaurs were created by God on Day Six of creation Week, it follows that two of every kind still living at the time of the Flood must have gone aboard Noah’s Ark. Could such large animals have been accommodated? Aboard Noah’s Ark
First of all, they were not all large; many dinosaurs were comparatively small, such as Compsognathus, which was about the size of a chicken, and Mussaurus, the smallest dinosaur ever found, the skull of which measured a mere 32 millimetres in length6—about the length of an ordinary paper-clip. Second, the dinosaurs, like modern reptiles, usually laid eggs which had a leathery shell (compared to birds’ eggs which have a hard shell); reptiles today, after hatching, keep growing for most of their lives.
The largest dinosaur egg found was discovered in France; it is 30 centimetres (one foot) long and is now on display at Redding University in England. Others from the same site are 25 centimetres in length or about the size of a football; they were laid by a giant sauropod, which was a gigantic quadrupedal (four-legged) herbivore (plant-eater). The reason for this comparatively small size is that the larger the egg, the thicker the shell has to be and, if it had been too thick, neither enough air could have passed through it to supply the baby dinosaur inside, nor could the baby dinosaur have succeeded in breaking out.7
So, if baby dinosaurs are football size, it is reasonable to suppose that God would have directed children-sized dinosaurs of the larger species to the Ark, or perhaps teenage-sized ones; it certainly was not necessary for Him to have sent grandfather-sized ones!
The third thing that we might reasonably expect, if God created the dinosaurs on Day Six of Creation Week, is that there should be stories of dinosaurs in the folklore of many nations, since people after the Flood would have co-existed with them until they became extinct. Such stories would not use the term ‘dinosaur’, of course, because as we have already noted, this term was not invented until 1841. We should expect such stories to use other terms like ‘monster’ or ‘dragon’. Dragon Stories
In fact, there are many such stories, from all over the world. One of the oldest is of Gilgamesh, hero of an ancient Babylonian epic, who killed a huge reptile-like creature named Khumbaba, in a cedar forest.8 The early Britons provide the first European accounts of reptilian monsters, one of which killed and devoured King Morvidus of Wales, c. 336 BC. Another monarch, King Peredur, however, managed to slay his monster at a place called Llyn Llion, in Wales.9,10
The epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf tells how Beowulf (c. AD 495–583) of Scandinavia killed a monster named Grendel, and its supposed mother, as well as several sea-reptiles,11 but eventually lost his life at the age of 88 in the process of killing a flying reptile. The Saxon description of this creature fits that of a giant Pteranodon—it was ‘fifty feet in length (or possibly wingspan)’.12 The monster called Grendel, which Beowulf killed many years previously, is described as follows. He was apparently a youngster (having been known for only 12 years), man-like in stance (i.e. bipedal), and he had two small forelimbs that the Saxons call eorms (arms), one of which Beowulf tore off. He was a muthbona—one who slew with his mouth or jaws—and his skin was impervious to swordblows.13
Other well-known stories involving medieval heroes and dragons include Siegfried of the ancient Teutons (possibly the same person as Sigurd of Old Norse, who slew a monster named Fafnir),14 Tristan (or Tristram), King Arthur, and Sir Lancelot, of Britain,15 and perhaps the most famous of all, St George who became the patron saint of England. (The film and video The Great Dinosaur Mystery16 details many more of these accounts besides those listed here.)
The dragon ensign was used by many armies. Under the later eastern Roman emperors, the purple-dragon ensign became the ceremonial standard, called the drakonteion.17 In England, before the Norman Conquest in 1066, the dragon was chief among the royal ensigns in war, having been instituted by Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur. Other kings who used the dragon ensign were Richard I, in 1191, when on crusade, and Henry III, in 1245, when he went to war against the Welsh.