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Reason and Revelation Volume 25 #3

A Trip Out West—To See the “Dinosaurs”

Every now and then, an opportunity arises to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip. This was one of those opportunities. After co-authoring our dinosaur book for kids, Dinosaurs Unleashed, we wanted to delve even deeper into several of the intriguing facts regarding dinosaurs. Initially, the Dinosaur National Monument bone quarry was to be our only destination. But after several hours of research, we learned that all sorts of remarkable dinosaur fossils and ancient Indian artifacts were within a few hundred miles of the quarry. Following a turbulent flight from Denver, and after having driven 1,100 miles in two days in a rented SUV, we returned home loaded with information, and even more determined to disprove the false, evolutionary idea that dinosaurs and humans never lived together. Join us as we offer up a brief summary of our journey.

DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT

We arrived in Hayden, Colorado, on Thursday, May 20, 2004, at about 12:30 p.m. Our rented vehicle was ready, and we quickly loaded our things. From Hayden, we drove 124 miles west, just across the Utah border, to the Dinosaur National Monument fossil quarry. This particular quarry is one of the largest fossil repositories in the world, where over 1,600 fossilized dinosaur bones are buried (“Dinosaur National Monument,” 2004).

Built around the major rock face that contains the fossils is a museum, which offers some interesting information about the early discovery of the monument in 1909. It also propagates the standard evolutionary refrain that the dinosaurs lived millions of years ago (as is the case with almost every federally funded dinosaur exhibit we saw).

Museum built around fossils
Fossils in rock face in museum

One intriguing thing about the monument is the explanation that is given regarding the cause of this huge fossil graveyard. The wall opposite the rock face contains a large painted mural. This mural shows various dinosaurs wading through deep water. Under the mural, a placard reads: “After a seasonal flood: This scene of 145 million years ago is based on clues found in the rock face behind you. Carcasses brought downstream by the fast-moving, muddy water were washed onto a sandbar. Some were buried completely by tons of sand—their bones preserved in a nearly perfect state” (emp. added).

Interesting, is it not, that such a huge fossil graveyard is said to have occurred because of a “seasonal flood”? Further research has shown that many fossil finds are explained using a seasonal, regional, or flash-flood scenario. In November 1999, University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno uncovered a 65-foot-long dinosaur called Jabaria. This skeleton was almost 95% complete. And what was the explanation for its burial? “It looks as though the dinosaurs may have been caught in an ancient flash flood and buried quickly” (“Dinosaur Articles,” 1999, emp. added). Robert Sanders, in an article copyrighted by the Regents of the University of California, described a huge pterosaur graveyard by noting: “The fossil bones were found strewn throughout an ancient flood deposit in Chile’s Atacama desert,

Seasonal flood painting
On the wall opposite the fossils, a large painting shows a picture of what scientists think caused the fossils to form. Notice that the writing displayed under the picture suggests that the fossils formed during a flood. We have circled the words in the paragraph that explain. While the comments on the millions of years is incorrect, the idea that a flood caused the fossils fits perfectly with the biblical idea of Noah's Flood. Text explaining picture above with key words circled

suggesting that they were animals or corpses caught up in a flood perhaps 110 million years ago at the beginning of the Cretaceous period” (“Pterosaur Insights,” 1995, emp. added).

On the BBC Website, there is an article discussing the series, “Walking With Dinosaurs,” which explains that much of the information for the first episode of “Walking With Dinosaurs” came from a fossil find called the Ghost Ranch, located near Abaquiu, New Mexico. The text describes this site as one of the richest fossil finds in the world. How does the article explain the fact that so many dinosaurs were buried suddenly? “Palaeontologists believe that the collection of fossils was the result of a mass death around a dwindling water resource during a drought. Before the bodies of the animals were eaten by scavengers, a flash flood buried them in muddy sediments where they were preserved” (“Dig Deeper,” n.d., emp. added).

How interesting to learn that evolutionists explain many of the largest dinosaur graveyards in the world as having been caused by a flood, though they are quick to include words such as seasonal, flash, regional, and the like. Yet, after looking at several such explanations, it quickly becomes apparent that if so many of these graveyards were caused by a huge flood, then the global Flood of Noah’s day provides an excellent explanation for many of the dinosaur graveyards we find today.

After reading the multiple placards, taking numerous pictures, and asking various questions, we loaded up and began our five-hour drive to Blanding, Utah, where we hoped to get up at sunrise the next day and see one of the clearest dinosaur petroglyphs in the world.

NATURAL BRIDGES NATIONAL MONUMENT

On the underside of the third largest natural bridge in the world (Kachina Bridge), several petroglyphs and pictographs exist, which rock-art experts believe to be anywhere from 500 to 1,500 years old. The carvings are thought to be the work of the Anasazi Indians who once lived in that area of southeastern Utah. A mountain goat, a human figurine, multiple handprints, and many other carvings and drawings are seen quite easily underneath the bridge on both sides of the span. The most fascinating piece of rock art at Kachina Bridge, however, is the petroglyph of a dinosaur found to the right of the span about ten feet up from the ground. This figure, which is carved into the rock, has a long, thick tail, a long neck, a wide midsection, and a small head. Any unbiased visitor to Kachina Bridge would have to admit that this particular petroglyph looks like a dinosaur—specifically an Apatosaurus (more popularly known as Brontosaurus).

After examining this petroglyph firsthand and taking many pictures of it, as well as of the surrounding rock art, we proceeded to the Natural Bridges National Monument visitor’s center where we spoke with one of the staff members at the front desk. Upon informing her that we had just hiked down to the base of Kachina Bridge, she immediately asked if we saw the petroglyph that resembles a dinosaur. We acknowledged that we had, and then asked her how “they” explain such an anomaly? (If, according to evolutionary scientists, humans never lived with dinosaurs, how did the Anasazis, who inhabited southeastern Utah from A.D. 500 to 1450, carve such an accurate picture of an Apatosaurus onto the side of a rock wall?) Her response: “They don’t really want to explain it.” After politely pressing the woman for more information, she indicated that the dinosaur petroglyph was carved too early to be a horse, because the Anasazis did not have horses. She also commented that some people actually think it really is a picture of a dinosaur, but “they are crazy.” She further explained that there are petroglyphs that resemble mammoths around this area. So the petroglyph at Kachina Bridge may be just “some monster” that the Anasazis carved onto rock.

The only other animal that the staff member at Natural Bridges National Monument seemed to think that the petroglyph in question could have been was a horse. But, according to her own testimony, the Anasazi Indians were a horseless people.

Kachina Natural Bridge
Seen here from several hundred feet away, the Kachina Natural Bridge is the third largest in the world.

(Spanish settlers did not introduce the horse to America until the late sixteenth century.) Thus, she concluded it is some kind of monster. This “monster,” however, looks exactly like the scientific reconstruction of the large sauropod dinosaur known as Apatosaurus. It is no wonder that this woman earlier admitted that scientists “don’t really want to explain” this petroglyph. They do not want to deal with it, because they cannot logically find a way to explain it away.

Interestingly, no one with whom we spoke about the petroglyph, nor any reputable writer whose works that we have consulted on the matter, has challenged the authenticity of the petroglyph. In fact, two well-known rock-art experts have written about this particular petroglyph, and neither has suggested that it is a modern-day forgery. Francis Barnes, an evolutionist and widely recognized authority on rock art of the American Southwest, observed in 1979: “There is a petroglyph in Natural Bridges National Monument that bears a startling resemblance to a dinosaur, specifically a Brontosaurus, with long tail and neck, small head and all.” Barnes also pointed out that other animals, such as impalas, ostriches, and mammoths, are seen on rock-art panels in the southwest that either have been long extinct in the western hemisphere or were never here at all. “Such anomalous rock art figures can be explained away,” wrote Barnes, “but they still tend to cast doubt upon the admittedly flimsy relative-time age-dating schemes used by archaeologists” (Barnes and Pendleton, 1979, pp. 201-202). More than twenty years later, evolutionary geologist Dennis Slifer wrote about this petroglyph in his Guide to Rock Art of the Utah Region.

At the base of Kachina Bridge are approximately one hundred elements, both petroglyphs and pictographs, dating from A.D. 700-1250. These include a series of red handprints and a large red butterfly-like figure, spirals, bighorn sheep, snake-like meandering lines, a white pictograph of a chain-like design, and some geometric petroglyphs.... One of the most curious designs is a petroglyph that resembles a dinosaur, which is apparently Anasazi origin based on its patination (2000, p. 105).

Kachina Natural Bridge
To help you see the image, we have enhanced the color of certain portions and circled both the human figure in the upper left-hand section and the dinosaur figure to the right.

Following these comments, Slifer placed a diagram of the petroglyph in question—the diagram looks exactly like a dinosaur (specifically, some kind of large sauropod).

Both Barnes and Slifer know that the dinosaur petroglyph at Natural Bridges National Monument shows every sign of age. One can be sure that, if there were any orthodox way to explain it away, they would have attempted to do so. In fact, earlier in his book, Slifer did not hesitate to state his systematic objections to another particular piece of rock art that some have asserted is a pictograph of an extinct pterosaur (see pp. 59-63). The petroglyph at Kachina Bridge, however, was not, and could not, be explained away in any logical fashion.


THE DINOSAUR MUSEUM

What could further verify that this particular petroglyph depicts an actual dinosaur that was seen by the Anasazi Indians? As we pondered this question, we could think of at least one piece of evidence that would bolster this conclusion. If we could verify that Apatosaurus had ever lived in the area, then that would lend credence to the idea that the Anasazis had seen them. Had apatosaur bones been found anywhere close to the bridge?

The Dinosaur Museum

We did not have to search long for the answer to this question. We traveled the 45 miles back to Blanding, Utah, where we had planned to stop and eat a late breakfast and visit a museum (appropriately titled The Dinosaur Museum). Within a few minutes of the tour, we were directed to two actual fossils (not replicas) of a dinosaur hip. Interestingly, the dinosaur who once owned the bones just happened to be an Apatosaurus. The bones had been found over forty years earlier in the Blanding area.

There it was, almost like a puzzle for us to put together—an ancient petroglyph that looked just like an Apatosaurus, with bones from the very same type of animal, found within 50 miles of the carving. Taken together, this type of evidence presents an amazing case for the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans.

Eric Lyons posing with <i>Apatosaurus</i> bones

All in all, the trip out West was a huge success. We were able to do a little “firsthand” research, and we came back with even more evidence for the accuracy of the Genesis account of Creation and the Flood. If in the future, you decide to take a trip to this area of the United States to visit one of the many dinosaur attractions, we suggest that you arm yourselves and your children with the type of information provided in this article (and that we at Apologetics Press attempt to provide on a regular basis). Evolutionists have used dinosaurs long enough to teach their false world view. It is time we take them back, and use them to teach about the awesome power of the One Who created these magnificent creatures.

REFERENCES

Barnes, F.A. and Michaelene Pendleton (1979), Canyon Country Prehistoric Indians: Their Cultures, Ruins, Artifacts and Rock Art (Salt Lake City, NV: Wasatch Publishers).

“Dig Deeper” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dinosaurs/dig_deeper/finds_ 1.shtml#top.

“Dinosaur Articles 1999” (1999), [On-line], URL: http://www.crystalinks.com/dinosaurs3.html.

“Dinosaur National Monument” (2004), [On-line], URL: http:// www.desertusa.com/dino/.

Sanders, Robert (1995), “Pterosaur Insights,” [On-line], URL: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/1995/0503.pterosaur.html.

Slifer, Dennis (2000), Guide to Rock Art of the Utah Region (Santa Fe, NM: Ancient City Press).



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