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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptical Inquirer > July August 2017 > DID AUSTRALIA’S ABORIGINES SEE PLESIOSAURS? YES-IN A CHILDREN’S BOOK

DID AUSTRALIA’S ABORIGINES SEE PLESIOSAURS? YES-IN A CHILDREN’S BOOK

To support their claim that humans and plesiosaurs coexisted, antievolution publications cite as evidence a plesiosaur painting by an artist of the Kuku Yalanji tribe of Australia. However, the painting is actually a copy of an illustration in a 1960 children’s book on dinosaurs.

According to the young-Earth creationist (YEC) worldview, God created the Earth and the rest of the universe during a single week about 6,000 years ago, and he created humans and other kinds of organisms independently during the same week, as described in Genesis. This view rejects the abundant physical evidence that the Earth is over 4.5 billion years old (Gradstein et al. 2004), that the universe is billions of years older than that (Lineweaver 1999), and that all organisms evolved from a common ancestor over billions of years (Prothero 2007).

According to the physical evidence, non-avian dinosaurs and other monstrous reptiles such as pterosaurs, mosasaurs, and plesiosaurs became extinct at the end of the Mesozoic Era, 65 million years ago (Wicander and Monroe 2016), and the human species (Homo sapiens) did not come into being until about 200,000 years ago (McDougall et al. 2005). Humans and the monstrous reptiles of the Mesozoic Era are therefore separated by millions of years. To cast doubt upon the separation of humans and such beasts by millions of years—and by extension to cast doubt upon the passage of millions of years—YEC authors frequently cite archaeological “evidence” that ancient people came into contact with such reptiles. Such “evidence” usually consists of ancient, medieval, or more recent artwork that depicts creatures that the YEC authors claim are dinosaurs, pterosaurs, or plesiosaurs. Many such claims have been investigated and shown to be incorrect and based on taxidermic hoaxes or misidentifications of depictions of extant animals (Senter 2012; 2013; Senter and Wilkins 2013; Senter et al. 2013; Senter and Klein 2014).

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