Two hundred years ago, modern humans rediscovered a class of animals that dwarfed all other animals they knew. Those who found their remains, called these animals dinosaurs – literally, terrible lizards. Conventional origins scientists believe a single event, 65 million years ago, extinguished the dinosaurs forever. They also believe this happened long before humankind appeared on earth.
But that theory cannot explain everything we now observe about dinosaurs and their place in the time-line of life. This has led another group of origins scientists to propose a radically different, even fanciful, theory. This group suggests an extraterrestrial expeditionary force erased the dinosaurs to make way for themselves – or human beings. But they have an obvious problem. Their theory needs another one to explain its own mechanism of action.
Creation science offers another explanation, one not only simpler but better able to fit the facts. Obviously the dinosaurs – most of them – drowned in the Global Flood. Less obviously, many of them survived. Humans then hunted them to extinction – or did they?
Did aliens kill the dinosaurs?
On 4 May 2012, The History Channel aired this program detailing the radical new theory.1 The producers aired various personalities, from Erich van Daniken to Pastor William Dye of Terrell, Texas.2 For forty-four minutes of programming, the producers called into question many comfortable assumptions about how the dinosaurs died off, and even whether they all died off.
Three theories of the extinction of the dinosaurs
The program covered only two of three ways to explain what happened to the dinosaurs. The conventional theory holds that an asteroid struck the Gulf of Mexico near Chicxulub, Mexico, 65 million years ago. The asteroid carried a heavy load of iridium (Z = 77) and scattered this throughout the earth. In fact the impact raised a cloud of dust and rock that blotted out the sun. Trees and shrubs died fairly quickly. Then dinosaur grazers, having no vegetation to browse, starved. Finally dinosaur predators, having no more prey to eat, starved also. Somehow, though, other life survived, including mammals and birds. (Or else the avian class derived from the dinosaurs.) Conventional theory denies that any dinosaurs survived.
The ancient alien theory holds that, 65 million years ago or earlier, an extraterrestrial expeditionary force visited Earth. The scientists among them sought perhaps to make the world safe for their own race. Or they sought to engineer what became the human race, out of whatever primate stock they found or could create. But they knew better than to settle themselves or us on a world with such large creatures roaming about. So they did one of two things:
- Either they steered an asteroid toward what became Chicxulub, and perhaps several more, to strike the earth. Or:
- They launched a full-scale, space-to-surface nuclear strike against the Earth, using brace after brace of ballistic missiles. Each missile carried an atomic or even thermonuclear warhead. The radiation not only killed but contaminated the dinosaurs, even to their bones. It also produced large quantities of iridium as a decay product of the radioactivity the strike created.3
In either event, at least some dinosaurs survived. Later generations of aliens “mopped them up,” as a general officer might say. Which is to say, they hunted them to extinction. But they also found several other species of the period attractive. They could never expect these to survive either the Long Winter or the radioactive fallout. So they saved them alive aboard the ships of their fleet. Then they re-introduced these species into the oceans and lands of earth.
Lastly, the Hydroplate Theory of Dr. Walter T. Brown offers a simpler explanation. The Global Flood drowned the dinosaurs, and everything else that flew or walked on land. But one person had advance warning of the event and built a ship to withstand it. In it he saved alive seven other people, plus specimens of every land animal and bird then extant.
The Flood fractured the one original land mass and produced earthquakes of Richter strength ten or stronger. These earthquakes deformed tiny quartz crystals below dry land. This cyclic deformation produced electric fields strong enough to turn heavy metals into plasma. The metals fused to form elements of Z=188 or perhaps greater. These elements then split to form the radioactive elements we know today. The highly charged environment accelerated the decay of all radionuclides. The process also released tremendous quantities of neutrons. Lighter elements took these up and formed the various isotopes we know today. Some of these isotopes found their way into some dinosaur fossils and made them radioactive to this day.
The iridium, however, did not come from radioactive decay. The formation of the Mid-Oceanic Ridges, and the settling of the land masses, produced friction, therefore heat. Volcanic activity began for the first time, even before the Flood waters receded. Iridium, a known constituent of volcanic ash, settled into the “geological column” at the K-T boundary.
Dinosaurs did survive after the Flood. But medieval “knights” and other soldiers, and/or sport hunters, hunted most of them to extinction. Humans would not rediscover them until about two hundred years ago.
Details to explain
Any theory on the extinction of the dinosaurs must account for these facts:
- Dinosaurs varied in size from that of a chicken (Compsognathus) to that of a modern office building.
- The Cretaceous-Tertiary or K-T boundary contains iridium, a very rare element, almost uniformly wherever this boundary exists.
- Works of art and architecture, some dating back thousand of years, depict dinosaurs. Some even depict human and dinosaur interaction. The Ica Stones, for instance, often depict humans fighting, or even taming, dinosaurs.4
- Legends of “dragons,” some seeming to breathe fire, persist in Europe and China. Tales surviving from the Middle Ages speak of knights proving their mettle by killing dragons.
- The region called Dinosaur Valley, near Glen Rose, Texas, has several tracks that look human. These run side-by-side with obvious dinosaur tracks. Workers have also found similar coincident tracks at other sites.
- Most dinosaur fossils stop at the K-T Boundary. Yet other fossils continue through the Tertiary and Quaternary fossil layers.
- Many dinosaur fossils are radioactive. They contain uranium (A=235 or 238), potassium (A=40), and rubidium (A=87). Some fossils are in fact too radioactive to be safe to handle. Museum curators must paint them with lead-based paint, or store them in a vault and exhibit replicas.
How well does each theory explain the facts?
This table shows at a glance how each of the three theories explains the facts.
|Detail||Conventional Theory||Ancient Aliens Theory||Hydroplate Theory|
|K-T boundary iridium||
|Modern depictions of dinosaurs||
|Survival of non-dinosaurs into the later periods||
|Radioactive dinosaur fossils||
This legend will explain the color dots that appear in this table.
This writer apologizes to Dr. Walter T. Brown for borrowing the format he invented for such synoptic tables and legends.
Green represents a detail the theory can explain easily.
Yellow represents a detail the theory cannot explain directly. But the detail does not contradict the theory, either.
Orange represent a detail the theory might be able to explain, but with difficulty.
Red represents a detail the theory cannot explain. This is a deal-killer.
And now, by way of further explanation:
The sizes of dinosaurs presents no problem for any of the three theories. At first glance one might suppose the largest sizes would “kill the deal” for the Hydroplate Theory. After all, some dinosaurs, at their full size, could have lifted or crushed the Ark! So how could Noah take a specimen? By taking a young dinosaur. Dinosaurs, like most other reptiles, never stopped growing until they died. In the days before the Flood, human beings lived ten times as long as they live today. Surely dinosaurs also had comparable longevities. The specimens we see in the fossil record, grew for hundreds of years before they died. Noah could have taken hatchlings or young adults with little trouble.
Iridium at the K-T boundary
The ancient-alien theory tries to explain the iridium as the product of radioactive decay. The thousands of nuclear missile detonations produced this radioactivity, the theory says.
Radiogenic iridium does not exist in the wild today. Nuclear physicists have synthesized two isotopes of rhenium, A = 191 and A = 193, that could produce iridium. Each isotope would throw off one beta particle to become osmium, and another to become iridium. But the theory does not explain where the rhenium came from. It relies on an exotic warhead design that modern physicists simply do not have, therefore cannot test.
Conventional theory suggests the iridium came from the asteroid(s) that struck the earth. The Hydroplate Theory suggests volcanoes belched out the iridium which settled in the K-T Boundary. In fact, even conventional geologists now acknowledge that iridium could have come from volcanoes, not an asteroid.
Dragons and dinosaur art
Conventional theory predicts no instances of dinosaurs in modern times. Apologists for conventional theory strenuously deny any sightings anyone cares to claim. The art, they say, represents fiction, not depiction of fact. But they have great trouble explaining the depictions of dinosaurs on temple art, for instance.
The survival of dinosaurs through the Tertiary and Quaternary Periods might not absolutely “kill the deal” for conventional theory. But it comes close. It begs the question of where, and how, isolated populations could have survived the “extinction-level event.”
Human footprints alongside dinosaur tracks
The footprints of humans and dinosaurs, appearing side-by-side in fossils, go beyond art or myth or literature. They represent evidence almost as good as a photograph. As such they are a deal-killer for conventional theory. How could early man walk side-by-side with such creatures?
The Hydroplate Theory simply says the creatures that made those tracks, did so before the Flood. Nor are such fossils the only evidence that humans and Dinosaurs walked the earth together. Genesis chapter 1 introduces the Hebrew word behemah. Job later uses the plural form behemoth. Job definitely describes one of the largest of land-walking dinosaurs.
In Hebrew, behemah literally means “in-the-everywhere.” Recall that God assigned Adam the task of naming the animals. When the time came for Adam to name a dinosaur, he likely looked at a full-grown one. He looked to his left, and looked to his right, and still this creature filled his field of vision. So he cried out, “It’s everywhere!” And he named this creature accordingly.5
Survival of other species beyond the dinosaurs
This is the real deal-killer. Conventional theorists cannot explain why an event that killed all the dinosaurs, did not also kill everything else. Why did the plants come back? How did the mammals “hibernate” for so long? Conventional theory doesn’t say.
Radioactive dinosaur fossils
Each theory has its own ready answer to why dinosaur fossils should be radioactive. By conventional theory, and the Hydroplate Theory, the bones took up radioactive elements during fossilization.6 The only difference between the two is where each says the radioactive elements came from. The Ancient Aliens Theory says the detonations from thousands of nuclear missiles contaminated the corpses, the environment, or both.
Conventional theory relies on “deep time.” It also relies on the asteroids being either fragments of a fracturing planet, or pieces that tried to make a planet, but failed. Neither assumption is safe. Here Brown lists several reasons why the asteroids could not have come from a fracturing planet, or one that failed to form.
From 2003 to 2010, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) ran the first asteroid sample-return mission, Hayabusa. This craft touched the surface of Asteroid 25143 Itokawa and returned in 2010 with a sample. The sample showed chondrites with a low metal content, chiefly of iron. From this astronomers concluded Itokawa differed little in composition from a meteoroid. In 2014 JAXA launched Hayabusa II on a more sophisticated mission.
Thus far no one has evidence that asteroids hold anything more than common rock, mud, ice, iron, nickel, and/or olivine. No “motherlodes” of precious metals, gemstones, or other minerals wait for enterprising asteroid miners to extract them. Even the iron and nickel would not repay the cost of extraction and recovery. (If anyone says they do, and sells stock in a company proposing to recruit, train, and deploy miners, don’t buy. Report them to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or its non-American equivalent!)
Problems with an extraterrestrial expedition
The Ancient Aliens theorists have a worse problem. Any extraterrestrial expedition had to cross interstellar space to come to Earth. Either they traveled faster than light to come here, or they ran an experiment with a generational time frame. If anyone can ever travel faster than light, they would expend prodigious amounts of energy. (Even Miguel Alcubierre’s FTL engine would need the energy equivalent of the mass of Jupiter.)
Furthermore, not even monarchies have ever managed a program with a generational time horizon. Such a program would be one revolution, one election, or even one succession away from termination.7
Last of all: if an extraterrestrial expedition did visit Earth, why did they leave? Where did they go? What, or who, could have driven them off? Why didn’t that force stay and occupy our world?
Dramatic presentations for laypeople tend not to hold reliable scientific information as a rule. Indeed Dr. Brown told this reviewer he could readily recognize the writing style of the program in question. That particular writer looked for the most sensational “spin” he could put on various attacks on conventional theory. Few “spins” could be more sensational than an extraterrestrial visit to Earth in past or present. We saw this in the motion picture Forbidden Planet and even in a few episodes in the Star Trek franchise.
This particular program presented a sloppy theory in a sloppy way. It made no attempt to quantify or even identify the radionuclides present in dinosaur fossils. It certainly never made a case, convincing or not, for iridium as a decay product of fallout from nuclear missiles!
Nevertheless, the interview subjects attacked conventional theory in ways its defenders will find difficult to rebut. They also introduced new facts into evidence that any theorist must account for.
The Hydroplate Theory is still the simplest theory that explains all the facts now available. But the ancient-alien theorists introduced at least one fact most people don’t know about: that dinosaur fossils are often radioactive. That one fact deserves further research. It might shed light on exactly how most of the dinosaurs met their ends during the Global Flood.
1 Ancient Aliens, S04E10 “Aliens and Dinosaurs,” The History Channel, first air 4 May 2012. <http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-4/episode-10>
3 No paleontologist has yet alleged that dinosaur bones are necessarily more radioactive, kilogram for kilogram, than other fossil bones. In fact, the ancient-alien theorists do not even treat that problem.
4 Recent reports suggest at least one person, perhaps several, have carved more recent stones from the same medium, using the same type of tool.
5 The 1611 Royal Commission on Bible Translation (“King James’ commission”) used the English word “cattle” to translate behemah. Later English translations repeated that error in one form or another. (For instance, the Lockman Foundation’s New American Standard Bible used the word livestock.)
6 Or else some of the largest dinosaurs tried to survive during the settling of the strata during the Flood. Duck-bill dinosaurs, for instance, could eat floating vegetation. But the new radionuclides, especially uranium and thorium, contaminated their bones severely. So they died of radiation poisoning, then fossilized as more strata settled on top of them. Dr. Brown shared these new thoughts with this reviewer on Sunday 2 October 2016. He intends to research this problem further.
7 This argument assumes the admiralty, officers, and crews of any extraterrestrial expedition would have a lifespan comparable to ours. Even the most popular science-fiction authors have never assumed a lifespan longer than 300 years. Such a crew could not live as long as 900 years on average, as the pre-Flood Patriarchs did. Interstellar radiation would poison any one officer or crew member long before then.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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