It hasn't required special attention for us to notice which section of TrueAuthority.com has been the most popular. And it's not surprising, simply because the idea that man lived alongside dinosaurs in our not-so-distant past is fascinating to most folks. Yes, Dinosaurs In History has enlightened many readers to the prospect that millions of years may actually not have separated the two "species," but that they co-existed, often inharmoniously, to the culmination of what we know today as myths and legends of dragons and monsters.
Some evolutionists accept the idea, and some creationists accept the idea. To be more specific, few evolutionists accept the idea, whereas most creationists accept the idea. Why? From the evolutionary perspective, dinosaurs would have had to survive for millions of years, part of which time involved a long and tedious ice age. Not only that, they would have had to do so without undergoing any great deal of evolutionary change. Indeed, if a living apatosaurus today still looks like its fossil grandparents, one question ensues. "Where's the evolution?"
From the creationist perspective, dinosaurs existed with man from the beginning, later dying off from climatic changes and human hunting, until by the time of knights, maidens, and heraldry, only a few stragglers were left.
But let us take you now back to the 15th century to examine a particular tomb. On this tomb, we trust, you will find something quite remarkable.
The Tomb Of Richard Bell
He was bishop at Carlisle until shortly before his death in 1496. His tomb lies underneath a protective carpet along a main aisle of the Carlisle Cathedral (UK), inlaid with brass. Richard Bell, born in 1410, became a monk at the tender age of 16 and would remain so for the next 50 years, during which time he was ordained a priest and earned a degree at Oxford University. Because he was a monk, he was not allowed to write a will, but historians agree that he died in 1496, and date the tomb as such. The brass on the tomb shows Bell, dressed in his vestments, with his bishop's cap and hooked staff.
Mystery In The Brass
Contained in the brass fillet running around the edge of Bell's tomb are two interesting animal engravings. What makes them even more interesting is their placement . . . next to various fish, a dog, an eel, a bird, a pig, a weasel, etc. Whatever creatures they are, the tomb designer clearly intended them to be taken as literally as the other animals carefully portrayed.
The first one shows two animals seemingly engaged in a struggle. The one on the right has a long neck positioned horizontally, much like a sauropod dinosaur (i.e. apatosaurus). Amazingly, paleontologists, only until recently, believed that sauropods held their necks vertically aloft, somewhat similar to the way a giraffe does. Now, popular belief is that they held them horizontally, just as the brass fillet shows. Also, the tail of the animal on the fillet is suspended in the air. Sauropod reconstructions only up until recently portrayed the tails as lying lazily on the ground. Yet again, the fillet was correct.
The animal on the left possesses appendages near the end of its tail that resemble large spikes. As most any kindergartner could tell you, the stegosaurus also sported spikes, while the ankylosaurus had a large clubbed tail. Both animals portrayed in the brass, in fact, may have had spiked tails, but the one on the right unfortunately had its worn away.
The other engraving on the tomb also seems to be unlike any animal alive today. It is worn, but one still can discern a well-defined head and mouth that appear similar to those of a crocodile. Unlike a crocodile, however, the legs are large, allowing the creature to stand in the same way a hippopotamus can stand. What is it? We don't know, but it does seem to resemble a large, reptilian creature that could be a type of dinosaur. Impossible? Illogical?
Perhaps we should have a brief review of what we've learned.
1. The creatures were portrayed next to known, living animals
2. The neck of the sauropod was held horizontally, not raised aloft
3. The tail of the sauropod was suspended, not lying on the ground
Could they, in the 15th century, have known of such creatures from fossils, and decided to portray them on their tombs, walls, etc? Although it is possible, it is highly improbable. Until Richard Owen invented the name "dinosaur" in 1841, only a few scientists were aware of their existence. True, large bones had been found before the 19th century, but they were never scientifically categorized. Furthermore, how could they have known to place the neck of the animal horizontally, or suspend the tail above the ground? Lucky guesses? Most unlikely. Rather, the evidence suggests that they were eye-witnesses.
It is interesting to note that males of some long-necked animals, such as the giraffe, engage in tests of strength by "necking." They do so to establish dominance, whereby they have access to breeding females. As we can clearly tell from the brass engravings, these creatures were engaged in something very similar. Amazingly, Bell's tomb isn't the only artifact that shows two long-necked creatures vying for dominance in this manner. An ancient Roman mosaic, dated around the 2nd century A.D. (shown above-right), portrays the exact same behavior. Coincidence? You be the judge.
Coincidence. Is it all lucky coincidence? Logic tells us otherwise, desperately crying out for the minds of the masses to reconsider what they've been taught . . . what they've grown up believing and have always believed for as long as they can remember. Dinosaurs with man? Could it be true? Is it possible? We've done our best to share the facts, and now it's time for you to decide.
1. Philip Bell, Bishop Bell's Brass Behemoths, Creation, pp. 40-43, September-November, 2003.
Photographs taken by Philip Bell. Property of Answers In Genesis Ministries.