Dinosaur and Human Fossils
Dinosaur fossils have been found on every continent on Earth; humans have inhabited, and continue to inhabit, every continent on Earth. So, it would seem that if dinosaurs and humans really did once live at the same time (as the Bible teaches), human fossils would have been found near, or in the same strata of Earth as, dinosaur fossils. But is there evidence from the fossil record of their coexistence?
At times, questions like these appear somewhat puzzling, at least on the surface. We know from the biblical record that dinosaurs and humans coexisted (Genesis 1; Exodus 20:11). Furthermore, many ancient paintings, rock carvings, and historical references confirm they lived on Earth at the same time (as we have discussed in previous Discovery issues). Still, many wonder why dinosaur and human fossils may not have been found side-by-side in the fossil record.
Fossilization is Rare
First, we must understand that fossils are somewhat rare. That is, it is extremely rare for things once living to fossilize. Dead animals lying in a field do not fossilize. Under normal conditions, living things die then decay and rot. In order for something to become fossilized, it must be buried rapidly in just the right place (such as in a lot of mud, silt, and other fine sediments). In this “protected” environment, once-living things may last long enough to mineralize. But, normally, carcasses do not find themselves in such environments.
Not as Many Dinosaur Fossils as You Think
Although dinosaur graveyards have been discovered in various countries around the world (where thousands of dinosaur bones are jumbled together), there are fewer dinosaur fossils than most people realize. Did you know that nearly half of all dinosaur genera that have been named are based on one, single fossil specimen? What’s more, nearly 75% of the named dinosaurs are represented by five fossil specimens or less. Truly, although dinosaurs have captured the attention of scientists for more than 150 years, their fossilized remains are not as prevalent as many think.
Human Fossils are Extremely Scarce
Given the number of drawings of our alleged human ancestors that often appear in the news, you might get the feeling that human fossils are everywhere; but that is not the case. Humans actually make up a tiny portion of the fossil record. In the past few decades, scientists have become increasingly frustrated with the lack of these fossils. In fact, one scientist has admitted that “the mantra of all paleontologists” is “we need more fossils!”
Simply because human fossils may not have been found with dinosaur fossils does not make the case for the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans any less credible. Think about it: Where are the human fossils that have been found with the recently extinct Pyrenean Ibex? Can we prove that Dodo birds and humans once lived together by observing their fossilized remains together in a particular layer of rock? We know that they once coexisted, but can a person point to the fossil record for such information? Probably not. The truth is, the chance of finding human fossils is extremely rare. The chance of finding an exact combination of fossils is even less likely.
A Lesson Learned from Gingko Trees
Evolutionists believe Gingko trees were living on Earth 240 million years ago (before dinosaurs supposedly evolved). Interestingly, Gingko fossils are absent in rock layers that are allegedly many millions of years old, yet they are alive today. Thus, simply because they are absent in certain rock strata does not mean they were non-existent during the alleged millions of years it took those layers of rock to form. Likewise, simply because human fossils are missing in certain layers of rock does not mean they were not living on Earth at the time those rock layers were formed. Humans, just as easily as Gingko trees, could have been alive when the various rock layers were formed, without leaving human fossils.
Humans and the Flood
It could very well be that in the time of Noah the human population was confined mainly to the Middle East, while most dinosaurs roamed in other parts of the world. If that was the case, and the global Flood of Noah’s day was the catalyst that eventually brought about many of the fossils on Earth, then one would not expect to find many (if any) humans buried with dinosaurs.
Also, after the Flood, Noah’s descendants chose to “stay put” for more than a century, resisting God’s command to “fill the Earth” (read Genesis 9:1,7; 11:1-9). In contrast, the animals from the ark likely began to migrate around the world shortly after the Flood. Thus, if various fossils were formed several decades after the Flood, again, one would not expect to find human fossils with many of the animal fossils.
It may be that dinosaur and human fossils are never found together. Whether they are or not, the evidence for the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs at one time in the past is decisive. Nothing has ever disproved the biblical teaching that God created everything in six days.
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