Was There Ever an ‘Age of Dinosaurs’?

Most of you know that birds [but not mammals] descended from dinosaurs. They all lived together for a while, until the meteorite strike that killed the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. Some of the mammals and birds survived — as well as a few species of smaller reptiles, and the result is the world we know today.

But not everyone sees things like that. Your Curmudgeon likes to keep an open mind, so lets consider the views of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

At the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry, he just posted Did Mammals Gnaw on Dinosaur Bones? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Did small mammals scavenge dinosaur bones? [Yeah, probably.] A new study looked at tiny bite marks on the bones of massive long-necked dinosaurs, the sauropods, and concluded small scavenging mammals gnawed away at the bones. [Not surprising. ] This makes sense within the context of the global flood. [What?]

A wee bit of a non sequitur there, but let’s stay with it. Oh, that “new study” Hambo mentioned was in New Scientist. Here’s the article Hambo’s talking about: Tiny mammals once scavenged meat from giant dinosaur carcasses, but you need a subscription to read it. Hambo says:

As the floodwaters rose [Hee hee!], dinosaurs and other creatures were drowned. Some were rapidly buried by the sediments carried in the water. Others drowned, and their decaying carcasses washed up on shore, where scavengers nibbled on a free meal. Eventually, rising floodwaters buried those remains, drowning and perhaps burying the scavengers along with them.

Lovely description. It’s almost as if Hambo had been there to see it happen. He tells us:

What were these mammals? The popular summary of this new study states,

[Hambo quotes New Scientist:] The first mammals were small and elusive . . . The bone fragment came from the long neck of a sauropod dinosaur, which lived in what is now China in the late Jurassic around 160 million years ago. By this time dinosaurs had dominated ecosystems for tens of millions of years. Mammals lived alongside them, but most were small and unobtrusive while the dinosaurs ruled.

Hambo doesn’t like that. He begins to rant:

Why do evolutionists believe only small mammals existed at the supposed “time of the dinosaurs”? Indeed, why do they believe there was a “time of the dinosaurs” at all?

Yeah, why? After all, that info isn’t in the bible. Hambo tries to explain why those crazed evolutionists believe as they do:

Well, it’s because of the order in the fossil record. [Skipping Hambo’s description.] Evolutionists interpret this relative order (remember — it’s just a relative order; for example, we find some fossils of birds — and many other creatures we are familiar with today — buried in the same layers as dinosaurs) as evidence of creatures that had evolved and lived during supposedly different epochs of time. Therefore, they believe dinosaurs, since their fossils only appear in certain layers, must have lived only during those epochs of time. All of this is an interpretation, based on evolutionary beliefs, that’s imposed on the evidence.

Evolutionary beliefs are imposed on the evidence? That’s an outrage! It’s a good thing we have ol’ Hambo to make us aware of these things. He continues:

Creationists don’t deny that this relative order by and large exists. But we have a very different way of looking at it (and interpreting it) because we have a different starting point, the Bible, and a different history: the eyewitness account given in God’s Word.

With that for a starting point and reliable eyewitness testimony, how can you go wrong? Let’s read on:

We believe the order in the fossil record is a record of the rising floodwaters burying various ecosystems as they rose. [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!] As the waters began to rise, it makes sense that ocean ecosystems would be first to be buried, followed by coastal ecosystems, then ones further inland (interestingly, marine invertebrates are found throughout most of the layers — clearly pointing to a deluge of water over the globe!). It’s not a record of long time — it’s a record of order of burial.

That’s the way to do it! Another excerpt:

So, were only small mammals around when the dinosaurs lived? No, all the mammal kinds of today, and the ones that are extinct, lived at the same time as dinosaurs [Not only elephants, but humans too — like Raquel Welch!], and those that weren’t on the ark drowned and were buried.

That’s great creationist history! Here’s the end of Hambo’s essay — something for you to ponder:

Two different starting points — man’s word vs. God’s Word — result in two different interpretations of the same evidence.

Well, dear reader, you have a decision to make. How much longer are you going to cling to man’s word, when ol’ Hambo is trying his hardest to save you from the Lake of Fire?

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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31 responses to “Was There Ever an ‘Age of Dinosaurs’?

  1. Christine Marie Janis

    Um, mammals didn’t descend from dinosaurs.

    But, with respect to “how do we know there were only small mammals around at the time of the dinosaurs”? Well, we have the fossils, we win.

    BTW, other creationists have tried to insinuate that there were indeed large mammals around at the time of the dinosaurs, but that scientists are hiding the evidence. See here:

  2. “As the waters began to rise, it makes sense that ocean ecosystems would be first to be buried”
    Perhaps it’s because I’m not a native English speaker, but this I don’t understand. Is Ol’Hambo saying that ecosystems in water was buried by …. water?!

    @ChristineMJ beats me: “that there were indeed large mammals around at the time of the dinosaurs”
    Indeed I was going to ask where the elephant fossils are, cozily side by side with brontosaurs.

    “Um, mammals didn’t descend from dinosaurs.”
    Neither did birds descend from them. Given cladistics old terminology makes little sense anymore. Not that Ol’Hambo will ever care.

  3. Christine Marie Janis

    Whoops, so sorry. I thought that the link would take people to my review of that dreadful book, but apparently not. OK, so here it is. (BTW, birds did indeed descend from dinosaurs.)

    Rhinos with the dinos?

    In this book medical doctor Carl Werner and his photographer wife travel the world to find the evidence in support of evolution, and the book contains many glossy photos of fossils and “scientists who support evolution”. His specific experiment predicted “I would find modern plant and animals species in dinosaur rock layers if evolution was not valid” p. 28. Well, this certainly seems to be a case of “Seek and ye shall find” (Matthew 7.7). But did the Werners actually find this evidence?

    I shall restrict myself to discussion of the mammal fossil remains (but first note that there is nothing in evolutionary theory that mandates that all organisms have to evolve at some constant rate: examples of organisms who have retained a similar form over Millennia are well known to science, and this has never been a problem for scientists).

    Werner notes (p. 171) that mammal fossils have been known from the “dinosaur rock layers” since 1812, but he seems to think that evolutionists prefer to ignore these fossils and leave them in the rock (p. 173). After all, if it is true (which it is not) that people have not bothered to collect these bones “— it could perpetuate the illusion that mammals were rare during dinosaur times and undermine my effort to test evolution.” Oh come now, Dr. Werner, we need just the *one* Precambrian rabbit, remember?

    Werner then takes various newspaper headlines such as “Jurassic `Beaver’ from China”, and makes claims from his own observations of photographs of the skeletons that these animals were just like modern mammals. On p. 252 he concludes “opponents of evolution may also suggest that if evolution is true then modern-appearing mammals — should not be found in dinosaur rock layers”.

    This is a bold statement, but are these mammals actually like modern mammals? There are only so many ways to “be a mammal” in terms of ecological specialties, so of course an ancient swimming form might look a little like a beaver. After all, a platypus is a bit like a beaver (spends a lot of time in the water, has webbed feet and a flattened tail) but hey, it lays eggs! While we don’t know the reproductive behavior of these primitive mammals, any of the scientists Werner interviewed could have explained to him that they lack the more evolutionary advanced features of the skull, teeth and skeleton that characterize all modern marsupials and placentals (or even marsupials and placentals from the dawn of the “Age of Mammals”). Perhaps they did explain this.

    A more serious claim, however, on the same page is this. “Scientists who support evolution will point out that most of the *larger mammals* living today —- were not found in dinosaur rock layers”, but then goes on to say “Scientists who oppose evolution may suggest that museums have been reluctant to display the complete mammal skeletons found in dinosaur layers Without an openness to display these fossils, allowing all to photograph and publish them, it is impossible to evaluate this”.

    Wow, Dr. Werner, did you just imply that there actually *are* skeletons of larger mammals in the “dinosaur rock layers” that the museums are concealing from the public eye. I’ve worked in the fossil mammal collections of most of the world’s major museums, and can only say that, if they’re there, they’re extraordinarily well hidden. What could prompt Werner to make such an accusation? Well, here’s a clue: the publisher of this book, New Leaf Press, presents itself as follows: “the world’s largest publisher of creation-based material”. Is this book *really* a “fair and balanced” look at evolution?

  4. @SC, I hope you’re joking when you refer to mammals being descended from dinosaurs. Synapsids, a clade that includes mammals but excludes all reptiles, dates back to the upper Carboniferous (you may call it the Pennsylvanian), long before there were dinosaurs. And some of them were pretty big, though they didn’t do very well during the Permian mass extinction

  5. Christine Marie Janis

    I also should add that the page of the book where Werner makes the bold claim that museums are hiding the fossils of larger Mesozoic mammals has a photo of a mammoth skeleton. No claim attached to it — just an interesting suggestion for the gullible public. Like those who’d think it was great thing that the US has fewer Covid-19 cases than does the world.

  6. Paul Braterman says: “@SC, I hope you’re joking when you refer to mammals being descended from dinosaurs.”

    I was very hastily summing up time sequences. It didn’t come out right. No joke intended.

  7. Christine Marie Janis

    It was pretty funny, nonetheless. But not as funny as Hambo, so you’re in the clear.

  8. Michael Fugate

    One wonders why conodonts, ostracoderms, and placoderms were more susceptible to flood waters than chondrichthyes and osteichthyes. What about ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, nothosaurs?
    The only way Ham’s arguments looks good is if your eyes are firmly shut.

  9. Shoot, just go to the Dinosaur National Monument visitor center and look for yourself. Plenty of triceratops, but no bison.

  10. Christine Marie Janis

    Keith, as Carl Werner says: those bison were there, but the museum is hiding them from the public.

  11. Michael Fugate

    Two different starting points — man’s word vs. Ham’s word — result in two different interpretations of the same evidence.

  12. Just a small point. Fossils are not the only evidence for evolution. At the time of Darwin, there were far fewer fossils known. For example, the first Archaeopteryx turned up just after the publication of “Origins”. Major evidence has been from today’s life, then and now. Without fossils, of course, we’d never know about trilobites, which didn’t leave any descendents, etc.

  13. chris schilling

    Interview with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics:

    Journalist: How’s it going?
    2nd Law (Trouble understanding strange accent, but perseveres): Never been better.
    J: Busy lately?
    2nd Law: Always busy. It’s a great time to be alive. Great time.
    J: You’ve been quoted as saying you prevail everywhere, throughout the universe, at all times. “Entropy always increases”…that sort of thing.
    2nd Law: That’s true. I did say that. And look, I do prevail everywhere, but…you have to realise, there may be some exceptions.
    J: Such as? Can you name some?
    2nd Law: No. I don’t wanna get into that. It’s personal, you know. Very personal.
    J: Noah’s Flood? The fossil record? What happened there?
    2nd Law: Look, on the one hand, you’ve got a lot of chaos. A lot of bad things — people and animals drowning. Bad people. Very bad people. Chaos. It’s ugly. But not just ugly — beautiful, too. And basically we went in and… you know, we sorted that ugly or beautiful chaos into an even better thing. ‘Cos now you’ve got order, you’ve got an ordered fossil record out of that chaos. And that’s a beautiful thing, right there.
    J (Quizzical expression): So you went from disorder to order? Isn’t that a contradiction, on your part?
    2nd Law: It is what it is.

  14. The amity of strangulated discourse as pondered in the queasy discourses of
    your ponderous comments of ignorance bedeviled by people of a dislocated pandering of believing such things actually happened, is a sad and disquieting look at people who haven’t the slightest idea of what intelligence means, and how to acquire it. Grow up people. You are dragging history that has been discounted and throws a mud of discount and selfish beliefs of today’s fashionable tripe of tomorrow’s slump of yesterday’s imponderables. You think you are really smart. Too bad.

  15. @cs
    Nice.

  16. Dave Luckett

    chris schilling: seconded.

  17. Michael Fugate

    While “Live and Let Die” plays in the background…

  18. @ChristineMJ: “examples of organisms who have retained a similar form over Millennia are well known to science”
    Similar – and still evolved.

    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/03/11/coelacanth-evolution/

    “can only say that, if they’re there, they’re extraordinarily well hidden”
    Ah, but you’re a professional evilutionist hence part of the conspiracy that hides them. Such is the beauty of creacrap.

    @our dear SC: “I was very hastily summing up time sequences. It didn’t come out right. No joke intended.”
    ChristineMJ and PaulB are a bit harsh on you. “Mammals and birds descended from dinosaurs” is badly outdated, true, but it’s also what creacrappers attack. There are too many ways creacrappers go wrong to sum it all up in one blogpost.

    @MichaelF proclaims: “The only way Ham’s arguments looks good is if your eyes are firmly shut.”
    I just tried this. His non-arguments looked as bad as ever to me.

    “Fossils are not the only evidence for evolution.”
    Far from it. The two other simple ones are
    a) mutations (always detrimental according to creacrappers, which is simply a lie) and
    b) observed speciation (most creacrappers accept this via “variation within a kind”).

    @ChrisS goes wrong: “It is what it is.”
    Duh, ‘cuz the Globel Flud waz cuzzed by God (when he intervenes things always go from disorder to order).

  19. chris schilling

    @FrankB
    Are you casting dispersions [sic] on moi?

    Never mind. I’ve just been rereading Exodus. Believe it or not, God really does say to the Israelites: “Yo, Semites! What’s up, bros?”

    Trump knows his scripture better than anyone, except for Ken.
    😇=💩

  20. Makes me proud to have earned my PhD working on the structure of muscles of a creature often called a “living fossil” (Limulus polyphemus, the Atlantic horseshoe crab), although I think their direct ancestors haven’t been around quite long enough for that accolade.

  21. Michael Fugate

    FrankB, watch Trump’s Axios interview or at least read about it. I can’t listen.

  22. @MichaelF: I skip 99% of everything that’s said or written about Donald the Clown, let alone by him since he won the elections. Why would I? Does anyone still remember the North-Korea crisis, the Iran crisis, the Venezuela crisis? All baked air. So thanks, but no, thanks, that’s not going to happen.
    Thus I have more time to take in the news that does matter, like the American government accelerating climate change, the inability to do something about the COVID-19 crisis, the attempts to turn the USA into a police state (with predictably the Afro-Americans as the first victims) etc.

  23. Ham would have a hard time fitting the iridium-rich KT boundary layer into his all-happening-in-forty-days sediment deposition, and why we find NO dino fossils above that layer. According to Ham, the layers were laid down in order of increasing elevation, which would imply there were no dinosaurs living above a certain elevation, but plenty of mammals. And it doesn’t explain why the marine reptiles are not found above the KT boundary, either.

    Ham needs to come up with a better hypothesis, this time actually looking at the evidence. Of course, that’s a bit hard to do when you’re trying to make all the evidence fit the narrative of a book written many, many centuries ago.

  24. @retiredsciguy
    It looks to me as if the major problem is not being tied to tne Bible, although that doesn’t help, but having a short attention span, and refusing to change one’s mind.
    There is a whole lot of stuff in Young Earth Creationism which has no scriptural basis: all of “baraminology” – the Bible uses the word “min” (“kind”) in a very limited context, which tells us practically nothing, certainly not anything about micrevolution “within a kind”. There is nothing about ice ages, the Grand Canyon, etc. All of that looks like someone had a birght idea, and then refused to back down when it didn’t prove to be worthwhile.

  25. Christine:
    At the Visitor’s Center, the fossils are still in situ, it is a huge wall of fossils with hundreds of specimens. It would be really tricky to remove the bison and not leave evidence of the removal.

    https://www.nps.gov/dino/planyourvisit/quarry-exhibit-hall.htm

  26. The White Cliffs of Dover

  27. @Rsg: “iridium-rich KT boundary”
    Fortunately Ol’Hambo doesn’t need to, because the folks who pay him only go “huh?” when confronted with such terminology.

    @KeithB: duh, if that huge wall with fossils in situ had had a bison it wouldn’t have been on display.

  28. There must be some creationist explanation of the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.

  29. Michael Fugate

    TomS, mammals are dumber than dinosaurs?

  30. Michael:
    Including the one girl?