Monday, 20 October 2008
Dinosaurs in Alaska
How could dinosaurs find food in Alaska?
We would not expect to see dinosaurs in Alaska. But Arctic Dinosaurs, a recent Nova program, examined an intriguing mystery: how could dinosaurs live in an arctic environment?
Palaeontologists have “unearthed dozens of dinosaurs—adults and juveniles—their bones jumbled together, fossilized, then locked in permafrost for eons, until now.” They have found eight different species at two sites along the Colville River. They dug up hundreds of fossils, including a 10.5-metre (35-foot) Edmontosaurus, a duck-billed herbivore or plant eater just 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the Arctic Ocean and a 9-metre (30-foot) Gorgosaurus, a carnivore.
There are three potential solutions for the existence of these dinosaur graveyards: (1) Alaska was warmer in the past, (2) the dinosaurs migrated there each year or (3) they were warm-blooded after all. As Hans-Dieter Sues of the Smithsonian Institution says in the program, “The traditional view was that dinosaurs were all overgrown reptiles that lived under tropical conditions. When we found polar dinosaurs, however, it was driven home to everyone that dinosaurs could live under different...and thrive under very different climate conditions.”
Migration would probably have to be dismissed as there was not much food in Alaska and the winters might have been too severe for dinosaurs even in near-by areas. While the warm-blood hypothesis might not be ruled out completely, it still leaves an all-important question unsanswered: how could giant plant-eaters find enough food during the severe winters?
This would seem to leave us with just one feasible solution to the riddle: perhaps Alaska was warmer in the past.
That scenario would fit in well with the biblical view of origins. The flood of Noah’s days would leave animal graveyards in its wake. It would also have changed the weather permanently. Creation scientists such as Michael Oard believe the post-flood conditions caused the ice age. In any case, the pre-Fall "very good" world would not have had any harsh weather.
Thus, from a biblical perspective the existence of dinosaur graveyards in Alaska is no mystery at all. On the contrary, if we believe that the Bible is a reliable account of history, we would expect to find traces of the great flood that destroyed all the people and land animals that were not on the ark.
Nova Transcripts. Arctic Dinosaurs. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3511_arcticdino.html