Truth in the Text Part VII – Dragons and Dinosaurs

Adam Naming the Animals, a Byzantine fresco

In 1841 Sir Richard Owen coined the term ‘dinosaur,’ meaning ‘terrible lizard’. It was a new word that would eventually cover a whole slew of never-before-seen beasts. At least never before seen to the men of that day. Dinosaurs were extinct, and had been for a long, long, time.

Or had they?

By Sir Owen’s day, no one remembered seeing dinosaurs. There are images of them around the globe however, from centuries before their ‘discovery’.

Check out Genesis Park (www.genesispark.com) for great photos. Dinosaurs appear in pictographs and petroglyphs in Utah, Canada, Zimbabwe, and the Amazon rainforest. They are painted onto pots in South America, carved from jade in China, engraved in slate in Egypt, made into mosaics in Rome, and formed from terra cotta in Turkey. Winged dinosaurs even appear in the cover plate of John Calvin’s commentary on Genesis, from 1578.

Wait! Winged dinosaurs? As in…DRAGONS? Continue reading

Truth in the Text Part IV – How Old are the Dinosaurs?

I promise I’ll write more about dinosaurs soon. For now, let’s talk about how ages are established for their bones. How do we estimate a triceratops skeleton at 68 million years old?

If you remember from Part III, Carbon-14 (C14) dating is only good for dating samples up to about 50,000 years. Dinosaurs are believed to have died out millions of years ago, so routine sampling for Carbon makes no sense to many scientists. After 50,000 -100,000 years, all the Carbon originally in the animal is gone.

These men and women aren’t trying to hide anything by not assessing the C14 levels. Based on their assumptions about the age of the earth (see Truth in the Text Part I), their research methods are sound. They will use a Parent-daughter isotope that decays much slower, allowing ages to be assessed beyond 50,000 years. The Uranium/Potassium isotope is the one of choice, assessing ages into the millions of years. Unfortunately, there isn’t any in the dinosaur bones.

Q: So how do scientists estimate when dinosaurs roamed the earth? Continue reading