Tyrannosaurus size comparison
Other than the fright fest dreamed up by Michael Crichton (aka Jurassic Park), many people probably haven’t seriously considered the idea of whether we could have lived side by side with dinosaurs. Most scientists tell us this didn’t happen, so why think about it?
Why? Because those scientists could be wrong. Fossils of older humans are continually being found, pushing the accepted dates for human existence closer and closer to the time of the dinosaurs. As a creationist, I believe the Bible when it says humans and all other creatures (including dinosaurs) lived together when the earth was first created by God. Even if you don’t believe this, stick with me, because the idea of humans living with dinosaurs is so fun to think about that it made Michael Crichton millions.
How about we pretend it’s me (and my family) living with the dinosaurs? I know I might look like your average soccer mom, but I was a geologist, so I’ve got a heart for backwoods adventures, as well. Here are some issues I would face if I lived with dinosaurs.
- Size difference (how to keep from getting crushed)
We’ve all seen the T-Rex in Jurassic Park walking away with a man stuck to the bottom of his foot. I’d try to avoid this if at all possible. In truth, if T-Rex steps on me it would be an accident. He doesn’t want to step on me (eat me, maybe, but not step on me).
Actually, there were many more sauropods (like Brachiosaurus or Apatosaurus) than there were T-Rexes and they were much bigger. Fortunately for me, they likely traveled in herds. A herd of sauropods would be easily heard (see what I did there) and therefore easily avoided.
Back to the T-Rex, now. If I had someplace safe to sleep, like a cave maybe, then T-Rex would only be an issue when I came out to hunt or gather plants. So definitely I would look for strong shelter. I might even construct an underground bunker. When I did venture outside, I think I could train myself to listen and feel for vibrations as a sign of an approaching T-Rex (remember the water shaking in the glass because of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park).
- Carnivores (how to keep from getting eaten)
Like I said above, T-Rex might eat me, especially a juvenile one, however it would only be an act of opportunity. For a T-Rex, a human doesn’t carry much meat, even my 7 foot tall husband. The T-Rex’s natural prey was likely sauropods or ceratopsians (like Triceratops). A T-Rex killing a person is kind of like me killing a rabbit for food. I’ll do it if I have to and it’s available, but I’d rather have some nice deer meat. My theory is (and I’m glad I never have to test this out) that as long as I stay out of T-Rex’s way, he won’t bother with me.
Now what about Velociraptor? After all, it killed all those people in Jurassic Park. Yes, but the authors/filmmakers enhanced Velociraptor for the book and movie. It was actually the size of a large turkey. Dangerous, but not as deadly as you’d think. Utahraptor, on the other hand, was six feet tall, built similar to Velociraptor and topped out at 1,000 pounds. Not a creature I’d mess around with. As a predator, it probably had a large territory and hunted in packs. I’d make an effort to learn its habits and avoid the pack at all costs.
Also, I’d make sure I stayed out of open areas where I could be a target for other roaming predators. We’ve all seen the video of the lone zebra on the savannah taken down by the lightning fast cheetah. And I’d become an expert on evasion tactics. For instance, a modern elephant could outrun me in an open area, but not in the forest. It’s the same way that a rabbit can outrun a dog, even though a dog is faster. The rabbit makes turns that the dog can’t follow as a way of using the dog’s size against it.
The majority of dinosaurs were the size of a chicken or smaller, so they actually had more to fear from me. Most of the dinosaurs would have been my food, not the other way around.
- Offspring (how to protect mine and avoid the big dinosaur ones)
One of the biggest threats to me and my family would be the juvenile form of the larger predators. A juvenile is still huge and would more likely see me as food than an adult. It’s possible I’d be able to hear a juvenile T-Rex approaching, especially if it hung out with its mom and dad for hunting lessons. Of course, any time I sensed danger, I’d want to conceal myself or head for the cave.
My kids would probably stay in the cave almost all the time to keep them safe (it’s okay, they already think I’m overprotective). And I’m sure we’d never venture out at night when we could stumble upon a predator by accident. The good news is, I’d probably teach them to throw a spear by age 5 (which my son would absolutely love).
The idea of me living with the dinosaurs and surviving might sound a little crazy, but we have evidence that ancient people lived in caves and hunted large game. Maybe not quite as large as dinosaurs, but mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and bison were not small animals. And some paleontologists believe we hunted these animals into extinction.
While our bodies might seem puny when compared with larger dinosaurs, God gave us the unique ability to think, reason and communicate far beyond any animal. And as the best books and movies show, our big brains can take us to some amazing places. I can’t walk with the dinosaurs any more, but if I had a time machine, I’d go back and get me a Velociraptor burger.
What do you think? Do you have any other ideas on how we could live with dinosaurs? If you had a time machine, would you go back for a day to see the dinosaurs or does that sound like the start of a horror movie to you?
Photo Credit: ID 25276660 © Sofia Santos | Dreamstime.com