Answer by John Mackay
We first must ask what creatures the Bible records God told Noah to preserve on the ark. The answer is found in Genesis 6 as well 7. Noah was told “… two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.” (Gen 6:20-21)
This group is defined in the negative by looking at what God says he destroyed during the flood: “All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. 23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth.” (Gen 7:22-23). The creatures were sent to Noah, he didn’t have to collect them, and they included only the land dwelling air breathing creatures.
The second question we must ask is: What were dinosaurs?
Apart from saying they are a great attraction at the movies, they were reptiles that lived on the dry land and breathed air. Which means that even though children’s dinosaur books include plesiosaurs and mosasaurs et cetera, which were not land dwellers, those creatures do not need to go on a boat to be saved from a flood. They may technically be sauruses but they are not dinosaurs, which are defined as dwelling on the land. So coming up plank to Noah would have been at least two of each kind of all the land dwellers including the well-known T. rex, Triceratops, and Velociraptor, along with their lesser known friends such as the plant eating Ankylosaurs, etc.
As to what happened to them after the flood, we need to realise what changes a global flood brought to the planet. Firstly in Genesis 8:22 we are told that summer and winter would appear, a new phenomenon for planet Earth which could seriously affect cold-blooded creatures.
Secondly in Genesis 9:1 – 8, we are told that man was permitted now to eat meat, and authorised to kill any creature which attacked mankind. Joining the dots we see climate change induced by the flood took the dinosaurs from a very moderate planet to one which had extremes of heat and cold. Some present-day cold-blooded reptiles are known to be dependent on the temperature for the sex of their eggs. Crocodile eggs for instance hatch only males if the temperature is too cold. Put that in the biblical context which records ice and snow appearing on the planet by the days of Job (post Tower of Babel). Too prolonged an icy environment, any such creature that could not warm its eggs would be doomed to become unisex and then extinct.
What else might be involved? Remember the old joke:
Teacher: Why did dinosaurs become extinct?
Student: Because they tasted too much like chicken!
Perhaps not as silly as it sounds when you add that man was first given permission to eat meat, and therefore to hunt animals, after the Flood. Add to that our known track record is of killing the biggest ones first, which would have put any “Tastyosaurus” on a short time track.
Now add to the above the rule that we were also permitted to kill any creature that attacked or killed humans and suddenly the traditions of people killing dragons fall into place. Particularly when you tie this to the dragon’s global reputation of attacking people. But in the end brain always beat brawn, and the sad score was: man won, dinosaurs extinct!
Meanwhile other major factors would have included both the rise of predators amongst all forms of life, and the ever increasing problem of food supply for huge vegetarians in a world where drought and even plant extinction was an increasingly regular phenomena from Noahs flood to the present.
Even though it is popular to believe a gigantic asteroid or meteorite hit earth and caused dinosaur extinction, this theory has always had the major problem that too many large cold-blooded creatures such as the giant Komodo dragons should also have died out, but they actually survived. Asteroidal or meteoric climate change would have been just one factor limited in time and place.
So in summary then, the dinosaurs would not have died out not from any one reason, but the interaction of all the above. Climate change post flood, human and nonhuman predators, decreasing food supplies and maybe a little help every now and then from a meteorite or two. Of course we need to finish with one hopeful option. Since reptiles grew all their life, therefore in a world where lifespan has mostly decreased since Noah’s flood, somewhere there may be …just may be, some wee tiny Microsaurus waiting for you to find it.
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