Where Culture Meets Science
Dinosaur books are everywhere. There is no doubt about that. And you might well suppose that there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to discussions about dinosaurs. However Albertan Vance Nelson of Creation Truth Ministries has achieved the seemingly impossible. His argument about dinosaurs is new and fascinating. And the book is magnificent with beautiful illustrations from sites around the world. Also there are wonderful dinosaur reconstructions based on the latest scientific information.
It is Mr. Nelson’s contention that ancient accurate artwork depicting dinosaurs and other allegedly extinct creatures is evidence that people had first hand knowledge of dinosaurs and other extinct creatures. He declares that early palaeontologists had no problem connecting the fossils of marine reptiles and dinosaurs to real animals, known as dragons, in the Bible. The evidence is overwhelming then, he says, that the dragons of old are the dinosaurs that we know about today.
The author then takes us on a tour of ancient artistic artifacts from around the world. The sites chosen boast of illustrations referable to specific dinosaur species. He provides photographs of the artwork and artists’ models of each dinosaur in question so that the reader can make up his own mind. We thus proceed from petroglyphs of sauropods and pterosaurs in Utah to Mexico with a Mayan hadrosaur petroglyph, to Peru with various pre-Columbian works of art, to England and Wales where carvings and coins evoke ideas about carnivorous and other dinosaurs, to the Netherlands where a richly illustrated prayer book contains a drawing of St. George with a dragon. In one case the dragon closely resembles the carnivorous dinosaur Coelophysis bauri. In France there are castles with interesting carvings and in Barcelona, Spain in St. George’s Chapel there is a carving of a dragon which resembles Nothosaurus. The journey continues to Italy, Mali, Ehtiopia and China, where authentic jade and turquoise dragon artifacts resemble several well known dinosaurs such as Centrosaurus.
It is the author’s contention that dinosaurs were well known to many ancient peoples and they illustrated what they knew. He dismisses the idea that ancient people made reconstructions from fossils they had dug up. It is one thing to find isolated bones, and quite another to make three dimensional reconstructions of what the unfamiliar creatures looked like. Thus he concludes that the dinosaurs were depicted, not from bones, but from real life observations.
This book thus is a visual delight with stimulating and original arguments. The book represents an excellent choice for yourself or, as a gift for your relatives, friends, and local school or church libraries.
Vance Nelson. 2011. Untold Secrets of Planet Earth: Dire Dragons. Untold Secrets of Planet Earth Publishing Company. Red Deer AB. Pp. 137. Hardcover and full colour.
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