Genesis 7:15-16
And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.

Did you know that the word “dinosaur” is a comparatively new word? The 1828 edition of Webster’s Dictionary contains the words “locomotive” and “computer” – though the latter word meant someone or something that could count and not what we understand by the word today. However, that 1828 Webster’s does not contain the word “dinosaur”. That is because the word “dinosaur” was not invented until 1841.

The paleontologist, and founder of London’s Natural History Museum, Sir Richard Owen, was very interested in all the new fossil reptilian creatures that were being discovered during the time of his career. He thought that these mostly large lizard-type animals needed a term that could be used to include them all, and he hit on making a word from the Greek words for “terrible lizards” – dinosauria.

So what were dinosaurs called before the word “dinosaur” was invented? To answer this, we need to think were there any other large reptilian creatures known to people before 1841? There are certainly many interesting stories. Babylonian hero Gilgamesh killed a huge reptile called Khumbaba. In the 4th century, Welsh King Morvidus was killed and eaten by a similar creature. Meanwhile, the ancient Chinese were well acquainted with such beasts. Many such animals were labeled as dragons, and it seems likely that the dragons of legend were embellished versions of actual dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were land animals made by God on Day Six, so there must have been pairs of dinosaur kinds on the Ark.

Prayer: Everything that You made, Lord, was originally good, so Your dinosaurs must have been beautiful, majestic animals. We praise You for all Your creativity and power. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Grigg, R., Dinosaurs and dragons: stamping on the legends, Creation 14(3):10–14, June 1992. Image: St. George slays the dragon; Public domain.

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