PETERSBURG - Ebenezer has long been dead, but he can still kick up controversy.
That's the name given to the dinosaur â “ an Allosaurus â “ whose 30-foot-long, 10-foot-high fossil skeleton goes on display today at the Creation Museum in Petersburg.
Museum officials say the creature likely died in Noah's flood, 4,300 years ago. The mainstream scientific community says that is, to put it bluntly, hogwash.
"The claims of the age of this thing are not based on scientific methods," said David Meyer, a paleontologist and emeritus professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati.
Allosaurs, Meyer said, lived in the late Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago. The last dinosaurs perished about 65 million years ago.
Answers in Genesis, the nondenominational Christian ministry that built and operates the museum, was founded on the belief that God created the heavens and the Earth and all living things in six consecutive 24-hour days, 6,000 years ago, which would mean that dinosaurs and humans once co-existed. Exhibits such as the Allosaurus are designed to persuade people to embrace that literal interpretation of the Bible.
Ken Ham, president and founder of the museum, said in a news release that having the skeleton will "help us defend the book of Genesis and expose the scientific problems with evolution." Among mainstream scientists, evolution is an almost universally accepted fact.
But back to Ebenezer, a sharp-toothed meat-eater that walked on its strong hind limbs. He is considered an exceptional specimen, according to the museum, because of his almost-complete 3-foot-long skull and 53 teeth. And while the fossils of many dinosaurs are scattered, Ebenezer's bones were found together. More than half of them were recovered.
The dinosaur was discovered in northwestern Colorado. It was bought by the Pasadena, Maryland-based Elizabeth Streb Peroutka Foundation, restored, and donated to the Creation Museum. The skeleton has been appraised at $1 million, according to the museum, and the exhibit in which it is displayed cost $500,000.