Monday, June 4, 2007

Archaeopteryx or giving Creationists the Bird!

Whenever the lack of fossil evidence showing a transitional specie comes up, one word commonly drops from the lips of the evolutionary protagonist: Archaeopteryx!

Archaeopteryx is a bird with many unique similarities to certain dinosaurs called Theropods. The fossils of Archaeopteryx date back to the [1]Jurassic period.
Paleo-ornithologists classify Archaeopteryx as a bird because the most unique thing that defines a creature as a bird are its feathers.
Archaeopteryx is said to be a transitional form bridging the gap between dinosaur and bird. In all seven known Archaeopteryx fossils, Archaeopteryx had feathers; feathers which were well developed, and had the ability of flight.
Feathers are very complicated structures of which there are several types. Scientists have promulgated several different theories about why feathers evolved but there has been (until recently) a consensus among them that feathers evolved from reptilian scales. One theory is that thermoregulation is responsible for the original morphing of dino-scales into feathers. Others think that feathers evolved for flight and the most recent theory is that feathers evolved to attract a mate.

The Evidence
The so-called "proof" is a theropod dinosaur (that had a scale that sort of looked feathered). This [2]theropod is called Caudipteryx, (which dates to about 127 million years ago). This goose sized dinosaur is depicted with feathers in every drawing I've seen.

First Problem: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Do you see a problem yet? Feather’s are very complex structures of which there are several distinct categories. Certainly something as complex as a feather would have taken a long time to evolve if Archaeopteryx were to be that “transitional” evolutionary link. Yet not only did Archaeopteryx have one kind of feather, he had different kinds of fully developed feathers and was capable of flight. Archaeopteryx always appears fully developed in the fossil record with nothing showing a protoarchaeopteryx type.
Now here’s the problem. Archaeopteryx pre-dates Caudipteryx by a geologic period (or at least 20 million years). Archaeopteryx goes back to the Jurassic Period and Caudipteryx dates to the later [3]Cretaceous period. That’s kind of putting the cart before the horse, don’t you think?

The Second Problem: The Feathered Look
Reptilian scales are vastly different from bird feathers. They originate in different places, they are made of different proteins and they serve totally different functions. Why would reptiles need feathers? They are not warm blooded and they don't fly (some glide). They don't have a problem mating.

The Third Problem: That’s not a gap-that’s an abyss!
The teeth of Archaeopteryx are not serrated as they are in theropods. Other birds had teeth but Archaeopteryx had several other unique features that don't relate to any other known bird--an indication of special creation. As I explained to one commentator, Archaeopteryx is more evidence for Intelligent Design than evolution.
[4]David B. Kitts, Ph.D an evolutionist and paleontologist, said:

"Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of 'seeing'
evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists the most
notorious of which is the presence of 'gaps' in the fossil record. Evolution
requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide
And as [5]David Raup, a paleontologist at the Field Museum of Natural History said:

"We are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record
has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species
but the situation hasn't changed much -- ironically, we have even fewer
examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record
such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information."

Now, lest I'm accused of quote mining, I admit it. I'm not ashamed of it-the words speak for themselves. Not just a sentence-you can see whole paragraphs--they speak for themselves in that context. These quotations are referenced in the footnotes below.

[1] Jurassic Period extends from about 145 million years to 200 million years ago.
[2] Any of various large carnivorous dinosaurs of the suborder Theropoda of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, characterized by bipedal locomotion, large jaws, and short forelimbs.
[3] Cretaceous Period follows the Jurassic Period; from about 65 million years to 145 million years ago.

[4] David B. Kitts, PhD (Zoology) Head Curator, Dept of Geology, Stoval Museum. Evolution, vol 28, Sep 1974, p 467
[5] David Raup, Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, 50:22-29


Anonymous said...

A gap in our knowledge of science does not equate to evidence for design. You must prove with facts that are repeatable and testable to this designer you claim is capable of designing. May I ask why you are against evolution?

Anonymous said...

He is probably against evolution because there is no facts that are repeatable and testable.

Anonymous said...

When we find a new fossil and we determine the age and classification and it falls in line with the current timescale of historic animals then you just tested and repeated an experiment. Your turn :)

Anonymous said...

How did the new fossil get dated? From the rock strata it was found in ... How did the rock strata get dated? From the fossil that was found in it.