Like cultures today, ancient people created artwork based on real-life subjects. Many cave paintings (pictographs) and petroglyphs (shallow rock carvings) depict scenes from battles (24), ancient people performing various rituals (36), (and fauna, such as buffalo, seen by the native peoples. Sculptures, mosaics, figurines, and carvings made by people hundreds or thousands of years ago also depict some strange creatures that seem to closely resemble what we might call dinosaurs. This leads to a fascinating question: Did ancient cultures believe that dinosaurs were contemporaries of humankind and did they claim to see such creatures?
The Acambaro Figurines
Charles Hapgood, a professor of anthropology and history at Keene State College, learned about the figurines and decided that he would see them for himself (35). After investigating and researching the figurines for 18 years, and after seeing more of the objects turn up when workers dug in certain locations he determined, Hapgood, a self-confessed skeptic (35), authored a book on the Acambaro figurines: Mystery in Acambaro: Did Dinosaurs Survive Until Recently? No longer a skeptic about the origin and authenticity of the ancient figurines, Charles Hapgood believes that they were made by an ancient culture. At the same place where the artifacts were discovered, the teeth of an extinct horse, the skeleton of a mammoth, and human skulls were also unearthed (35). The fact that many of these unique figurines resemble dinosaurs has been a reason the majority of the scientific community has ignored the discovery, passing it off as a hoax.
Shang Dynasty "Saurolophus"
Besides the Acambaro figurines and the Shang Dynasty saurolophus, there are more examples of possible dinosaur-like figurines from ancient cultures that could be mentioned such as the figurine of a Dogon tribesman, from Africa, riding a strange, "prehistoric" creature or the painted pots and vases from the Moche tribe of South America. According to Genesis Park, the Moche tribe ceramics display "with singular realism medical acts, combative events, musical instruments, plants and animals" (1). Some of these painted vases and pots have what appear to be realistic dinosaurs painted on their clay surfaces (1). The Moche tribe pottery collection is currently located in the Larco Herrera Museum in Peru (1).
The Ica Stones
The Granby Idol
Mesopotamian Cylinder Seal
The Anasazi Dinosaur Petroglyph
The Water Panther Pictograms
Angkor Wat "Secret"
The Tomb of Richard Bell
The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina Mosaic
The "Hunt" Mosaic
Stories passed down by word of mouth--some of them originating apparently not that long ago--have come out of remote jungles and wilderness areas as western civilization has expanded to distant lands. Such information by word of mouth has come from the Australian Aboriginees, a people who have lived in the sub-continent for thousands of years. According to the Aboriginees, a number of large and powerful creatures once inhabited the vast expanse of Australia.
In July 1845, and article appeared in the Geelong Advertiser of Victoria, Australia (12). It described the discovery of an un-fossilized bone of an unknown, giant animal. When the bone was shown to different, separate Aboriginal tribes, they all immediately identified it as a "bunyip" bone. The tribes were quite distant from each other and had no way of communicating with each other (12). According to their descriptions of the "bunyip", the animal was big, laid eggs, could walk on two feet, and was considered dangerous (Driver). According to the Aboriginees, the "bunyip" had "the characteristics of a bird and an alligator" (12). One native claimed that some deep scars in his skin were caused by a "bunyip" (12).
A creature that is described as a quadruped with a long neck and a long, pointed tail is said, by the Central Australian aboriginal tribes, to have lived in swamps which once covered the region. The Aborigines call this creature the "Kultra" (12). From the descriptions they give, it appears to be a type of sauropod.
Thousands of miles away from the jungles of Australia, another rainforest spreads its leafy canopy over a vast area. The Congo Basin covers 1.5 million square miles with a swamp-filled jungle (3). Filling up a large portion of the Congo Basin, the Likouala Swamp is the largest swamp in the world (21). Covering roughly 55,000 square miles, an area larger than the state of Florida, the Likouala Swamp has been officially declared by the People's Republic of the Congo to be 80% unexplored (21). Over the years, starting in the year 1776 and up to the present time, people who have traveled to the Congo and talked to the native people have heard about a large creature that the natives call the "Mokele-mbembe" (21).
The natives describe the creature as being generally reddish-brown and about the size of an elephant, with a long neck and a long tail. It is known to devour plants and leave behind rounded tracts with three, prominent claws (21). Thus, it is a herbivore. These descriptions strongly suggest that the creature is a sauropod dinosaur (21).
Ancient petroglyphs, pictographs, figurines, carvings, mosaics, stones, engravings, and legends on the subject of dinosaurian creatures are all interesting and intriguing pieces of possible evidence that dinosaurs may have (or possibly still do) lived as contemporaries of man. A question arises: If dinosaurs really had lived with humankind, explorers, scientists, or archeologists would most likely have found some remains or evidence to concretely prove it, correct?
The Age of B. rex
When scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory used the Carbon dating method to find the age of some dinosaur bones, they came up with an age of only a few thousand years (31). Because this date did not fit their beliefs about the age of dinosaurs, they ignored their findings and decided to use other methods instead (31). Some of these results can differ from each other by as much as 150 million years (31).
Soft tissues normally decompose quickly after an organism dies (6).
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(14) Ho, Oliver. Mysteries Unwrapped: Mutants & Monsters. New York: Sterling, 2008.
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