Dinosaur Art and Imaginary Creatures
Numerous artifacts from ancient civilizations depict creatures that perfectly match our modern-day descriptions of dinosaurs (see Butt and Lyons, 2008). Those who insist that dinosaurs and humans did not live together, however, claim that the animals illustrated in ancient art that look like dinosaurs are imaginary creatures that have no basis in reality. These people suggest that since we know carvings of imaginary gods, minotaurs, mermaids, and aliens have no basis in reality, neither should we think that dinosaur-like creatures do—regardless of how much they look like dinosaurs. John Clayton wrote:
Finding an ancient picture of a dragon, minotaur, or alien-looking creature and assuming it is in reality what people saw is an incredibly ignorant thing to do. This applies to creationists who try to maintain people of 4,000 years cavorted with dinosaurs, but also to atheists who attempt to explain the origin of life by claiming aliens seeded the planet with DNA packets. There is no evidence for either of these proposals, and neither of them has any historical support” (2007, 34:4. emp. added).
A major problem arises, however, when those such as Clayton attempt to lump “dragons” in with other creatures such as minotaurs or aliens. No physical evidence is available to verify the existence of minotaurs. Furthermore, the laws of biology preclude even the possibility of such. We do not believe the ancients saw minotaurs because we do not believe there ever were minotaurs.
The situation with creatures that look like dinosaurs is much different. Everyone involved in the discussion believes that huge reptiles once roamed the Earth. The question is not, “Did huge reptilian creatures, that match the ancient carvings, exist?” The question is, “Did they exist with humans?” Dinosaurs are not imaginary creatures dismissed by reputable sources. Their bones have been found, fossilized nests uncovered, and their skin impressions studied. Millions of dollars every year pour into dinosaur research. If thousands of minotaur fossils had been found, some of them very close to the carvings that depict creatures that looked just like minotaurs, then minotaurs could not be dismissed as imaginary creatures, and the carvings and drawings could not be dismissed as depictions of imaginary creatures. The difference between art depicting minotaurs and art showing dinosaur-like creatures is that everyone knows dinosaurs existed—that is not up for debate.
Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2008), “Physical Evidence for the Coexistence of Dinosaurs and Humans [Part 1],” Reason & Revelation, 28:17-23, [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/articles/3626.
Clayton, John (2007), “What is Reliable History and What is Not,” Does God Exist?, 34:3-7, July/August.