Where Do Dinosaurs Fit Into Evolutionary Creationism?

The human mind’s fascination with monsters is most suggestive.

The decomposed remains of beached whales can look horrific.

As well as giant squid.

The giant Terror Birds were two-legged horrors. Though now extinct, if they were preserved like some mammoth corpses… it would be quite the sight!

Very little. The only thing that dragons and dinosaurs had in common was size. The similarities are too vague to be meaningful. Besides, there are all sorts of other weird and wonderful critters that these ancient legends came up with. Mermaids, sea serpents, leprechauns, fairies, cyclopses, centaurs, you name it.

Be particularly careful with claims of ancient artefacts allegedly depicting dinosaurs. Some of them depict nothing of the sort. Others of them are known to be forgeries. As for the rest, they are mostly pretty ambiguous, and in any case, there are equally convincing artefacts that allegedly depict spaceships and flying saucers.

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The ancients found strange fossil creatures in the ground just as we do today. From their experiences in butchering animals for consumption, they could easily imagine what an “in the flesh” version of those fossilized skeletons would look like. It is easy to see why dragon legends, for example, would arise from the excavation of a triceratops or protoceratops fossil. They would also naturally assume that such creatures could still living deep in the unexplored wilderness areas. (The ancient world was filled with exciting stories of strange monsters, both real and imagined.) It is easy to understand why story tellers would speak of their culture’s heroes saving some village of the menacing “monster.” Indeed, even modern day writers love to create stories about dangerous dragons, as in the Game of Thrones books and TV series. So even people who know otherwise love to tell tales of monsters living among humans. Why wouldn’t’ the ancients?

It amazes me when I hear various ministry speakers using simplistic logic like “Look at this ancient engraving. I think it looks like some kind of dinosaur. Therefore, this is proof that dinosaurs lived among humans just a few thousand years ago.”

If dinosaurs lived recently, why don’t we find such fossils in shallow, recent strata? Why are they found in strata far older than modern mammals? And if Noah’s Flood was global and just a few thousand years ago, why don’t Young Earth Creationist ministries identify the specific strata where dinosaurs and so many other animal species were buried together in vast mud fields which they claim were produced by the flood?

If dinosaurs lived just a few thousand years ago, their DNA should be just as easy to extract from their fossils as from the wooly mammoths and other megafauna from relatively recent strata. Indeed, if dinosaurs lived contemporaneous with ancient humans, why is there no evidence of such?


@jammycakes[quote=“jammycakes, post:22, topic:36364”]
Some of them depict nothing of the sort.

Agreed! It bothers me when places sometimes say “dinosaur depictions” when I (and I’m sure others) see them to be most unconvincing. There are many more convincing ones out there! (;))

O.K NOW…This just goes to say (insert drum roll and gasp sound effects here): Don’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia (or the internet, for that matter). I assume you already know better (as your comments on AIG show), but it bears repeating. I have fairly extensively researched the Ica stones, and would consider many of them to be genuine.

There are certainly genuine “Ica stones”. That is, they definitely exist—so I’m not quite sure what you mean. Perhaps you mean that they are “genuinely ancient”, despite the conclusions of the many scholars who have examined them?

If that is your meaning, what is your evidence that they are not relatively modern creations? Do you agree that at least most of them are recent hoaxes? If not, why do you disagree with the published, peer-reviewed scholarship?

P.S. Just for fun, let’s suppose for the moment that some of them are genuinely ancient. Why not assume that they are depictions of the monsters described by the storytellers of ancient cultures? And why not assume that they were artists’ renderings of the fossilized creatures they found buried in the ground? Indeed, couldn’t the two concepts be closely related? That is, if an ancient people dug up strange fossils of monstrous creatures, wouldn’t they craft legendary stories about them, probably featuring their favorite gods or heroes fighting them? Isn’t that same urge what produced the Jurassic Park movies?

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I think it is also worth mentioning that nothing in the theory of evolution requires dinosaurs to be extinct. If we were to find an isolated population of (non-avian) dinosaurs somewhere in some isolated wilderness or island it would do nothing to challenge the theory of evolution. What would challenge the theory of evolution is finding dinosaur fossils in Cambrian deposits.

For those seeking to find dinosaurs they will surely find them. Not to say that makes them real. If you are saying that dinosaurs were alive at the time of Noah’s flood, where are the bodies? We have the remains of wooly mammoths why not the much more abundant dinosaurs?

OK NOW. Can you please post a detailed refutation of the Wikipedia article, explaining exactly what it gets wrong, citing your sources, and explaining how we can identify which ones are genuine and which ones are not?

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I’m so glad you asked! I have written a short article on the Ica Stones and their authenticity which I will link here (I typically dislike links because they are typically a fallacious appeal to authority, and typically take a long time to read, but this one is rather short, so you probably won’t mind [and it is my own work]). If you want more sources, feel free to ask, but I apologize in advance if some of them are in Spanish:

If that link doesn’t bring you to the article (which it should) just mouse over “articles” on the menu when you reach that site.

More on this in a moment…


What you bring up here is a good point. However, I feel that (despite being heard by the very informed) this discovery (dinosaur cambrian deposits etc.) would either rarely see the light of day, or be “explained away” somehow. That’s been the fate of most all of that sort of thing.

I would, however, submit that finding living dinosaurs would harm the TofE in the popular mind, because the monolithic “65 million years ago” is so prevalent (as seen by previous comments on this topic). I mean, for most people, when you hear “evolution” you think “dinosaurs” and when you think “dinosaurs” you think “extinct.” So, although finding living dinosaurs would not necessarily harm the TofE scientifically, it may discredit it in the popular imagination.

Thank you for that thought!

Sadly, the reason that may be true is because a lot of anti-evolution ministries have deceptively used the phrase “living fossils” in ways which mislead people into thinking that the existence of crocodiles, for example, somehow discredits the Theory of Evolution.

Non-scientists get confused on all sorts of topics. Unfortunately, they’ve heard all sorts of arguments against evolution which make no sense. The existence of “living fossils” is one of many. Some people think that just because organisms are “very complex”, that somehow rules out evolutionary processes.

That would make for an interesting survey. I would have thought the most common association with the word “evolution” would be something like “humans evolved from monkeys” or “goo to you by the zoo” catch-phrases. Frankly, I would never have guessed “evolution ==> dinosaurs”. That really surprises me, despite my background in Young Earth Creationist, anti-evolution churches.

As to the “65 million years ago”, that applies to only some of the dinosaur species. I would never have guessed that the general public had a grasp of the numbers. Very interesting.

As I think about it, I’ll admit that some people use links that way. Yet I simply think of links as a convenient way to provide citations to sources which often provide the key information from the primary peer-reviewed literature.

Most? That’s quite a bold statement. (If true, it would be a very shocking statement.) Can you post some examples of important falsification evidence concerning the Theory of Evolution which you believe has been suppressed or summarily dismissed so that the academy never saw it?


I read the article but it provides far less in the way of evidence and citations than the Wikipedia article. For example, what is the evidence that the specific Ica stones which illustrate the alleged anatomical details (leaving aside for the moment whether they do) were known to exist prior to the scientific discoveries mentioned in the article? We know that many of the Ica stones are modern works of art (and even hoaxes and forgeries), so how are we to know that those of known ancient provenance are as described? The article lacks footnotes citing the primary literature.

Also, the article states:

“But in the 1500’s the word dinosaur had not yet been invented…”

I don’t understand why that is relevant. None of the Ica stones had words on them.

“…and dinosaur fossils had not yet been found.”

That statement surprises me. It was my understanding that even ancient writers tell of fossil discoveries which were probably what we would call dinosaurs but they called them “monsters” or “dragons.” Indeed, what prevented people from digging up dinosaur fossils in the course of all sorts of activities common to the ancient world? Even if no ancient writers spoke of such excavations, the absence of such documents would give us no reason to imagine that people of the distant past didn’t dig up dinosaur fossils!

You had written that people shouldn’t believe everything they read at Wikipedia.com. Should people believe everything they read at the sources cited in the article? After all, virtually all of them are from Young Earth Creationist websites, aren’t they? Do they provide primary sources or do they quote other Young Earth Creationists?

Again, let’s suppose that these Ica stones are truly ancient. How do you know that drawings are not based on dinosaur fossils which the ancient culture had excavated? Also, have you researched the associated paleogeography to see if the dinosaur species assumed in the article actually lived in that area of the world?

This is a very interesting topic and I thank you for starting this thread!

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@Socratic.Fanatic[quote=“Socratic.Fanatic, post:31, topic:36364”]
I would never have guessed “evolution ==> dinosaurs”. That really surprises me, despite my background in Young Earth Creationist, anti-evolution churches.

Note that this may be specific to me due to my (potentially) unusual interest in dinosaurs. But I agree, that would be a VERY interesting survey!

Furthermore…I may not be the general public, but almost whenever you hear about dinosaurs, you hear about millions of years too.

I would certainly agree with that. It makes sense because such dinosaur fossils are found in the strata which are dated at many millions of years ago and never in the younger strata, such as those containing much more recent megafauna, most angiosperms, and modern days animals. If dinosaurs lived more recently, why doesn’t the fossil record reflect their presence? (When I was young, there were “selective settling” and “differential flood escape strategies” popular among creation science speakers. I hear less emphasis on those explanations today.)


Indeed. Whenever I hear of such things (and the Ica stones would be a good example of this if it were not for the tireless efforts of Dr. Javier Cabrera Darquea and Dr. Dennis Swift) I am shocked as well. I will try to dig up some more, but that may be difficult to do. And, at least to my knowledge, this MAY not be as sinister as it sounds, as it often comes down to museums “not knowing where to put” or “displaying more evidence for their worldview.”

Anyhow (and now, the cliche line): “more on this later”…

I think that is a condition called psychological projection.[quote=“J.E.S, post:30, topic:36364”]
I would, however, submit that finding living dinosaurs would harm the TofE in the popular mind, because the monolithic “65 million years ago” is so prevalent (as seen by previous comments on this topic). I mean, for most people, when you hear “evolution” you think “dinosaurs” and when you think “dinosaurs” you think “extinct.” So, although finding living dinosaurs would not necessarily harm the TofE scientifically, it may discredit it in the popular imagination.

All of the fossils we have as of right now are still 65 million years old or older. Finding a living mammal does not put 65 million year old mammal fossils in doubt.


That’s because every known dinosaur fossil is 65 million years old or older. There is no known dinosaur fossil found above the K/T boundary.

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This is for my modern audience to understand why the Spanish priests would not have recorded seeing “dinosaur stones.” And furthermore, MOST PEOPLE do not fully appreciate the INCREDIBLY HARD AND PAINSTAKING JOB it is to excavate dinosaur bones and put them together correctly. The nice, scaffolding museum skeletons you see are the result of COUNTLESS HOURS OF BLOOD, SWEAT, and TEARS. The nice paintings you see of paleontologists digging up these complete skeletons…wish that happened more often…WAY more often. It’s also hard when the “fossils” don’t even look like bones…when they look way more like rocks. I suppose I should say, though, that after digging up all the bones, you have the horrific task of moving them without breaking them (ever wondered how we DISCOVERED soft tissue in dinosaur bones in the FIRST PLACE). And then, you have to PUT THEM TOGETHER WITHOUT BREAKING THEM.

Thank you. I hope I have given everyone a greater appreciation for paleontologists.

Unfortunately, that was a tangent.
Even if the ancient people HAD assembled dinosaur skeletons (as in the scenarios outlined by @Socratic.Fanatic), why would they draw them as if they were alive? Furthermore, we have NO EVIDENCE (AT ALL) that the ancient Peruvians did paleontology in the first place.


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Here’s another portion of the article which I found interesting:

“So how could people from the 500’s through the 1100’s have made accurate carvings of dinosaurs long before dinosaur fossils had been discovered?”

(1) Has carbon dating of the patina of the specific Ica stones in question confirmed that range of dates?

(2) How could they? How do we today produce accurate illustrations of dinosaur anatomy? After all, none of us today have seen a living dinosaur. So why couldn’t the ancients carefully inspect the fossils and make drawings that conform to the fossils?

“Why did 1/3 of the more than 11,000 Ica burial stones depict dinosaurs or pterosaurs?”

Why do a huge percentage of animal books produced for children today depict dinosaurs rather than modern animals? Answer: Because people are fascinated by strange and monstrous animals that look nothing like the living animals we are used to seeing in our daily lives. Why was the movie Jurassic Park so filled with enormous dinosaurs and almost none of the “average” dinosaur species which were around the size of a sheep? Why do dinosaur movies rarely feature many of the ancient species of animals which were more similar to the animals we see today?

“Why did the carvings show people and dinosaurs interacting?”

Why does the art of ancient Greece show people interacting with satyrs, minotaurs, cyclopes, water nymphs, and other mythical creatures? I don’t know of any scholars who assert that such art constitutes evidence that people observed such creatures in their daily lives. Do you? So I don’t understand why you are treating Ica stones any differently from other ancient art—if indeed the particular stones we are talking about are truly ancient.

“It appears that dinosaurs must have been an important part of the native peoples lives.”

Is that truly the most likely explanation?

Also, there’s a lot of scholars out there who would absolutely love to make a name for themselves in the academy by publishing conclusive evidence indicating that some dinosaur species evolved in ways that their descendants were able to survive the ecological changes of ancient South America. (Indeed, it was a very big deal when scientists published evidence that modern birds are descendants of ancient dinosaurs. The academy loves nothing more than paradigm-shifting discoveries!)

You talked about important evidence being ignored. Do you think it possible that those who publish claims that dinosaurs lived contemporaneously with humans are ignoring contrary evidence? Are they focusing solely on carefully cherry-picked “long shot” possibilities? When they publish their ideas, are they presenting all of the evidence to the reader or just the cherry-picked items and hypotheses which suit their purposes?