Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is the Torah view on the dinosaurs? There's no mention of them in the Torah, only that the world was created in 6 days. If they existed, Adam and his descendants should have seen them. Yet there's no mention. Yet we know they lived since we find their bones. One cannot say they lived before Adam since the world existed only 5 days before him.

share|improve this question
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/10797/… – HodofHod Oct 12 '12 at 7:58
yes, there is a midrash which says God created many worlds and destroyed them. but if that were the case, there would be no bones. since the bones and the world was destroyed. the 6 day account of bereishis is for the creation of THIS world. as we say a clear progression, the world was void, no light, then only water, then moon/stars. so we see that before 6 days there could not be any bones – ray Oct 12 '12 at 8:10
I don't understand the argument of "There's no mention of them in the Torah, only that the world was created in 6 days. If they existed, Adam and his descendants should have seen them. Yet there's no mention.". There's no mention of mosquitoes or zebras either. So what? – msh210 Oct 12 '12 at 8:12
I don't think that the medrash which says the earlier worlds were destroyed means that no trace of them can exist. – Danno Oct 12 '12 at 12:34
I heard that the Tiferes Yisrael addresses this in his "Drush Or HaChayim" (printed in the back of standard Tiferes Yisrael editions of mishnah Nezikin vol. 1), but I never actually read all of it (but I did see a few lines of it, and they include references to animals such as טערודעקטיילס and סטגאסאורוס) – b a Oct 12 '12 at 16:29

Prof. Nathan Aviezer wrote a book "בראשית ברא" answering questions about the creation in torah view.

There he claims the 6 days of creation to be 6 periods of time that didn't necessarily last 24 hours. Moreover - maybe it was one cycle of dark&light, but things happened at a quicker pace.

Take, for example, a person's growth. If you were to calculate the rate of growth during his first two years, you would conclude that at the age of 20 he'd be as tall as a skyscraper. Similarly, scientists calculate age of things according to he worlds' pace today, but things may have worked differently in the past.

Hence, dinosaurs might have lived and died prior to Adam Harishon. Maybe created on "day" 5 and extinct before 6.

(Somewhat related: What is the meaning of יוֹם (yowm) in Bereshit?)

The Malbim (on Noach 7:23) addresses "large animals" that couldn't be "wiped out" by the flood, but were buried in depths of the earth following quakes the Mabul created. He is clearly addressing dinosaurs since he's talking about (my free translation): "... geologists who dig and find large animals who have become extinct, they use this to show earth existed long before Bereshis creation..."

Some attribute "התנינים הגדולים" (Bereshis 1:21) to the dinosaurs as a reference of their existing (not mentioned in Malbim).

Another opinion I've heard from reliable people (suggested by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in this letter) is that the world was created "old", such as Adam Harishon was created as a man of 20 and not a newborn baby. Hence, dinosaurs could have either existed - or their remains and footprints were melded into the creation.

share|improve this answer
Malbim on that pasuk just says "there are some fish that are really big" and doesn't seem to be talking about dinosaurs – b a Oct 12 '12 at 16:26
@ba, it's Malbim on Noach - I edited it in. – JNF Oct 14 '12 at 6:26
maybe but to say the 6 days of creation are 6 periods of time is "Dochek" (a stretch). furthermore, the sabbath of creation is one day. nobody claims that it was a "period of time". and the world's birthday according to the calendars is 23rd of elul – ray Oct 14 '12 at 9:18
@RaymondSebag, as the answer notes, Hashem might have done millions of years within 24 hours. Shabbos was completion of work not necessarily a day in itself. Further, "days" might have not been equal in time (the way we define it) so maybe when Shabbos arrived it really was one day. P.S. World's birthday = Elul 25th – JNF Oct 14 '12 at 10:32
@RaymondSebag And does the fact that we have dinosaur bones that appear millions of years old not qualify as Shaat HaDechak? – Double AA Dec 3 '12 at 7:44

In the sefer "Q&A Thursday Nights With Rabbi Avigdor Miller" Volume 2, pg 284, he was asked why were the dinosaurs and the mastodon not saved from the mabul? He answered simply because there was no room for them on the teivah (ark) .He said that all species fit but the extra big ones simply didn't fit.

share|improve this answer
So he holds that the mabul happened 60 million years ago? – Double AA Jul 19 '13 at 21:28
@Doubleaa , where did you extrapolate that from? – sam Jul 21 '13 at 2:14
It seems he thinks they were still alive just preceding the flood. – Double AA Jul 21 '13 at 3:34
@doubleaa , and why 60 million years why not regular years – sam Jul 21 '13 at 4:16
What do you mean 'regular years'? dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago. – Double AA Jul 21 '13 at 4:17

Taninim Hagedolim can possibly mean dinosaurs. The word Tanin means a reptile or serpent (like when Aharon's stick become a sepent - Vayehi l'tanin. The dinosaurs were reptiles. See Dr. Schroeder's "The Science of G-d" which discusses this.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.