In response to this question How does the Bible explain the existence of fossils that are millions of years old?

I'm curious to know if Dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible.

I understand that the word dinosaurs wasn't invented until 1841. So obviously we won't find them by that name. Are there references to animals with the same characteristics as dinosaurs and just known by a different name?

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    Here is a list of animals mentioned in the Bible: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_animals_in_the_Bible Use the "find text" tool to search for "Dinosaur" and "Leviathan" -- both are mentioned, with notes on the translation from Hebrew.
    – user175
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 15:48
  • I wonder if your question is answered or if you need any more clarifications ;)
    – user301
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 11:04
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    Dragon is a creature that, though called myth today, was not necessarily considered myth 500 years ago, though it was considered scarce. All the descriptions of dragons are large scaled beasts. Some gentle, some aggressive, some that fly, some that swim, and even some that "breathe" fire. If that doesn't sound like dinosaur then I'm not sure what would.
    – user3961
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 7:12
  • I have updated my answer, if you could please take a look. Thanks.
    – Decrypted
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 2:24

5 Answers 5


The term Dinosaur was first used in 1842 by Richard Owen and means "terrible, powerful, wondrous, potent" + "lizard". As we all know the Bible has been written before the 1800's.

The Bible mentioned creatures like a behemoth (Job 40:15-24), sea monsters (Psalm 74:13), and other beasts (Isaiah 43:20) that don't necessarily fit our description of a dinosaur.

Although the first bones might have been found in China almost 2000 years ago, the first recognized thigh bone was found in 1676 and described as a species just in 1824. (Source.)

The interpretation of those facts is up to one self, it doesn't prove or disprove the Bible itself.

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    Isaiah 43:20 in the ESV has "jackals" for "dragons" (KJV), so I don't think it applies. Most likely a mistake in the KJV.
    – gmoothart
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 15:02
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    It can be argued that the KJV is not a perfect translation. However, I would stop far short of calling it a "mistake". That argument gets into the Greek and get's very ugly very quickly.
    – Richard
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 17:02
  • Wait... the Bible was written before 1800? CYS! (JK) Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 16:32
  • I think the behemoth would fit our definition of a dinosaur.
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 21:03

Surprised nobody has quoted Job 41 about the Leviathan (see below). It might not be literal (the text appears to mention fire breathing), but it could be a reference to e.g. a stegosaurus, or it might only be a crocodile! (Though neither has plates on its back "so close to the next that no air can pass between".)

1 “Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope?

2 Can you put a cord through its nose or pierce its jaw with a hook?

3 Will it keep begging you for mercy? Will it speak to you with gentle words?

4 Will it make an agreement with you for you to take it as your slave for life?

5 Can you make a pet of it like a bird or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?

6 Will traders barter for it? Will they divide it up among the merchants?

7 Can you fill its hide with harpoons or its head with fishing spears?

8 If you lay a hand on it, you will remember the struggle and never do it again!

9 Any hope of subduing it is false; the mere sight of it is overpowering.

10 No one is fierce enough to rouse it. Who then is able to stand against me?

11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.

12 “I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs, its strength and its graceful form.

13 Who can strip off its outer coat? Who can penetrate its double coat of armor?

14 Who dares open the doors of its mouth, ringed about with fearsome teeth?

15 Its back has rows of shields tightly sealed together;

16 each is so close to the next that no air can pass between.

17 They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted.

18 Its snorting throws out flashes of light; its eyes are like the rays of dawn.

19 Flames stream from its mouth; sparks of fire shoot out.

20 Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.

21 Its breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from its mouth.

22 Strength resides in its neck; dismay goes before it.

23 The folds of its flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable.

24 Its chest is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone.

25 When it rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before its thrashing.

26 The sword that reaches it has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.

27 Iron it treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood.

28 Arrows do not make it flee; slingstones are like chaff to it.

29 A club seems to it but a piece of straw; it laughs at the rattling of the lance.

30 Its undersides are jagged potsherds, leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.

31 It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.

32 It leaves a glistening wake behind it; one would think the deep had white hair.

33 Nothing on earth is its equal— a creature without fear.

34 It looks down on all that are haughty; it is king over all that are proud.”



See Job 40:15-24

“Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. 16 What strength it has in its loins, what power in the muscles of its belly! 17 Its tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are close-knit. 18 Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like rods of iron. 19 It ranks first among the works of God, yet its Maker can approach it with his sword. 20 The hills bring it their produce, and all the wild animals play nearby. 21 Under the lotus plants it lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh. 22 The lotuses conceal it in their shadow; the poplars by the stream surround it. 23 A raging river does not alarm it; it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth. 24 Can anyone capture it by the eyes, or trap it and pierce its nose?

A tail the size of a cedar would be a huge creature and the only thing we know of that was that size were dinosaurs.

Some more explaining of why it could only be a dinosaur

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    Does not this simply state that its tail sways like a cedar sways in the wind? What justification is there for stating that this is referring to its size and not its movement?
    – hammar
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 16:00
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    A Behemoth cannot be a Dinosaur! stupiddinosaurlies.org/the-truth-about-behemoth
    – user301
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 16:12
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    Even the most generous interpretation is that this describes something that might be a dinosaur. Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 16:26
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    @Sven: That site says that the behemoth was just a folklore. But the beginning of verse 15 says "Look at Behemoth", so the behemoth was something Job could look at, not some imaginative creature. Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 17:22
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    I, for once, am with Sven on this one. Behemoth is also said to be small enough to sit beneath a lotus tree, and I can't find the link now, but another translation or commentary indicates the behemoth was a creature that could also be milked. Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 15:13

Seems silly, but are you asking if birds are mentioned in bible? - Yes, they are.

Words are formed to give meaning to things. For example word "scientist" was created in 1812. Profession called paleontologist created and word "dinosaur". It was created in 1842 by combining set of spices known as {"Ornithischia", "Saurischia"} to "Dinosauria".

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Same way lizard is reptile is dinosaur a reptile and bird a dinosaur. If bible talks about reptiles you might also interpret that as dinosaur. But if bible talks about any bird then IT IS DINOSAUR. Hope this clears your confusion.

  • Do you have any sources for the etymology of dinosaur that you've claimed? Also, could you give some specific examples rather than just a blanket statement, further developing this?
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:13
  • @Margus It would be cool if you could specify which hour each was made throughout the day.
    – Decrypted
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 2:21
  • I actually like this answer, though the subject is a bit hard to be exact on. Dinosaurs have a lot in common with birds anatomically, right down to the wishbone.
    – user9485
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 2:40

No, they aren't. The fossils were found later.

A lot of bible pages have search tools, where you can search for 'dinosaurs', the word, but you won't find anything. But now the question emphasises, that it does not deal about exactly that wording. This remark needs some investigation.

Of course the first work is, to investigate, whether that exact term is used in the bible, if we pretend to be unknowing in all directions. A knowingly position is, that the fossils where found later, and hence can't be mentioned in the bible.

Since the scientists of the epoch of Richard Owen, who invented the modern term 'dinosaurs' knew the bible very well, they could have used a term from the bible, if there was a term in the bible, which would fit the needs to describe the fossils. It is common practice, to name new and modern things after figures or events from the bible or other historic scriptures, like, for example Oracle and Delphi for databases and programming languages, since they are sold as tools for answering difficult questions, or the return of the 7 plagues if 2 or 3 bad events occur in series, Armageddon for big catastrophes.

Another idea could be, that in the time of the bible, dinosaurs were described, but forgotten, and got an independent name later, so we have to compare every single line of the bible with what we know as dinosaurs. Since the question does not give an criteria, how similar the description in the bible needs to be, to fit our idea of dinosaurs, there are some possibilities to follow the idea.

We can surely not accept an description of a "big animal", just because dinosaurs are known as big animals, if the animal in the bible might as well be an elephant or hippopotamus. What we know from science is, that the dinosaurs lived 65 million to 235 million years from now. There are strong evidences for this and our today picture of dinosaurs is based on these facts - disputing these facts, and claiming big animals from the bible could be these animals, but from an age of 2000, 3000 or 4000 years before, is nonsense. This would not prove dinosaurs, but hippos.

And there is a second problem. The taxonomy of dinosaurs explains birds to be our nowadays followers from dinosaurs. And of course, birds are mentioned in the bible - the pigeon in the story of Noah, the Holy Ghost, which appears as pigeon, and birds which don't work for their food: (Mt 6,26).

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    actually there is an argument that creature referred leviathan from Job was actually a dinosaur or sea monster of some kind. biblegateway.com/quicksearch/…
    – wax eagle
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 15:48
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    The word dinosaur wasn't invented until about 200 years ago. Try searching for dragon. Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 15:49
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    Are you interested in dragons or in dinosaurs, and if you think both are the same, how is this justified? Dragons are mentioned in Germanic legends, for example, created 1000 years ago, without knowledge about dinosaurs. But those dinosaurs died long before mankind evolved on earth. If you think of dragons as monitor-lizard, living on the Galapagos islands: They were discovered much later. Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 16:04
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    @userunknown you are ASSUMING that dinosaurs lived before the german legends. I see those legends as evidence of dinosaurs. What evidence do you have that they are NOT the same? Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 17:00
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    @Jonathan: Sorry - I somehow misread your last comment. You take the german legends for evidence, that dinosaurs lived? You believe there was a historical Siegfried, which took a bath in the blood of one of them? You believe he could turn invisible? The legend as an evidence for that? Do you take every legend literally? My evidence is, that there is no scientific dispute about the times when dinosaurs lived, and how old mankind is. There is no scientific dispute. Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 18:16

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