Creation - Age Of The Earth

Australia’s Aborigines . . .
Did they see dinosaurs?


By Rebecca Driver


Africa’s Congo jungle is becoming increasingly known as the reputed refuge of a mysterious creature called Mokele-Mbembe. [1] The locals appear familiar with this creature, which they readily identify from drawings of fossil reconstructions as being like one of the dinosaurs. Few realise, however, that similar accounts occur in other parts of the world. Australian Aborigines have stories of encounters with huge, sometimes frightening monsters which range from what sound like dinosaurs to giant marsupials, also believed to have long become extinct.


THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLE

The term ‘Aboriginal’ is loosely applied to the people who were living in Australia at the time of European settlement 200 years ago. There were hundreds of different tribes scattered across the continent, varying in their language and customs. [2]


DREAMTIME MONSTERS

The myths and legends of the Aboriginal people, including their accounts of the creation of the world, are known as the Dreamtime. Such stories feature monsters, of whom many are mythological. Others, however, may have reference to real creatures, the Aborigines even insisting on their past ‘flesh-and-blood’ existence. Some of them are reminiscent of animals regarded as prehistoric, which supposedly became extinct tens of thousands, or even millions of years ago.

Aborigines did not keep written records - their knowledge and traditions were passed orally from one generation to the next. [3] Such oral traditions tend not to last more than a few hundred years without being distorted out of recognition. [4] This would suggest that some of these animals may have still been living in Australia some two to three hundred years ago, or even more recently.

Bunyip

Such a conclusion may surprise many, but it would explain why documented encounters with similar monsters post-date the time of European settlement.


THE GEELONG BUNYIP

For instance, the Geelong Advertiser, of Victoria, Australia, reported in July, 1845 about the finding of unfossilised bone forming park of the knee joint of some gigantic animal. The paper reported showing it to a local Aboriginal person. He identified it immediately as a ‘bunyip’ bone, and unhesitatingly drew the picture reproduced left. [not available for this article.]

When the bone was shown to other Aboriginal people who ‘had no opportunity of communicating with each other’, they all instantly recognised the bone and the picture as being of a ‘bunyip’, a common word in some Aboriginal languages for a frightening monster. They gave detailed, consistent accounts of where a few people they had known had been killed by one of these. The creature was said to be amphibious, laid eggs, and from the descriptions, appeared to combine ‘the characteristics of a bird and an alligator’ - I.e. a bipedal reptile. (Note that no crocodiles or alligators are found in Australia except in the far north - Geelong is deep in the south). One of the Aboriginals, named Mumbowran, showed ‘several deep wounds on his breast made by the claws of the animal’. [5]

The description and sketch certainly fits well with some form of bipedal dinosaur.

A large number of Aboriginal stories of creatures of possible dinosaurian origin have been collected by Rex Gilroy, [6] an evolutionist. Since we should be cautious about over-reliance on this particular source without independent confirmation, a large number of the ones he describes have been omitted. However, Burrunjor and Kulta, the accounts of which appear below, also feature in a book by zoologist Karl Shuker. [7]


BURRUNJOR

Extending from the Northern Territory’s Arnhem Land east through the Gulf of Carpentaria to Queensland’s Cape York district is the story of ‘Burrunjor’. The description is reminiscent of an Allosaurus, a smaller version of the well-known Tyrannosaurus. In 1950, cattlemen on the border between the Northern Territory and Queensland claimed losing stock to a strange beast which left mutilated, half-eaten corpses in its destructive wake. A part-Aboriginal tracker also claimed to have seen a bipedal reptile, 7 - 8 metres (25 feet) tall, moving through the scrub near Lagoon Creek on the Gulf Coast in 1961.

Some parts of northern Australia’s vastness are still little explored, and large areas of it are closed to public access. Perhaps some creatures unknown to science are still to be found there. That this is possible was shown a few years back when a tree, the Wollemi Pine, was found in a national park in New South Wales. Scientists said it was ‘like finding a small dinosaur’. The tree is known from its fossils in ‘dinosaur age’ rock, but the fossils are not found in any of the layers above. Unlike the animal, a tree cannot run away and hide, yet this tree was completely unknown to science till recently. [8]


KULTA

Some parts of Australia have traditions of huge reptiles suggestive of long-necked sauropods, the dinosaur group which includes Diplodicus and Apatosaurus. For instance, Central Australian tribes described ‘Kulta’ as a giant serpent who lived in the swamps which once covered the region, and ate plants. He was said to have had a small head at the end of a long, narrow neck, a massive, bulky body supported by four huge legs, and a long pointed tail which trailed behind him. This is similar to the accounts of Wanambi from northern Australia, who features in Aboriginal cave paintings, and Kooleen and Myndie from Victoria. [6]

Unfortunately, the Aborigines maintain, the ‘land eventually all dried up, the forests became desert, the swamps emptied, and Kulta died’. [6] This actually fits the most common creationist models of the changing climate after Noah’s Flood.

Since much of the water for the Flood came up from under the ground (Genesis 7:11; 8:2), the post-Flood oceans would have been warmer than today. This would have generated extra moisture in the atmosphere for centuries afterwards, providing ideal conditions for an ice age. [9] This same increase in moisture would have meant that there was much more rainfall for centuries after the Flood in regions not affected by ice.

Eventually, the rainfall patterns would have ‘normalised’ once all the excess oceanic heat had come into balance with the air temperature. This is consistent with the universally held view that Australia’s now-arid heart was once a lushly forested, humid environment. Thus Australia’s dinosaurs, at least, may have died out largely as a result of the environmental changes as vast areas of the inland relentlessly dried up.


NESSIE: LIVING IN A QUEENSLAND LAKE?

While the controversy surrounding Scotland’s famous Loch Ness Monster waxes and wanes, many people are unaware that lake monsters have been reported elsewhere. Large unexplained animals similar to Nessie are said to inhabit several lakes, in both hemispheres. These are generally ones which are deep, remote, and have a water temperature around 10°C. [10]

Lake Galilee in far western Queensland has been the scene of eerie happenings and numerous disappearances since last century. Livestock drinking at the lake’s edge have vanished without trace, as have the occupants of fishing boats which have overturned or been found smashed. Large dark shapes have been reported moving through the dismal waters.

Unlike Lock Ness, very little information about Lake Galilee’s mysterious occupant has leaked to the outside world. This is likely due to the lake’s remote situation in thick, mountainous bush country, accessible only by four-wheel-drive vehicles. About three kilometres (two miles) wide and just over this in length, it is ‘bottomless’ and its waters murky, making exploration difficult.

Long before the arrival of Europeans, the local Aborigines had ceased to settle on the shores, because a giant man-eating ‘bunyip’ lived in the lake. It grabbed anyone who dared to take his canoe out on the water, or was foolish enough to wade in the shallows.

Oral tradition describes the monster as being six to nine metres (20 to 30 feet) long. It has a long, serpentine neck attached to a large, bulky body, a long eel-like tail and two pairs of large flippers used for propulsion.

Dennis Fields, a former missionary to Far North Queensland’s KuKu Yalanji tribespeople, told the Answers in Genesis ministry in Australia some years ago of a story the elders told him, of a creature called Yarru (or Yarrba). The tribe inhabits the rainforest regions, where there are a number of waterholes in which, in earlier days, Yarru was said to live. There is a story of how the Yarru devoured a young maiden. The missionary asked one of the tribe’s artists to paint the story for him. The tribal artist, with very little formal education, had no knowledge of what so-called prehistoric animals looked like, and was drawing only from the descriptions handed down in the ancient stories.

The painting (later donated to Answers in Genesis, and shown just below, shows a creature with a remarkable resemblance to the extinct plesiosaurus.

'Yarra' - Aboriginal drawing

European sightings of water monsters also often match this description. [11] Most evolutionists, however, find this unacceptable, since they insist such creatures vanished with the dinosaurs over 65 million years ago.

For centuries, the Dharuk people have spoken of the mighty ‘Mirreeulla’, whose home is the Hawkesbury River near Sydney. Though infrequent, sightings of plesiosaur-like creatures in this river have continued to modern times, with some estimating the creature at up to 15 metres (50 feet) long.


IN CONCLUSION

Australia’s Aboriginal heritage is rapidly being lost. Many of the Dreamtime stories still recall events from their history, up to the dispersion at Babel, such as the great Flood. [12] There are several traditions which suggest that the ancestors of today’s Aborigines may have had contact with the last few dinosaurian survivors of a rapidly drying continent. The details in the newspaper report of what seems to have been a bipedal dinosaur at Geelong last century seem hard to discount.

Apparent Dinosaur sightings by man from centuries past are legion, in the form of dragon legends around the globe. [13] This magazine has previously shown photographic evidence of ancient rock drawings of dinosaurs. [14]

The many Aboriginal accounts, even if only a portion of them have a basis in fact, are consistent with this pattern. Descriptions of dinosaur-like creatures are also found in the Bible (Job chapter 40).

All this is consistent with a straightforward reading of Genesis, where we read that mankind and the land animals were created together, on day Six of Creation Week. They were not separated by millions of years.



REFERENCES AND NOTES

  1. Robert Doolan, ‘Are dinosaurs alive today?’, Creation 15(4):12 - 15, September 1993. See also Roy P. Mackal, A living dinosaur? In search of Mokele-Mbembe, E. J. Brill, Netherlands, 1987. Return to text.

  2. The Living Australia, Issue 1, Bay Books Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1985. return to text

  3. Ref.2, Issue 70, 1986. Return to text.

  4. Bernard Heuvelmans, On the Track of Unknown Animals, Rupert Hart-Davis, London, 1958. Return to text.

  5. Geelong Advertiser, July, 1845, reprinted in the same newspaper in 1991. Return to text.

  6. Rex Gilroy, Mysterious Australia, Nexus Publishing, Queensland, 1995. Return to first reference text.
    Return to second reference text.

  7. Karl Shuker, The Unexplained, Carlton Books, 1997. Return to text.

  8. ’Sensational Australia tree . . . like "finding a live dinosaur"’, Creation 17(2):13, 1995. Return to text.

  9. Carl Weiland, ‘Tackling the big freeze’, Creation 19(1):42 - 43, December, 1996. Return to text.

  10. Janet and Colin Bord, Modern Mysteries of the World: Strange Events of the Twentieth Century, Grafton Books, London, 1989. Return to text.

  11. ’Nessie’s kin?’ Creation 18(4):18, September, 1996. Return to text.

  12. ’Aborigines knew about the Flood’, Creation 13(3):8, June, 1991; Howard Coates, ‘The Flood’, Creation 4(3):9 - 12, October, 1991; Howard Coates and Wilf H. Douglas, ‘Australian Aboriginal flood stories’, Creation 5(1):6 - 9, June, 1992. Return to text.

  13. Russell Grigg, ‘Dinosaurs and Dragons: stamping on the legends!’, Creation 14(3):11 - 14, 1992. Return to text.

  14. Dennis Swift, ‘Messages on Stone: ancient rock art challenges evolutionary theory', Creation 19(2):20 - 23, 1997. Return to text.


CREATION ex nihilo
Volume 21 Number 1
December 1998 - February 1999


The information on this page has been obtained from Creation Ministries International, a non-denominational ministry.

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