In 1841, famed British naturalist Sir Richard Owen coined a word to describe the fossils he had been recently studying. The word was ‘dinosaur’ meaning ‘terrible reptile.’ Over the years, Owen collected hundreds of fossils and in 1881 he helped establish the British Museum of London, more commonly referred to as the Natural History of London.
Among the many fossils Owen collected, was a rough looking fossil that had been dug up by workers near Cambridge. The fossil remained in the Museum archives for years until recently.
David Unwin of the University of Leicester and David Martill of the University of Portsmouth took a closer look at this piece of fossil. Upon closer examination, they determined that it was the tip of the upper jaw of a large pterosaur that contained a fairly large tooth, about half an inch in diameter, and several empty tooth sockets.
Based upon the size of the fossil and tooth, Unwin and Martill estimate the pterosaur, named Coloborhynchus capito, had a skull that was almost 30 inches long and a wingspan of nearly 23 feet across. Prior to this, the largest toothed pterosaur only had a wingspan of about 16 feet.
Although the fossil was described as an ugly looking thing, it has proven to be an exciting find for the scientists and I can’t say as I blame them for being so excited about the discovery. However, I’m less than excited or enthusiastic about their explanation of the evolutionary history behind the fossil.
According to the two researchers, the first pterosaurs were only the size of crows, had a mouth full of teeth and lived about 215 million years ago. They slowly evolved larger and larger and during the Jurassic Period gave rise to two groups of pterosaurs that grew to tremendous sizes but lacked teeth. Then in the Cretaceous period about 100 million years ago, Coloborhynchus capito evolved onto the scene.
Instead of the scenario they offered to explain the newly described pterosaur, I would suggest that the first pterosaur appeared about 6,000 years ago on Day 5 of Creation when God created all of the flying creatures. The first pterosaurs contained a great deal of genetic variability and as they rapidly reproduced and spread out across the earth, they rapidly diversified resulting in a number of new and different species. Some were small, others were large. Some had teeth, others were toothless. Sixteen hundred and fifty years later, most of the pterosaurs perished in the yearlong worldwide flood described in Genesis 6-8.
However, some survived the Flood and lived for a number of centuries until finally dying out. We have written historical accounts of pterosaur-like flying creatures existing up to a few hundred years ago.
Davies, Ella. ‘Ugly’ fossil is largest toothed pterosaur, BBC Nature News, Oct. 4, 2011.
In this stunning program, watch science and the Bible unite as you learn the amazing truth about these creatures. Using several museum-quality dinosaur fossils and specimens, Dr. G. Thomas Sharp will explain the Biblical view of dinosaur origins, and their disappearance, as he walks you through the five most frequently asked questions about these incredible animals.
Did Dinosaurs really exist? if so, when Did they exist? Where are they now? Why is the word “Dinosaurs” not in the Bible? Were Dinosaurs on Noah’s ark?
Dr. Sharp will also reveal their fascinating history and the role they play in the development of a Biblical worldview.
Learn the Truth About Dinosaurs.