A Debate 65 Million Years in the Making

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on November 19th, 2013


The “Surviving Dinosaurs in Africa” lecture held on November 12, featured paleontologist Dr. Paul Bybee and folklorist Danny Stewart, both UVU professors, going head-to-head in a debate of the likelihood of dinosaurs still roaming the earth.

The night was full of theories, facts and unpronounceable Africa beasts and was not without controversy.

The thought of dinosaurs still alive today is not one that is widely accepted because it is surrounded by the words “folklore” and “mythology.” Even the age of dinosaurs was challenged, with research and opinions out on display.

Stewart started the discussion with the folklore side of surviving dinosaurs. The stories he told are mostly out a region in Congo, where there are over 20,000 dinosaur-like creature sightings recorded.

Stewart defined folklore as specific to the area, although he does address several variations on different fantastic beasts all coming from the same South African region.

“The scientific method has a hypothesis,” said Stewart. “I see folklore, fantasy and mythology as synonyms of hypothesis.”

He described stories of a specific creature that may still be living called the Mokele-mbembe, translated to “one who stops the flows of rivers,” which can be described best as a monster. With different variations depending on what region the story is coming from, the monster has been told to have a long neck, horns and/or breathe fire.

A creature resembling the descriptions of the Mokele-mbembe was found painted alongside lions and bulls around the city of Babylon. The same tiles used to make the walls have been allegedly found in the Congo.

“There’s nothing to back this up,” said Stewart “But it’s a fun story.”

Dr. Bybee took the floor to discuss the science behind the stories. While massive fossils of crocodiles have been found in North Africa, these massive fossils should not be confused with dinosaurs.

“Dinosaurs are prone to exaggeration,” said Bybee. The stories that are passed down through the generations are not the basis of a scientific hypothesis.

A track was found in the Congo that supposedly belongs to the Mokele-mbembe, but none of the fossils found in the area resemble the footprint allegedly found.

Bybee argued about the main reasons why science believes that dinosaurs are no longer roaming the earth. Fossil records and migration patterns are a few facts that can’t be ignored when it comes to dinosaurs.

What are the sightings, then? Bybee gave a few examples showing why things may seem different under the particular contexts, causing confusion to a person. As a result, when the story gets told animals transform into fire-breathing beasts.

For example, when a rhinoceros and a triceratops are shown side by side, all of the similarities can be seen. Thus, it can be understood how a rhinoceros could be seen as a monster by a passing glance. Someone seeing a rhino for a split second while it’s running through the trees and thinking they saw a dinosaur is not far-fetched, it is a trick of sight. This trick of sight is just as logical as the explanation for the sightings.

The idea of dinosaurs still roaming the earth was left up for debate, whether they are hiding in the Congo or swimming in Loch Ness.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

21 Responses to “A Debate 65 Million Years in the Making”

  1. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    I wonder if it was recorded. I’d like to watch it.

  2. Hapa responds:

    First thing: “Even the Age of dinosaurs was challenged, with research and opinions out on display.”

    Um…..what? Were some people at this shindig seriously trying to claim that the Mesozoic didn’t happen? I thought this was a serious conference, not a gathering for flat Earthers and Geocentrists. Though I am an open minded guy, my mind is not so open that my brains fall out.

    Other than that, I think this must have been a very interesting debate. Dr. Paul Bybee’s paleontological knowledge gave him a major advantage over Danny Stewart, who isn’t a scientist, but some of his objections to the possible existence of surviving dinosaurs could be explained away themselves (Though well known animals can be mistaken for unknown beast, no Rhino has ever been mistaken for a Ceratopsian, and trying to downplay surviving dinosaurs due to migration patterns of Dinosaurs in the fossil record doesn’t take into account that, if dinosaurs did survive the meteor impact, their migratory behavior might have changed over 65 million years, perhaps to the point that they do not migrate much, if at all, anymore).

    Very interesting, wish I had been there.

  3. Robert J North via Facebook responds:

    There are no dinosaurs in Loch Ness. The surgeon’s photo was a fake and even if it wasn’t, plesiosaurs/elasmosaurs are not dinosaurs.

  4. Derek Frazier via Facebook responds:

    Since no one knows what’s in Loch Ness, you can’t say there aren’t dinosaurs.

  5. John Kirk responds:

    As the resident Mokele-mbembe investigator on this forum I have to ask where the heck did this guy get the 20,000 witnesses from? I am flabbergasted that he would hypothesize that the Sirrush of the Ishtar Gate in Babylon and Mokele-mbmbe are one and the same. Dream on. They look nothing like each other.

    The scientist arguing for living dinosaurs needs to get up to date on some of the items he used to argue for their existence. The Yvan Ridel footprint is doubtful at best, but those found by Peter Beach and Brian Sass are way more convincing and they are quite different to the three toed footprint found by the Frenchman in the sixties.

    I am astonished that in reference to the Ridel footprint, the skeptic says that it does not resemble dinosaur fossils in surrounding areas. What surrounding areas? No dinosaur fossils to my knowledge have ever been found in Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon or Equatorial Guinea where the so-called dinosaurs are alleged to dwell. The nearest dinosaur fossils were found in Nigeria and were of the Inosaurus. There are loads of dinosaur fossils from North Africa contrary to what was stated above. These include iguandons, Azendohsaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, Cetiosaurus, Rebbachisaurus, Spinosaurus amongst others.

    I personally have interrogated dozens and dozens of witnesses in Cameroon and Congo and while I am not willing to state that Mokele-mbembe is definitively a dinosaur, from what the witnesses have told and drawn for me, they sure as heck look like them.

    Something lurks in the remote rivers of Cameroon and Congo and I know they do because I heard bellowing from the middle of the Dja River last year that was unlike anything that Bill Gibbons and I had heard before. It was loud, bellicose and very frightening. When I recreated what we heard to a Sengalese Mokele-mbembe witness who had seen and heard the creature, he told me that was the exact same sound he had heard in 2005 in the same river.

  6. sasquatch responds:

    Gorillas use to be thought of as folklore.

  7. Abel J. Mendozas via Facebook responds:

    creo que en los mares seria el lugar adecuado para buscar animales” extintos” todavía vivos

  8. Folkprofessor responds:

    We were miss-quoted a few times in this article. 1: I reference to “South American Dinosaurs I only mentioned the folklore surrounding the “Inkanyamba” and 2 while discussing the definition of regional folklore. The sightings of 20,000 dinosaurs was in reference to 20,000 dinosaur-like creatures sighted all over the world in the last century. There are few problems with this article, but she…. the student meant well.

  9. John Kirk responds:

    Did you mean South Africa when you mentioned Inkanyamba because it certainly does not come from South America? It has allegedly been sighted in a pool near Pietermaritzburg beneath Howick Falls.

    20,000 dinosaur-like sightings around the world? That’s a huge figure. I wish I had your data because I have never seen that many sightings documented anywhere.

  10. Hapa responds:

    John Kirk:

    Thank you for pointing out the error stated above that Dinosaur fossils were not found in North Africa: I had not caught onto that until now. One of these, Paralititan, was a sauropod found in Egypt: Mokele-mbembe is of course said to be like a Sauropod in appearance.

  11. shill responds:

    Debate? This is one of the worse cases of false balance in a debate I’ve heard of. This isn’t even a manufacturoversy. There is basically zero evidence of living dinosaurs. The witness testimony is not good and that is the only thing bolstering this idea other than Creationist-based belief.

    No, there is no dinosaur in Loch Ness because dinosaurs did not live in water. Those are other reptiles and they are also extinct. While scientists won’t say “impossible”, ever, we do find some ideas to be so utterly absurd that it is worthless to entertain them. Whatever was seen by witnesses was no dinosaur. They are extinct. Well, except for birds.

    If this talk was framed in a way OTHER than as a debate, it would have been very entertaining. To suggest living dinosaurs are real is actually irresponsible to the students.

  12. DWA responds:

    What are the sightings, then? Bybee gave a few examples showing why things may seem different under the particular contexts, causing confusion to a person. As a result, when the story gets told animals transform into fire-breathing beasts.

    And the person will hew to the account years, and sometimes decades, later. Sure, happens to people all the time. Um, no, it doesn’t. One either proves that a misperception caused the report, or set all explanations aside until it is understood what is going on.

    For example, when a rhinoceros and a triceratops are shown side by side, all of the similarities can be seen. Thus, it can be understood how a rhinoceros could be seen as a monster by a passing glance. Someone seeing a rhino for a split second while it’s running through the trees and thinking they saw a dinosaur is not far-fetched, it is a trick of sight. This trick of sight is just as logical as the explanation for the sightings.

    Yeah, sure. A passing glance gives me proof of what I saw and I will insist upon it until the day I die. No it doesn’t and no I won’t, and I suspect I am merely typical.

    (Need to add here that it’s wishful thinking, in the extreme, to think that anyone could see a rhinoceros and think “triceratops.” The differences are far more evident than the similarities are.)

    Tossing off “explanations” with nothing behind them isn’t science. To say evidence has “nothing behind it” – meaning proof – isn’t what a scientist does.

    A scientist says: hmmmm. Unresolved. We should encourage efforts to find out, because SOMETHING unusual is going on here.

    Most scientists who comment in this field reveal themselves not to be scientists so much as fairly competent technicians in narrow corners of the scientific community. I’m more a scientist than these guys.

    I think it’s all the math. Stunts intellectual growth, that it does.

  13. DWA responds:


    Yes, scientists let down their discipline in numerous ways. Thanks for pointing out several of them:

    (1) flat ignoring evidence;

    (2) considering pagan native wogs to be unreliable;

    (3) considering eyewitness reports useless (a more stunning repudiation of scientific method I can’t think of);

    (4) saying “impossible” right after saying they don’t do that, ever;

    (4) throwing around “extinct” as “case closed” when everyone knows – from examples too numerous to relate – that extinction, like every scientific judgment, is tentative and subject to change.

    Good job.

  14. DWA responds:

    And I forgot to add:

    (6) thinking that any explanation – like the out of this world “I saw a triceratops in that rhino and will insist upon it until the day I die” – that suits one’s thesis is plausible, no matter how silly; and that any explanation that contests one’s thesis is silly, no matter how plausible.

    Tour de force, no, really.

    I noticed that I repeated (4) up there, throwing my numbering off. Note how I’m not going, that is a 5 and I will insist upon it until the day I die! I’m correcting a momentary observational glitch. Like, you know, we all do. Unless we are seriously malfunctioning, mentally or visually. And we all know that’s a nonstarter as an explanation for every single sighting and oh, you must believe me.

    No I don’t must believe you.

    Prove it!

  15. BOOTYMONSTER responds:

    once again we have a white person totally dismissing accounts by people that don’t look like them . implying that all of them aren’t familiar with indigenous animals to their area is ignorant and egotistical . surely some accounts are misidentified animals or hoaxes , but dismissing them all is truly arrogant .

  16. corrick responds:


    Rave on dude! Have to admire your raw passion and posting energy. While you have a crazy take on what constitutes science I have to admit you are never boring. And I can’t disagree that on planet DWA everything you write is true. Unfortunately I happen to live on planet Earth. 🙂

  17. DWA responds:


    For somebody who lives on Planet Earth, you aren’t paying enough attention to the lessons she has taught time and time again, times beyond counting.

    Where you folks always come up short: showing me I’m wrong. You never do that. All I’m doing is showing how a scientist looks at evidence. And when a scientist disagrees with me, (s)he always shows that someone isn’t thinking like a scientist, and that someone is never me.

  18. gorilin responds:

    Who will ever know if prehistoric creatures are still alive or not? You didn’t live in prehistoric times,you don’t know anything about them.Just theories.

  19. corrick responds:

    DWA “you folks always come up short: showing me I’m wrong.”

    Because completely disproving a negative is impossible. And that is exactly why modern scientific methodology is actually a house built upon Occam’s Razor from the 14th century forward.

    Don’t agree with how modern science evaluates evidence? Get a lawyer and sue.

    But again DWA, thanks for your prolific posting. While I don’t agree with you 100% of the time, you’re almost always an interesting read.

  20. DWA responds:

    We’re not asking anybody to disprove a negative. We’re pointing out a mountain of evidence and asking them to prove a 100% false positive.

    If one cannot do that, one needs to take a seat and be quiet while serious people figure it out.

    This state of affairs ain’t built on Occam. Occam says sasquatch is real; gotta be paying attention to see that, though. Denying evidence is something Occam frowns upon with extreme prejudice.

    I have no interest in doing anything with the mainstream but pulling their noses and boxing their ears. The mainstream is more corrupt than ‘college’ football; this can be proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, by simply pointing to

    Science isn’t about the search for truth; it’s about the search for funding.

    Thanks, Occam. You’re a peach.

  21. valst responds:

    There are some—see upstream comments that don’t believe that this kind of debate is necessary because what allegedly happened “65 miilion years ago” is set in stone like the president’s on Mount Rushmore. It never ceases to amaze me that in fact the group least likely to be open minded about any type of “cryptid” are the folks who hang out, hands in pockets around cryptozoological discussion groups.

    As far as settled science, as late as the 1970’s in publications like the NYT climate scientists were bewailing the doom of the earth due to global cooling—to an inevitable ice age. In fact some thought that our only hope was manmade air pollution to warm the planet. We’ve barely had a chance to get over that scare before they completely switched tacks and declared our doom through global warming. The truth about settled science is that there is no phrase more useful to science populizers than “scientists had previously thought”.

    In terms of dinosaurs, they were in the art of virtually all ancient civilizations which were a lot younger than 65 million years old. Surviving dinosaurs wins in an open debate and inquiry.

    Holding On the Faith of Darwin Though the Hands of God’s Dinosaurs are Upon Thee


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