FLINTSTONE, Maryland — The preacher of a rural Maryland church announced today that animal skeletal remains discovered last year at the future site of a biblical Noah’s Ark replica have been verified as dinosaur fossils.
James Jones, pastor of Noah’s Ark Sanctuary Life Church, a nondenominational church in Flintstone, Maryland, said, at a press conference held in the church’s sanctuary, that a team of archeologists at Liberty University’s Department of Biblical Archeology disclosed last week that the fossils belonged to dinosaurs from an era approximately 6,700 years ago.
The fossils were discovered in March 2014 by construction crews excavating on the site, which is located along Interstate 68 in rural western Maryland. According to the pastor, the bones are “unusually big, really big and long.”
“We didn’t know then what we had, but they were really weird looking, so I called out a local vet,” Mr. Jones said.
“He took a look around and told me to call University of Maryland paleontology department. I didn’t go to Maryland, so I called my alma mater, Bob Jones University. And they put me in touch with the archeology department.”
The fossils were not presented at the press conference. They remain at Bob Jones University, a conservative, nondenominational Christian institution located in Greenville, South Carolina. Mr. Jones said the university will have an unveiling of the fossils later this year.
Mr. Jones believes the archeologists’ revelations validate the vision for the location of the church as the site for building the Noah’s Ark replica. “The founders of this church have been vindicated. We know now that God led them to this town and this location. It’s clearly divine providence.”
The construction site for the replica was established in the early 1970s, and the church has struggled to raise the funds needed to complete the ark.
At the site, an amorphous skeletal array of rusting steel beams shows the scant progress at completing the structure.
Mr. Jones said the discovery of the dinosaur bones will provide a tremendous boost to help the church raise money needed to complete the ark.
“The whole world will now know that this is a sign from God, that he wants us to build this ark right here, in this state, in this town, on this site,” he said. “No one can deny that we’re doing God’s work here.”
Mr. Jones said he’s praying that the ark replica can be completed within the next five years. When completed, the structure will house a sanctuary, convention center, tourist center, and gift shops.
Image: The Colored Folks Times-Dispatch.