No, people and dinosaurs didn't roam the earth at the same time

Artist's rendering of dinosaurs watching asteroid fly towards earth (Thinkstock)
Artist's rendering of dinosaurs watching asteroid fly towards earth (Thinkstock)

Creationist preacher Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum in America, recently announced he has conclusive proof that dinosaurs co-existed with Adam and Eve.

As if Adam and Eve didn’t have enough to deal with.

There is no point even attempting to use science to disprove this. Science and Ken Ham are about as far removed as – well – dinosaurs and the Garden of Eden.

The brilliant baseball writer and statistician Bill James used to say you can test whether an idea is true by seeing whether its logical consequences actually exist. Pitching is not 90 per cent of baseball, for example, because hitting, running and fielding obviously chew up more than ten per cent.

Armed with that axiom, let’s go looking for dinosaurs!

Pyramids: Ancient Egyptian pharaohs would never have had to enslave an entire people to build their spectacular tombs if they could have just hooked up a couple of Brachiosaurs and got them to haul all the rocks. Of course, these ginormous, unfathomably strong sauropods did require spectacular amounts of water, and Egypt, historically, has tended to be desert. But human ingenuity, people! The builders of the pyramids were way ahead of the technology curve. One can only conclude they didn’t use dinosaurs because they simply didn’t have access to them.

Agriculture: Early farmers had it tough. Drought, locusts, invading Roman armies – that’s more than enough to deal with without getting pounced by velociraptors on the way back from the well. Not to mention that a wandering herd of diplodocuses could graze your entire crop into dino dung. The fact that agriculture exists at all hints strongly that – in those crucial, formative centuries – dinosaurs didn’t.

Cave paintings: They’re everywhere, and because early man was a hunter-gatherer, they’ve been known to commemorate big moments on the hunt. A bear. Gazelles. A mammoth! Bag yourself a mammoth, and your family survives the winter. So, what if you took down a brontosaur? That’s enough food to get your tribe – and your buddy’s tribe – through an entire year. So why no bragging about it? Why no dead dinosaurs in the cave art?

Noah’s Ark: I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the idea of predators on Noah’s Ark. What did two each of every meat-eating beastie on the planet eat during those forty days and forty nights at sea? It must have caused Noah some grave concern. Now, imagine if he looked out at the gathering tempest and saw two Tyrannosaurs slathering their way into the queue? Maybe he organized a pick-up volleyball game between the dinosaurs and the unicorns, and took to sea midway through the second set. Difficult to prove, but the fact that all our present animals exist at all does rather suggest T. Rex missed the boat.

Getting out of the food chain: This is critical. Right or wrong, good or bad, humanity doesn’t get to invent civilization, ball parks, cheesecake, jazz, karaoke, golf, riding mowers and income tax if we don’t get out of the food chain. Escaping the clutches of sabre-tooth nasties and big growling dogs and bears is one thing. Keeping out of the protein intake of man-eating dinosaurs quite another. So big, so fast, so vicious, so … appallingly efficient. If you’re a mammal and there’s dinosaurs around, you want to be small, fast, furry and constantly alert. You certainly don’t want to be five feet tall, bipedal and naked, however handy you might be with a spear.

And, yes, maybe that reduces us all to rodents. But at least our distant ancestors survived. And that alone had to take a whole lot longer than the six thousand years Rev. Ham tells us is all the time we’ve ever had. 





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