In the dim past of antiquity, giant dinosaurs
roamed the earth. Suddenly--the dinosaurs strange world came
to a cataclysmic end. This mystery of the great dying has
been a century-long puzzle to the best minds in paleontology. Its
true meaning gives us a much-needed understanding of this earths
By Paul Kroll
It was a bright and beautiful era in that distant past--seventy
million years ago, say paleontologists. Strange creatures were roaming
this earth. Dinosaurs dominated the land. Pterosaurs (flying reptiles)
flitted through the skies. The oceans were alive with giant marine
reptiles call ichthyosaurs and mosasaurs.
The landscape of the earth was totally different then. We might, as
one author put it, well imagine ourselves upon another planet.
None of the mammals with which we are ordinarily familiar existed.
There were no dogs, no horses, no cattle, no cats, no man walked upon
the earth to view this strange creation.
Few of the common insects with which we are familiar, such as butterflies
and bees, are known to have existed.
Two Different Worlds
life in the Age of Reptiles would seem strange to us. Cycads, ferns,
fern-like plants, dominated the landscape. The flowering plants and
landscape--the flowering plants and common trees simply were not in
existence. There were no oak trees, no maples, no tomato vines, no
orange trees, no marigolds, no sweet peas.
It was a world without the variety of mammals we see today, few if
any fish with true scales, no array of feathered fowl, no grains, no
fruits, no vegetables for man.
Then a series of strange and terrible disasters wrought havoc on this
earth. The flying reptiles were completely exterminated. The great
dinosaurs vanished completely, leaving only a few small scattered dinosaur-like
creatures for mans world today. The great reptiles of the sea
became a thing of the past. The strange plant life of that time long
ago was also destroyed. It was replaced in great measure by the modern
plants of today--plants upon which man and mammal alike depend for
With an alarming abruptness, that entire world perished. The dinosaurs
were exterminated. We do have reptiles with us today, but they
occupy a humble, almost insignificant position, as one
author put it. Almost without exception they are crawling, sprawling
Todays snakes, lizards, turtles or crocodiles are hardly chips
off the old block.
But why did the dinosaurs perish--and HOW? Geologists admit they dont
know! It is a mystery they have not solved, even after one hundred
years of sleuthing.
Yet, the fact that these ruling reptiles perished violently and in
astronomic numbers is clear. That they left no descendants is also
The Ultimate Disaster
expert Dr. Edwin Colbert admits, There can be no doubt about
it. All of the dinosaurs along with various other reptiles, became
NOT ONE OF THEM SURVIVED, as it is simply proved by the
fact that during almost a century and a half of paleontological exploration,
the wide world over, no trace of a dinosaur bone or tooth has ever been found
in any post-Cretaceous rocks, not even in the earliest of them.
The proof of the geologic record on this score is IRREFUTABLE (Dinosaurs,
Edwin H. Colbert, p. 249).
This series of extinctions is one of the most confusing puzzles in
the history of paleontology. The greatest scientists scratch their
heads in amazement at what occurred.
None claims to have the full answer. For example, Carl O. Dunbar, in
his well known textbook, Historical Geology, is simply awed by this
wholesale extinction of life.
Time of Crisis
is difficult to account for the SIMULTANEOUS EXTINCTION of
great tribes of animals so diverse in relationships and in habitats
(Historical Geology, Carl O. Dunbar, pp. 345, 348).
The expert Edwin H. Colbert speaks frankly of this problem:
The great extinction that wiped out ALL of the dinosaurs, large and small,
in all parts of the world, and at the same time brought to an end
various other lines of reptilian evolution, was one of the OUTSTANDING EVENTS
in the history of life and in the history of the earth it was an event
that has DEFIED ALL ATTEMPTS at a satisfactory explanation (The Age
of Reptiles, p. 191).
Forms of Life
sudden extinction of reptilian life was certainly a mysterious event.
But equally puzzling to scientists was the sudden appearance of entirely
new forms of life, totally unrelated to the reptiles.
It is this utter and complete change that confuses paleontologists
who seek to find an evolutionary answer for the existence of all life.
Musing about this problem, geologist Carl O. Dunbar quotes George Gaylord
Simpson, one of the most respected men in paleontology:
It is as if the curtain were rung down SUDDENLY on a
stage where all the leading roles were taken by reptiles, especially
dinosaurs, in great numbers and bewildering variety, and rose again
IMMEDIATELY to reveal the same setting but an ENTIRELY NEW CAST
in which the dinosaurs do not appear at all, other reptiles are mere
supernumeraries [unimportant, bit-part actors] and the leading parts
are all played by MAMMALS (Historical Geology,
Carl O. Dunbar, p. 426).
is this sudden change in the character of life so devastating to the
Because evolution demands slow change over long periods
of time. [65 million years ago is a relatively short period of time
geologically speaking, and in the evolutionary concept of timing as
well.] But here the fossil record show QUICK change in an obviously
SHORT period of time.
Evolution demands numerous intermediate living things which
can be hooked together in an attempt to show an evolutionary sequence.
However, the fossil record reveals a PROFOUND CHANGE from reptilian
hosts to mammals--and WITHOUT any proven intermediaries.
Scientists are thus faced with two unanswered puzzles: How were the
dinosaurs destroyed, and what killed them off so quickly? [This answer
has been discovered recently, as any geology student knows. Two massive
asteroids hit the earth at roughly the same time, one approximately
10 kilometers in size, hit on the northern shore of Yucatan Peninsula,
Mexico, and the other asteroid, 40 kilometers in size, hit in the Arabian
Sea off Bombay, western shore of India. These were what has come to
be termed, Global Killers.] And second, what is the meaning of this
abrupt change in the type of life on this earth?
Not one of the theories propounded for dinosaur
extinction is accepted by all paleontologists. Paleontologist Edwin
Colberts decisive verdict on the ultimate cause of the dinosaur
disaster is that, This is one of the big questions of paleontology
for which as yet NO SATISFACTORY ANSWER has been set forward" (Dinosaurs,
Edwin H. Colbert, pp. 250-251). Briefly, lets examine a few of the
theories. What about climatic change?
Perhaps it got too cold for the dinosaurs. According to evolutionary
time scales, it would take many millions of years for the earths
climate to change. Surely, if evolution were a fact, these reptiles
could adapt themselves to it.
Perhaps it got too hot for the dinosaurs?
It is an ingenious idea, but there is no geological evidence
to support the concept of temperature increases at the close of the
Cretaceous period (Dinosaurs, Edwin H. Colbert, p. 254).
What about food problems?
The fossil record shows that the plants eaten by the dinosaurs were
still very much available to them at the time of the Great Extinction.
Perhaps some could have been extinguished IF the food supply in a certain
area or of a certain kind were not available. But this idea cannot
account for the extinction of ALL dinosaurs EVERYWHERE.
Perhaps great disease epidemics swept the earth at that time? This
solution is also rejected by most scientists--and for good reasons.
Most epidemics are very specific, attacking only one species
of animal or are relatively limited in their effects, killing off only
a portion of that species.
One paleontologist candidly confesses that it is stretching credulity
far beyond the bounds of reason to suppose that a series of epidemics
could have brought about the disappearance of ALL dinosaurs (Dinosaurs,
Edwin H. Colbert, pp. 255, 256).
Could it be that dinosaurs were badly constructed? No!
Dinosaurs were WELL CONSTRUCTED! And can we, in all honesty, postulate
that ALL the varied dinosaurs and other forms of life in the land,
in the seas, and in the air were ALL badly constructed?
Another quaint theory has certain so-called, primitive mammals having
a yen for dinosaur eggs--eating the huge reptiles literally off the
face of the earth.
The living Nile monitor, for example, avidly hunts and devours eggs
of the Nile crocodile. But it has not succeeded in exterminating the
But more important, the fossil record shows that true mammals of the
type and variety of today did NOT ARISE until after the dinosaurs
were extinct. This explanation, as others, simply doesnt hold
The idea of racial senescence is an old theory--and that
is all it is, a theory! Few competent paleontologists would accept
the idea that dinosaurs just grew old and tired as a race or species!
Remember, extremely varied reptilian forms living worldwide, ALL DIED
at once. Even if the senility idea were plausible, would all the varied
forms of life which became extinct--all reach this so called senility
So much for one half of the ideas.
The other half of the categories usually cited involve
some form of local CATASTROPHE. However, to do the job
of extinguishing the reptilian hordes, these catastrophes would have
to be worldwide in extent.
Because we find dinosaur graveyards in all parts of the world. But
such catastrophes would need to account for MORE than just the dinosaurs mysterious
The great crisis in the history of life at that time also destroyed
the great MARINE reptiles--the ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and the mosasaurs.
These ALL DIED simultaneously with the dinosaurs--even though they
lived in the seas.
Other types of life in the sea, and in the air as well, also perished.
The great winged dragons, the pterosaurs, had the amazing wingspread
of 23 to 25 feet. The final remains of these flying reptiles are found
along with the dinosaurs. Their fate was the same.
But scientists are unwilling to accept sudden catastrophes if they
are worldwide in extent. [Since Velikovski (World in Upheaval)
some have been willing to, but not the implication of Divine creation
that this interpretation carries.]
An obvious and all to easy explanation is the catastrophe
one. Did some great event take place that wiped out these reptiles? Colbert
There is NO PLACE for worldwide catastrophes in the
world of the past or of the present IF the principle of uniformitarianism [the
idea that existing processes acting in the same manner as at present
are sufficient to account for all geological changes] has any validity (The
Age of Reptiles, Edwin Colbert, pp. 203, 204).
thats just the problem! Scattered local catastrophes are accepted.
But worldwide catastrophe is denied consideration. The theory that
all geological processes have continued at basically the same rate
as we see them occurring today is a vital pillar in the structure of
But, have all geologic processes continued at the same rate? Is this
concept true? WHY have worldwide catastrophes been rejected by scientists?
Why should the
obvious and all too easy explanation of a universal catastrophe
have NO PLACE in modern science?
The plain and obvious answer is that evolution needs time--VAST amounts
of time--to make its theory seem plausible. [And 65 million years from
the sudden extinction of highly sophisticated groups of highly interrelated
reptilian species to the appearance of other highly sophisticated and
interrelated groups of mammals and plants, and man, is not considered
by any serious scientist to be sufficient time to allow the evolutionary
process to work.] But theistic evolution does not require vast amounts of time to make it possible.
Scientists realize that a major catastrophe could do in a few days
or weeks what natural processes might require many thousands of years
or even millions of years to accomplish. A catastrophe enormously speeds
up and goes far beyond the pace of the natural processes of erosion
and burial. That is why any catastrophic approach is shunned and avoided
by scientists who have assumed that all life is due to a slow evolutionary
We may assume, Nicholas Hotton, a paleontologist
tells us, that it [the extinction] resulted from reasonably well-understood
processes of climatic change and biological competition we are
fairly sure that it was gradual, NOT CATASTROPHIC
(Dinosaurs, Nicholas Hotton III, p. 174).
Yet paleontologists acknowledge that other means could not destroy
these creatures. They admit that climatic change, epidemics, change
of food supply and other such ideas cannot possibly account for the
worldwide extinction of land, air, and sea life at the close of the
Age of Reptiles.
If a catastrophe is to be involved to explain the extinction of the
dinosaurs--it would have to be a WORLDWIDE occurrence!
European paleontologist Bjorn Kurten admits this precise point:
The catastrophe would have had to be almost UNIVERSAL IN PROPORTIONS
as we know that dinosaurs were present in most or all continents (The
Age of Dinosaurs, Bjorn Kurten, p. 236).
Worldwide catastrophe seems to be the only path to pursue in looking
for an explanation for this mysterious extinction.
Yet, the typical paleontologist simply does not want to face this possibility.
seems logical, admits Colbert, to look for some great change that
took place thereby bringing to an end the multitudes of dinosaurs
and other reptiles that then populated the earth.
This is not to imply that there was of necessity a great WORLDWIDE
CATASTROPHE, which by the violence of its expression suddenly wiped
out the dinosaurs. Catastrophes are the mainstays of people who have
very little knowledge of the natural world, for them the invocation
of a catastrophe is an easy way to explain great events (Dinosaurs,
Edwin Colbert, p. 253).
Yet, if a worldwide catastrophe explains what happened, why
NOT postulate--and prove it? What is wrong with an easy or simple explanation?
After all, paleontologists have been struggling for an answer to this
great dying for many decades.
Admissions in Mind
far no logical way has been found to connect the known cause of the
extinction of individual species with these worldwide Great Deaths.
Some other cause, operating on a WORLDWIDE basis, would seem
to be called for
(The Day of the Dinosaur, L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine
Crook de Camp, pp. 200, 201).
How can we solve this puzzle of dinosaur extinction? First, we must
look for a worldwide cause. Second, that cause must be so
catastrophic that no dinosaur any place on earth could survive. The
evidence in this mystery is the fossil record.
Hunting in New Mexico
take a few examples of where dinosaur bones have been found and see
how catastrophic their burial really was.
In 1947, an expedition from the American Museum of Natural History
discovered an amazing concentration of Coelophysis dinosaur
bones in north-western New Mexico.
The explorers began to probe a certain section of land with scratchers
and awls, the usual method of preliminary investigation of a possible
bone site. It became quickly apparent that the investigators had run
upon a most amazing find.
The workers cut a large scallop into the hillside. As the layer
was exposed it revealed a most REMARKABLE DINOSAURIAN GRAVEYARD in
which there were literally scores of skeletons one on top of another
and INTERLACED WITH one another. It would appear that some local catastrophe
had overtaken these dinosaurs, so that they all died together and were
(Men and Dinosaurs, Edwin Colbert, p. 141).
In what condition were they found?
They were found in the GREATEST PROFUSION, piled on top of one another,
with heads and tails and feet and legs often inextricably mixed in a jack-straw
puzzle of bones.
of the skeletons were absolutely complete. Even the tiniest
bones survived. These finds are rated as among the most perfect dinosaur
skeletons ever discovered.
They represent a range of ages, from very small animals to those obviously
fully adult. All of this rich material, coming from a single quarry
that was perhaps thirty feet square, certainly indicates the remains
of animals belonging to a single species that may have been OVERWHELMED
BY SOME LOCAL CATASTROPHE AND BURRIED TOGETHER (Dinosaurs,
Edwin Colbert, p. 61).
The fact that these fossils were perfectly preserved shows they had
to be buried IMMEDIATELY-before predators and weathering destroyed
The composition of the fossils shows a complete range of a single species,
as one might find a herd of some wild animal. It is obvious that a
CATASTROPHE buried those animals.
a Local Catastrophe?
But, was it only a local catastrophe? This
might be a logical deduction if such graveyards were found nowhere
else. However, the reverse is true. No matter where we look, almost
invariably we see indication of violent burial for dinosaurs.
In fact, whenever we see fossils of anything from marine invertebrates
to mammals-this sudden, and violent type of burial is clearly evident.
The dinosaurs are merely an outstanding case of this. For example,
there is a rich bed of fossil dinosaurs in Alberta, Canada. Here is
one of the most RICHLY fossiliferous regions in the world for dinosaur
How are these bones found?
Innumerable bones and many fine skeletons of dinosaurs and other
associated reptiles have been quarried from these badlands, particularly
in the fifteen-mile stretch that is a veritable DINOSAURIAN GRAVEYARD (The
Age of Reptiles, Edwin Colbert, p. 169).
example comes from a 1934 discovery.
Barnum Brown, famous dinosaur discoverer, was collecting bones in Montana.
He heard of large bones in the ranch owned by a man named Barker Howe,
who lived at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming.
Edwin Colbert tells us in what condition Brown found the bones as he
began to work the area of the Howe Ranch.
The concentration of the fossils was remarkable; they were piled in LIKE
LOGS IN A JAM (Men and Dinosaurs, Edwin Colbert, p. 173).
If this were an isolated case, it might perhaps be explained as a fluke
of nature or a local catastrophe. But this example is just
one of many.
Such destruction, such mixing up, such concentration could only come
Profusion of Skeletons
another case, somewhat earlier, bone diggers were making exploratory
excursions into the Medicine Bow anticline, a ridge that contains what
are called Morrison sediments-somewhat north of Como Bluff, Wyoming.
The Morrison formation is known as a tremendous source of dinosaur
fossils throughout Western North America.
In the general area north of Como Bluff, on June 12, 1898, the famous
Bone Cabin quarry was located. It was named after an old sheepherder
who had built a cabin out of dinosaur bones he found in the area.
Here is what the bone diggers found.
At this spot the fossil hunters found a hillside of dinosaur bones that
had weathered out of the sediments composing the ridge the party went
to work, digging down into the surface of the hill, and as they dug, more and
more bones came to light. In short, it was a veritable MINE OF DINOSAUR BONES (Men
and Dinosaurs, Edwin Colbert, p. 151).
Another author gives us more details into what was actually discovered.
In the Bone-Cabin Quarry we came across a veritable Noahs
ark deposit, a perfect museum of all the animals of the period.
Here are the largest of the giant dinosaurs closely mingled with
the remains of the smaller but powerful carnivorous dinosaurs which
preyed upon them, also those of the slow and heavy moving armored dinosaurs
of the period, as well as the lightest and most bird-like of the dinosaurs.
Finely rounded, complete limbs from eight to ten feet in length
are found, especially those of the carnivorous dinosaurs, perfect
even to the sharply pointed and recurved tips of their toes
(Dinosaurs, W.D. Matthew, pp. 136, 138).
Again, immediate burial was necessary for such perfect preservation.
It is as if a complete biota-an entire range of animals-were buried
together by water-borne mud.
Dinosaurs in Africa
of the most important paleontological expeditions was the 1909-1914
one to what was then German East Africa, now Tanzania.
The site contained an ENORMOUS NUMBER of fossils-far more than
could be carried off by one expedition. As in most of such sites, the
greater part of the remains were fragmentary there was much speculation
as to how the remains of so many dinosaurs came to be CONCENTRATED
in beds otherwise rather poor in fossil remains. Some German scientists
suggested that the animals had been overwhelmed by a natural catastrophe (The
Day of the Dinosaur, L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine Crook de
Camp, p. 250).
Why of course!
That is the obvious explanation. Here is another example of VIOLENT
burial. When you find fossils the world over-in Africa, in North America,
in Europe-all looking as though they had been overwhelmed by
a catastrophe, that is the logical conclusion.
There was a WORLDWIDE CATASTROPHE that buried these dragons of the
ancient past and preserved them as a record of what occurred in those
distant times. Sudden death and immediate burial was the fate of that
in 1878 a remarkable concentration of Iguanodon (I-gwan-o-don)
skeletons were discovered one thousand feet below the ground in a Belgian
Coal miners in the coal town of Bernissart were developing a new gallery
at the 1,046-foot depth. Suddenly the miners hit upon large fossil
A second tunnel was driven parallel to the first at 1,157 feet. Again,
bones were struck.
Thus it could be seen that the FOSSIL BONEYARD was evidently
one of gigantic proportions, especially notable because of
its vertical extension through more than a hundred feet of rock (Men
and Dinosaurs, Edwin Colbert, p. 58).
The bones were not contained within the regular beds of the coal seems--but
were deposited in Unstratified clays that cut through the
layered coal. It appeared that a deep pit or fissure had extended through
the coal-bearing layers. How is the profusion of bones explained?
Careful work would SEEM to indicate that within the coal
mine of Bernissart there was preserved an ancient ravine--a narrow, deep gully into
which, within a comparatively short span of years, many inguanodons had slipped
and fallen and died, to be buried in deep deposits of mud brought in by flooding
waters after HEAVY RAIN (Men and Dinosaurs, Edwin Colbert,
This, of course, is often the explanation. But even then after careful
work it only seemed like a possible indication that these iguanodons
had slipped and fallen.
But here we have heavy rains mentioned, flooding waters, deposits of
mud. Is it not more logical to have a sudden inundation bury these
hapless dinosaurs? Do we not here have another positive proof of some
catastrophe obliterating the dinosaurs?