Could Humans Live With Dinosaurs?

From Issue: Discovery 4/1/2004

Why is it so hard for most people to believe that dinosaurs and humans once lived together? One of the main reasons is because people living in the 21st century are used to thinking that all dinosaurs were enormous killing machines. People think that they would have killed all of the humans by biting them in half with their super-sized teeth, or by hunting them down and cutting them open with five-inch-long claws. People think that the large plant eaters would have crushed humans with their massive feet or by striking them with their huge tales. Humans are just too small, unintelligent, and scrawny to have lived during the time of the dinosaurs, right? That seems to be the way many evolutionary scientists, moviemakers, and magazine editors portray these terrible lizards. But it is wrong.

Truly, dinosaurs were amazing creatures. But have you ever stopped to consider what kind of mighty creatures hu-mans live with on the Earth today? Elephants, for example, are the largest land-living animals in the world today. Some reach weights of up to 22,000 pounds, and could easily crush a man just by stepping on him. Yet, for thousands of years hu-mans have been known to live with, and tame, these creatures. Over 2,200 years ago, the em-pire of Carthage used tamed African elephants (the largest elephants in the world) to battle the Romans. Today, many elephants are still being controlled by man. Tame elephants are used in various Asian countries to perform in religious ceremonies, or to do physical labor like hauling lumber or transporting people from place to place. Tamed elephants are also frequently seen performing at circuses.

Humans have been able to live alongside elephants for thousands of years. Some hu-mans and elephants even have become good “friends.” So why is it so hard for people to think of humans living next to some of the large dinosaurs? Yes, some dinosaurs like Brachiosaurusgrew to be about four times larger than the largest elephants. But, if man can work with, play, and go to battle alongside (or on top of) elephants—the largest land animals on Earth today—it surely is not absurd to think humans did similar things with certain dinosaurs.

Whales are the largest animals that have ever existed on Earth—larger than any elephant or dinosaur. Blue whales have been known to weigh as much as 400,000 pounds, have a heart the size of a small car, and a tongue large enough to hold 50 people. Yet, humans have hunted many species of whales for centuries. Some people today ride in small boats,and even swim, next to some of these massive creatures.

Killer whales are another one of God’s magnificent creatures that live with us on this Earth. Killer whales are one of the oceans’ fiercest predators, and are able to kill much larger whales when swimming in packs (known as “pods”). Killer whales hunt so well that very few animals can escape from them. Killer whales eat thousands of pounds of mammal meat every year. Seals, sea lions, walruses, otters, polar bears, and even a moose have all been found in the stomachs of these vicious creatures.

Amazingly, these large “killing machines” (weighing as much as 10,000 pounds) can be captured, tamed, and trained to do all sorts of things. The fam-ous orcas (another name for kill-er whales) living at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, occasionally take their trainers for rides on their backs. Trainers of killer whales have even been known to stick their heads in-side the whales’ mouths (which usually hold about 40-56 large, 3-inch-long teeth) without getting bitten.

How can a 150-pound man teach a 10,000-pound whale how to jump over hurdles, ring bells, and perform other neat tricks without being harmed? The answer is found (at least partly) in Genesis 1:27-28:

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdueit; have dominionover the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

The reason man can tame even the largest and most vicious creatures on Earth is because God created man higher than animals, and gave him the ability to “subdue” them and have “dominion” over them.

If man can live with and tame such amazing creatures as the elephant, the blue whale, the killer whale, lions, tigers, and bears, it should not be hard to understand that man could have lived with, and possibly even tamed, the dinosaurs.


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