Did Humans Cause Dinosaur Extinctions? | The Institute for Creation Research

Did Humans Cause Dinosaur Extinctions?

Like elephants and a few other animals, rhinoceroses are among the last of the large animals called "megafauna." Rhinos exist in African, Indonesian, Javan, Indian, and Sumatran varieties.1 They are also among the rarest animals in the wild.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the Western Black Rhino officially extinct this year. The Northern White Rhino, also from Africa, may be on its way out as well, and the last Javan Rhino in Vietnam may be gone for good.2

Poachers are notorious for killing the large animals in order to harvest their highly valued horns, which some believe have medicinal properties, including use as an aphrodisiac. The horn is made of the protein keratin, the primary component of fingernails and hair.

This confirms what researchers generally observe about the extinction of species: The primary cause is interaction with humans. When mankind moves into an area, some of the first animals to face destruction are those that are the most threatening, such as the megafauna. Thus, recent centuries have seen the demise of such giants as Haast's eagle3 and the moa, a giant flightless bird.4

"The current extinction crisis is caused primarily by human impacts upon wild populations," according to UK biologist Rosie Woodroffe, who wrote on the declining populations of large carnivores.5

Rhinos are not carnivores, but in addition to being valued for their horns, they are large and can be dangerous if they are frightened or challenged. Thus, it stands to reason that if humans primarily cause the current extinctions of megafauna, then they may have caused past extinctions as well.6 That could help explain the plethora of legends, found in all cultures, of heroes killing dragons, which were probably dinosaurs in many cases.7

Why did the dinosaurs go extinct? One very likely factor—among others, such as climate changes after the Flood—is the same reason the black rhinoceros and so many other megafauna have died out: People moved in and eliminated them.

References

  1. The Indian and Sumatran rhinos have one horn, while the other varieties have two. The single-horn rhinos used to enjoy a much wider distribution and were known to ancient Bible authors. The King James translators chose the word "unicorn"—the Middle English word for what is today called a one-horned rhinoceros—to translate re'em, the Hebrew word used for these creatures.
  2. Another Leap towards the Barometer of Life. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species news release, November 10, 2011.
  3. Thomas, B. Child-Eating Eagle No Longer a Myth. ICR News. Posted on icr.org September 24, 2009, accessed November 10, 2011.
  4. Wieland, C. 1996. Giant egg mystery. Creation. 19 (1): 50.
  5. Woodroffe, R. 2000. Predators and people: using human densities to interpret declines of large carnivores. Animal Conservation. 3 (2): 165.
  6. Thomas, B. What Caused the Extinction of Ice Age Animals? ICR News. Posted on icr.org September 8, 2010, accessed November 10, 2011.
  7. Morris, J. 2008. The Dinosaur Next Door. Acts & Facts. 37 (6): 13; see also Thomas, B. Is There Some Truth to Dragon Myths? ICR News. Posted on icr.org July 2, 2009, accessed November 10, 2011.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on November 17, 2011.

The Latest
ACTS & FACTS
Abound in This Grace
One of the strongest exhortations for Christian giving is found in Paul’s encouragement to the believers in Corinth. In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul...

APOLOGETICS
Food Web Ecology Corroborates Scripture
Real-world ecology supports the Bible’s trustworthiness. Accordingly, how creatures get and use food matches how Scripture describes our world.1-3 Food...

ACTS & FACTS
Leviathan: Legend, Croc, or Something Else?
In Job 41, God points Job’s attention to a terrifying animal called leviathan. It’s clear this was a real creature, but what was it? Bible...

ACTS & FACTS
Why Mosquitoes Attack: Mystery Solved
It’s late evening. You’re relaxing on the backyard deck when suddenly they find you. Mosquitoes! One way they locate you is by tracking...

DISCOVERY CENTER
ICR Discovery Center's First Anniversary Celebration!
The ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History recently celebrated the first anniversary of its grand opening. To commemorate this milestone,...

ACTS & FACTS
New Testament Upholds Created Kind Stasis
The opening chapter of Genesis makes a significant and scientifically accurate statement concerning the fixity of created kinds. During the creation...

ACTS & FACTS
An Old Friend Came Home
Years ago, an attendee at an ICR Back to Genesis seminar approached me with a fossil he and his daughter had found while on a hike in Washington State....

ACTS & FACTS
Lava Flows Disqualify Lake Spillover Canyon Theory
There has been considerable debate among scientists over the origin of Grand Canyon. We all agree it was formed by the removal of some 1,000 cubic miles...

RESEARCH
ICR Paleoclimate Research Continues
Because the Genesis Flood caused the Ice Age,1 studies of Earth's past climate, or paleoclimatology, have long been a focus of the Institute...

ACTS & FACTS
Casting the Vision
Each workday morning, the Institute for Creation Research staff meets for a time of devotion and prayer. Dr. Brian Thomas recently led our group and...