by Kyle Butt, M.A.
Well, don’t get too excited by the title. Of course there were no live dinosaurs at the Memphis zoo, since dinosaurs are extinct. But the zoo does have an incredible collection of life-sized dinosaur figures that move, make noise, and even look like they are breathing. One of the most interesting parts of the dinosaur exhibit is the Tyrannosaurus rex. Before you enter the exhibit, a warning is posted that some of the material might be quite graphic. That is certainly true of the T-rex. The huge carnosaur (meat-eating dinosaur) is shown eating a wounded Triceratops. The T-rex moves its head up and down, while the wounded Triceratops breathes heavily and struggles to live.
There are lots of other interesting dinosaurs as well. A huge Giganotosaurus looms over the fence as children walk near its head. A baby Stegosaurus about the size of a small car “walks” among the plants. A huge-headed Styracosaurus seems to be looking for tasty vegetation to eat. A playful looking Ankylosaurus stares past a wooden fence at passers by. And several newly hatched Parasaurolophus babies are pictured scampering around in their nest. There is even a “dino dig” at the end of the exhibit where you can brush sand off of fossils like a “real” paleontologist.
Even though the exhibit is great in many ways, it does present some false teaching. For instance, one information board explains that the dinosaurs evolved into birds. The plaque states that scientists “learned” this by studying a tiny shred of a protein from a T-rex. That simply is not true. While the T-rex protein may be similar to proteins found in birds, that does not prove dinosaurs are related to birds. In fact, there is no way dinosaurs could have evolved into birds. God created birds on day five of Creation. Land-living dinosaurs, such as the T-rex, were created on day six of Creation. Dinosaurs didn’t evolve into birds. Birds were here first….