Creationist Details Papua Dino Sightings

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 9th, 2008

Since the 1990s, a large ‘reptilian’ creature has been sighted occasionally on Umbungi Island in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Umbungi Island is located on the south coast of West New Britain between Kandrian and Gasmata. The creature has also been sighted on Alage Island, about 1km to the south of Ambungi Island.

So begins Brian Irwin of “Creation on the Web” detailing his interviews of local residents of two islands on the south coast of West New Britain Province, Papua, New Guinea. Descriptions given by villagers seem to indicate to Irwin the presence of an alleged bipedal aquatic dinosaur that comes ashore to feed on vegetation. He says villagers picked out a dinosaur illustration from a book as most like what they saw.

Irwin observed that when shown the images in Hazel Richardson’s Dinosaurs And Prehistoric Life, one eyewitness identified a drawing of a Therizinosaurus as “closely matching the animal he observed, with the exception of one feature, i.e. the creature’s head.”


Specifically, Irwin writes of the cryptid’s appearance:

The creature was described as having a long tail and a long neck and was 10–15 metres in length, with an appearance like a ‘very large wallaby’ and having a head like a turtle’s head.

It walked slowly on two legs and had smooth, shiny brown skin. The top of the head was estimated to be as high as a house and the underbelly of the creature was as high as an adult.

You may read the entire passage on this here or here.

Irwin’s concluding remarks are heavily influenced by his Creationist point of view:

This is not the first time that dinosaur-like creatures have reportedly been sighted in Papua New Guinea—see e.g., A living dinosaur? If ever a ‘living dinosaur’ is found and confirmed to the satisfaction of the scientific fraternity, many people would be astonished, given the prevailing evolutionary view that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. Christians, however, should not be surprised, as the Bible teaches that God created the dinosaurs only around 6,000 years ago….So we needn’t be too taken aback if a theropod or sauropod dinosaur is ever confirmed to be living in the world today.Brian Irwin

Christians? Or just hardline Creationists?

A Papua New Guinea dinosaur population discussed does not mean that living theropods or sauropods have been found.

Dinosaurs have been reported from this corner of the world, rather infamously, before:

“During the 1930s, an explorer named Charles Miller brought out reports of a dinosaur from the Merauke subdistrict of Irian Jaya, Indonesia. It was said to be 30 to 40 feet long, yellowish brown, long-necked like a diplodocus dinosaur, and having a tail with a spike and a bony collar like a ceratopsian dinosaur. He saw it himself on his honeymoon, noting that it had a line of plates on its back, like a Stegosaurus. The animal was called a ‘Row’ because its hiss sounds like ‘roow.’ Miller also discovered a group of still unknown headhunting cannibals, the Kirrirri, who were using a ‘tusk’ (really the tail spike) from the Row. Miller in his 1939 book Cannibal Caravan, and his wife, Leona Miller’s 1941 book Cannibals and Orchids, stirred up considerable interest in searching for the Row. However, Bernard Heuvelmans and others felt this story was a hoax.” ~ The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (NY: Tarcher/Penguin, 2003) pages 220-221.

Those looking more deeply than just the straight cryptozoological headlines being used (“Theropod and sauropod dinosaurs sighted…” and “Large Reptilian ‘Dinosaur-Like’ Creature Reported…”) with this case will naturally lead to criticism of Irwin’s investigations. Why? Because some Creationists seem, well, let me just say it, hell-bent on doing their cryptozoology with the whole idea that they have something to prove, namely, that evolution is wrong. This can get in the way of merely doing unbiased interviewing and analysis of the data.


Brian Irwin with four locals from Umbungi Island. Creation Ministries International.

This approach routinely seems to revolve around dinosaurs still existing – in New Guinea (e.g. Irwin’s work) or in the Congo (e.g. Mokele-Mbembe, in general). Also, for some creationists, it seems to involve the fact that all native reports always sound similar to living dinosaurs. Their data regularly reinforces their theories, and gets translated immediately into their objective being reinforced ~ i.e. to prove that dinosaurs were only created 6,000 or so years ago.

This naturally causes a lot of conflict in some quarters, and makes the production of cartoons such as the following a severe and unfortunate by-product.




Frankly, the few creationist cryptozoologists I know do seem an intelligent lot, in which I can share mutual goals to find the reported cryptids without getting bogged down in any religious dogma or debates (most of the time).

For example, I respected Scott T. Norman keeping his religious thoughts in check when he was doing his cryptozoology, and he respected me not hitting him over the head with Science when he wanted to talk about his religious point of view.

I’m all for finding and verifying the dinos in the jungle, the swimming wallabies eating plants, or the aquatic rhinos in the rainforest before we get into saying they prove one thing or another in terms of the creation of life on Earth or the biodiversity of the planet!

Show me the animals!

BTW, New Guinea, which was until fairly recent geological times a part of mainland Australia, has at least five species of wallaby. Of these two drawings directly below, one is Native art of a wallaby from New Guinea, and the other is the earliest known European drawing of western Australian wallabies drawn from taxidermy mounts. They serve as good examples of what the human eye has seen in terms of these animals, which overall can be said to generally be similar to Irwin’s cryptids. As Heuvelmans wrote, most new animals go through a period of being made “fantastic” before discovery.



To round out this post, in terms of balance, here are also images of Therizinosaurus, including the first three being replicas that have been produced to represent the species.






And finally, a rare image of a swimming wallaby leaping from the water:


Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

26 Responses to “Creationist Details Papua Dino Sightings”

  1. Richard888 responds:

    If there is one part of the world that makes it possible for them to exist, that is it.

  2. Foxfier responds:

    As a Catholic, I start to worry when folks start to say things like “as a Christian….”

    For some reason I keep flashing back to my mother trying to find a complete Bible, and being informed that they didn’t carry Bibles with 72 books because they were a *Christian* book store. (The gal was lucky– she only got a history lesson from my mother, rather than a tongue lashing!)

  3. labete responds:

    I am with Loren on this one… Even though I am a staunch ID’r I think that comments such as the ones made by this article’s author are not necessary when we are talking in this context (a possible cryptid discovery). I mean seriously we are all looking for those “yet to be discovered animals” so why filter the information through your world view? We all see the same data, and since none of us were around either 65 million years ago or 6500 years ago all we can do is enjoy the possibilities of one day finding what these natives claim they are seeing.

  4. planettom responds:

    IMHO the dinosaurs died in The Flood. Think about it, and ponder it for a while. Then, ponder it some more. This is just my personal opinion and theory that I have come up with, coming from a Christian background, reading of the Bible, and my interest in history, the validity of carbon dating, and an open mind and lots of curiosity and asking “what if?”. Think of all the cultures from around the world that have details in their history of living with and fighting dragons (dinosaurs). I believe that man and dinosaurs co-existed. Then, the flood happened. It may have rained for forty days and forty nights, but it was flooded for much, much longer. I’ll stop here. This is probably a completely crazy sounding theory to some, but it is something that I believe in. I also believe that some dinosaurs may have survived. If any did survive, they would not have been land dwelling, rather they would come from the water, or be amphibian or reptile. Look at alligators for example and think about all of the food they could have scavenged during/after the flood. The possibility of Nessie makes complete sense to me. Whether or not she/he is still there is yet to be seen. But, anything is possible. Papua dino sightings? Sure, why not? Sorry if my thoughts have run together here, it’s late and I’m tired, but this fascinates me. Cryptozoology fascinates me. The history of man and this earth and all that comes with it, fascinates me.

  5. planettom responds:

    By the way, the coelacanth also comes to mind. Thought extinct by 70 million years, they are still alive today. Whether it is millions or thousands of years ago that they came in to being is not the debate, at least not here. It’s only the realization of something that supposedly lived that long ago, is still around today, in the water of course. 🙂

  6. Spinach Village responds:


    I really dig what you are saying, and when I became aware of the flaws in carbon dating it was by simply reading an old encyclopedia that I got from a thriftstore.

    At the time I didn’t even compare what I learned to world views that are strongly hinged on carbon dating being accurate.

    One point to consider is that Noah could have brought baby or young dinosaurs instead of full grown ones..

    ..but it seems to me that many dinosaurs have suffered in the exact same way that the Grey Wolf and Cougar have.. Only in those times were there conscious movements to help rescue there populations?

    There are Dragon stories in many cultures (also Dragon slaying stories).. I am of the opinion that there is some truth to those

    As far as the actual age of the earth and the actual length of the “Days” spoken of in Genesis…. i don’t do that.

    In the latter half of the book of Job around the time that God speaks about the Leviathan and Behemoth.. he also puts Job and his “companions” in there place for talking about stuff that took place before they lived as if they had lived then and witnessed those ages

    …and then he riddled Job more with questions that he couldn’t answer. Job and his companions were humbled greatly.

    It is interesting that God’s description of the Leviathan hints strongly that it was (is) fire breathing and that the Behemoth had a tail like a cedar tree … a hippos tail is dinky compared to a thick muscular tail that for instance the Brontosaurus would have

  7. Lightning Orb responds:

    The creationist/evolutionist thing is indeed interesting, though I tend to cringe whenever I hear about it. Though there are many good scientists on both sides, it seems like too many just can’t get along. I’ve heard twists, churns, and outright lies about the other side from each; I agree that personal beliefs should in a sense be kept separate from science. It’s good if scientific discoveries can effect your knowledge, maybe encourage you or make you more deeply consider your beliefs; but beliefs should not effect science. Science is ultimately the study of what is, or evidence of what may be; beliefs are an opinion, or what some may call a spiritual or philosophical “bet”. Science is not about “betting,” though there is a place for both. And I’m glad there are sites like this to bring all sorts together, despite our differences, for one common goal – to discover what we can about the world and the creatures around us.
    Thank you for the continual acceptance of every sort and form.

    That is a very strange dinosaur, by the way. If it does still exist somewhere I hope it doesn’t eat meat…

  8. Kirsty08 responds:

    well is there any hard evidence to state for either.
    Most people believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years ago by reasons such as a meteor, flood or possibly disease.
    Lets look at these more closely if a meteor hit and caused what if i am correct so dramatic climatic changes that the dinosaurs could not survive. Then how did the early mammal, birds and other reptilian species survive? Could it be because the oxygen levels changed so greatly that larger species couldn’t survive but possibly smaller species could. A flood would surely kill a few dinosaurs but it couldn’t possibly wipe out a whole population and finally a epidimec disease would definatly be a good candidate but there is still a possibility that for a world wide population that some may not of fallen ill from the disease which could lead to the possibility of some dinosaurs surviving in remote unchanged areas such as papa new guinea today.

  9. perkin2000 responds:

    The above only wants to make me read Richard Dawkins more.

    Creationism? Utter pants.

  10. fmurphy1970 responds:

    I’m a Christian minister and believe that when we look at the life and the universe we find the ‘fingerprints of the creator’. I believe that the bible is the word of God in which God reveals himself to his creation. So from that sense, yes I’m a creationist, but when people say stuff like ‘the bible says dinosaurs were created 6000 years ago’, my heart sinks. I understand where that view comes from, but in my reading of the bible nowhere does it say that. In fact the bible doesn’t give the age of the earth anywhere. I don’t think it does the bible justice when people try and make it say things that aren’t there.
    Also I think that if a dinosaur was found in New Britain or anywhere else, I don’t think that would disprove evolution. All it would indicate is that a dinosaur that was once thought extinct has survived longer than thought.
    I’m interested in cryptozoology not because i think it will eventually disprove evolution, but just for the sheer fun of finding new species and solving age old myths and legends.
    I think Loren is right. When we have other motivations to find evidence, whether creationist or evolutionist, we need to be careful that we allow the evidence to speak for itself and not let our judgement be clouded.

  11. jayman responds:

    There is no “Bible”, only bibles.

  12. shumway10973 responds:

    I am a christian, creationist and cryptozoologist all in one. The search creationists have been on since evolution took hold in the mainstream is the exact search we here are on. Loren, the reason you are able to usually have intelligent discussions with most creationists is because we almost speak the same language. We both want similar things, to find those creatures out there that will change the present outlook of evolution. You just want revision. We want abolishment. But the search is the same. We are both fighting the conventional evolutionary scientist that is spouting Darwinisms and Liekisms (founders of Lucy). The sightings just gives foundation for both sides of this search a little more ground work for finding the unknown creatures. After all, I always found it funny/weird that when NOVA did their story on what killed the dinosaurs, the man explaining the asteroid theory pointed to a layer in the rock NEAR THE SURFACE and said that that was the layer of ash that killed the dinosaurs. I was about 10 when I heard him say that and even then it didn’t work for me. I’m not saying the asteroid didn’t hit the earth (could have been what caused the Great Flood), but I am saying not all the dinosaurs died out that way. As far as Noah and the larger animals: mammals have babies and everything else has eggs. Nothing said that he didn’t gather the younger of the animals.

  13. snakepunk responds:

    There is no “prevailing evolutionary view that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago”. Dinosaurs are not extinct, I seen some today. You may know them as birds. They are not ancestors of dinosaurs, BIRDS ARE DINOSAURS!

    I’ve also read the bible many times, and there is no mention of God creating non-avian dinosaurs, birds, or anything 6,000 years ago.

    As far as Noah’s flood killing them off, that’s just silly. Every animal, living and extinct, fills/filled a specific position in the balance of an ecosystem. Some animals eat certain other animals, low vegetation, leaves, etc. There is just not enough need in each environmental niche (or available food) for everything to simultaneous exit. Think of evolution as a career specialist helping organisms learn new skills for recent job openings…and mass extinctions as layoffs.

  14. Shane Durgee responds:

    I’ve always been surprised that there weren’t more creationist cryptozoologists. It’s a perfect fit.

    Also I think that if a dinosaur was found in New Britain or anywhere else, I don’t think that would disprove evolution.(fmurphy1970)

    Of course it wouldn’t. Modern science is pretty flawed, and I think anyone that holds their world view so strictly to the confines of what we know so far through scientific research is going to be endlessly surprised, disappointed, and trying to keep up with the mavericks of their fields. But I don’t think the average non-christian holds such a narrow view, and science, always evolving, will adapt to new data.

    I only worry about people getting into this for the wrong reasons because the right reasons are so important to me. Namely preserving life on this planet that is likely on the brink of extinction.

    This can get in the way of merely doing unbiased interviewing and analysis of the data. (Loren)

    If it doesn’t, and an unknown species is discovered, studied and protected as a result of Irwin’s work, then I’ll be pretty excited about that.

  15. skeptik responds:

    America, the rest of the world looks at your creationism with heads shaking in amazement. You must have way too much time in your hands to try and recreate the dark ages.

  16. Blue Mako responds:

    “By the way, the coelacanth also comes to mind. Thought extinct by 70 million years, they are still alive today.”
    And more relevantly, its discovery had no effect on evolutionary theory whatsoever. Nor, for that matter, would a living dinosaur (And I’m not counting the thousands of species of avian dinosaurs!)

    “It is interesting that God’s description of the Leviathan hints strongly that it was (is) fire breathing and that the Behemoth had a tail like a cedar tree … a hippos tail is dinky compared to a thick muscular tail that for instance the Brontosaurus would have”
    iirc, the word usually translated as “tail” is actually slang for “penis” or something…

  17. Munnin responds:

    It seems to me that Cryptozoology is, at its core, a scientific pursuit. Since creationism begins with a conclusion (not a hypothesis constructed from observations, but a point of faith and conviction based on a religious doctrine) and attempts to order scienticially obtained information about our surroundings in a way that supports that conclusion, it isn’t really science at all. To me, it is inappropriate to try to use Cryptozoology as a tool for asserting the dominence of just one religious doctrine among many, which is really the ultimate aim of creationism, whether creationists look at it that way or not.

    I think this is a similar dynamic to the one that drives the arguments of many skeptical debunkers, who go to the length of actively discouraging and even ridiculing scientific inquiry into subjects upon which they have already passed judgement.
    That’s not science, and neither is creationism.

  18. jamesrav responds:

    that 1st depiction is pretty hilarious to me, a zebra-striped, obese
    fella with Edward-Scissorhands arms. I know he’d kill me in one
    swipe, but I’d be laughing at him as he did so.

  19. Foxfier responds:

    Please, stop showing off your ignorance of history…you just make yourself look bad.

  20. gridbug responds:


    Considering that “the bible” is actually a collection of tales that have been edited, censored and mis-translated ad nauseum, what you’ve got at best is an interesting read filled with myth, conjecture, and cautionary fairy tales designed to keep the easily led in line, it’s impossible to measure the fiction against proven, hard data.

    Science is fact. Visible, hands on, easily tested and retested.

    Creationism/ID is 100% faith based with no physical evidence to substantiate its claims. NONE.

    But by all means, believe what you want. Just stop trying to bring this nonsense up to the same level as true science. Thanks.

  21. rsswope responds:

    What ever happened to Theistic Evolution?

    Girdbug,Actually the Bible is the most reliable historical document (not document of history) when it comes to comparing ancient text with our own today. While the JEDP theory has been popular for decades in Biblical Archeology, recent finds put it into question.

  22. gridbug responds:

    @ rsswope:

    All well and good, until you take into account the whole “re-written, re-translated and re-edited” angle. Whatever the book was in its original form we’ll probably never know. Therefore, it’s more an historical curiosity than a scientific standard.

  23. Foxfier responds:

    This really is wonderful irony.

    Thank goodness for the internet!

  24. planettom responds:

    Gridbug, please keep in mind that creationists stand with science and are using science to prove their theories and hypothesis.

    Let’s understand that scientists, creationist or not, are trying to prove their hyposthesis. All hypothesis are tentative assumptions made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences, based on scientific study, testing and results.

    Also, I would like to point out that not all creationists believe in the the “young earth” theory. There are some who believe in the “old earth” theory just as well. That opens up to the debates in the field of geology and some critics claim that the Geologic Column is flawed in that it relies upon circular reasoning. This is because the strata layers are not always found in the order in which they are supposed to be.

  25. Rogutaan responds:

    Everytime I see Creationist vs Evolution debates I lose some of my religion.

  26. springheeledjack responds:

    Personally, the fact that there is a creationist faction in the cryptozoological front doesn’t really bother me. I have my own ideas on creationism, but it is not relevant for my view on cryptozoology. I choose to look at it as one more pair of eyes looking for my favorite cryptids…who cares if somewhere down the line somebody tries to use NEssie to support the idea that the earth is only 6000 years old…I’m sure Nessie couldn’t care less…and in the end, what matters is the critters!

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