The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, unveiled its first dinosaur skeleton to the public Saturday, presenting to patrons and visitors "proof" that dinosaurs not only lived alongside humans but that they were still extant at least up until the Great Flood occurred. Apparently, according to the premise being posited by Creation Museum founder Ken Ham and geologist Andrew Snelling, dinosaurs missed the boat. Or, rather, the Ark. (Just as well, it would seem, given the limitations and confined spaces within such a vessel -- one filled with what would constitute easy prey for many of the carnivorous reptiles.) And it is the intent of Ham and company (the non-profit Answers in Genesis organization) to offer an alternative view of pre-history to that offered by mainstream science and evolution theorists, one more in tune with the Bible and a timeline only a few thousand years old.
In the new exhibit, "Facing the Allosaurus," io9.com reported May 23 that the Creation Museum is touting the allosaurus skeleton as one of the best specimens of the creature ever recovered and as actual proof that supports the biblical record of creation and subsequent historical events.
According to a statement issued by the museum, the skeleton, which stands about 10 feet high and roughly 30 feet long, is about 4,300 years old. Ebenezer, as the allosaurus is called, was donated to the Creation Museum by the Elizabeth Streb Peroutka Foundation, which purchased the bones over a decade ago. The skeleton itself, which is only about half intact, was uncovered in Colorado in 2001.
According to paleontological science, Allosaurus fragilis, the particular species to which the museum's specimen belongs, died out somewhere on the other side of 140 million years ago. But when it roamed the Earth, it was one of the more dominant dinosaur species and just a little smaller than Tyrannosaurus rex.
Scientist believe the last of the dinosaurs roamed the Earth about 60 million years ago.
Answers in Genesis geologist Andrew Snelling asserts that the skeleton "stands out for a few major reasons. It was found with its bones arranged in their correct anatomical positions relative to each other, rather than in a scattered assortment of bones as is often the case." This is an indication, he maintains, that the bones were quickly buried -- as in the case of a Great Flood. The museum speculates that Ebenezer was most likely caught in the rising flood waters he was attempting to escape.
Answers in Genesis is the Christian apologetics organization run by Ken Ham that oversees his creationist ministry and the operations of the museum. Ham and his Creation Museum made international headlines in February when the Ham debated famed science advocate and television personality, Bill Nye, in a creationist versus evolution face-off. The debate reached millions via the Internet.
Ham also gained notoriety for the massive replica of Noah's Ark he's constructing in the Kentucky mountains.
The dinosaur skeleton is part of an exhibit that opens on Memorial Day that tells the story of the biblical Great Flood and how the dinosaurs played a part in the story of Noah's Ark.
Ham and his museum's claims of dinosaur and human coexistence aside, the biblical account of Noah and his animal-shepherding vessel recently became the topic debate. An ancient manuscript predating the story of the Great Flood seems to also tell a story of inundation and even goes into the life-saving boat's construction parameters, which, contrary to the usual depictions of an elongated vessel, envisions the "ark" as a massive round craft.
"[T]he dinosaur named Ebenezer will find its permanent home here at the Creation Museum as a testament to the truths found in God's Word, and not be used to indoctrinate our kids with belief in evolution!" reads the museum's website.
In keeping with the museum's anti-science stance, there is no evidence of any attempts to date the dinosaur bones. Nor does there seem to be any evidence that the geological formations where the allosaurus was recovered have been dated -- a curious omission given Snelling's credentials as a geologist.
President of the Kentucky Paleontological Society Daniel Phelps said in a release Thursday that the Creation Museum “has decided, without doing research, that the dinosaur fossil is evidence of Noah’s flood.”