Dinosaur Fossils: Some Definitions
The term "Dinosaur Fossils" comes from the Greek words: Deinos, meaning "terrible" and Sauros, meaning "lizard;" and the Latin word Fossilis, meaning "dug up." Therefore, dinosaur fossil literally means "great lizard that was dug up." British anatomist Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892) coined the word "dinosaur" in 1841.
Dinosaur Fossils: Early Discoveries
A British fossil finder and ecclesiastic, William Buckland (1784-1856), discovered the first dinosaur fossil remains of our modern times. In 1819, Buckland discovered the Megalosaurus Bucklandii (Buckland's Giant Lizard) in England. It was given its name in 1824. Prior to this, Reverend Plot had found a huge femur bone as early as 1676 in England. It was thought to belong to a giant. R. Brookes published a report on Plot's find in 1763. Authorities suggest it may actually have belonged to a dinosaur. However, with the discovery of giant human skeletal remains ranging from 8 feet to 12 feet-tall around the world in the last few hundred years, many believe the Plot femur may have belonged to a very tall human. In 1838, William Parker Foulke found the first (nearly) complete dinosaur fossil remains in New Jersey, USA. Since Buckland's original discovery in 1819, approximately 330 different dinosaur genera have been discovered thus far.
Dinosaur Fossils: Sedimentary Rock
Dinosaur fossils, as with other fossils, are found throughout earth's sedimentary layers. To date, approximately 95.0% of all earth's fossil remains are marine invertebrates, 4.74% are plants, 0.25% are land invertebrates (including insects), and 0.0125% are vertebrates. Of the vertebrates, the majority are fish. Moreover, 95% of all land vertebrates found consist of less than one bone. However, billions of fossils have been found. Up to as many as 1,200 dinosaur skeletons have been discovered thus far. Sedimentary rock (sandstone, siltstone, shale, limestone, etc) is primarily laid down by moving water, layer upon layer, in a process known as hydrologic sorting. Animals whose fossil remains are found must have been caught in this running water to have been buried and preserved. The remains would be sorted by density just as the rocks were. If not buried, the carcass would rot or be scavenged. Fossil remains of clams (found in the closed position, indicating they were buried alive) have been found atop Mt. Everest. Sedimentary layers and fossil remains seem to be a testimony to a past marine cataclysm. There are nearly 300 surviving Flood Legends passed down by ancient civilizations. Some suggest Noah's Flood.
Dinosaur Fossils: Age of the Dinosaurs
Dinosaur fossils were once thought to be millions of years old. This age was based upon the geologic column. The geologic column dates fossils by the rocks in which they are found, and dates rocks by the fossils they contain. Critics insist this is circular reasoning. "The intelligent layman has long suspected circular reasoning in the use of rocks to date fossils and fossils to date rocks" (J.E. O'Rourke, "American Journal of Science," 1976, 276:51). Furthermore, the geologic column assumes uniformity, which has come to be disproved by such geologic features as poly-strata fossils, misplaced fossils, missing layers, and misplaced layers (such as layers in reverse order, or "ancient" layers found several layers above "modern" layers). Most recently, advocates of an "Old Earth" turn to Radiometric Dating to prove dinosaurs to be ancient. Though they cannot date the dinosaur remains themselves, they can date rocks buried near the dinosaur remains. This is not accepted by many authorities as valid, as Radiometric Dating is based upon controversial assumptions held to be erroneous by many scholars, as indicated by empirical research. Dinosaurs are assumed to be millions of years old. Many now propose they died off in recent times and are responsible for the myriad of dragon myths. This has come to be a popular theory with such discoveries as the Ica Stones, the Glenn Rose tracks, etc. In addition, human remains have been found buried with dinosaur remains on more than one occasion. It may be that man hunted dinosaurs to extinction.