Are Dinosaurs the Reason Humans Die Young?

by Ken Ham on December 14, 2023
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

You may wonder what connection extinct dinosaurs could possibly have to human lifespans, but a recent paper argues that it may be because of dinosaurs that humans don’t live to 200 years old. Now, over the years, creationists have proposed a variety of hypotheses for why human lifespans decreased in the centuries following the flood, but I don’t think dinosaurs were ever offered as a reason!

According to the popular summary of the study,

There’s a marked difference between how quickly mammals (including ourselves) age and how quickly many species of reptiles and amphibians do.

This discrepancy, one scientist proposes, could be due to the dominance of dinosaurs millions of years ago, during a critical period of mammalian history. . . .

Here’s the thinking: when dinosaurs ruled Earth, it was necessary for the much smaller mammals to be able to reproduce quickly in order to survive, which means the genes for longer lifespans may have been discarded as evolution progressed.

So they’re saying that because small mammals needed to have plenty of offspring before they were picked off by predatory dinosaurs, these mammals lost the genes for longer lifespans—specifically, as the article later states, genes that code for “enzymes that repair damage caused by ultraviolet light.” Supposedly, because of those “lost” genes, we age quicker than some reptiles (although most humans and even other mammals, such as whales, do have comparatively long lifespans—much longer than many reptiles). Well, that’s the evolution story (fairy tale)!

This is another example of how the biblical worldview and the evolutionary worldview cannot be combined. Consider that Genesis makes it clear that humans were originally created to live forever—there was no death (human or animal) in God’s original creation (Genesis 1:31, 2:17; Romans 5:12). And, even after the entrance of sin, humans lived for a remarkably long time. Adam lived to be 930 (Genesis 5:5), Methuselah wins the longest recorded lifespan record at 969 (Genesis 5:27), and Noah died at the age of 950 (Genesis 9:29). Even after the flood, human lifespans were much longer than today, decreasing in the centuries after the flood from Abraham at 175 (Genesis 25:7–8) to Moses at 120 (Deuteronomy 34:7) and Joshua at 110 (Judges 2:8). But even Moses and Joshua would have been considered outliers by that time, as Moses wrote that man’s years are “seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty” (Psalm 90:10). That is around the life expectancy today, 3,400 years later.

So the evolutionary worldview argues shortened lifespan and accelerated aging are rooted in our deep evolutionary past. The biblical worldview ultimately roots death in sin, and decreased lifespans are somehow related to the flood event. You cannot mix evolution and the Bible—one is man’s attempt to explain everything without God, the other is the eyewitness account of history from the Creator himself.

So why do humans have comparatively short lifespans or quicker aging? Well, we don’t know for sure, but there have been a variety of reasons proposed. The most likely solution is the two major genetic bottleneck events humanity has endured—the global flood (when the human population was reduced to just eight aboard Noah’s ark; this would also apply to the land animal kinds as the population was reduced to just two or fourteen individuals) and the dispersion at Babel (when all of humanity was divided by language and scattered over the earth). You can learn more in this free chapter from The New Answers Book 2, “Ancient Biblical Lifespans: Did Adam Live Over 900 Years?

More research on this topic is needed (and is currently ongoing in creation circles), but that’s one of the exciting things about being a Christian—we can do scientific research knowing we’re starting from the right foundation, with the right framework, on which to ground our scientific models and hypotheses.

Get More Answers on Answers News

This item was discussed today on Answers News with cohosts Dr. Tim Chaffey, Roger Patterson, and Avery Foley. Answers News is our weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience here at the Creation Museum, broadcast on our Answers in Genesis YouTube channel, and posted to Answers TV. We also covered the following topics:

  • Did the universe begin with two big bangs?
  • Were creatures with “birdlike feet” leaving footprints millions of years before birds?
  • Is Christmas rooted in “colonialism”?
  • And more!

Watch the entire episode of Answers News for December 11, 2023.

Be sure to join us each Monday at 2 p.m. (ET) on YouTube or later that day on Answers TV for Answers News. You won’t want to miss this unique news program that gives science and culture news from a distinctly biblical and Christian perspective.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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