How did the dinosaurs go extinct? Well, most people have been told that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs. And here’s an article I found in Discover Magazine claiming that the dinosaurs were “doomed to extinction” long before that large asteroid crashed into the earth and wiped them out.
For decades some scientists have blamed the extinction of the dinosaurs on a crater known as Chicxulub- caused by an asteroid six miles wide supposedly slamming into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula nearly 66 million years ago. According to this new study, dinosaurs were already in decline for over 100 million years before the impact. It’s interesting to note that this decline was world-wide, and the cause is believed to have involved intense and persistent volcanism for millions of years. Climate change, the rise in sea levels, and the break-up of supercontinents also had an impact.
As a result, when the asteroid struck the earth, the end was near; the dinosaurs couldn’t recover from this cataclysmic event, and they eventually went extinct… well, except for those that just-so-happened to evolve into birds, which are thriving among us to this very day. So we have a dramatic story followed by a fairy tale ending.
As a creationist, however, I haven’t bought into this inventive tale that can’t be substantiated by the evidence. Now for those who do accept this as fact, they would probably say the same about an alternative explanation- and that’s the Biblical account described in Genesis. But I believe the Biblical account provides a much better and more accurate explanation.
Genesis describes a world-wide flood that wiped out all the land animals on the face of the earth. Such an event would have been responsible for the breakup of the continents, and would have led to intense volcanic activity. This is the creationist model, and it can be substantiated by the geologic record. We see dinosaur graveyards testifying to flood activity. We see geologic layers spanning across continents. We find fossilized sea animals on all the highest mountains. There’s evidence of rapid burial of plants and animals. There are sediment layers laid down rapidly across vast distances, and sediment transported across the country. There’s evidence of rapid or no erosion between layers, and many of these layers were deposited rapidly.
It was this event that is mainly responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Only the animals and dinosaurs on board the ark would have survived, and those that exited the ark would have dispersed just like every other animal that survived the journey. But they would have lived in a radically different environment.
Therefore the dinosaur extinction (assuming that they have gone completely extinct) would have happened only recently as there are descriptions of dinosaur-like creatures all throughout human history. It’s likely that dinosaurs, as a whole, were unable to adapt to their new environment and climate. Indeed there was intense volcanic activity following the flood, and there was an ice age. As humans populated the earth, dinosaurs would have had a less suitable habitat.
And that’s it. The dinosaur population dwindled following the flood and quietly went extinct over the last several thousand years. They didn’t die out with the bang of an asteroid impact, as some believe. That might make for a dramatic ending (and good movie drama), but it doesn’t account for all the data.
Consider the evidence. If we entertain the idea of an asteroid collision, realize that the dinosaurs didn’t even go extinct for another 300,000 years after the impact. That’s an extremely long time to avoid extinction. If the dinosaurs were to have gone extinct, however, that likely would have happened within decades of the impact when environmental damage would have been greatest… not hundreds of thousands of years later when the damage would have been non-existent for centuries.
Asteroids bombarding the earth are compatible with the flood model, so it’s not a problem if a large asteroid were to hit the earth sometime in the distant past and kill some unlucky dinosaurs, but it wouldn’t be enough to cause a world-wide extinction 300,000 years later. The high concentration of iridium- considered to be evidence of the Chicxulub crater- is more likely to have been caused by volcanic activity (the Deccan traps of India), which is also part of the flood model. In fact volcanism better explains the evidence than does an impact crater, and that’s why there are plenty of scientists who reject the idea that the features were caused by an asteroid at all.
Also consider that there were plenty of other plants and animals that didn’t go extinct. One study showed 52 different species were found in the sediment layers before and after the impact, so this further refutes the idea that an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs.
So if a global flood is the best explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs and accounts for the evidence, why isn’t it accepted by mainstream scientists? I think the reason is because many scientists are unwilling to accept a religious supernatural event. Most modern scientists only accept naturalistic explanations, and that leaves no room for an all-powerful God to exist and exert control over his creation. Their only alternative is to come up with a solution that doesn’t involve a supernatural event.
Nonetheless, the evidence is there to support a world-wide flood, and it makes for a much more accurate explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs.