When visitors inspect ICR’s seven-and-a-half-foot-long model of Noah’s Ark, the dinosaur figurines on the bottom deck tend to catch their eyes. They often ask about those dinosaurs, giving our tour guides a chance to explain how dinosaurs fit in biblical history.
First, God created each dinosaur as a “beast of the earth” on Day Six of the creation week just before creating Adam and Eve.1 Dinosaurs lived at the same time as man for about 1,650 years before the Flood came.2 However, dinosaurs may have mainly lived far away from people since dinosaur fossils occur with shallow marine and swamp-living plants and animals and not with human fossils. Soon after creation, Adam and Eve sinned, so God said, “Cursed is the ground for your sake.”3 This curse affected everything, and eventually all men, and apparently even animals, became so corrupt in their violence4 that God cleansed the whole earth of their filth when “the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.”5 The Flood made dinosaur fossils.
God told Noah, “Of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.”6 So we know that representatives of each kind of dinosaur went on the Ark. Genesis also indicates that animals on the Ark had nostrils and lived on land, which dinosaur skulls and legs reveal.7 Fossils show that even the largest dinosaurs hatched from eggs not much larger than a football. Noah’s family would likely have taken young sauropods on board the Ark—not full-grown, 100-foot dinosaurs. Most of the other 60 or so dinosaur kinds would have occupied only one corner of one of the Ark’s three decks—like the model on the ICR campus shows.8
After the Flood, dinosaurs and all the other Ark animals migrated from the Middle East to the habitats they preferred. Dinosaurs probably headed to swampy places that became deserts centuries later.9 Genesis 13:10 says, “And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.” The Jordan plain near the Dead Sea began drying after Sodom’s fiery destruction. Egypt also dried.10 Any dinosaurs in these areas would have moved or died when their habitats dried.
The final Bible dinosaur scene comes from Job.11 Clues that behemoth best matches a sauropod include its supreme strength and power, its swampy habitat, its reference as the “first of the ways of God”—suggesting it was the largest created land-living creature—and its tail like a cedar tree.12,13 Job lived after the Flood, so if he could “look now at the behemoth,” and if behemoth was a dinosaur, then some dinosaurs survived the Flood on Noah’s Ark.14
Eventually dinosaurs around the world went extinct, likely because the closing Ice Age brought radical climate changes and people drained swamps and killed off threatening creatures. Memorable encounters gave rise to dragon legends, written descriptions, paintings, and carvings of dinosaurs from around the world.15
Were dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark? History both inside and outside the Bible says, “Yes.”
- Genesis 1:24.
- Johnson, J. 2008. How Young Is the Earth? Applying Simple Math to Data in Genesis. Acts & Facts. 37 (10): 4.
- Genesis 3:17.
- See Genesis 6:7, 13. Dinosaur bones bear dinosaur tooth marks, showing their violent natures before and during the Flood.
- 2 Peter 3:6.
- Genesis 6:19.
- Genesis 7:22-23.
- Carrasco, E. 2015. Noah’s Ark Model. Acts & Facts. 44 (3):12.
- Skonieczny, C. et al. 2015. African humid periods triggered the reactivation of a large river system in Western Sahara. Nature Communications. 6: 8751.
- Egypt’s seven years of famine during Joseph’s reign, about 288 years after Sodom was destroyed, probably marked a drier Egyptian climate that lingers today.
- Thomas, B. 2013. Dinosaurs and the Bible. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.
- Job 40:19.
- Interestingly, God told Job, “Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you” (Job 40:15). Does this refer to God having made behemoth and mankind on creation Day Six? Also, Abraham and Lot may have seen the Job 40:21 reed and marsh lands within the “plain of Jordan,” since behemoth “is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth” (Job 40:23).
- Job 40:15.
- Nelson, V. 2012. Dire Dragons. Red Deer, Canada: Untold Secrets of Planet Earth Publishing Company.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.