Martin Luther (1483-1546 AD) admonished people to correct the history books because of the many errors they contain. Historians, said Luther, distort history books according to their own “likes and dislikes” and decide what to include and what to ignore largely based on pleasing those in positions of wealth or power.
History books today have similar problems and need to be corrected. The history of dinosaurs is one area where such correction is badly needed. Modern history books, as well as science books, typically say that dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. These same books commonly say that human beings go back a mere 200,000 years (although they may speak of “pre-humans” going back two million years).
This means there was a supposed time gap of at least 63 million years between the time dinosaurs became extinct and human beings hit the scene on our planet. Is this what the research actually tells us? Not at all. Substantial evidence is emerging which suggests that peoples and dinosaurs actually lived at the same time.
One example of such evidence is a relief, an artwork carved into a stone wall, of a stegosaurus portrayed on the limestone wall of an ancient temple in Cambodia. The temple is known as Angkor Wat and was built in the in the early 12th century. It has been largely hidden in the Cambodian jungle for most of the last several hundred years. The relief is pictured below:
The creature carved in stone is obviously a stegosaurus—the only creature that had large fins on its back as pictured in the relief. Some paleontologists think the fins were used for cooling the dinosaur, much like the fins on an air cooled engine. We have no way of knowing if that view is correct, however. The important question is this: How could the artist have known what a stegosaurus looked like if he hadn’t see one, or at least had access to works of other artists who had seen one?
And, how do those following the politically correct view of dinosaurs explain this? One website, http://www.forteantimes.com/, offers the following explanation:
A carving on the ancient Ta Prohm temple in Cambodia has become a favorite of creationists, because it looks kinda like a stegosaurus. [However]:
a) The “plates” along the back more closely resemble leaves, and the sculpture is a better match for a boar or rhinoceros against a leafy background.
b) The carving may be a stegosaurus, but it's not an ancient carving: There are rumors that it was created recently, perhaps by a visiting movie crew (the temple is a favorite locale for filmmakers), and it is possible that someone created something Stegosaurus-like during the past few years as a joke.
Is this science to speak of “rumors”? Is this science to speak of explanations in term of “perhaps”? Is this a reasonable explanation? Does the carving actually look like a “boar or rhinoceros against a leafy background”? Obviously not. The characteristics of the stegosaur include the shape of its tail as well as the fins on its back. We do well to note, for example, what the tails of pigs and rhinos look like as compared to the stone relief:
Does the creature carved in stone on the Buddhist temple really resemble a pig or a rhinoceros? It does not. What about the notion that someone faked the carving? Faking a relief carved in stone right next to other reliefs that are 800 years old is virtually impossible, as explained in the following website: http://bloghoax.s3.amazonaws.com/cambodia.
The only reasonable explanation for the stegosaurus carved in stone on the wall of the Cambodian temple is that the artist had either seen a stegosaur or had seen other art works of a stegosaur. Either way, people and stegosaurs were living at the same time.
The stegosaurs pictured above is by no means an isolated example of dinosaurs in ancient art—numerous other artifacts depicting dinosaurs have been discovered and continue to be discovered. Below are other examples:
Clay figurine from Acambaro, Mexicos, dated from 500 BC to 500 AD:
Another figurine from Acambaro, Mexico, 500 BC to 500 AD:
An ancient tomb of the Nazca culture in the South American country of Peru, which is believed to date back to 700 AD, was excavated in the Nazca region. The artifacts discovered in the tomb included pottery and tapestry. The design on the tapestry contains a simple decorative pattern of a dinosaur repeated along its border. A piece of pottery also has a vivid dinosaur as its main figure.
Tomb pottery displayed at Rafael Laredo Herrera Museum, Lima, Peru, dated 700 AD:
Tapestry from the same tomb:
Other evidence that dinosaurs once lived along side humans are prehistoric petroglyphs and paintings found throughout the world that clearly resemble the appearance of various dinosaurs. For example, one of these petroglyphs can be found at Natural Bridges, National Monument Utah. Its creation is attributed to the Anasazi Indians who lived in the region approximately between the fifth and fourteenth centuries AD. It is apparent that the Anasazi Indians are representing a dinosaur, specifically a brontosaurus (now referred to as apatosaurus). Below is a reproduction of a petroglyph (rock art) that was originally discovered in 1879 in the Havasupai Canyon in Arizona. In 1924. A scientific expedition was sent to the canyon to document the artifacts and petroglyphs left behind by the Native Americans.
The director of that expedition, Samuel Hubbard, said the following about the petroglyph, "The fact that some prehistoric man made a pictograph of a dinosaur on the walls of this canyon upsets completely all of our theories regarding the antiquity of man. Facts are stubborn and immutable things. If theories do not square with the facts then the theories must change, the facts remain." [Discoveries Relating to Prehistoric Man by the Doheny Scientific Expedition in the Hava Supai Canyon Northern Arizona, Oakland Museum, Oakland California, October and November 1924, p. 5]
There is a very heavy desert varnish on this petroglyph, which authenticates its antiquity and thus its authenticity. This is not a modern forgery. Look at the figure in the lower left portion of the photograph.
The same petroglyph:
Another petroglyph drawn by the Anasazi:
An Egyptian Hieroglyph of a plesiosaur.
A Cree Indian painting discovered near Lake Superior, Canada.
In 1945 a German immigrant discovered clay figurines buried at the foot of El Toro Mountain on the outskirts of Acambaro, Guanajuato, Mexico. Waldemar Julsrud, a knowledgeable archeologist, was told of this find which eventually lead to a collection of over 33,000 ceramic figurines. Many of them are dinosaurs.
These 2500 year old ceramic fired figurines were discovered at the foot of El Toro Mountain on the outskirts of Acambaro, Mexico.
Dinosaur depiction from the middle ages included in Athanasius Kircher's 1678 book Mundus Subterraneus:
Five thousand year old cylinder on the left, modern drawing of Apatosaurus on the right:
This artwork above, left is from a Mesopotamian cylinder seal dated at 3300 BC. (Moortgart, Anton, The Art of Ancient Mesopotamia, 1969, plate 292.)
There are several noteworthy characteristics of the depictions of large dinosaurs, known as sauropods, such as the apatosaurus, as pictured on the cylinder above. Notice the structures on top of the creatures’ heads—perhaps some type of cartilage like the comb of a chicken. Notice also the intertwined necks. Other ancient dinosaur artworks commonly picture the intertwined necks and the head decoration. The dinosaur paintings on the walls of the Ishtar Gate at Babylon, for example, portray the creatures with head decorations.
The clay figurines bellow are from the previously mentioned Chupicuaro Culture (500 BC to 500 AD) found near Acambaro, Guanajuato, Mexico. (Informed testimony concerning the authenticity of the Acambaro artifacts can be found here: http://www.bible.ca/tracks/tracks-acambaro.htm#initial)
For more examples of such clay figurines, go to http://www.bible.ca/tracks/tracks-acambaro-dinos.htm.
Relief of a dragon on an ancient baptismal font in a church near Lagan, Sweden. The church was built in the 12th century. Photograph taken by the author in September, 2009.
Following are more ancient dinosaur depictions:
The gate itself is pictured below:
As we can see, there are numerous artworks of ancient people depicting dinosaurs. There is only one reasonable explanation for these artworks—they were made by people who had seen the dinosaurs themselves or had access to previous artworks made by people who had seen them.
What about written descriptions of dinosaurs? Several ancient historians, including Josephus and Herodotus, wrote about flying reptiles. In addition, ancient literature is filled with references to dragons. (The term “dinosaur” wasn’t coined until 1841; before that time dinosaurs were called “dragons.”) The best ancient written description of a dinosaur, however, is recorded in the book of Job, chapter 40. The next module will describe this creature in detail and will also identify the creature in Job chapter 41.
People are typically amazed that there are so many examples of ancient artworks depicting dinosaurs. In all likelihood, many more will be discovered as time goes on. In contrast to the reality of this ancient art, Charles Darwin predicted that numerous examples of transitional species would be discovered as more archeological research was done. We know today, however, that any such evidence of transitional species is meager at best. The evidence of human knowledge of dinosaurs, however, is impressive and continues to accumulate.
One of the important criteria for a legitimate scientific theory is its usefulness in making predictions. Darwinism has major problems in that regard in that it has provided no predictions whatsoever that have occurred, but at least as far as dinosaurs are concerned at least, creationism has proven to be a good predictor of what we would expect to find in the artworks of ancient peoples.
Sample Lesson Plan
Grade levels: 7-12 and college. College students should also research the recently discovered super-croc (discovered in the Sahara Desert) and the “pre-historic” sharks that weighed up to 50 tons.
1. Learn the factual information relating to the numerous artworks of ancient peoples that picture dinosaurs.
2. Understand the necessity of making accurate revisions of written history based on reliable factual information and objective observation.
3. Understand and evaluate various explanations for these artworks.
4. Understand why accurate information should be the basis of scientific explanations.
5. Recognize the significance of dinosaur art works on needed revisions of world history.
6. Understand that it is difficult for people to change their worldview.
7. Understand that historical writing is always passed through a worldview grid.
8. Recognize the sociological phenomenon known as “group think” (when members of a group all think they say way, they can’t allow for the possibility they might be wrong.)
1. Overhead projector and slides or power-point technology.
2. Student access to the internet.
3. The video Expelled by Ben Stein is highly recommended.
It is recommended that teachers download some or all of the photographs above onto power-point for presentation to the class. Students should be asked to identify and evaluate other artworks of ancient peoples that may also depict dinosaurs.
1. Teachers may wish to lecture on this information or may assign students to the information and resources included on the CMods webpage.
2. Students may engage in research or other projects intended to answer the following questions:
a) How did the Viking sailors determine their position on the globe?
b) One of the reasons for the many Viking settlements was their rapidly expanding population. What factors may have accounted for this expanding population?
c) How do the successful Viking sailing exploits relate to the ancient maps showing South America and Antarctica? (See CMod # 5 “Ancient Maps.”)
d) Why is the Viking settlement of North America in 1,000 AD a “fact” of history?
e) Explore the similarities between the effect Christianity had in the founding of the United States compared to the impact it had on Viking culture. (See CMod # 3, “The American Creed.”)
3. Teachers may wish to ask the following questions: One of the primary rules of historical research is giving the benefit of the doubt to the documents themselves, absent convincing evidence to the contrary. How does that principle apply to the various Icelandic sagas and to the Vinland Map? What about the Zeno Map? Vocabulary: Celestial navigation: determining one’s position on the globe by means of angular measurements between common celestial objects or to the horizon. The Sun and the horizon were most often measured, but the Moon, planets and one or more of 57 navigational stars where also used, their coordinates having been tabulated in nautical almanacs. Besides nautical tables, a sextant and a method of keeping time were required to determine position using this method.
Fact: as in a fact of history, a statement that can be checked and either confirmed or denied. There must be a consensus of scholars in a particular matter for it to be considered a fact. Facts are often contrasted with opinions and beliefs which may be true but are not subject to verification to the same degree as are facts. Fact may also indicate findings derived through a process of evaluation, including review of testimony, direct observation, or otherwise; as distinguishable from matters of inference or speculation. What had once been thought to be facts are sometimes proven false.
Norse Sagas: The word “sagas” comes from the Icelandic language and means “what is said.” Sagas are accounts of ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history, especially about early Viking voyages including migrations to Iceland, Greenland and Vinland. The texts are epic tales in prose, often with stanzas or whole poems embedded in the text. They are commonly of heroic deeds of worthy men who were usually Vikings. Most sagas of Icelanders took place in the period 930–1030 (Age of the Sagas) in Icelandic history. Most were written down between 1190 and 1320. The sagas of kings, bishops, contemporary sagas and the like have their own time frame. It was only recently that the sagas of the voyages to America were authenticated.