Southwestern Adventist University’s Dinosaur Research Draws World-Wide Acclaim, Inspires New TV Series

Big things are happening with Southwestern Adventist University’s Dinosaur Research Project. With its Dinosaur Science Museum housing a world-class collection of over 25,000 bones and ever-increasing media exposure, the project is drawing unprecedented attention. For those who can’t visit the dig site in Wyoming themselves, The Hope Channel is preparing to release a six-episode documentary on the project this fall, where viewers can enjoy a small taste of what hundreds of students, researchers, and hobbyists experience in the wilds of Wyoming every June.

For one month every year, the ongoing Dinosaur Excavation and Taphonomic Research Project, led by professors Art Chadwick and Jared Wood, moves from Southwestern Adventist University’s biology department to the 8,000-acre Hanson Ranch and Research Center in eastern Wyoming. This year, 120 participants from around the world registered and participated, with ages ranging from newborns to 85. Guests included 10 international educators from the following countries: Philippines, Argentina, Peru, Italy, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, and Korea.

Co-leader of the project, Southwestern Adventist University professor and zoologist Jared Wood said this year’s trip was a big success, with approximately 2,300 bones discovered and a new record average of 50 diggers per day. On Father’s Day, Southwestern Adventist University opened the site to the community and saw approximately 150 locals visit. Wood stated, “Our numbers continue to grow. We’ve gone from having three people the first year — two professors, Dr. Chadwick and Dr. Turner [now retired], and one student — to about 50 people per day from around the world; there is just a huge interest.”

Local Journalist Walter Sprague, who visited the dig twice this summer, wrote of being awed by miles of “other-worldly geological formations” and overcome by the “sheer volume” of fossils covering the site, including pieces of fossilized bone, tendons, teeth, and shells. “It’s one thing to go into a museum and see these bones on display. But when you see one that currently protrudes out of the surrounding sandstone or mudstone deposits, you get the feeling of genuinely looking into the ancient past. [This] is beyond anything I’ve ever even read,” he wrote.

Wood said that “overwhelmed and awed” are common responses to the dig site, adding that people also tend to be surprised at the scope of Southwestern Adventist University’s fossil collection.

In January, Southwestern Adventist University was recognized in the Journal of Paleontological Sciences for its work with the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek and Lance Formations, which are some of the most fossil-rich rock units in the United States, located in Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota. In the article which discusses a census of about 65 universities and institutions with dinosaur bone databases, Southwestern Adventist University was named with the University of California Museum of Paleontology on the campus of UC Berkeley and Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History on the campus of Yale University and two others that “stood out as providing the most detail in the easiest and most aesthetic format.” Southwestern Adventist University “in particular, provided photographs, historical and geologic context for just about every specimen in the large and mostly complete database.”

Wood added, “I was told this summer by a paleontologist that we had the largest collection of Lance Formation fossils in the world. And we have the best collection of genera like Edmontosaurus, which is a type of duck-billed dinosaur. We always thought we had the best. But now it’s been justified. It’s pretty amazing, for a school our size, to have this world-class collection.”

Wood said Southwestern Adventist University’s collection can rival many of the best museums. Though Southwestern Adventist University may not have a similar budget, Wood is hopeful that one day the program can have a stand-alone museum. For now, the program continues to grow in other ways, as donations and grants come in.

The Hope channel documentary, directed by Paul Kim, Southwestern Adventist University’s new communication professor, is currently in post-production, and is slated to air in the fall. The documentary, which features sweeping shots of the site and a “reality show type feel,” according to Wood, will give a good picture of what it is like “to be in camp, to be part of the dig.”

In Wyoming, the program is having so much success that it is outgrowing its main building, and Wood and Chadwick are currently working with an architect to build a larger, nicer building to support up to 150 people a day, as opposed to the 85 it currently accommodates.

Back home, museum traffic is increasing, with an estimated 100 to 200 visitors a week during the school year. On the academic side of things, the Paleontology class has recently been added into the official biology curriculum, and can now count toward biology students’ major requirements, whereas it was formerly an elective.

Caleb Hinde, a freshman at Southwestern Adventist University who aspires to one day be a paleontologist, will receive class credit for participating in this summer’s dig. “The [evening] class I attended as a part of the dig provided a comprehensive look at the basics of dinosaur classification, alongside several detailed lectures regarding the debate between the theory of evolution and the biblical account of creation, and was an enjoyable accompaniment to the field work. Dr. Chadwick and Dr. Wood were both amazing people to work with, and I hope to spend further time alongside them while pursuing a degree at Southwestern Adventist University.”

While the program is targeted to educators as well as high school and college students, all ages and levels of interest and skill are welcome at the dig. Next year Wood says the program will offer five scholarships for college students, which could go to students at Southwestern Adventist University, as well as to students from other schools.

For more information on the Dinosaur Research Project, or to schedule a group tour at the Dinosaur Science Museum, please visit swau.edu/dinosaurmuseum or like the Museum on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dinosaursciencemuseum.

This article was written by Lindsey Gendke and originally appeared on Southwestern Adventist University’s website.

Images courtesy of SWAU.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9833

luv these kinds of puns…:wink:

the only thing i’m really interested in seeing, when it comes to dinosaurs, is the tyrannosaurus rex, like the gigantic fossil skeleton in Dinosaur Hall, at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in drumheller, not too far from calgary…did god actually create these monsters, or did the antediluvians breed them, for top dog in the neighbourhood status…obviously they weren’t saved on the ark, but that’s about all we know…

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Well, maybe we know a little more. Such as:

Six thousand years ago, snakes were subtil enough to talk.
Six thousand years ago, dinosaurs were subtil enough to leave fossils millions of years old.

:wink:

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harry, harry, harry…the only snake subtle enough to talk in eden was the one possessed by satan…

now if you want to discuss egw’s claim that snakes flew in eden, PP:53, consider the pair of vestigial limbs that some snakes exhibit, that evolutionists of course interpret in terms of a quadrupedal past, but that could very well indicate a winged past:

and don’t forget that all forms of age determinations, including carbon dating, depend on principles of uniformitarianism that cannot be proven…

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Those huge, several stories-tall creatures with those very long
muscular tails probably would NOT do well for humans in the
civilizations that erupted after the Flood.
I would think that they would REFUSE to stay in the Jungle or
on the prairie. Might even see us humans as “tasty morsels” for
dessert.
Dog and cat pets would probably easily disappear.
Those huge “birds” would probably see to that. More
dangerous than owls, hawks, eagles.

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I am no dinosaur expert, my knowledge having been acquired at the LONDON NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM where I took my British born grandchildren some years ago.

In addition to their huge collection of monstrous dinosaur skeletons, they had an extensive extra exhibit about these fossils.

My grandchildren were dwarfed by the looming hulk of Tyrannosaurus Rex — bigger than several elephants — weighing in at 30,000 pounds and 20 feet tall— as high as a two story building!

What was most apparent was that this was a carnivore — the four foot long huge jaws were equipped with rows of sharrp, cutting 12 inch long teeth. These teeth were not made to nibble on dandelions.

Also the feet had huge, ripping claws. Plus its most lethal weapon — its enormous tail — one lash of this powerful tail would eviscerate any animal / human nearby. And some dinosaur tails even had sharp protruding knobs on them for greater lethal effect.

The London Exhibit was vehemently adamant that dinosaurs and humans could not have co-existed on planet earth simultaneously— the dinosaurs would have exterminated all human life.

QUESTIONS ARISE
:
Why would a supposedly loving God create such vicious, virulent violent, killing machines ??

And all carbon dating evidence proves these beasts were living on our planet eons ago and possibly were wiped out before humans arrived on planet earth. This, if true, disrupts the Creation Story.

There is speculation as to the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs — was it an ICE AGE, an asteroid, or some minute, microscopic bacterium / virus that created a lethal epidemic ??

More questions than answers in this puzzling enigma !!

THE BBC has filmed an incredible dinosaur documentary,
Using computer graphics to portray these beasts as if real,
It frequently plays at IMAX theaters — worth watching for!

Plus go on NETFLIX to view the sixth highest grossing movie of all time — JURASSIC WORLD — with its phenomenal cast of life like dinosaurs— fascinating and also horrifying!

Our fundamentalist Adventist brethren, with their heads in the sand, have studiously ignored each new dinosaur fossil graveyard discovery.

They are embarrassed to have no plausible explanations for this visual evidence that disrupts their creation story.

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What an awesome learning experience for the students! I will definitely be on the look-out for the new TV series…my kind of show. :slight_smile:

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In Price, Utah there is a small but wonderful exhibit of the pre-history
animals. One exhibit provides section of a Coal Mine roof showing
the depressed foot prints of one of the large animals. Underneath
the foot prints developed the coal bed, which was later mined and
burned by 20th Century humans.
When we observe the fantasy pictures of dragons by the Eastern
culture of China, and surrounding territories, perhaps these were
in the conscious of those early settlers from REAL stories passed
down. And MAYBE Not just “FAIRY TALES”.

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Do you really think that’s what the Bible says? Which verse? Maybe the EGW bible, copied from the John Milton bible. The real Bible says A&E were nude. The Milton/White bible says they wore garments of light. I guess the author of Genesis didn’t notice.

But the real problem is that the Bible says the SERPENT TALKED, not a devilish ventriloquist.

Funny how easily we throw out what the Bible says in favor of whatever EGW says, even if she wasn’t the original source.

Take another look. Is Satan mentioned at all? (Anywhere in Genesis?) Does the Bible say that the serpent only seemed to talk because Satan used it as a hand puppet? (NO).

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Some snakes still remember that they could fly.

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the bible, which is limited, is talking only in terms of the apparent reality…but obviously the sentence against the “serpent” in Gen 3:15, along with texts like Rev 12:9 - “that old serpent, called the devil, and satan” - makes it apparent that the talking snake in eden was a satanic takeover…

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Not a snake, a serpent. And nowhere in the bible does it say the serpent was was possessed by Satan.

It does say that the serpent was more cunning than any animal God had created. Not Satan possessing the serpent, but the serpent itself.

i actually think it’s possible that moses really did think that the serpent was talking all by itself…unless we say moses wrote the book of Job, did he even know about the existence of a satan…of course the curse in Gen 3:15, about the bruising of the woman’s seed’s heel, and the bruising of the serpent’s head, makes the most sense if we see this as a prophecy of satan crucifying christ, but christ destroying satan in the lake of fire…

when we read the bible, keeping in mind its thousand yr-old provenance, not to mention its language and culture than none of us can relate to, we really have to read it broadly…expecting every detail to be supplied, like we look for in modern prose, is probably reading the bible narrowly, and incorrectly…

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Well, he didn’t write Genesis, but…

No, the ancient Israelites didn’t have the concept of Satan - the adversary - as we do. That came later from the exile to Babylon and is represented on some of the later works of the OT, and to some extent in the NT. But even so, that Satan was not our Devil, with horns and a tail. The modern understanding of “The Devil” is not represented in the bible.

Does ANY ONE know WHO wrote the Play of Job?
Is it factual? Or is it just based on a character?
Does ANY ONE know WHEN the Story of Job and his 4 friends
was written??

what evidence do you have that moses didn’t write genesis…the yahwist, elohist and priestly sources are only theories…the pentateuch is traditionally believed to have been written by moses, and jesus credits moses for several parts of it…

maybe this is because the modern understanding isn’t true…

that’s assuming it is a play…what evidence says it isn’t a true narrative account…

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IS there any evidence for positive Truth about Job?
Play?
Biography?

This is an overview of biblical study into the matter. It correlates with what I’ve read from other sources.

Probably. The ancient view is more reasonable IMO.

Scholarly evidence from people who have studied the text.

Haaretz discussion. Quite interesting. I have heard some of what he
wrote the last few years about being written around the Exile times.
Interesting there are other cultures with stories similar to Job, also
“Noah” and “Daniel”.
But the Author does have Jewish tradition that he sources, that others
have not.
Thanks again.
However “Job” came to be, it is quite instructive, and that was the purpose
of its creation. And why it has been a source of inspiration for at least
2500 years in various cultures. Even the 21st Century.
Not long ago a friend who teaches theatre at Wesleyan Women’s College
here in Macon had her students put on the Play of Job.
At scheduled times during the year, portions of Job are part of the readings
of the Lectionary on Sundays.

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Remarkable isn’t it! I mean, it just proves God is more omnipotent than we thought heavenly possible, creating and hiding all those fossils, bones, teeth!

In other news, can you imagine the cognitive dissonance being a 6K YEC and wondering why your church and school is digging up all those bones! Just let sleeping T Rex lie!

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