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Some dinosaurs breathed fire (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Some dinosaurs breathed fire (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CH712.1:

Job 41 describes Leviathan, a dinosaur-like creature, as fire-breathing. This suggests that some dinosaurs could breathe fire. Humans lived at the time as these dinosaurs and preserved the memory as fire-breathing dragons.


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. If dinosaurs could breathe fire, they would have adaptations around their mouths to protect their mouth and throat from flame. Nothing resembling such an adaptation has ever been seen.

God could have designed such protection, but those animals with them are now extinct and the "adaptations" could have rotted.

The Bombardier beetle produces an explosive fire.

All it takes for an animal to produce a fireball is to have the ignition take place outside the body. It is relatively easy for a human to produce a fireball without burning their mouth.

2. Fire-breathing in myth and legend is not limited to dragons. There are also fire-breathing snakes from the Chippewa [Norman 1990, 127-131], fire-breathing bulls from Greek [Ovid, book 7], fire-breathing horses from the Bible [Rev. 9:17-18]. Fire-breathing is a folkloric motif not to be taken literally.

The reference from Revelation is prophetic about a future judgment, and is not myth or legend. The horses were not on earth. The other non-dragon references could have been inspired by dragons.

3. Not uncommonly, dragons have other fantastic properties not found in dinosaurs, such as multiple heads (such as in Grimms' "The Two Brothers", and the basmu from Akkadian myth [Dalley 1989, p. 323]). Legendary creatures are poor evidence for Biblical literalism.

Such legends could be based on real animals, but which were freaks, like a two headed turtle, or a two headed snake. Both of these are reptiles, like dinosaurs. It is quite possible that similar freaks have occurred in dinosaurs giving rise to legends of multiple-headed dragons.

Gradual distortions of facts invariably occur in the process of handing down information through the generations. This effect is especially noted in cultures where the facts are passed down primarily by mouth.