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“The Closest Thing We Have to a ‘Real-Life’ Dragon”

The word “dinosaur” is an English word that was invented in the early 1840s to describe massive, extinct reptiles. It literally means “fearfully great” or “terribly great lizard.” According to the Bible, God created flying creatures on day five of the Creation week and land-living creatures on day six. In addition, God created humans on day six as well, placing the first humans and the huge flying and walking reptiles of the past together in the first week of Creation (Genesis 1). If humans have lived alongside these massive reptiles since the beginning of Creation until their extinction, then we would expect to find some type of evidence of their co-habitation.

One aspect of human behavior that spans virtually all human cultures past and present is the tendency to record facts for future generations about the natural world. When we look into the past, we find that almost every culture had stories about huge walking and flying reptiles. They were not called “dinosaurs,” of course, because the word was not invented. So, what did they call them? The word “dragon” was used frequently in the past to describe massive reptiles.1

In modern times, the word dragon has assumed a mythical connotation. Most people bring to mind fictional stories, such as The Hobbit or The Game of Thrones, and immediately assign the idea of huge flying reptiles that terrorized the ancient landscape to the realm of myth. As we uncover fossils from the past, however, we begin to understand that the stories of flying reptiles mesh perfectly with the biblical account of Creation.

In August of 2021, Jordan Mendoza wrote an article about the fossils of a huge flying reptile discovered in Australia. He began the article with this statement: “The iconic dragons from Game of Thrones may not be real, but something similar to them existed in Australia over 150 million years ago, according to new research.”2 The researchers described a huge skull from a flying reptile known as a pterosaur. The creature’s skull measures approximately three feet long and was filled with 40 knife-like sharp teeth. Researchers named it Thapunngaka shawi, which means “Shaw’s spear mouth,” in recognition of the fossil’s discoverer, Len Shaw. The reptile’s estimated wingspan was over 21 feet. Tim Richards, the doctoral candidate that Mendoza quoted, said: “It’s the closest thing we have to a real-life dragon.”

Consider these facts. We know that ancient humans described flying reptiles as dragons. We know that the Bible says all animals were made on days five and six of Creation. We know a creature that matches many descriptions of a flying dragon once lived in Australia. What conclusion should be drawn from these facts? Flying reptiles such as the Thapunngaka shawi did not live 150 million years ago,3 nor were they separated from humans by 65 million years, as is commonly taught. They were created on day five of Creation, and humans saw them and interacted with them. The multitude of dragon legends, though often embellished, represents exactly what we would expect from humans that saw a huge “spear mouth” or similar flying reptiles.

Endnotes

1 For an extensive discussion on this topic, see Eric Lyons (2007), “Historical Support for the Coexistence of Dinosaurs and Humans,” Reason & Revelation, 27[9]:65-68,69-71, https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=743.

2 Jordan Mendoza (2021), “Researchers Find the Closest Thing to a ‘Real-Life Dragon’ Lived Over 150 Million Years Ago in Australia,” , https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2021/08/11/fossils-pterosaur-australia-real-life-dragon/5568987001/, emp. added.

3 Regarding the flawed assumptions upon which the dating methods are based, see Mike Houts (2015), “Assumptions and the Age of the Earth,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?article=5126.


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