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Dinosaurs In Literature, History and Art: Dinosaurs in the Temple; The Angkor Wat Stegosaur; the Bi-Pedal Dinosaur and Giant Creature at Umm El-Kanatir and Others ...Page 87

by Chris Parker
Copyright 2009



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Umm El-Kanatir art from 400 to 700 A.D.

In wonder we were viewing our Cambodian Stegosaur
When some guy with a monocle burst through the back door

He took out a pen with indelible ink
Said if anyone moves your precious stego's extinct

We advanced on him slowly, couldn't believe he would do-it
But then he took his pen and drew a red line clear through it

Alas, poor Stegosaurus, we knew him well
You looked like a dinosaur but now no one can tell

Before making his escape at the back of the residence
He said; Man and dinosaur didn't coexist, so I'm destroying the evidence

We've put together a selection of ancient dinosaur depictions which have in common the fact that they all appear on or within a religious "temple" or cathedral. Currently, one of the most well-known of these depictions is the alleged stegosaurus depiction at the Ta Prohm Temple near Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

This stegosaurus depiction (or so it seems to be) has been debunked in the mind of skeptics by the fairly simple measure of drawing a line through the depiction's most prominent feature-the armor plating along it's back.

One can make up their own mind about the depiction as we review it again below. Our section on Dinosaurs in History and Art is extensive enough that we can now categorize the artifacts in a number of different groupings. Although the Cambodian stegosaur may well be the most famous depiction in the world currently, we could argue that there are even more compelling dinosaur depictions at other temple, synagogue or cathedral sites, some of which we review here..


Bi-Pedal Dinosaur and Giant Creature Attack Horse

Umm El-Kanatir
Jewish Synagogue 400-700 A.D.
Excavated in 2007

"Um el Kanatir (Umm el-Kanater) is an ancient Roman town on the Golan Heights, now an archeological site being developed into an Archaeological Park. The meaning of the name is "mother of the arches".

The site is named for the water source, a spring that pours from the face of a cliff into three basins carved of stone in antiquity. Each of the basins was surmounted by a Roman monumental arch of cut basalt. It is assumed that the niches between the arches originally held pagan images of the spirit of the waters.


Two of the arches are now in ruins, but one survives intact. They, and the village site, continued to be used into the modern period not as a town but by small numbers of local farmers and shepherds living amid and atop the ruins of the ancient town, sometimes in homes constructed out of ancient blocks of building stone reconstructed into farm houses.

It is believed that the income generated by the linen industry enabled the villagers to construct the very large sixth-century synagogue. Interestingly, the synagogue appears to have been built on the site of a more modest, fifth century synagogue. The large synagogue was destroyed the catastrophic Golan earthquake of 749.

The building was 18 meters (60 feet) long by 13 meters (43 feet) wide and calculated to have been 12 meters (40 feet) high, making it one of the largest ancient synagogues in the region.

Neither the synagogue nor the town were rebuilt after the earthquake of 749. [5] The synagogue was first identified by Laurence Oliphant and Gottlieb Schumacher in 1884. The surviving elements of the ancient synagogue".


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Umm El-Kanatir art from 400 to 700 A.D. Comparison with Cryolophosaurus and Dilophosaurus, two crested theropod dinosaurs.

"Theropod dinosaurs were bi-pedal animals with two much smaller arms which they held close to their chests. They were fiercesome meat eaters like which included tyrannosaurus and giganotosaurus.

The creature depicted joining the fray here is clearly a bi-pedal dinosaur with a distinctive head crest, a terrible aspect, and two huge thighs. The tail can be discerned by those at the site if not from the photos. This depiction also shows that the dinosaur has three toes and a hind claw, just like tyrannosaurus.

The head crest on a theropod dinosaur is somewhat unusual but there are a number of known theropods with a crest, including Cryolophosaurus, meaning "cold crest lizard"). Cryolophosaurus was a large theropod dinosaur, with a bizarre crest on its head that looked like a Spanish comb. Cryolophosaurus was excavated from Antarctica's Early Jurassic Hanson Formation (former the upper Falla Formation) by paleontologist Dr. William Hammer in 1991"...........Wikipedia

Another theropod with a head crest is Dilophosaurus. Both Cryolophosaurus and Dilophosaurus are both shown here in comparison to the dinosaur depictions at Umm El-Kanatir. This depiction may not be of either of these theropod dinosaurs but it clearly is a depiction of a theropod with a distinctive crest.

The "horse" is being directly attacked by a very large creature, possibly a reptile; possibly a feline.

Ceratopsian Dinosaur Depiction at Muktinath Temple

Site of 108 "Dragon Headed" Fountains

The Muktinath Temple was consecrated in 1815 A.D by Queen Subarna Prabha, the wife of Rana Bahadur Shah. This temple is built in a Tibetan pagoda style and contains huge brass idols of Lord Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma and Kali. The local name for Muktinath is Chumig Gyatsa....Source: Pilgrimage Tours

On a wall of the temple are 108 "dragon headed" fountains which pilgrims seek out to "cleanse" themselves. Actually, the heads are variously described as; dragons or bulls.

At least one of the heads, as seen here on the left in this photo, is not a dragon or a bull, but instead is an excellent likeness of a ceratopsian dinosaur.


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Umm El-Kanatir art from 400 to 700 A.D. Comparison with Cryolophosaurus and Dilophosaurus, two crested theropod dinosaurs.

The temple was "consecrated" in 1815. The 108 fountains has been a pilgrimage site for many number of years. Ceratopsian dinosaurs were not really understood in their present form until the late 1800's to the early 1900's, some years after the temple was consecrated. In 1887, a pair of ceratopsian horns were identified as horns of an extinct bison.

When was the ceratopsian depiction created? If in or around 1815, how was such an accurate depiction of a ceratopsian dinosaur created more than 60 years prior to the accurate depiction of these dinosaurs by science-unless someone had actually seen one alive?



Bishop Bell's Brass Behemoths!

Carlisle Cathedral Dinosaurs
by Philip Bell

�In June 2002, my family and I visited Carlisle Cathedral (UK) specifically to look under a rug! Underneath a protective carpet along a main aisle of the Cathedral (actually the main "gangway" between the choir stalls) lies a rather large tomb, inlaid with brass. The tomb belongs to my namesake (although not related, as far as I know!), Richard Bell, bishop at Carlisle until shortly before his death in 1496.


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Two sets of etchings at the tomb.

To the casual visitor, a look at this large brass, set in stone, would reveal nothing out of the ordinary (see Figures 1 and 31 [due to copyright restrictions, Figure 3 is only available in Creation magazine]).

But, on closer inspection, one can see engravings of creatures that any 21st century child would instantly recognize as dinosaurs!

With the permission of the Canon Warden of the Cathedral, the carpet was removed so that I could take photographs. Due to the fact that the brass is very worn, I was not allowed to take a brass rubbing, but the Warden very kindly supplied me with reproductions.

Born in 1410, Richard Bell entered monastic life at Durham at 16 years of age. He remained a monk for the next 50 years, during which he was ordained a priest and earned a degree at Oxford University. Following a period as Prior of Durham (1464-1478), he was promoted to the office of bishop at Carlisle in 1478.

As a monk he was unable to make a will, but historians accept that he died in 1496, hence the date assigned to his tomb.5 The brass shows Bishop Richard Bell (1.44 m or 4 ft 8� inches long) under a Gothic canopy (2.9 m or 9 ft 5 in long), dressed in his full vestments, with his mitre (bishop's cap) and crosier (hooked staff).

But it is the narrow brass fillet (2.9 m or 9 ft long), running around the edge of the tomb, that contains the items of particular interest. Owing to the passage of time (and countless thousands of tramping feet!) parts of the fillet have long since been lost, including the entire bottom section.

However, in between the words of the Latin inscription, there are depictions of various animals. Most of these are unremarkable, various fish, an eel, a dog, a pig, a bird, a weasel/stoat but a few of the engravings depict unusual creatures.

On one engraving the creatures have an unmistakable resemblance to certain dinosaurs Yet how could that be, since the bishop's tomb was sealed and decorated over three centuries before the fossil bones of such creatures were systematically dug up, described and named? �

AIG; Behemoths at Carlisle

"Perhaps we should have a brief review of what we've learned.

1. The creatures were portrayed next to known, living animals
2. The neck of the sauropod was held horizontally, not raised aloft
3. The tail of the sauropod was suspended, not lying on the ground

Could they, in the 15th century, have known of such creatures from fossils, and decided to portray them on their tombs, walls, etc? Although it is possible, it is highly improbable. Until Richard Owen invented the name "dinosaur" in 1841, only a few scientists were aware of their existence.

True, large bones had been found before the 19th century, but they were never scientifically categorized. Furthermore, how could they have known to place the neck of the animal horizontally, or suspend the tail above the ground? Lucky guesses? Most unlikely. Rather, the evidence suggests that they were eye-witnesses.

It is interesting to note that males of some long-necked animals, such as the giraffe, engage in tests of strength by "necking." They do so to establish dominance, whereby they have access to breeding females.

As we can clearly tell from the brass engravings, these creatures were engaged in something very similar. Amazingly, Bell's tomb isn't the only artifact that shows two long-necked creatures vying for dominance in this manner. An ancient Roman mosaic, dated around the 2nd century A.D. portrays the exact same behavior. Coincidence? You be the judge......"


Stegosaurs Depiction at Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat


Angkor wat is in northwest Cambodia.The initial design and construction of the temple took place in the first half of the 12th century, during the reign of Suryavarman II (ruled 1113�c. 1150). Dedicated to Vishnu, it was built as the king's state temple and capital city.

As neither the foundation stela nor any contemporary inscriptions referring to the temple have been found, its original name is unknown.

It is located 5.5 km north of the modern town of Siem Reap, and a short distance south and slightly east of the previous capital, which was centred on the Baphuon. Work seems to have come to an end on the king's death, with some of the bas-reliefs unfinished.

In 1177 Angkor was sacked by the Chams, the traditional enemies of the Khmer. Thereafter the empire was restored by a new king, Jayavarman VII, who established a new capital and state temple (Angkor Thom and the Bayon respectively) which lie a few kilometres to the north.

"After wandering through the temple and marveling at the twisting fig trees for over an hour, I finally located the glyph I was searching for near the exit to the complex.

Before me, enclosed in a round circle, was a clear depiction of what could only be a stegosaurus.

Photo Left: Stegosaurus Depiction from Ancient Caria

The creature had a small neck and four short legs with a long tail. Along its humped back, a series of plates were clearly carved.

As I stared in a wonder, a guide leading two American tourists approached the spot and casually asked them if they believed dinosaurs lived 800 years ago? He then proudly showed them the stegosaurus carving to their utter amazement.

Stylistically similar circular carvings can be found all over Ta Prohm, but none of them show this same creature.

While to my knowledge reputed sightings of a living stegosaurus have not been made, other saurians have been glimpsed.

In 1999, Papua New Guinea's The Independent newspaper reported that a "dinosaur-like reptile" was witnessed near Lake Murray."

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