The recent announcement of another new dinosaur still contains some of the same old evolutionary assumptions.
Cousin to the T. rex, the new large theropod dinosaur has been named Zhuchengtryrannus magnus because it was found in the city of Zhucheng which is located in the Shandong Province of eastern China. The bone bed in this area of China may be the largest concentration of dinosaur fossils in the world. Researchers working this area believe that it once was a large flood plain where numerous dinosaur bodies were collected from various floods before being fossilized.
According to the report, Dr. David Hone from the University College in Dublin, Ireland, said the specimen consists of several pieces of skull and two section of the lower jaw bone with teeth. From these few fossils Z. magnus is described as being a carnivore similar in size and stature to the T. rex, with two tiny forelimbs, strong hindlimbs for running and powerful jaws.
Now let’s take a look at the assumptions being made about this dinosaur to see just how valid they may be.
1. Similar in size and stature to the T. rex: This assumption is made based upon the size of he two sections of jawbone, tooth size and the skull fragment. Being trained as a wildlife biologist, I studied skulls of various mammals, birds and reptiles. There is a general correlation between the size and shape of the skull and jaws that can be used to estimate the approximate size of the animal in question. Therefore, I would say that this first assumption is a legitimate one.
2. Two tiny front limbs: From the article, there are NO post-cranial bones present on which to make this assumption. Could Z. magnus have had two normal sized forelimbs? There are other theropod dinosaurs with normal sized forelimbs, but because of the similarities between the jaws of this dino and T. rex, they are making an unsubstantiated assumption of the size and nature of the forelimbs.
3. Ran on strong hindlimbs: For the same reason listed for the forelimbs, this assumption is also unsubstantiated. Additionally, there have been several studies done over the years on the locomotive capabilities of the T. rex. The majority of these studies have suggested that T. rex was not a fast runner and was probably more of an opportunity hunter and scavenger instead of a ten ton wolf chasing down prey.
4. Being a carnivore with powerful jaws. This assumption of a carnivorous diet is largely based upon the size and shape of the teeth along with the powerful jaws. Many people may not be aware that one can identify where muscles attach to bones and often how large and strong those muscles are. In the case of Z. magnus, like T. rex, there are indications of powerful muscle attachments on the jaw bone indicating a powerful biting force. However, strong jaws and sharp teeth do not necessarily equate to a carnivore. The hyena has extremely powerful jaws and sharp teeth and they are primarily scavengers. Pandas also have strong jaws and sharp teeth and the majority of their diet is bamboo. There are also a number of paleontologists that believe T. rex was more of a scavenger than a hunting carnivore. Therefore this assumption must be tempered with caution and the allowance for other possibilities.
5. Shandong dinosaur fossil bed being the result of floods: As usual, evolutionary geologists and paleontologists deny the worldwide flood described in Genesis. Instead, they attribute mass burials such as this one, to be the result of numerous local floods. The Shandong area is geologically classified as being Cretaceous strata. Most prominent creationist geologists believe that the Cretaceous layers of rock were laid down during the later stages of the Flood In this case, both the evolutionists and creationists are making assumptions that are based upon their presuppositional beliefs about origins and the age of the earth. Neither assumption can be proved, tested or repeated. The only difference is the evolutionists believe in millions of years of death and suffering in a godless natural world, where as creationists believe in a young earth that was judged and destroyed by a global flood and we base that assumption on the eyewitness accounts of our Creator God and those that lived through it such as Noah and his sons.
Hopefully, this will help you learn how to sort through some of these evolutionary articles to discern what are valid and what are unsubstantiated assumptions. The more aware you are of what the evidence really says the better you will be able to address it and give a biblical explanation for it.
Walker, Matt, Giant Prehistoric Dinosaur Cousin of T. rex Identified, BBC News, March 31, 2011.
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