Inconsistent Reasoning Governs Evolutionary Interpretations of Feathered Dinosaurs

Nature news is reporting another feathered dinosaur. The title of the Nature news article says, “Crested dinosaur pushes back dawn of feather.” This dinosaur is from around 130 mya, but feathers are already known from the bird Archaeopteryx around 150 mya. So how does it push back the origin of feathers? Their reasoning is that the feathers on this new species, dubbed Concavenator corcovatus, appear in a different lineage than the one that supposedly led to birds. Since “such structures [feathers] are unlikely to have evolved separately in both groups” they use evolutionary reasoning to infer that “the common ancestor of the two predatory dinosaur branches, ‘could have been feathered’.” This pushes the origin of feathers back to “Middle Jurassic Read More ›

The Demise of Another Evolutionary Link: Archaeopteryx Falls From Its Perch

A few days ago we saw Ida fall from her overhyped status as an ancestor of humans. Now some scientists are claiming that Archaeopteryx should lose its status as an ancestor of modern birds. Calling Archaeopteryx an “icon of evolution,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) borrows a term from Jonathan Wells while reporting that “[t]he feathered creature called archaeopteryx, easily the world’s most famous fossil remains, had been considered the first bird since Charles Darwin’s day. When researchers put its celebrity bones under the microscope recently, though, they discovered that this icon of evolution might not have been a bird at all.” According to the new research, inferences about growth rates made from studies of Archaeopteryx‘s ancient fossilized bones show Read More ›

“Old Theories Die Hard”: Birds-Evolved-From-Dinosaurs Hypothesis Takes Big Hits With Two Recent Papers

Two recent papers, one in the Journal of Morphology and another in Ornithological Monographs, as well as a ScienceDaily news release titled “Discovery Raises New Doubts About Dinosaur-bird Links,” contain criticisms by evolutionists of the dino-to-bird hypothesis that you would normally expect to hear only from skeptics of neo-Darwinism. Their remarks not only cover problems facing the dino-to-birds hypothesis, but also lament the politically motivated drive to push that hypothesis and ignore scientific dissent. The ScienceDaily article observes that some aspects of bird morphology are simply incompatible with the standard hypothesis that birds evolved from maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs: It’s been known for decades that the femur, or thigh bone in birds is largely fixed and makes birds into “knee runners,” Read More ›

Is the Latest “Feathered Dinosaur” Actually a Secondarily Flightless Bird?

MSNBC recently had an article titled “Fine-feathered dino sported bizarre bird tail,” reporting on the find of Epidexipteryx hui, a “pigeon-sized dinosaur that lived more than 100 million years ago [that] sported four ribbon-like tail feathers.” (See right for an artist’s imaginative interpretation of the fossil.) One of the original paper’s authors states, “Although this dinosaur cannot be the direct ancestor for birds, it is one of the dinosaurs that have the closest phylogenetic relationship to birds.” The article also contains other quotes with typical Darwinist rhetoric like, “[t]his find confirms the link between dinosaurs and birds.” But are other interpretations possible? Unreported in the media is the fact that the paper contains language directly hinting that Epidexipteryx hui could Read More ›