Skip to comments.Dinosaur 'feathers' are no such thing
Posted on 05/22/2007 8:36:06 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger
The theory that dinosaurs gave rise to birds has been dealt a blow by palaeontologists who have examined critical evidence from a Chinese fossil.
The discoverers of the turkey-sized dinosaur Sinosauropteryx say it would have had primitive feathers, supporting the bird-from-dinosaurs theory.
But the latest research says these 'proto-feathers' are really frilly structures on the creature's back.
Researchers led by South African academic Professor Theagarten Lingham-Soliar at the University of KwaZulu-Natal publish their study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The debate focuses on Sinosauropteryx, a fossil found in 1994 by a farmer in Liaoning province, northeastern China.
This region is a treasure trove of the Early Cretaceous period some 130 million years ago.
The long-tailed, meat-eating dinosaur was covered with a down of fibres that its Chinese researchers said were primitive feathers.
Although the 'feathers' were clearly not capable of flight, their existence dramatically supported a theory first aired in the 1970s that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
As a result, a once-outlandish notion has become the mainstream concept for the ascent of Aves, as birds are classified.
But when researchers examined a recently discovered specimen of Sinoauropteryx, also from Liaoning, they came to very different conclusions.
When they examined the fossil under a high-powered microscope, the researchers said the two-branched structures, called rachis with barbs, are really the remains of a frill of collagen fibres that ran down the dinosaur's back from head to tail.
"The fibres show a striking similarity to the structure and levels of organisation of dermal collagen," the kind of tough elastic strands found on the skin of sharks and reptiles today, the investigators say.
The fibres have an unusual beaded structure, but this most likely was caused by a natural twisting of these strands, and a clumping together caused by dehydration, when the dinosaur died and its tissues started to dry.
The tough fibres could have been either a form of armour to protect the small dinosaur from predators, or perhaps had a structural use, by stiffening its tail.
From the first known bird
The first known bird is Archaeopteryx, which lived around 150 million years ago.
What is missing are the links between Archaeopteryx and other species that would show how it evolved.
But the fossil record is frustratingly small and incomplete and this is why debate has been so fierce.
The birds-from-dinosaur theory is based on the idea that small, specialised theropod dinosaurs gained an advantage by developing plant-eating habits, growing feathers to keep warm and taking to the trees for safety.
From there, it was a relatively small step for these carnivorous, bipedal dinosaurs with three-toed feet to developing gliding skills and then the ability to fly.
Lingham-Soliar's team does not take issue with the theory itself.
But they are dismayed by what they see as a reckless leap to the conclusion that Sinoauropeteryx had the all-important proto-feathers, even though this dinosaur was phylogenetically far removed from Archaeopteryx.
The evidence in support of the primitive feathers lacked serious investigation, Lingham-Soliar says.
"There is not a single close-up representation of the integumental structure alleged to be a proto-feather," Lingham-Soliar says.
Given that the evolution of the feather is a pivotal moment in the history of life, he says "scientific rigour is called for".
Oh. I just so surprised to hear that. Who ever would have imagined that?
Another nail in the coffin of religious Darwinism.
That’s a pretty misleading title. Reading the body, they just claim that their evidence discounts one species of dinosaur [as a missing link between dinos and birds].
But DLR does.
What a laugh. Study some science and get back to us.
Belief in evolution is based on faith, not scientific proof. Just add this to the long list of missing links that weren’t.
It’s a blow against the theory that dinosaurs evolved feathers and evolved into birds.
Flimsy as it was, this is a pretty big confirmation against the dino-to-bird evolution theory. Evolutionists with a pinch of faith and a magnifying glasses, little shreds of collogen can look like the beginnings of feathers to them.
Not science? This is from a scientific journal. How is it not science? I’m beginning to think that ANY blow against evolution isn’t science in your mind!
And this is supposed to be your response? Weak. I’d ask if I can quote you on it, but there’s nothing to quote.
thanks, I thought that was pretty much proven, trex turned into a turkey, not so? Damn back to school AGAIN.
Haul out the “you’re an apologist” mantra next, pleeeaase?
Thanks, but we have comedy clubs in Seattle.
You are so right! Darwinism IS a religion and looking at the evidence, it takes more faith to buy that than believing in God. see my tagline (they cry , science, science, but science is what is proving them wrong)
Ye also have the Discovery Institute. *Gasp*
==Darwinism IS a religion and looking at the evidence, it takes more faith to buy that than believing in God.
Yep, we are up against a religious cult, and we should treat them as such.
Yeah: a comedy club that’s all the funnier because they take themselves seriously.
I hope this is not going to turn into another food fight, G*d has nothing at all to fear from science, given time science will prove that without G*d there would be nothing. Give science a chance!
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