Studying the Dinosaurs from a Creation Viewpoint

“T-Rex! (ROAR!) I’m a tyrannosaurus… I’m the biggest carnivore in the Cretaceous Forest!”
– Buddy, PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train
No subject of the past is more interesting to young students than the topic of dinosaurs.  For thousands of years, humans have known about bones which were obviously from animals unlike anything they had ever seen before. In the last century and a half, dinosaur hunters have been scouring the land for more bones and other evidence of these reptiles. In fact bone rushes have pitted scientist against scientist in the race to identify more and bigger dinosaurs. Movies like the Jurassic Park series have struck terror into the hearts of thousands of young people worldwide. As well, the same movies have warned us of the growing abilities of geneticists to clone living animals, and perhaps in the future, those animals which are not.
Other controversies rage within the ranks of those who study dinosaurs.  The differences between evolution and creation exist not only with respect to time to accomplish the formation of today’s fauna. The evolutionary view of the dinosaurs and their time periods is much different from that of creationism.
An evolutionist, using the Geologic Time Chart, teaches that the dinosaurs lived during the Mesozoic Era made up of Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods.
These three periods would cover the time period from 225 million years ago to 64 million years ago.  During this time, multiple swallow seas covered vast tracts of land at various intervals. Also during this time, the continents broke apart into the several continents we see today as they moved slowly away from each other. Each of these periods was characterized by fairly specific assemblages of flora and fauna, by which strata may be dated as well as identified. The end of the dinosaurs happened at the time of the K-T extinctions, perhaps caused indirectly by an astronomical event such as a meteor collision and its accompanying effects. The term K-T extinctions refers to the large-scale die off of species in the boundary between the Cenozoic Era and the Tertiary Era. So many organisms went extinct that this boundary has become legendary in the field of historical geology.
A creationist sees an entirely different picture. The foundational idea is that the dinosaurs, although created during the period of creation with the other organisms of the Earth, probably did not survive the Great Flood. This flood was no mere localized flood, but a catastrophic deluge of water accompanied by meteorological effects and vulcanism. The low number of dinosaurs which would have been saved from the deluge were perhaps not a large enough gene pool to survive the planetary recovery period. So, effectively, the flood signaled the end of the dinosaurs.  (This is just a theory, of course, no one really knows what happened to the dinosaurs.) The time of the dinosaurs coincided with the presence of humans, so that humans were probably aware of them. Secondary evidence of this occurs in the Book of Job (Job 40:15-24) as well as the anecdotal evidence of legendary monsters, like dragons and sea monsters. The separation of the continents occurred after the flood and during the time of memory of men (Genesis 10:25) and so would have affected not only the dinosaurs but the human population. The different flora and fauna assemblages recorded in the fossil record are explained by different environmental conditions and geographical isolation.
In order to provide some consistency between these views and in order that students may be able to make the conceptual leap between evolutionary and creationist views of the dinosaurs in their studies, I shall explain a way to understand these concepts. This method will not work for all geological time periods, but should work well for the Mesozoic.
Because the floral and faunal assemblages are so isolated and unique, I would like to use the period names as not only times but also ecosystems. So, Cretaceous would well describe a time period for the evolutionist, or an ecosystem containing the assemblages usually associated with the period for the creationist. While there are other very different aspects to these two views of beginnings, if we make this one adjustment, creationists can easily use resources written by and for evolutionists.
Evolutionary Framework Creationist Framework
Jurassic Period Jurassic Ecosystem
Triassic Period Triassic Ecosystem
Cretaceous Period Cretaceous Ecosystem
Note: This post is also the introduction to One Week Off unit study in Dinosaurs and Other Strange Creatures of the Past by Kathleen Julicher and Sarah Julicher, available at Castle Heights Press.
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  1. Human Ape October 24, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    "Creationism is gaining support within the scientific communities."

    That's not true at all. There isn't one biologist in the entire world who doesn't love evolution. They all agree creationism is a childish religious myth.

    Are you intentionally being dishonest?

  2. Karl October 25, 2010 at 5:48 am #

    Creationism isn't gaining anything. It's not even a science neither is intelligent design. When will educators start getting an education themselves.

    Please allow me to help…

  3. esther October 27, 2010 at 6:13 am #

    Thank you for your interest in the Homeschool Science blog. Of course it is never my intention to be dishonest, neither is it my intention to debate creation vs. evolution in this forum.

    When this article was originally written in conjunction with one of our textbooks, the ID movement had just started. I believe that is where the sentence originated: "Creationism is gaining support within the scientific communities" It is also not my intention to discuss here whether ID theory is masquerading as creationism.

    Noting that I do not move in scientific circles and have no way to show one way or another what theory is gaining or losing ground (creation, ID, evolution, flying spaghetti monster), I'll simply edit the post to remove that sentence and the blog post can stand as written with its intent to provide a way to study dinosaurs from a creation perspective.

    Again, thank you for your interest in Homeschool Science.


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