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Discovery Magazine 08/01/2001

Discovering Dinosaurs!

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

The first discovery of dinosaurs in recent times occurred in the spring of 1822. Gideon Mantell, a country doctor from Great Britain with life-long passion for collecting fossils, set off by horse and buggy to treat a patient in the English countryside. His wife Mary Ann went along to keep him company. While Dr. Mantell tended to his patient, Mrs. Mantell took a stroll and came across a pile of stones alongside the road. Among those stones, she saw what appeared to be some large fossilized teeth. She scooped them up and took them back to show to her husband who was amazed, never having seen such huge teeth before. He went to the nearby rock quarry from which the stones had been cut and found more teeth similar to those found by his wife. Although he showed the teeth to several scientists, none agreed with him that they were from some kind of previously unknown creature. However, he was stubbornly sure that they were. In 1825, he finally named the long-dead owner of the teeth Iguanodon ("iguana-tooth") since the teeth were like those of an iguana, but much larger. Several years later, more teeth like these were discovered in a different quarry. Now, no one doubted that Iguanodon once existed. Meanwhile, huge bones of another creature- named Megalosaurus- had been dug up farther away in Oxford shire. By 1842 enough of these fossils had been discovered to convince the leading British anatomist, Richard Owen, that a whole tribe of huge, lizard-like reptiles had lived in the past. Based on his studies, Dr. Owen (who worked at the British Museum of natural History in London) named them “dinosaurs” (from the Greek words deinos and sauros, translated by him as “fearfully great lizards”)- known to us today as “Terribly great lizards.”

The question no longer was, “Did the dinosaurs exist?” The question was, “When did the dinosaurs exist?” And therein lies the controversy, even today. Evolutionists believe that dinosaurs evolved more than 165 million years ago, and became extinct approximately 65 million years ago. Those of us who accept the Bible as God’s Word and have looked at the evidence know better, of course, because we understand that God created everything in six days (Exodus 20:11). Dinosaurs di not “evolve.” Rather they were created by God and lived on the Earth at the same time as man. Imagine how wonderful it would have been to live back then, and to see a 100-ton dinosaur. Imagine too, how powerful and how awesome God must be-if He has the power to create something as majestic as dinosaurs! Then, remember that this powerful, awesome God loves you!

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