[First published Aug. 2012] The other week I was watching a video of Eric Hovind and Paul Taylor from Creation Today visiting the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Right near the end I saw something that blew my mind. At first I thought it was some kind of joke or mythology-as-science prank from the Museum.
They had a dragon’s skeleton on display in the dinosaur department! How could they allow such a thing in a Museum that claims these creatures died out millions of years ago? Well, they haven’t dropped the millions of years idea, but they did call this thing Dracorex Hogwartsia the “Dragon King from Hogwarts”.
First I’ll give you the statistics I found on this very real, dead animal. Back in 2003 three friends were out digging in the South Dakota section of the famous Hell Creek formation when one of them spotted a large skull sticking out a bit. After they dug it up, still almost covered in rock, they decided to donate it. One guy’s daughter had enjoyed the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, so they sent it there.
The Museum was a great place to give it to because they do fossil cleaning and other restoration work right on site where kids can watch the scientists at work. At first the Museum’s staff wasn’t too excited about their new assignment. They even figured the amateur fossil hounds might be wasting their time with cow bones! But it wasn’t long before they realized they had a special find on their hands.
The first example of any animal we hadn’t yet written up in modern science gets a specific name. It is known as the “Holotype.” This means even if we find better, more complete, or more typical examples, the first one will always be special. This skull of Dracorex is the holotype for its kind.
The ICM example was found with only most of the skull (and one of its lower teeth) along with 4 vertebrae from near but not right next to the skull. You wouldn’t realize that’s all we have from the display at the Museum, because they have recreated a whole skeleton.
Scientists often do this because it’s very rare to find anything like a complete set of bones together. So they use their imaginations and common sense based on other fossils and known animal types. I don’t really mind, it just would have been really cool if they could have found wings for this thing! No, I don’t really believe in four legged dinosaurs with shoulder wings, too, but the idea is fun and makes as much sense as some of the ideas scientists come up with (like feathered dinosaurs).
Some scientists are convinced that this particular animal was just a young pachycephalosaur that hadn’t grown its dome yet. But the “oldest” (which actually means farthest down) we’ve found already had domes. So, maybe Evolution had decided to drop the dome because it wasn’t useful any more?
How ’bout, all these guys were alive together and got buried in a major watery catastrophe? I bet that’s much less confusing than the pretzels they have to force their brains into!
Turns out Draco with its vertebrae gives us the best evidence yet that any of these dinosaurs liked to violently bang into each other. At the same time they can tell the bones were just about fused like a grownup’s, so there goes the young pachycephalosaur idea!
Psalm 91:13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
Isaiah 51:9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?
For more info check out Creation International Ministries: Dracorex—the dinosaur that looks like a dragon
I had a lot of fun finding artistic representations of similar creatures to add to this post. These pictures are from around the world and the art dates back sometimes hundreds of years.