As I mentioned this morning, evidence strongly suggests that Answers in Genesis believes that not only were dragons and unicorns very real creatures, they were aboard Noah’s Ark and survived “the flood”.
So now for the question that everyone is in Kentucky is wondering: “will unicorns and dragons be aboard Ark Encounter?”
I decided to get on top of this matter today, and asked AiG’s PR person.
Here’s what I learned:
#1: There will be no mythical or fantastical creatures on the Ark.
#2: Dragons and unicorns are NOT mythical or fantastical creatures.
Here’s how the exchange went:
Me: My question relates to the animals that will be represented as being on the Ark, not live animals per se, but animals that visitors are told were on the Ark when it set sail.
Through research I’ve done on the Answers in Genesis website and the Creation Museum, it appears that AiG asserts that both dragons and unicorns were on the Ark (as dragons are depicted as surviving the flood, and unicorns were real). Will visitors to Ark Encounter be told that dragons and unicorns were present on the Ark?
AiG: Joe, the term dragon and legends about dragons were based on dinosaurs. Also, any unicorns would be normally two-horned animals that may have been born with just one horn or antler as a genetic defect. It could also refer to a rhinoceros. There will be no mythical or fantastical creatures on the Ark, and Answers in Genesis does not use the term dragon or unicorn in the fantastical, mythical sense. Here’s a passage that might help explain, following a discovery of a “unicorn” in Italy in June of 2008:
OK, so dragons and unicorns are quite real. And while no “mythical” “fantastical” creatures will be on the Ark, unicorns and dragons are NOT mythical and fantastical. They are as real as Ken Ham. And if they are real and survived the flood… you know what that means, right?
She continues by cutting a pasting a story about a “unicorn” recently discovered in Italy, otherwise know in the “scientific” sense as genetically defective deer. No, really:
Seen in an Italian nature preserve, the one-horned deer is literally a “unicorn” (which merely means “one horn”). “This is fantasy becoming reality,” said Gilberto Tozzi, director of the (Italian) Center of Natural Sciences.
The deer, which was born a year ago in captivity, is believed to have a genetic flaw, although its twin has two horns. Deer missing a horn are “rare but not unheard of,” reports AP, but the positioning of this deer’s single horn in the center of its head is what is notable.
Tozzi added. “This shows that even in past times, there could have been animals with this anomaly. It’s not like [historical figures who wrote about unicorns] dreamed it up.”
Since the Bible mentions unicorns in a few passages (Deuteronomy 33:17; Numbers 23:22, 24:8; Psalm 22:21, 29:6, 92:10; Isaiah 34:7), some may wonder if such uni-horned deer were the “unicorns” of old. That would certainly be possible and may explain the images of unicorns in historic artwork. Like the fire-breathing dragons clearly based on—but also a stretch from—real dinosaurs, perhaps the horse-and-narwhal-like unicorns were based on rare sightings of deer, goats, oryx, or other four-legged animals with similar single, central horn mutations.
The other hypothesis, which seems equally plausible, is that the unicorn refers to the rhinoceros. After all, “unicorn” (as mentioned above) simply means “one horn,” and the rhinoceros is the only known animal to normally have one horn. The rhinoceros would also fit in the Bible passages that mention unicorns without any inconsistencies.
OK, so let me see if I have this right. A unicorn might be a genetically defective deer? This would seem odd, as this passage from the Bible (“God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn”) would suggest that god himself has the strength of a defective and deformed deer. Seems almost blasphemous, doesn’t it? And a rhinoceros? The Bible also says that unicorns skip like calves (“He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn”). I’ve never seen a rhinoceros skip, but perhaps they were different in olden times.
There definitely seems to be some confusion here on unicorns. Also, it appears that while “fire-breathing” dragons are fantasy (bummer!), dragons were indeed real, living side-by-side with humans after the flood.
This obviously necessitated some follow up questions from me:
Me: When I ask about unicorns and dragons, I’m not speaking of “magical” entities that breathe fire, or the common perception of what “unicorns” are in the present day folklore. So I totally understand your point there. (also, the Bible refers to unicorns skipping like calves, so that might rule out the rhinoceros, but that’s a debate for another time :))
But in terms of what will be portrayed as being aboard the Ark at the park, will they present the biblical version of a unicorn (whether a one-horned deer or something else) and dragons being present? Again, not the magical fire-breathing stuff that is fantasy, but the scientifically backed and Bible-based accounts of these two animals?
AiG: That I don’t know, Joe, and I’ve got a call in to find out, but most everyone is on vacation this week, so not sure when I’ll hear back.
These are very difficult questions, I will admit.
I will certainly let you know when AiG gives me those answers.
In the meantime, this is what we know:
#1: There will be no mythical and fantastical creatures on Ark Encounter.
#2: Dragons and unicorns were real (not mythical and fantastical) and lived after the flood.
We’re getting closer to the real answers, dear readers. So close I can smell them.
Or maybe that’s just the unicorn mess I stepped in outside…
UPDATE: Also, does this mean that there’s some false advertising going on in the Creation Museum gift shop?
I would hate to think that one of these kids is going to grow up and become the first person to discover dragon fossils, only to find out that it wasn’t actually a “fire-breathing” dragon. Ken Ham would never try to deceive children, so I assume he’s going to pull this item off of the shelves immediately.
UPDATE #2: AiG took a stab at my follow up question:
AiG: Joe, they will show that dinosaurs were on the Ark and they will show that a pair of rhinoceros were on the Ark, but they would not have any of the genetically-deformed one-horned deer or the like on the Ark.
When she says “genetically-deformed one-horned deer” what she means is “unicorns”, which are very real and walk the earth to this day, of course. Unicorns that have the strength of God.
This is obviously a blow not only to us (who wouldn’t love to pay to see a sickly deformed deer with a big horn sticking out of it’s forehead with the strength of God on a giant boat?!), but to the marketing possibilities that Ark Encounter could have utilized on young girls in the gift shop. Opportunity missed!
But she still hasn’t answered the dragon question, so I followed up:
Will there be any representations of dragons (dinosaurs) on the Ark similar to this one depicted in the Creation Museum? (pictures attached)
Fingers crossed, boys and girls. I’ll let you know.