What caused the extinction of the dinosaurs?The extinction of the dinosaurs is a captivating mystery. Fossils of these massive creatures have been found across the entire earth, including on Antarctica and many islands. There are numerous theories as to why these great creatures died out, but none have been confidently proven. While many scientists support an evolutionary geological timescale dating dinosaur extinction to 65 million years ago, the Bible and other evidence point to the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans, meaning a much more recent extinction.
Originally scientists believed that gradual climate change impacted dinosaurs' diets, habitats, and physical survival leading to their eventual extinction. However, it is now thought that a major event caused the rapid and widespread death of dinosaurs and various other species. Within today's scientific community there are two widely accepted explanations for dinosaur extinction. Both date the extinction around 65 million years ago between the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods. The extinction itself is known as the Cretaceous-Paleogene or K–Pg event (alternatively, the Cretaceous-Tertiary or K–T event).
The first theory for dinosaur extinction is known as the Impact Event Hypothesis. It is the idea that asteroids hit the earth causing cloudy skies, poor air quality, cooler temperatures, tsunami-like waves, and craters. This sudden and major change instantly killed some plant and animal life while simultaneously destroying the habitats of others without giving them an opportunity to adjust. The Chicxulub Crater in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula contains numerous fragments of iridium which is common in meteorites. Heavy deposits of iridium have been identified in the sedimentary levels between the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods, seemingly supporting the connection between asteroids and the extinction of the dinosaurs.
The second major theory for dinosaur extinction is called the Massive Volcanic Hypothesis. According to this theory, there was a period of continuous volcanic eruptions around the world. They filled the atmosphere with ash and dangerous fumes, contaminated water sources, changed the landscape, and killed plant and animal life. The earth's core is rich in iridium and it is commonly found in the debris from volcanic explosions. The iridium found in between the Cretaceous and Paleogene layers of sediment could have come from volcanic activity rather than asteroids.
Creationists, especially young earth creationists, have different theories for dinosaur extinction. Creationists believe that dinosaurs and humans coexisted. They interpret the Bible's Genesis account of creation as literal and, therefore, believe that both dinosaurs and humans were created on the sixth day. Throughout the world, artwork and petroglyphs from ancient cultures depict dinosaur-like animals interacting with humans. Under a rock formation in the Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah is a drawing of a sauropod. In Kuwait there is artwork showing humans hunting a dinosaur. Cambodia has a stone relief with a carving of a stegosaurs-like creature. The Ica Stones from Peru have a drawing of an animal similar to a triceratops. The drawings closely resemble the anatomy of various dinosaurs reconstructed from fossils. In addition, most cultures have myths describing dragon-like creatures. These cultures oftentimes had no known connection to one another and yet they have accounts of very similar animal encounters. Fossils of footprints contain a mixture of dinosaur, horse, and human specimens within the same sedimentary levels. It is very possible the dinosaurs could have gone extinct in the last six thousand years considering over 20,000 species have been recorded as going extinct in the last century alone.
Many creationists think that the flood of Noah's day (Genesis 6—9) led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Scientists have found many dinosaur fossils in marine levels of sediment. The positioning of the fossils in bone beds and fluid-like sediment patterns suggests they died quickly due to water. In addition, many of the tracks that have been unearthed, such as those traveling from Utah to Colorado, are straight, suggesting the animals were fleeing rather than normal foraging. It is possible that dinosaurs who did survive the flood on Noah's ark had difficulty adjusting to the new environment along with other species that may have died off at that time. It is also possible dinosaurs become a food source for humans after the flood.
Although the actual cause of the dinosaurs' extinction is still certainly up for debate, the Bible clearly supports the existence of dinosaurs and that they lived at the same time as humans. The Hebrew word tanniyn is used various times in the Old Testament and can be translated as "sea monster," "serpent," or "dragon." It is associated with a large aquatic animal that lived concurrently with people in the Old Testament. In the book of Job two dinosaur-like creatures are described. The first is known as the behemoth and is a strong land-dwelling creature: "Behold, his strength in his loins, and his power in the muscles of his belly. He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron" (Job 40:16–18). The second is called the leviathan and is a dragon-like beast of the sea: "Out of his mouth go flaming torches; sparks of fire leap forth. Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, and a flame comes forth from his mouth" (Job 41:19–21).
Are there dinosaurs in the Bible?
Does the Bible say anything about dragons?
What is the behemoth the Bible talks about?
What was the leviathan the Bible talks about?
What was the reason for the flood in the time of Noah?
Truth about Creation