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The Immense Collection of Strange Acambaro Figurines: Evidence of Dinosaurs Living Among Us?

Most mainstream paleontologists and geologists place dinosaurs on earth’s timeline at around 220 million and 65 million years ago, during the Mesozoic Era. Homo sapiens on the other hand, do not appear in the record until about 200,000 years ago – in the Middle Pleistocene, Middle Paleolithic (Eurasia), or Middle Stone Age (Africa). There are, however, occasional claims of evidence that dinosaurs and humans were not so temporally distant from each other, and in fact coexisted at one time. The bizarre Acámbaro figures are an example of this phenomenon.

The Acámbaro Figures Emerge

In 1944, the German shopkeeper Valdemar Julsrud claimed to have stumbled upon mysterious figurines while on horseback near Acámbaro in Guanajuato, Mexico. He said that he found over 30,000 of them with the help of a farmer. What is distinct about the figurines is that they appear to depict dinosaurs and humans living together. Additionally, there are also some strange figurines that many people say resemble flying saucers and even aliens.

‘Flying Saucer’ and humanoid figurines from the Acámbaro collection.

Flying Saucer’ and humanoid figurines from the Acámbaro collection. ( The Greater Picture )

Most archaeologists have dismissed them as fakes because thermoluminescence studies and analysis of the artifacts’ surfaces reveal a very recent age. But these studies have not stopped those who are outside of the archaeological mainstream who have other ideas about the figurines’ origins.

Those who believe that the artifacts are genuine can be divided into three groups: cryptozoologists who say that the figurines are evidence of a relict population of dinosaurs in the region who happened to come into contact with humans, those who believe that the figurines were left behind by interdimensional aliens who could travel back to the time of the dinosaurs and bring knowledge of them to Central American peoples, and young earth creationists who claim that humans and dinosaurs had to coexist to fit in with their interpretation of Genesis chapters 1-11 in the Bible. The first position is probably the most consistent with the mainstream view. However, none of these points of view matter much until you first examine the questions about the collection’s authenticity.

Some of the mythical and dinosaur-like Acámbaro figurines.

Some of the mythical and dinosaur-like Acámbaro figurines. ( The Greater Picture )

Questions of Authenticity

On the surface, one of the main problems with the Acámbaro figurines being genuine is that there are few, if any, nearby dinosaur fossils. There are also no written accounts or oral traditions which speak of dinosaur-like creatures living in the area. It seems that if they were common enough for thousands of figures to be produced depicting them, the giant beasts would also show up more often in local traditions – just like jaguars and butterflies do. One website in favor of their authenticity states that there is no recent native pottery tradition in the area. On the other hand, if this claim is accurate, the figurines need not have been produced in the area either – even if they are just an elaborate hoax.

Some of the clay figures from the huge collection.

Some of the clay figures from the huge collection. ( The Greater Picture )

In 1952, American archaeologist Charles Di Peso examined the artifacts and found that their surfaces showed no signs of weathering or collecting dirt in the cracks (that would have suggested that they were thousands of years old.) He used these observations to conclude that the figurines were not ancient. He also asserted that the family which had originally provided the figurines to Julsrud had been making them for a peso per item. Furthermore, the figurines resembled creatures and characters that the family may have seen in films at an Acámbaro cinema or from reading comic books available at a museum in a larger city nearby. These findings cast doubt on the authenticity of the artifacts.

Humanoid figurines from the Acámbaro collection.

Humanoid figurines from the Acámbaro collection. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

Thermoluminescence dating was also used on some figurines between 1969 and 1972. The analysis produced a date of about 4500 years B.P. (Before Present) placing the age of the artifacts around 2500 BC. Believers proclaimed this information as evidence for their authenticity. However, further studies in 1976 and 1978 revealed that the old date was erroneous and that the figurines did not meet the temperature conditions required for reliable thermoluminescence dating. The dates that could be attained revealed that the objects were from the late 1930s or early 1940s – shortly before they were “discovered”.

Are the Figures Really Dinosaurs?

These findings all cast doubt on the authenticity of the figurines. Another issue is that even if they are genuine, it is not clear that they are in fact depicting dinosaurs. For example, many of the figurines which are said to represent dinosaurs only have two legs – not the four legs that are normally associated with specific creatures. Some archaeologists have suggested that, if they are genuine, they might actually depict stylized non-saurian animals, or mythical monsters instead.

Detail of one of mythical-looking Acámbaro figures.

Detail of one of mythical-looking Acámbaro figures. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

It is possible that humans and dinosaurs did coexist, but this finding does not appear to be evidence supporting it. Even the prominent young earth creationist organization, Answers in Genesis , which would be very interested in any evidence for dinosaurs and humans coexisting has stated that this is probably a hoax.

The results of the various studies suggest that the Acámbaro figures are not evidence of dinosaurs coexisting with humans – and thus they do not create problems for paleontologists and geologists saying that dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period.

Some of figurines which look like reptiles or sea creatures.

Some of figurines which look like reptiles or sea creatures. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

Did Humans Walk the Earth with Dinosaurs? Triceratops Horn Dated to 33,500 Years

A Triceratops brow horn discovered in Dawson County, Montana, has been controversially dated to around 33,500 years, challenging the view that dinosaurs died out around 65 million years ago. The finding radically suggests that early humans may have once walked the earth with the fearsome reptiles thousands of years ago.

The Triceratops brow horn was excavated in May 2012 and stored at the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum. The Museum, which has been in cooperation since 2005 with the Paleochronology Group, a team of consultants in geology, paleontology, chemistry, engineering, and education, sent a sample of the outer portion of the Triceratops brow horn to Head of the Paleochronology Group Hugh Miller, at his request, in order to carry out Carbon-14 dating.

Mr Miller sent the sample to the University of Georgia, Center for Applied Isotope Studies, for this purpose. The sample was divided at the lab into two fractions with the “bulk” or collagen break down products yielding an age of 33,570 ± 120 years and the carbonate fraction of bone bioapatite yielding an age of 41,010 ± 220 years [UGAMS-11752 & 11752a]. Mr. Miller told Ancient Origins that it is always desirable to carbon-14 date several fractions to minimize the possibility of errors, which Miller requested, and that essential concordance was achieved in the 1000’s of years as with all bone fractions of ten other dinosaurs.

Triceratops, a name meaning “three-horned face”, is a genus of herbivorous ceratopsid dinosaur that is said to have first appeared during the late Maastrichtian stage of the late Cretaceous period, about 68 million years ago in what is now North America, and became extinct in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago. However, scientists from the Paleochronology Group, who perform research relating to “anomalies of science”, maintain that dinosaurs did not die out millions of years ago and that there is substantial evidence that they were still alive as recently as 23,000 years ago.

Classical reconstruction of a Triceratops

Classical reconstruction of a Triceratops ( Wikimedia Commons )

Until recently, Carbon-14 dating was never used to test dinosaur bones, as the analysis is only reliable up to 55,000 years. Scientists never considered it worthwhile to run the test – since it is generally believed that dinosaurs have been extinct for 65 million years, based on radiometric dating of the volcanic layers above or below fossils, a method which the Paleochronology Group states has “serious problems and gross assumptions must be made”.

“It became clear years ago that paleontologists were not just neglecting to test dinosaur bones for C-14 content but were refusing to. Normally a good scientist will be curious about the ages of important fossil bones,” Mr. Miller told Ancient Origins in an email.  

YouTube video explaining results of carbon testing on dinosaur bones

The results of the Triceratops Horn analysis are not unique. According to Mr. Miller, numerous C-14 tests have now been carried out on dinosaur bones, and surprisingly, they all returned results dating back in the thousands rather than millions of years.

“I organized the Paleochronology group in 2003 to fill a void with regards fossil wood and dinosaur bones as I was curious as to their age by  C-14 dating.  We thus have used C-14 dating to solve the mystery why soft tissue and dinosaur depictions exist world-wide. Our model predicted dinosaur bones would have significant C-14 and indeed they did in the range of 22,000 to 39,000 years BP.”

Results of C-14 tests on dinosaur bones

Results of C-14 tests on dinosaur bones provided by the Paleochronology Group .

This find goes against the mainstream view by paleontologists and geologists, who assert dinosaurs lived from 220 million and 65 million years ago, during the Mesozoic Era, and state Homo sapiens did not appear until about 200,000 years ago – in the Middle Pleistocene, Middle Paleolithic (Eurasia), or Middle Stone Age (Africa). However, people who believe in Young Earth Creationism and numerous other independent researchers have pointed to ancient artwork, such as the “dinosaur” carved at Angkor Wat, and the Acámbaro figures (which even seem to show humans riding dinosaurs) as evidence to support their perspective. Most agree that this artwork was made long before modern science had pieced together dinosaur fossils and conducted analyses to produce detailed reconstructions of their appearance.

Top left: Relief carving at Angkor Wat, Cambodia (1186 AD). Top Right: Textile from Nazca, Peru (700 AD). Bottom: Tapestry in the Chateau de Blois (1500 AD)

Top left: Relief carving at Angkor Wat, Cambodia (1186 AD). Top Right: Textile from Nazca, Peru (700 AD). Bottom: Tapestry in the Chateau de Blois (1500 AD)

Even more intriguing than the results of the C-14 dating on the Triceratops bone is the discovery of soft tissue in dinosaur fossils. In the March 2005 issue of Science , paleontologist Mary Schweitzer and her team announced the discovery of soft tissue inside a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex leg bone from the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, a controversial finding considering scientists had thought soft tissue proteins degrade in less than 1 million years in the best of conditions. After recovery, the tissue was rehydrated by the science team and testing revealed evidence of intact structures such as blood vessels, bone matrix, and connective tissue. 

Mark Armitage and Kevin Anderson also published results of a microscopic analysis of soft tissue from a Triceratops horn in the peer-reviewed journal Acta Histochemica . Mr. Armitage, a creationist, claimed that the preservation of cells is a scientific impossibility if the dinosaur really walked the Earth over 66 million years ago. On this basis, he opened a discussion with colleagues and students about the implications of such a finding being that the creationist perspective is correct and that dinosaurs existed much later than mainstream science maintains, a move that promptly saw him fired by the University of California .

While the Paleochronology Group says it is not “of any particular creed or denomination”, there are undoubtedly those with creationist beliefs among the group, a fact which critics may say could bias their results. Nevertheless, the group has urged any and all scientists to replicate their results by carrying out rigorous C-14 testing on any dinosaur sample.  

“Every sample tested yielded significant original Carbon-14 by extensive cross-checking of their ages in bone collagen, bulk organics and carbonate from bone bioapatite on AMS units and obtained concordance.  Thus, the overwhelming  odds are that most if not all unpetrified or even supposed petrified dinosaur bones in museum and university collections will show the same result,” Mr Miller told Ancient Origins. “We urge therefore that all those in charge of such collections see if they can replicate our findings. The implications are immense.”

Previous attempts to publish C-14 test results were repeatedly blocked. Raw data without interpretation was blocked from presentation in conference proceedings by the 2009 North American Paleontological Convention, the American Geophysical Union in 2011 and 2012, the Geological Society of America in 2011 and 2012, and by the editors of various scientific journals. The Center for Applied Isotope Studies at the University of Georgia, who conducted ‘blind’ C-14 tests on dinosaur bones, without knowing what they were, refused to conduct further C-14 tests after finding they were testing dinosaur bones. 

Paleontologist Jack Horner, curator at Montana State University’s Museum of the Rockies, who excavated the Tyrannosaurus Rex remains that contained soft tissue, even turned down an offer of a $23,000 grant to carry out a C-14 test on the remains. 

“[T]he public should be made aware that the discovery of soft tissue, C-14 in dinosaur bones and dinosaur depictions world-wild renders current beliefs about how old they are obsolete,” said Mr Miller. “Science is about sharing evidence, and letting the chips fall where they may.”

Although the exploration of dinosaur soft tissue has provided some exciting discussion and possibilities, University of Bristol scientists completed a study on the preservation of keratin protein in dinosaur fossils in 2018 and warned against believing the dating results others have shared. Evan Saitta from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Science explained:

“Decay and mild maturation resulted in some intriguing textural differences in degradation patterns based on the type of keratin such as curling versus crimping of filaments when matured. These results may show promise for identifying relatively recent archaeological keratin remains but when maturation conditions are increased to simulate conditions present during burial and fossilisation, the keratin degrades into a foul-smelling, water-soluble fluid that can dissolve or leach away from the fossil.”

While there is a possibility that the C-14 test results were a result of contamination or error, (even though the results were replicated and rigorous pre-treatments were carried out by the University of Georgia to control for this), or are perhaps due to some other factor, it seems reasonable to expect scientists to attempt more than a few replications of such groundbreaking test results. Failure to investigate or even acknowledge such significant findings unfortunately suggests that some scientists are more interested in holding on tight to current perspectives, rather than seeking to advance knowledge and understanding in this field.

Sources:

https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/humans-walk-earth-dinosaurs-triceratops-horn-dated-33500-020159

https://www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-other-artifacts/immense-collection-strange-acambaro-figurines-evidence-dinosaurs-living-021137

https://www.christies.com.cn/zh-cn/lot/lot-6204203

https://www.livescience.com/24011-triceratops-facts.html

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