It’s common knowledge that dinosaurs once roamed the earth, though, the cause of their supposed extinction remains a mystery. Today, we’ll look through facts from some of the oldest texts known to man and seek out the hidden truth.
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In 1841, “dinosauria”, or dinosaur, was first used by Sir Richard Owen, a British paleontologist labeled with a remarkable gift for interpreting fossils, in a meeting with the British Association of Human Science. The term dinosauria, meaning terrible lizard, sparked an interest with scholars, leaving Owen to lead the front lines on their history. He used three genera to define the fossils of the dinosaurs he encountered, splitting them into groups of carnivores, herbivores, and armored. His obsession with dinosaurs never slowed, and, with the help of Benjamin Hawkins, he created the first life-size sculptures depicting dinosaurs, as he thought they would have appeared. These life-size sculptures still stand today and were the foundation of the public’s view on dinosaurs.
After the discovery of the first dinosaur fossils, scientists became obsessed with the environment they were found in; the rocks surrounding the fossils, climate changes, and more were all investigated as much as possible. However, many scientists failed to look at history itself as a means of interpreting the life of dinosaurs during their existence.
Even up to the 1890s, roughly 50 years after the publicizing of dinosauria, most dictionaries still did not contain the word. Despite this, many countries had used different terms for centuries to describe a similar, horrific lizard-like creature. One of the most popular terms we hear about today is dragon.
In Japan, it’s Ryu. In Siberia, it’s Yilbega. In England, It’s Wyvern. The reports of dragons have been well-documented throughout the ages through personal encounters, scientific evidence, and mythology. Historia animalium by Konrad Gesner, also known as the “History of the Animals”, is an encyclopedic work of the inventory of renaissance zoology, which attempts to describe all the animals known, and their first bibliography of natural history writings. It consists of 4500 pages spanning 5 volumes, and was listed as a prohibited book by the Catholic Church upon it’s first volume’s publishing in 1551.
Unique to its time, the book included, not only Greek and Biblical descriptions of animals, but information Gesner had gained from dissection. It was based on the Old Testament, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin sources, and the encyclopedic work is a compilation from folklore and ancient and medieval texts. Gesner stated that these animals were extremely rare, and in very small numbers by now, leaving us to believe their existence carried till at least the 1500s.
Through various works, he catalogued basilisks (large, snake-like reptiles) and dragons, along with their medicinal uses alongside those of their reptile cousin, the snake. An example of this would be Gesner’s writing about a dragon fat’s success against creeping ulcers and viper flesh’s effectiveness in theriac, a poison antidote and cure-all commonly used until the late 19th century.
“I heard that on the edge of Germany near Styria, many flying four-legged serpents resembling lizards appeared, winged, with an incurable bite…”
– Konrad Gesner, Historia animalium, 1951
On May 13, 1572, a scientist by the name of Ulysses Aldrovandus encountered a dragon in Italy while walking his oxen home. His account, listed in The Natural History of Serpents and Dragons, can be read below.
The dragon was first seen on May 13, 1572, hissing like a snake. He had been hiding on the small estate of Master Petronius near Dosius in a place called Malonolta. At 5 PM, he was caught on a public highway by a herdsman named Baptista of Camaldulus, near the hedge of a private farm, a mile from the remote city outskirts of Bologna. Baptista was following his ox cart home when he noticed the oxen suddenly come to a stop.
He kicked them and shouted at them, but they refused to move and went down on their knees rather than move forward. At this point, the herdsman noticed a hissing sound and was startled to see this strange little dragon ahead of him. Trembling he struck it on the head with his rod and killed it. Aldrovandus was surprised that the reptile did not run when he saw the man, but instead bravely raised its head and stood its ground.
After killing the animal, Aldrovandus collected its body and created a display out of it for a museum. He described it as “a reptile and the first of this type he had seen”, though it appeared to not pose any real threats. The dragon, described by Aldrovandus, along with the depiction by Konrad Gesner, has amazing similarities to that of the Tanystropheus, as seen below.
One of the most famous explorers of all time, Marco Polo has recorded his chronicles in his book, The Travels of Marco Polo. In it, Polo reports “huge serpents”, giving the impression what he saw was no different than that of the dinosaurs we know today. Below is an excerpt from The Travels of Marco Polo, Book 2, Chapter XL, pg. 185-186.
Leaving the city of Yachi, and traveling ten days in a westerly direction, you reach the province of Karazan, which is also the name of the chief city….Here are seen huge serpents, ten paces in length (about 30 feet), and ten spans (about 8 feet) girt of the body. At the fore part, near the head, they have two short legs, having three claws like those of a tiger, with eyes larger than a forepenny loaf (pane da quattro denari) and very glaring.
The jaws are wide enough to swallow a man, the teeth are large and sharp, and their whole appearance is so formidable, that neither man, nor any kind of animal can approach them without terror. Others are met with of a smaller size, being eight, six, or 5 paces long; and the following method is used for taking them. In the day-time, by reason of great heat, they lurk in caverns, from whence, at night, they issue to seek their food, and whatever beast they meet with and can lay hold of, whether tiger, wolf, or any other, they devour;
After which they drag themselves towards some lake, spring of water, or river, in order to drink. By their motion in this way along the shore, and their vast weight, they make a deep impression, as if a heavy beam had been drawn along the sands. Those whose employment is to hunt them observe the track by which they are most frequently accustomed to go, and fix into the ground several pieces of wood, armed with sharp iron spikes, which they cover with sand in such a manner as not to be perceptible.
When therefore the animals make their way towards the places they usually haunt, they are wounded by these instruments, and speedily killed. The crows, as soon as they perceive them to be dead, set up to scream; and this serves as a signal to the hunters, who advance the spot, and proceed to separate the skin from the flesh, taking care immediately to secure the gall, which is most highly esteemed in medicine.
In cases of the bite of a mad dog, a penny weight of it, dissolved in wine, is administered. It is also useful in accelerating parturition, when the labor pains of women have come on. A small quantity of it being applied to carbuncles, pustules, or other eruptions on the body, they are presently dispersed; and it is efficacious in many other complaints.
The flesh also of the animal is sold at a dear rate, being thought to have a higher flavor than other kinds of meat, and by all persons it is esteemed a delicacy.
For more information regarding historical dinosaur and dragon encounters, please click this link to be taken to the category.
After discussing the possibilities of dragons living within recent centuries, the question arises — if a comet or ice age did not wipe out the dinosaurs, what did? For that, we carry to the next section, Living Proof.
Living Proof After the Flood
In the Biblical telling of Noah’s ark, Noah is tasked with building an ark for him and his family to survive the wiping of humanity through a flood. To preserve life on earth, Noah, additionally, must have two of every species aboard his ark. On this topic alone, there are many controversial ideas to how an ark was big enough to carry these animals, to provide food for them, survive the flood, and simply how he managed to get two of every species onto the ark. Ideas of this range from the generally accepted (gigantic boat that stored a literal two of each animal) to the more controversial (alien spacecraft with DNA databanks filled with each species). In this article, we’ll be dissecting the conservative idea of Noah’s ark and discussing the possibilities.
Many pieces of art, photo representations, and ideas of Noah’s ark depict a large ship leading adult / matured species into a large boat. This may not be the case. Rather, a large boat containing animals in their youth would be a better fit. The reasons for this include:
- Animals in their youth consume less
- Sleep more
- Less waste
- Longer reproductive lifespan
- Lastly, less weight / space
The flood lasted forty days and forty nights, killing all life on earth, minus those on the ark and any aquatic species. The victims of this became a part of the sedimentary rock layers, and the vast fossil record we see throughout the world is proof of this. To add to this, there are over 500 different flood legends of various cultures throughout the globe*.
*For additional interest, a comparison chart between various legends can be seen here.
For life to start anew, the flood waters, which were high enough to destroy most of the earth’s population, would need to settle or evaporate. While there is no scientific evidence to support the claim, the Bible speaks upon how the flood waters were dispersed. Psalm 104:8 states,
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them.
This is to say, the topography of the earth was altered, and the oceans that exist now are remnants of the flood waters from years past.
Whichever way you look at it, life exists now, but we are missing species along the way. After the flood, Noah’s new task was to oversee the repopulation of earth. Dinosaurs, like many other creatures, would have died due to the ice age that occurred after the flood. Besides this, many would have been killed out of sport or necessity, whether that be for food or due to their threat for mankind. With this said, how or where would we find rare animals that were on the verge of extinction?
To date, we have explored less than five percent of the ocean (source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). This, in combination with the ocean covering more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface, leaves much for the open mind with regards to possibilities of prehistoric life.
Believed to be nocturnal, the Peloneustes (pictured) is a sea-dwelling dinosaur that lives primarily in water. Due to this, it would have been extremely difficult for man to hunt down this creature. There are many reputable sources of sightings regarding these types of dinosaurs in recent times, typically labeled as monsters of the deep. In English speaking countries, some of these dinosaurs go by the name of the Loch Ness Monster, the Ogopogo Monster, and the Lake Champlain Monster, which goes by the name of Champ by locals.
The story of the Flood takes places in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Now that we’ve discussed the possibilities of dinosaurs living in waters after the Flood, we’ll discuss the various other references in the Bible in regards to dinosaurs an their existence among us. Keep in mind, the word “dinosaur” was not invented until 1841. The Bible refers to dinosaurs in a number of ways include the words: Dragon, Flying Serpent, Firey Serpent, Liviathan, Cockitrice, and Behemoth.
The word Dragon alone is found twenty-one times in the King James version of the Bible. In the book of Psalms, chapter 44, verse 19, David speaks upon dragons and their curse amongst humanity, seen below:
Thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.
The book of Jeremiah refers to dragons numerously, and touches on the havok brought on by dinosaurs amongst ancient cities and their abilities.
And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.
… they snuffed up the wind like dragons…
And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it.
Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon…
Flying Serpents and Fiery Serpents
Five times throughout the Bible a fiery serpent is mentioned. Typically when it is mentioned, wether it be prior or in the verse itself, the Bible distinguishes the flying serpents as a separate creation than a viper, or a venomous snake, itself.
… for out of the serpent’s root shall come for the cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent
The burden of the beasts of the south; into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence the young and old lion, the viper and the fiery flying serpent
And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, and much of Israel died.
Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water…
Leviathan, which is mentioned five times throughout the Bible, speaks on a large creature that appears to be water dwelling. The book of Job gives reference to this, and the verses are below.
Canst thou draw out a leviathan withan hook? Or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? None is so fierce that dare stir him up… Who can open the doors of his face? His teeth are terrible round about… His teeth are terrible round about… His scales are his pride… Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. Upon the earth there is not his like…
The word “Behemoth” is found only once in the book of Job, dating back roughly 3,500 years ago. The description of the behemoth, who’s original Hebrew meaning stands for a large four legged creature, is extremely detailed.
The following verses is a written record of God himself, followed by a dissection of the verses below:
Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar; the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong as brass… His bones are like bars of iron. He is chief of the ways of God; he that made him can approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusted that he can draw up the Joran river in his mouth.
Due to the old English translation of the text, some of the wording may be confusing to some. For this reason, we’ve broken down each verse, line by line, to give a New World meaning to each.
Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
As mentioned before, the word “behemoth” stands for a large, four-legged creature. This verse signifies God presenting his creation, a large, four-legged creature, who’s diet consists of vegetation (grass, trees, plants).
Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
We see that the creature is extremely powerful, with a large stomach.
He moveth his tail like a cedar;
This verse describes the creature’s tail, and the massive size it has, comparing it to a cedar tree.
the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
An alternate translation of this would be: “the sinews (a piece of tough fibrous tissue uniting muscle to bone) of his thighs are tightly knit together”, creating the impression of a very dense, muscular animal.
His bones are as strong as brass… His bones are like bars of iron.
This further describes how strong the animal is, comparing it to brass and iron, some of the hardest substances known at the time.
He is chief of the ways of God; he that made him can approach unto him.
God is known by most religious denominations to be all mighty and a pinnacle of power. This describes the creature being awe-inspiring, and a timid creature that man can not be afraid of, despite the size and strength.
Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.
The animal is depicted as a herbivore, with the mountains, being filled with trees, being its main source of food.
He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
This is a timid creature who spends most of its time in the shade and by running water. “In the covert of the reed and fens” is a signification of a swampland.
Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusted that he can draw up the Joran river in his mouth.
This final description furthers the point of how massive the animal is, saying the animal could easily swallow up a river while it drinks.
Many rebuttals to these scriptural references include the creature being an elephant or a hippo. However, between having a tail as big as a cedar tree and being able to swallow up a river, it’s clear this is not the case.
In this article, we’ve discussed the origin of the word “dinosaur”, Biblical mentions to historic creatures existing after the flood, and recent record of dinosaurs in this day and age. Despite religious denominations, the Bible is recognized as one of the best historical references to date. No other document has proven to be more accurate and trustworthy than the Bible. There are numerous findings throughout the time of man listing this to be true, including the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls, labeled as the greatest manuscript find of all time, the findings of the tomb and remains of Caiaphas (the High Priest which handed Jesus to the Romans before being nailed to the cross), the discovery of the tomb of Cyrus the Great (listed in numerous books of the Bible), and more have been found throughout history, with each discovery adding to the Bible‘s historical accuracy.
What we are left with is this; if the Bible is listed as historically accurate, with facts and findings to back it up, and this book describes what we believe to be dinosaurs in vivid detail, in combination with the oceans still being 95% undiscovered, who is to say that dinosaurs do not exist today? Combining this thought with the recent studies today, there is no doubt in our mind we have these creatures, albeit rare, among us, in hiding, waiting to be officially discovered.
It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discover has ever controvered a biblical reference. Scores of archaeolotical findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible.
Nelso Glueck – President of Hebrew Union College from 1947 until his death in 1971, with the personal discovery of over 1,500 ancient sites in his lifetime.