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Discovery Magazine 7/1/2007

Dragon Myths or Dinosaur Descriptions?

If dinosaurs and humans once walked the Earth together (as the Bible clearly teaches they did—read Exodus 20:11), it makes sense to conclude that humans would have left behind at least two different types of evidence. First, similar to how we take pictures of places we visit and wildlife we see in modern times, those living hundreds or thousands of years ago would likely have drawn or carved pictures of dinosaurs, as well as many other animals. (Indeed, we have seen that is exactly what they did). Second, just as we tell stories today of things that we have seen and heard, ancient people would also have told stories about dinosaurs, if they ever saw these creatures. Do such stories exist? They certainly do.

A wide variety of stories of large reptiles have been passed down from cultures all over the world. Many of these creatures sound very much like dinosaurs, or dinosaur-like reptiles. However, they are not called dinosaurs in these stories, but dragons. Since the term “dinosaur” (meaning “fearfully great reptile”) was not invented until the early 1840s, stories told before of “fearfully great reptiles” would not have included the word “dinosaur.” Instead, the name attached to these creatures was “dragon.”

Stories about dragons were around long before we learned about dinosaurs in modern times from the fossil record. The Chinese told of one ancient emperor who raised a dragon in his palace. In the 1200s, Italian explorer Marco Polo wrote of seeing long, two-legged reptiles (called “lindworms”) while passing through central Asia. Around A.D.1450, Englishmen reported seeing two huge reptiles fighting on the banks of the river Stour. The ancient Babylonians told about a four-legged, scaly, powerful creature with a long neck, a horned head, a lengthy tail, and a snake-like tongue. This animal, which they called sirrush, is even shown on a gate discovered in 1899 next to two real animals: a lion and a bull.  Many people believe that sirrush also was a real animal.

Have some dragon legends been exaggerated over time? Of course. Just as people today tend to embellish the size of a fish they have caught or the size of a dog that chased them home, people in the past said some things about dragons that may not be true. But, such inaccuracies do not mean dragons never lived.

Any honest person who reads the various dragon legends must admit that the creatures in these stories do not sound like animals currently living on Earth. Large reptiles with long necks, scaly skin, horned heads, four legs, and long tales sound like dinosaurs. Dragon legends about flying snake-like reptiles with two legs, large wingspans, slender tails, and toothed beaks sound much more like the dinosaur-like, flying reptiles of the past (Quetzalcoatlus, Rhamphorhynchus, and Pterodactyl) than any animal alive today. Even the stories of massive, powerful sea reptiles, at least one of which breathed fire (read Job 41:18-21), sound very much like some of the dinosaur-like, marine reptiles of the past.

What good reason exists for the hundreds of dragon legends all around the world? Why did people in different places and times, separated by thousands of miles, all come up with stories of giant reptiles that sound more like extinct dinosaurs than any other animal on Earth? The reasonable answer is: humans and dinosaurs once lived together, and stories of their interaction were passed down from generation to generation. Evolutionists, however, must continue to reject the obvious in order to believe that dinosaurs became extinct 60 million years before humans were present on Earth.

Stories of dragons are not the most powerful proof that dinosaurs and humans lived together in the past, but they still show that dinosaurs and humans once lived at the same time. Truly, evolutionists cannot explain away these “dinosaur descriptions.”

Copyright © 2007 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

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