Genesis says that “every beast after its kind…went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life.”1 Dinosaurs were beasts, and their fossil nostrils show they had the breath of life. So, if a breeding pair of every dinosaur kind entered the Ark, why don’t we see dinosaurs alive today?
Many other animal kinds also died out after the Flood. Mammal-like reptiles called synapsids left Flood fossils and then later went extinct. Other animals that vanished include the “bear dogs,” rat-size morganucodonts, and Leptictidium, which walked like a tiny, hairy tyrannosaur. We can’t know specifics about their extinction without going back in time, but three key clues sketch an answer.
We find one such clue in fossils. Fossil evidence suggests that, like dinosaurs, these other animals preferred watery homes.2 The Flood buried dinosaur and synapsid fossils along with water plants, fish, and wetland animals like turtles and crocodiles. Swamp-loving creatures that got off the Ark probably sought post-Flood wetlands.
The history of wetlands forms the second clue. To this very day, “habitat destruction is the leading cause of the global biodiversity [plant and animal] loss in the world.”3 Ancient lakes and marshes dried up for two main reasons. First, people drained swamps. Consider the Loire Valley in central France. By the 1700s, locals had stabilized the Loire River’s banks with planted trees.4 They drained its marshes to make farms. But the medieval hunting lodges there show that the land once held prized prey. The game disappeared with the loss of their wetland homes.
A few castles show images of dinosaurs that people may have hunted. One famous tapestry at Chateau de Blois shows a swamp scene with a baby maiasaur (duck-billed dinosaur) amidst Belgian plants. Chateau de Chambord is covered with carvings of a possible prosauropod like Plateosaurus. Similarly, ancient English records identify fens, or marshes, that once held immense reptiles. No wonder the monsters left—locals had long since flushed and fenced the fens.
Wetlands in the Middle East dried up, too, but for a different reason. A recent dig at Azraq in Jordan identified rhinoceros, lion, horse, elephant, duck, and human remains in Ice Age sediments.5 It’s mostly desert today. Another study surveyed crocodiles stranded in isolated lakes in today’s Sahara Desert. They could not have crossed the desert to get there, so they must have migrated during a wet past. The study authors wrote, “Increased aridity [drying] combined with human persecution led to local extinction.” 6 These stranded crocs are all that remain after rain slowed as oceans cooled and the Ice Age ice melted.7
The first clue came from fossils. The second clue tracked the history of wetland loss. A final clue comes from the Bible. In Job 40 God seems to describe a dinosaur called behemoth living near the Jordan River after the Flood. The animal with a tail like a tree was so immense that even if the river raged, “he is not disturbed.” 8 Like other vast regions, the Jordan River Valley dried up long ago—as did its lotus trees, reeds, willows, and behemoths.
What happened to dinosaurs and many other wetland creatures after the Flood? They probably died out as each region dried.
- Genesis 7:14-15.
- Thomas, B. 2019. Mongolia, Montana, and My Bible. Acts & Facts. 48 (5): 13.
- Montoya, D. 2008. Habitat loss, dispersal, and the probability of extinction of tree species. Communicative & Integrative Biology. 1 (2): 146-147.
- Décamps, H. et al. 1988. Historical influence of man on the riparian dynamics of a fluvial landscape. Landscape Ecology. 1 (3): 163-173.
- Nowell, A. et al. 2016. Middle Pleistocene subsistence in the Azraq Oasis, Jordan: Protein residue and other proxies. Journal of Archaeological Science. 73: 36-44.
- Brito, J. C. et al. 2011. Crocodiles in the Sahara Desert: An Update of Distribution, Habitats and Population Status for Conservation Planning in Mauritania. PLOS ONE. 6 (2): e14734.
- Hebert, J. 2018. The Bible Best Explains the Ice Age. Acts & Facts. 47 (11): 10-13.
- Job 40:23.
* Dr. Thomas is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in paleobiochemistry from the University of Liverpool.