Did Dinosaurs Exist? Reply to a conspiracy theorist

I’m always happy to see my reader count going up, and to see a larger diversity of websites referring back here. Today I noticed a new referral: a forum linking to my post on how sauropods got blood up their necks. Awesome!

Turns out there is at least one person on this planet, the admin of this conspiracy theory forum, who thinks that dinosaurs never existed, and that they were invented by the freemasons. Why? Just because. Go forth and read all the hilariousness, it’s as delusional as creationist tripe but more exotic. The link back to my site was in actuality a quote-mine used to bolster an irrelevant and stupid argument.

The whole thread is comedy gold. As a public service, I will herein address this dude’s qualms.

There should be no carbon 14 in dinosaur bones (it should have all decayed after 30 million years) yet they find carbon 14 in dinosaur bones.

No, they don’t.

150 of the first species were discovered by just two guys who both had incentives to lie. One of them worked at Yale (can you say skull and bones?). Prior to this no one ever discovered or collected an entire dinosaur skeleton.

Yes, I can say skull and bones. Not exactly a tongue-twister.

No, those two guys merely contributed (and lost!) a lot of dinosaur specimens during the Bone Wars. The first description of a dinosaur was done by William Buckland in 1824 (citation), before either Marsh or Cope were even born. The first complete skeleton discovered was of Iguanodon in 1834, and it was in England. Sorry.

Soft tissue matter shouldn’t be in a 64 million year plus bone, yet they found it in dinosaur bones.

What a shame. Soft tissue preservation is when palaeontology is at its coolest. While it is rare – and hence great when discovered – it is by no means impossible, and can happen under a variety of conditions, most often microbially-mediated. Here’s a recent review paper specific for dinosaurs and other Mesozoic vertebrates.

DNA which has an even shorter half life than carbon 14 was tested and successfully analysed!

Nope, all reports of dinosaur DNA are from the times when DNA sequencing was not done very rigorously. For example, the most celebrated of these dinosaur DNA papers, from 1994 (linky), was found to be wrong just after it was published, with at least 4 rebuttals published directly afterwards in the same journal (1, 2, 3, 4). All these reports are just of human contamination (see Pääbo et al., 2004), and they pretty much disappear once proper sequencing methodology and clean rooms for aDNA work were established.

Dinosuars don’t really make sense, the long necked ones for example can’t raise their necks unless they had 10 hearts going up their neck!

If everything that doesn’t make sense doesn’t exist, then how come you are still here?

In all seriousness, the large dinosaurs have no extant analogues – they dwarf elephants and giraffes. Model-based research is the only way we have to study their biomechanics, but these are always done with biological limitations in mind. That is why the multiple-hearts hypothesis failed and is not taken seriously.

I also think it’s interesting how the new dinosaurs “discovered” kinda suck compared to the old ones, just like the monster designs in Star Wars went down hill.

Jar Jar Binks does suck. I don’t agree with the new dinosaurs not being as cool. We now know they had feathers. You might think they look less frightening than Jurassic Park-style scaled dinosaurs, but I suggest you try going head-to-head with a large bird. Those things are terrifying even though they are fluffy.

And why does this even matter as to whether they existed or not? Trilobites weren’t scary, but they still existed.

Fakes. The examples of fakes being discovered are numerous, 70% of Chinese marine fossils are estimated to be fakes. They can make them with chicken bone and plaster (would explain the C-14 and soft tissue). Why should we believe that only some of them are fake?

Fakes exist everywhere, but their existence is testimony that dinosaurs did exist. Think of it economically. Real dinosaur bones sell for a lot on the black market. Therefore, to make quick money, you try and fake a real bone. If the real bones didn’t exist, there would be no fakes because they would be worthless.

Of course, I only make that argument because in a debate as intellectually-rigorous as “Did dinosaurs exist?”, anecdotal evidence (“I was at a dinosaur dig and found bones myself after painstaking work”) shouldn’t count.

it’s possible the Skull and Bones society (see Anthony Sutton’s book for an explanation of who they are, what they do, and why they are so influential) may have created the dinosaur myth, exploiting the uncle of one of the dodgy researcher into funding it. Why would they do this?

The explanation is that if you don’t accept dinosaurs as real, you’re left with a lot of questions about evolution and the age of this planet.

No. Trilobites. Belemnites. Haikouella. Acritarchs. Archaeopteris. Just a handful of organisms older than the dinosaurs.

I am quote-mined further down on the first page, where Admin posts my paragraph explaining the outdated multiple-hearts-in-sauropod-necks hypothesis. He follows it up with this doozy:

Here’s the simple solution to your questions Archeologists, the con artist from Yale was like “let’s make a big giraffe like dinosaur” and didn’t think it through. That’s why you have impossibly long necks.

Same with t-rex. The dodo bird, flightless albatross, etc. were all the rage back then, so he was like “let’s make a dino with redundant arms”.

Archaeologists don’t study dinosaurs. Sauropods are known to have long necks because of their very large and numerous cervical vertebrae.

T-Rex had tiny arms, but only in relation to its body. It could still have ripped your head off with its hands. They were not redundant, except if your only reference on T-Rex biology is this:

sad-trexThe other four pages are just troll comments (the trolls are the reasonable ones, believe it or not!) and more repetitions based on the above themes which he usefully summarised in the first post, or just plain irrelevant links.

14 Comments

  1. andy

    I do agree with the dinosaurs being used in order to deceive our perception of time and years. Humans “Know” how long evolution takes, decay and liquidize right? If it isn’t true then all these perception we “know” are just lies an deceitfulness.

  2. Marc Srour

    The problem with that view is that our knowledge of deep time doesn’t come from dinosaurs, but from atoms and their decay. You can deny dinosaurs if you so wish, but best of luck trying to disprove atoms!

  3. Paul C Johnson

    Did William Parker Foulke’s (1856) Hadrosaurus was a hoax or not? In display at the New Jersey State Museum. Did the brontosaurus ever existed? Triceratops, Stegosaurus and Diplodocus are as well part of a fantasy land? Why the New York Herald and the Smithsonian confiscated much of it’s own fossil collection after accusing to famous paleontologists Othniel Marsh and Edward Cope of misusing tax dollars to hoard fossils and fit them as new specimens?

  4. Marc Srour

    1) No, his Hadrosaurus isn’t a hoax. It wasn’t a complete find, so they had to make a few plaster bones to make the complete exhibit, but the real bones all belonged to Hadrosaurus. There was a reinvestigation recently (2011) of all Hadrosaurus material ever collected that reconfirmed its status.

    2) Yes, Brontosaurus existed. There is a bit of a taxonomic mess with Apatosaurus. Apatosaurus was first described in 1877, Brontosaurus in 1879. Some palaeontologists think Brontosaurus bones are the same as Apatosaurus and so think that Brontosaurus is an invalid name (older names take precendence). Others think that Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus are distinct enough to warrant different names. Same thing happens all the time in hominid taxonomy, doesn’t mean humans don’t exist.

    3) Ditto for all the other genera you can cite. Don’t confuse taxonomic classification with validity of the bones. The bones are all dinosaurian, we’re just debating what label to give them.

    4) Marsh and Cope were so driven by their competition that they became immoral dickheads. Misusing tax dollars and taxonomic vandalism were two of their failures in the latter parts of the Bone Wars, yes. But that’s the beauty of things: we get to look at all the material they left behind and reassess them all. Just because two scientists did shit 150 years ago, doesn’t mean it’s still valid today. We’ve just about sorted a lot of their mess out, everything they mislabelled in their pursuit of glory has been fixed.

    1. Bob Buckingham

      I’m not your writer neither your reader. It simple caught my eye your concocted yarn about that specious defense of such a controvertible topic as dinosaurs. The science of dinosaurs and other prehistoric life is also directly linked to other controversial scientific topics such as evolution, fuel production, climate and even the space program (i.e., what allegedly killed them). Now you defend de real existence of such a fabulous creature as the brontosaurus in the same breath, and that make us here (Heidelberg, Germany) laugh. Is there a dinosaur hoax? Did dinosaurs really exist or not? Are dinosaurs yet another pseudo-scientific scam? If so, what might be the means and motives? Since the subject is regarded by the public with much the same reverence as the space program, I have lately been reading up on it with a skeptical eye. I haven’t yet reached a solid conclusion as to whether they did or didn’t exist but I currently suspect it is somewhere in between those two extremes and probably closer to the latter than the former. One laughable argument ––defended by you, of course––is that proposed by that goofy Christine C Rogers as absurd as proposing the finding of soft tissue in a fossilized bone. Dinosaur bones are fossils which means they are fossilized. This process results in a heavy, rock-like copy of the original object – a fossil. The fossil has the same shape as the original object, but is chemically more like a rock! Some of the original hydroxy-apatite (a major bone constituent) remains, although it is saturated with silica (rock).I can hear what you’re saying. You can even dare speculate. Will we see a return of the dinosaurs one day?
      How could they return if they didn’t exist in the first place?
      Why would they fake things like dinosaurs? Why would they fake things like – There’s a man in the sky who made the universe and make a religion out of it ? Nobody knows what the universe is! All part of the game of keeping us stupid as to the real nature of reality, somehow I think there is something we’re not being told! Who knows? It may have to do with maintaining the idea of pre and post-flood history. Dinosaurs bolster the idea of a complete fossil record which (conveniently) has no evidence of civilization dating beyond roughly 10,000 years. Of course, there’s plenty of evidence of massive, organized civilizations along earlier coastlines now under sea, but that evidence is contrary to the official story. Dinosaurs fill the gap. The dinosaur questions have been posed as anchors for Earth geology and planetary history. I think there are salient points in that the things are rock-in-rock, tightly controlled areas, slowly ‘carved’ out of the rock over seemingly endless operations, open to the touring public in the same way that museums dedicated to hoaxes are, and yet students are bombarded with history-book questions like ‘How did the dinosaurs die?’
      “Paleontologists are making history again in the dino-laden fossil beds of northwest China.” A team of Chinese paleontologists led by Xiao-ting Zhao discovered a species that puts another feather in the cap of bird-dino evolution theory. The new feather-clad find, dubbed Tianyulong confuciusi, was an herbivore with a slight build, signaling that the very first dinosaur had had skin protrusions akin to feathers. I find it puzzling the way the academics are currently pushing the bird-dinosaur concept but I agree that it seems to be an attempt to equate dinosaurs with our present day world for some reason. Maybe the entire propaganda punchline will become clearer in time. One of the most famous bird-dinosaur fossil hoaxes was the Archaeoraptor fiasco, aka “The Piltdown Chicken.” A Chinese farmer claimed he found the fossil and sold it to a dealer in 1999. It seemed to show an animal that was half bird and have dinosaur. National Geographic Magazine featured it in their magazine and it was hailed as the “missing link” of dino-bird evolution. Shortly after the article was published it was revealed that the “fossil” was a fake. It was actually two fossils of different animals intentionally stuck together before being sold by the Chinese farmer and NG had to print a retraction of the piece.
      “Paleontologists are making history again” – what a pun.

      1. Marc Srour

        First, allow me to congratulate you on your recent marriage and simultaneous name change. (I can see your e-mail and IP address, sockpuppetting attempts won’t get you anywhere.)

        Anyway.

        In what universe are evolution, fuel production, climate change, or the space program controversial? There’s absolutely no sense continuing this “discussion” if those are even points of contention. It’s one thing to be skeptical, it’s another to be so skeptical that 1+1 doesn’t equal 2 anymore.

        “fabulous creature as the brontosaur”

        Is it really that much more fabulous than an elephant? Or a sperm whale? Or a wasp that’s less than millimeter long? You really do it too much justice.

        “Dinosaurs bolster the idea of a complete fossil record which (conveniently) has no evidence of civilization dating beyond roughly 10,000 years.”

        Do you want to rewrite the history of human civilisation? Feel free to go dig around the Levant, India, North Africa, wherever else you think you might find early non-hunter-gatherer societies older than the Neolithic. We’ll all welcome it with open arms if it stands up to scrutiny. Until you or someone else gets that archaeological data, you have no choice but to deal with the currently-accepted view.

        Palaeontologists are the first people to tell you how incomplete the fossilr ecord is, by the way, We’re the ones who did all the statistics on its incompleteness, and we’re the ones who stress its incompleteness. So we’re pretty terrible at this conspiracy thing.

        Dinosaurs don’t fill any unfilled gaps either, except in the history of birds. If we didn’t have dinosaur fossils, we have plants, we have microfossils, we have molluscs, insects, and synapsids all coming from the same times as the dinosaurs.

        Finding soft tissues is extremely rare, but possible under very specific diagenetic circumstances. But why bother with such intricacies when you can just declare it impossible and shut your eyes to the coolness of it all?

        You do know that the ancestry of birds was enigmatic for a very long time, right? If scientists were attempting to push for it actively, it would have been resolved a long time ago, instead of having to wait decades to uncover the key fossils. And, really, what kind of nefarious purpose is there to convincing people that birds are dinosaurs? I’ll humour any idea you come up with, I’m sure it will be a fascinating read.

        And finally, who do you think discover the real hoaxes? Is it the keyboard warriors fighting the good fight from their bedrooms,or is it the palaeontologists analysing the specimens and seeing that they’re full of shit? Did you even think this through?

        If you’re really in Heidelberg, you can pay me a visit in Dresden. I’ll take you backstage to the labs where we look at the fossils. I can even score us an unanalysed bone to look at under the microscope, and give you a full lesson on all this stuff. Free of charge.

        1. Thomas Leitner/ Bob Buckingham/Paul C Johnson/David Griffin

          Wenn du ein Deutsche bist dann können uns vielleicht ein bisschen besser verstehen. Warum hat die “Der Spiegel” diese Artikel veröffentlich? “Durch eine neue Analyse-Methode haben Paleontologen anhand dem Beispiel des Tyrannosaurus Rex nun beweisen können, dass wahrscheinlich ein Drittel wenn nicht viel mehr, aller momentan als eigenständig geführte Arten nie existiert haben. Es sind nur jugendliche und heranwachsende Dinosaurier von anderen Spezies. So können zum Beispiel der bisherige Torosaurus und Nanotyrannus dem Tyrannosaurus Rex zugeordnet werden.

          Forscher beziehen nun den metaplastischen Knochen mit in die Betrachtung der Einteilung in Arten mit ein. Dieser Knochen verändert sich teilweise so dramatisch, dass eine Überprüfung aller bisher bekannten Arten notwendig wird. Und eine solche Unterfang wird in aller Wahrscheinlichkeiten Jahrzehnte dauern, wenn nicht viel länger.

          Wow, es kling alles so plausibel, so ähnlich glaubwürdig wie “Das Creation Museum”, das liegt in der Mitte von nirgendwo. Genauer gesagt, liegt es im Dreiländereck der amerikanischen Bundesstaaten Kentucky, Ohio und Indiana zwischen Feldern und Wiesen. Das Creation Museum hat eine Mission: Es will zeigen, dass die Bibel recht hat – dass Gott die Welt also buchstäblich (und nicht in irgendeinem übertragenen Sinn) vor 6000 Jahren in sechs Tagen von je 24 Stunden Dauer geschaffen hat.

          Das Hauptargument, mit dessen Hilfe dies bewiesen werden soll, sind Dinosaurierskelette. Der Hauptgrund, warum Dinosaurier ausgestorben sind, ist nämlich – sonnenklar – die Sintflut. Zwar sind zwei von jeder Dinosaurierart an Bord der Arche mitgereist, aber nach der Sintflut haben die Menschen die armen Viecher gejagt, und darum gibt es sie heute nur noch im Kino.

          Das Creation Museum ist zwar nicht ganz so groß wie das Museum of Natural History in New York, in dem die Weltsicht der Anhänger der gottlosen Evolutionstheorie dominiert, aber es ist immerhin so groß, dass man problemlos zwei Stunden mit Schlendern verbringen kann.

          Wir sehen Ziegelwände mit Graffiti und unordentlich übereinandergeklebten Postern, auf denen steht, dass Gott tot ist, dazu Fernsehmonitore mit Teenagern, die über Abtreibungen reden. Dann eine Szene aus dem christlichen Paradies: Ein T-Rex schaut Adam und Eva beim Baden zu. Ein Schild erklärt, die Dinosaurier seien vor dem Sündenfall Vegetarier gewesen.

          Alles ist mit der Menschheit so verdammt nebulös, also wirst du mir deine Theorien vergewissern. We find them hard to believe, to say the least.

          Paul C Johnson, Thomas Leitner, Bob Buckingham, David Griffin et al. Physische Abteilung, Uni Heidelberg

          1. Marc Srour

            Es klingt doch alles plausibel. Wie ich vorher gesagt habe, solche neue Analysen finden die ganze Zeit statt, nicht nur bei Dinosaurier und Hominiden und andere fossile Gruppen, sondern auch bei Rezente Arten. Zum Beispiel Eucalyptus und Drosophila sind (teilweise waren) in der letzten 5 Jahren getrennt und wieder zusammengebracht, weil die Taxonomie unklar ist und wir uns nicht einigen können. Se geht es in die Taxonomie.

            Das heißt nur, dass Taxonomie eine wirkliche Wissenschaft ist. Wenn alles so blieb, wie die erste Wisenschaftler dachten, dann gäbe es keine Paläontologie, keine Biologie, keine Physik, keine CHemie, keine Geologie, usw mehr. Dass jetzt manche Paläontologen finden, dass Torosaurus und Nanotyranus dieselbe Art wie Tyrannosaurus rex sind, ist völlig normal. Manche Paläos werden die Analyse nicht glauben und sie werden neue Analysen machen und es wird zu eine Diskussion kommen.

            Wie man von normale Wissenschaft zu “Dinosaurier existieren nicht” kommt, weiß ich nicht. Ich arbeite selber mit der Revision von manche Käfer und bringe Gattungen zusammen und splitte anderen. Das heißt nicht, dass die Käfer nicht mehr existieren.

            Warum auch spezifisch die Dinosaurier? Sagt man auch, dass Anomalocaris nicht existierte? Dass Palaefructus nicht existierte? Mammut? Trilobiten? Ammoniten?

            Diese harte Kreationisten bleiben die ganze Zeit stehen. Sie wollen nur an ihre Interpretation der Bibel glauben. Sie haben das Recht, aber das heißt nicht, dass wir sie seriös nehmen sollen. Es gibt auch keinerlei Vergleich zwischen Paläontologen und Kreationisten. Ich möchte nicht böse sein, es ist einfach eine Konsequenz von unsere Arbeit. Sie haben nur ein Buch von “Evidenz”. Wir haben zig tausende von Papers und Bücher und Analysen, die jeder nachmachen und wiederchecken kan, und die alle zu die selben Konklusionen kommen.

          2. Paul C Johnson

            Du bist zäh, wie ein verdammter Piranha im Aquarium, was sollst du seriös nehmen anders als deinen saftigen Köder, der gelegentlich ins Wasser fällt? Look man, take it easy. Deine Anstrengungen sind echt bewundernswert. Leider finde ich nicht einfach die Zeit eine protracted discussion über Viecher, die nicht einmal sicher bin ob existieren oder nicht, weiter zu führen. Diese ist schlechthin meine Auffassung über die Sachen. Im allerstrengsten Sinne des Wortes, who cares? Wir beide sind Wissenschaftler in opposing farms und verschiedenen Kategorien. Ob du die Wahrheit suchst oder nicht, mir ist vollkommen Wurscht… “de waarheid, misschien zullen wij nooit vinden,” like we say auf Niederländisch. Und das ist auch gut so.

  5. Marc Srour

    Es ist absolut wichtig. Wenn man so ein Scheiß unbestritten lässt, dann werden Bildung und die Naturwissenschaften (nicht nur Paläo) geschadet. Genauso wie Klimaforscher sollen Klimawandel erklären, Ärzte Impfungen erklären, usw. Unsere Wissenschaften stehen nicht im Vakuum, es ist unsere Aufgabe die zu vermitteln und Missverständnisse aufzuklären.

    Ich habe viel mit Kreationisten geredet, aber diese Ansicht, dass Dinosaurier und andere fossile Gruppen gar nicht existieren, hatte ich nie gesehen. Eine echte Kuriosität.

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