Dinosaurs fascinate the world. Almost everyone loves dinosaurs, as evidenced by the success of the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World franchise. According to mainstream scientists, dinosaurs have been extinct for somewhere around sixty-five million years. But what if there are still a few dinosaurs living today? What if, a few of them still survive? There are some people, even non-creationists who believe this. So it is not a trivial question. Thousands of dollars are spent annually looking for dinosaurs and other creatures presumed to be long since extinct. It, therefore, behooves Christians to know whether such investigations are worth the time and money invested in them.
The search for extinct and or mythical creatures is referred to as cryptozoology. Cryptozoology is referred to as pseudoscience by the mainstream community. I find this slightly unfair given scientists periodically discover taxa that were believed to have been long extinct (Wollemi pine and Coelocanth come to mind). However, searching for mythical creatures like Bigfoot or Yeti gets lumped into this category so with them in there, I can understand the label. That said, does looking for dinosaurs have merit?
There are still vast tracts of unexplored land on the planet, at least for westerners. Large tracts of Siberia, the Sahara, the Congo Jungle, and the Amazon come to mind as areas where not many westerners have gone. The Congo and the Amazon, in particular, are areas of heavy interest to cryptozoologists, as legends of dinosaur-like monsters are reported in local legends. The “Loch Ness Monster” in Scotland is also one that is frequently postulated as a crypto species. Some creationists have used these, and other, less viable reports, as potential evidence that dinosaurs are still alive.
There are some problems with this idea, however. With the wonders of technology, we are able to observe ever-larger portions of the world with frequent photos from satellites. None of these have yet revealed any of these larger dinosaurs which are supposed to exist. Further, despite numerous expeditions, particularly into the Congo and Loch Ness, no pictures or video have been presented of any of the supposed dinosaurs or other relics of the past. Being that the expeditions have gone on for some years, this is beginning to feel like the search for the Ark: lots of spectacular claims with minimal evidence and a multitude of excuses for why evidence is lacking.
There is a further issue involved which many cryptozoologists do not consider. That is the idea of a population. Organisms do not exist alone. There has to be at least a small population of organisms for breeding purposes. In order to keep the species alive, organisms must mate. In order to prevent a catastrophic genetic bottleneck due to four thousand years of mutations putting a load on the genome, population size needs to be stable around at least a few hundred, usually many more. Geneticists are strongly concerned about cheetahs because they have a population estimated about 6700 and have a very heavy genetic load. Dinosaurs would undoubtedly need similar population sizes to remain stable. How could such a population of large organisms be concealed, even in a large area like the Amazon or Congo? It simply defies belief.
That said, it is important to emphasize that this does not prove that dinosaurs are extinct. It simply means that we currently lack sufficient evidence to claim they are alive. Personally, I would love to find a live dinosaur. As someone who grew up absolutely loving dinosaurs and having a bunch of dinosaur toys and models, being able to see a live one would be an absolute dream come true. That said, I do not expect this to happen.
It is also important to point out that, even if a living dinosaur were to be found, it would do very little to move the needle towards creationism. The reason being, evolution is so malleable it can be made to fit with anything. The evolutionists will simply do what they did with other living fossils like the coelacanth and either ignore it or cite it as evidence of evolution. While some members of the general public might be swayed, most would not as they will simply accept the pronouncements of mainstream scientists and ignore the implications. Thus creationists are probably better off not searching for dinosaurs and instead put their time, energy and money to better purposes.
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