Skip to comments.Second Look Causes Scientist to Reverse Dino-Bird Claim
Posted on 07/18/2014 8:44:16 AM PDT by fishtank
Second Look Causes Scientist to Reverse Dino-Bird Claim
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *
Stephen Czerkas digs dinosaurs. His early advocacy for feathered dinosaurs makes his recent reversal that much more remarkable. His reexamination of a fossilone that had been known as a feathered dinosaurreveals the fruits of taking a closer look at spectacular claims.
Recently working with University of North Carolina's fossil bird expert Alan Feduccia, Czerkas imaged a Scansoriopteryx with advanced 3-D microscopy and high-resolution photography, visualizing features in the wrist bones, feathers and hind limbs. This year they published their results in the Journal of Ornithology.1
Back in 1999, the National Geographic Society created quite a controversy by prematurely announcing the discovery of a half-bird/half-dinosaur fossil they called Archaeoraptor.2 Czerkas and the Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, Utah purchased the Chinese specimen from an anonymous dealer at the Tucson gem show in early 1999 for the tidy sum of $80,000. The Society quickly announced the so-called "feathered" dinosaur before scientists carefully reviewed the specimen, which turned out to be a complete fabrication.
ICR article image.
Another evo fraud.
"Climate Change" parallel, anyone?
Here's the fraud that Google posted on their page today.
> Another evo fraud.
Just like it’s ugly twin sister, “Climate Change”, it filters observations through preconceived notions, and when the data doesn’t corroborate their worldview, then just fabricate the data.
Another "persistent vision" lie.
Seriously, dude, go do this crap somewhere else. You’re bonkers to post this here.
They are talking about ONE FOSSIL FRAUD. Has nothing to do with the scores of legitimate fossils linking birds to reptiles or the skeletal connections which are too similar and numerous to defy chance. A similar case involved “Piltdown” Man.
Does the “Donation of Constantine” means Christianity is a fraud? Hardly.
More garbage from the Institute for Creative Research.
It sounds like he actually admitted he was wrong. Burn him!
"Archaeoraptor" is the generic name informally assigned in 1999 to a fossil from China in an article published in National Geographic magazine. The magazine claimed that the fossil was a "missing link" between birds and terrestrial theropod dinosaurs. Even prior to this publication there had been severe doubts about the fossil's authenticity. It led to a scandal when evidence demonstrated it to be a forgery through further scientific study. The forgery was constructed from rearranged pieces of real fossils from different species. Zhou et al. found that the head and upper body actually belong to a specimen of the primitive fossil bird Yanornis. A 2002 study found that the tail belongs to a small winged dromaeosaur, Microraptor, named in 2000. The legs and feet belong to an as yet unknown animal.It should be pointed out that National Geographic magazine is not a scientific journal.
Also from Wiki:
However, contrary to the Piltdown Man, "Archaeoraptor" was not a deliberate hoax. Furthermore, the authenticity of "Archaeoraptor" would not have been an essential proof for the hypothesis that birds are theropods, as this is sufficiently corroborated by other data; paleontologist Christopher Brochu concluded in November 2001: "That birds are derived theropod dinosaurs is no longer the subject of scholarly dispute." Though playing the role of "terrestrial dinosaur" in the "Archaeoraptor" affair, Microraptor, showing wings and clear traces of rectrices, is generally assumed to have had at least a gliding capacity and is itself an excellent example of a transitional fossil.Once again the ICR does more harm to religion than good.
All these frauds, evo, global warming, Mandela, low unemployment, Obama, great economy, low inflation, etc., get promoted and low information masses believe it. A retraction usually gets issued many years later and buried on p23 with one sentence. But by then billions of our dollars are spent, wars waged, jobs lost, more statist control, more oppression, heavier taxation, basically the heavy wet blanket that has been laid across the people becomes heavier and yoke around our necks tighter and heavier. Animal farm we are.
Why would a flightless creature evolve a complex mechanism (wings) to achieve the purpose of flight? Purpose requires intent. Intent requires intelligence. So, a pea-brained reptile deduced: “Gee, I’m having a hard time eluding my predators. Wait, I know the answer.....WINGS!”. Interestingly, it can be assumed that somewhere in the millennia between legs and wings, were some sort of a stump that was neither leg nor wing. How would that have worked out for escaping predators? Macro evolution yields far more questions than it answers.
You creationists are so blind! Can you not see all the transitional life forms around you today? Haven’t you studied the hundreds of thousands of transitional fossils? Look at dogs and cats. Except for the head and claws they are almost alike! Go back far enough and you’ll discover their common ancestor. It’s in the fossil record. Bank on it!
Does this need a tag?
But, but....”settled science”?????!!!
Just imagined what would have happened if anyone here questioned this guy’s original findings?
I find it ironic when ICR questions various scientific findings while still clinging to the delusion the Universe is 10,000 or so years old.
Dino probably decided to screw with scientists 60 million years in the future by having friends pad his death bed with feathers.
Scientists can be so gullible.
He should be burned, he’s a witch! A dino-bird, a ... duck?
And I can prove it using the Institute’s scientific methodology.
There are ways of telling whether a person is a witch.
- Are there? What are they? Tell us. - Do they hurt?
- Tell me, what do you do with witches?
- Burn them!
- And what do you burn, apart from witches?
- More witches! - Wood!
- So why do witches burn?
- ‘Cause they’re made of wood? - Good!
- How do we tell if he is made of wood? - Build a bridge out of him.
- But can you not also make bridges out of stone?
- Oh, yeah.
- Does wood sink in water?
- No, it floats. - Throw him into the pond!
- What also floats in water?
- Bread. - Apples.
- Very small rocks. - Cider! Great gravy.
- Cherries. Mud. - Churches.
- Lead. - A duck!
- So, logically—
- If he weighs the same as a duck...
- he’s made of wood.
- And therefore?
- A witch!
- But he’s a dude.
- Burn him anyway.
Of all the things which could not plausibly evolve, flight feathers may be number one.
See my post #13. Wings (muscles, feathers, et al) are such a mechanism of interwoven complexity, it boggles the mind. It took man’s genius until the 20th century to crudely imitate the lowly bird’s incredible ‘evolved’ attributes.
Feathers arent a pre-requisite for flight.
I saw this lie proclaimed, and wondered when someone would show it false.
Thanks for the article, fishtank. Evolution is no different than “climate change” in its lack of evidence and its claim of “settled science.” No transitional forms. Gelatinous heme found in unpetrified 65 million year old t-rex bones. Violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Etc.
Yes, there are transitional forms. Yes, they are there to be seen.
I don't think natural selection alone is sufficient explanation for their appearance, however. There is more at work here than we fully understand.
Evolutionary Theory Changes Its Tune...Again
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
The song has been playing like a broken record for decades: Evolution is true. Evolution is a fact. Evolution is true. Evolution is a fact.... As long as this mantra is repeated by enough intellectuals, it seems many will become and/or remain enamored with evolutionary theoryeven when the underlying evidence is shown continually to be inadequate and at odds with reality. Many evolutionary-laden science textbooks declare that natural selection (e.g., English peppered moths), mutations, embryology, homology, the fossil record (e.g., the horse family tree), etc. all prove the General Theory of Evolution. In actuality, none of these proves what evolutionists claim. Creationists recognize the fossil record, similarities among living things, natural selection, and mutations, but we have observed nothing that proves humans descended from amphibious creatures that crawled out of the water hundreds of millions of years ago. The fact is, evolutionists proofs are simply assertions. Their theory is merely a twisted interpretation of the physical world. Whats more, their story changes from one year to the nextand sometimes one day to the next.
Consider evolutionists assertions regarding the origin of birds. A 1989 Earth Science high school textbook declared: The fossil record clearly shows that the immediate ancestor of this bird [ArchaeopteryxEL] was a dinosaur (Namowitz and Spaulding, p. 565, emp. added). In 1994, Prentice Hall published a widely used middle school textbook titled Evolution: Change Over Time. Adjacent to a chart showing how long ago birds supposedly evolved from dinosaurs, the editors placed these words: [B]iologists think that birds are actually modern-day dinosaurs. Current theory indicates that birds evolved from the most famous of the dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex (p. 67). Only last year, evolutionary scientists in China confidently affirmed that birds evolved from dinosaurs (Feathered Fossils..., 2009), and just last month we reported how evolutionary scientists writing in Nature magazine allegedly confirmed (yet once again) that birds evolved from dinosaurs (Butt, 2010).
Shortly after this most recent dinosaur-to-bird article was published in Nature this past January (Zhang, et al., 2010), an article by Oregon State zoologist John Ruben appeared in the pro-evolutionary journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Whats different about this story? For starters, Ruben acknowledged in the first line of the article that new fossils, and reinterpretations of well-known fossils, sharply at odds with conventional wisdom never seem to cease popping up (2010). Furthermore, he admitted to the vagaries of the fossil record, declaring what creationists have been affirming for years: current notions of near resolution of many of the most basic questions about long-extinct forms should probably be regarded with caution (2010, emp. added). Even major aspects of paleobiology of intensely studied, recently extinct taxa (<10,000 yrs.) remain unresolved (Ruben, emp. added).
One major unresolved aspect of paleobiology that Ruben addressed was the origin of birds. Although many scientific and lay communities, including countless public school textbook editors, have been championing for decades that birds are living dinosaurs, Ruben urged readers to put the brake on this bandwagon. First of all, very recent data suggest that many clearly cursorial theropods [ground dwelling dinosaursEL] previously thought to have been feathered may not have been (Ruben; cf. Lingham-Soliar, et al., 2007, 274:1823-1829; see also Butt, 2010). Whats more, the group that birds are assumed to have been derived from, may not even have been dinosaurs (Ruben, emp. added)! Even though for many years, innumerable impressionable minds have been taught the factuality of dinosaur-to-bird evolution, evolutionary zoologist John Ruben says this was only an assumption. Scientists have never proven that dinosaurs evolved into birds. In fact, based upon recent model glide tests done by several scientists around the country (see Alexander, et al., 2010), a growing number of evolutionists appear to be broadly at odds with one another (Ruben).
Evolutionary theories regarding bird-origins are contradictory, plain and simple. Some contend, The evidence shows that birds evolved from dinosaurs, yet others are drawing totally different conclusions (Challenge to Dino-Bird..., 2010)based upon the same evidence. Although dinosaur-to-bird theorists have insisted...that the debate is all over and done with, Ruben has stated that this issue isnt resolved at all. There are just too many inconsistencies with the idea that birds had dinosaur ancestors (Viegas, 2010). Instead, Ruben believes that the evidence is finally showing that these [raptors] which are usually considered dinosaurs were actually descended from birds, not the other way around (as quoted in Challenge to Dino-Bird..., 2010, emp. added, bracketed item in orig.).
Ruben is correct about one thing: the often-parroted claim that dinosaurs evolved into birds is merely an assumption (and a wrong one at that!). Yet, Ruben and others are sadly mistaken that birds evolved into dinosaurs. Both of these conclusions are simply unjustified, unproven interpretations of the fossil record. The fossil record in no way proves evolution. Dinosaurs never evolved into birds and birds never evolved into dinosaurs. God created these animals on days five and six of Creation...and no fossil has ever contradicted this fact.
Alexander, David, Enpu Gong, Larry Martin, David Burnham, and Amanda Falk (2010), Model Tests of Gliding with Different Hindwing Configurations in the Four-Winged Dromaeosaurid Microraptor Gui, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(7):2972-2976, February 9, [On-line], URL: http://www.pnas.org/content/107/7/2972.abstract?ijkey=6634b3c679eee990cb37865665b5a06956ee476e&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha.
Butt, Kyle (2010), Were Dinosaur Feathers Colored? Resources, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240350.
Challenge to Dino-Bird Evolution Theory Not Dead Yet (2010), [On-line], URL: http://www.world-science.net/othernews/100210_bird.htm.
Evolution: Change Over Time (1994), (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).
Feathered Fossils Prove Birds Evolved from Dinosaurs, Say Chinese Scientists (2009), Mail Online, September 25, [On-line], URL: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1215998/Feathered-fossils-prove-birds-evolved-dinosaurs-say-Chinese-scientists.html.
Lingham-Soliar, Theagarten., Alan Feduccia, and Xiaolin Wang (2007), A New Chinese Specimen Indicates that ProtoFeathers in the Early Cretaceous Theropod Dinosaur Sinosauropteryx are Degraded Collagen Fibers, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, August 7, 274:1823-1829.
Namowitz, Samuel and Nancy Spaulding (1989), Earth Science (Lexington, MA: Heath).
Ruben, John (2010), Paleobiology and the Origins of Avian Flight, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(7):2733-2734, February 9, [On-line], URL: http://www.pnas.org/content/107/7/2733.extract?sid=aae35bc0-203d-4460-b1c2-cadd08fd1665.
Viegas, Jennifer (2010), Some Dinosaurs Evolved from Birds? DiscoveryNews, February 17, [On-line], URL: http://news.discovery.com/dinosaurs/some-dinosaurs-evolved-from-birds.html.
Zhang, Fucheng, Stuart Kearns, Patrick Orr, et al. (2010), Fossilized Melanosomes and the Color of Cretaceous Dinosaurs and Birds, Nature, January 27, [On-line], URL: etahttp://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature08740.html.
Copyright © 2010 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
Designed To Fly
by Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.
[EDITORS NOTE: The following article was written by A.P. staff scientist Dr. Fausz, who holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and serves as liaison to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.]
I have a wonderful story to tell youa story that, in some respects, out rivals the Arabian Nights fables.... God in his great mercy has permitted me to be, at least somewhat, instrumental in ushering in and introducing to the great wide world an invention that may outrank the electric cars, the automobiles, and all other methods of travel.... I am now going to tell you something of two...boys.... Their names are Orville and Wilbur Wright, of Dayton, Ohio.... These two, perhaps by accident, or may be as a matter of taste, began studying the flights of birds and insects.... They not only studied nature, but they procured the best books, and I think I may say all the papers, the world contains on this subject.... These boys (they are men now), instead of spending their summer vacation with crowds, and with such crowds as are often questionable, as so many do, went away by themselves to a desert place by the seacoast.... With a gliding machine made of sticks and cloth they learned to glide and soar from the top of a hill to the bottom; and by making not only hundreds but more than a thousand experiments, they became so proficient in guiding these gliding machines that they could sail like a bird, and control its movements up and down as well as sidewise.... When they became experts they brought in, as they had planned to do, a gasoline engine to furnish power, and made a little success with their apparatus before winter set.... At first they went only a few hundred feet; and as the opportunity for practice in guiding and controlling it was only a few seconds at a time, their progress was necessarily very slow.... This work, mind you, was all new. Nobody living could give them any advice. It was like exploring a new and unknown domain.... Other experiments had to be made in turning from right to left; and, to make the matter short, it was my privilege, on the 20th day of September, 1904, to see the first successful trip on an air-ship, without a balloon to sustain it, that the world has ever made, that is, to turn the corners and come back to the starting point.... [T]o me the sight of a machine like the one I have pictured, with its white canvas planes and rudders subject to human control, is one of the grandest and most inspiring sights I have ever seen on earth; and when you see one of these graceful crafts sailing over your head, and possibly over your home, as I expect you will in the near future, see if you dont agree with me that the flying machine is one of Gods most gracious and precious gifts (Root, 1905).
Photograph of the Wright brothers historic first flight at the moment of takeoff
Credit: Library of Congress, LC-W861-35
The sense of wonder expressed by Mr. Amos Ives Root at witnessing success in the Wright brothers struggle to achieve flight may be difficult to fathom. Air travel has become so commonplace in our society, the sight of modern flying machines sailing over our heads and homes catches our attention only for a moment, if at all. Though the first public account of the Wrights achievement was reported only in a humble beekeeping journal and drew little public notice, the invention described here led to nothing less than a revolution in transportation, a complete transformation in military strategy and tactics, and ultimately, the technological impetus to reach not only for the skies, but for the stars. And it all began, as Mr. Root notes, with studying the flights of birds and insects.
The Wright brothers methodical research and testing formally established the discipline of aeronautical engineering, but they were not the first aeronautical engineers. In fact, there were many, three of whom were Sir George Cayley, Otto Lilienthal and Samuel P. Langley. The Englishman Cayley, described as the Father of Aerial Navigation, like the Wrights, experimented with gliders and tested the lift characteristics of airfoils (wing cross-sections). Cayleys airfoil testing apparatus, however, moved the airfoil rotationally which, after a few turns of the mechanism, caused the surrounding air to rotate with it, significantly decreasing the lift and reducing the accuracy of the measurements (Anderson, 1989, pp. 6-12). The Wright brothers used wind tunnels for airfoil testing, which is the preferred testing method even today (though modern wind tunnels generally are much larger).
Otto Lilienthal could be considered the worlds first hang glider expert, due to the way his gliders were configured and operated. Lilienthal, like Cayley, used a rotational device to measure aerodynamic forces on airfoils. He died in 1896 when the glider he was flying hit a gust of wind that pitched the nose of the vehicle upward causing it to stall, or lose lift, and plummet to the ground (Anderson, pp. 17-19). Hearing of this accident, the Wright brothers decided to put the elevator (control surface that regulates vehicle pitch) on the front of their flying machine. The elevator on most modern aircraft is at the rear, just below the vertical tail fin.
Samuel Pierpont Langley was contemporary with the Wright brothers, serving at that time as secretary of the Smithsonian Institute. Langley was one of the first to experiment with powered flight, successfully flying two small, unmanned vehiclesoutfitted with steam enginesthat he called aerodromes. When the Department of War commissioned him to develop a manned air vehicle, he decided to switch to a gasoline engine, which he attached to a larger version of one of his aerodromes. Unfortunately, the two test flights attempted by Langley with his manned aerodrome were miserable failures. The second of these failures occurred on December 8, 1903, just nine days prior to the Wright brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (Anderson, pp. 21-26).
It is notable that all of these pioneers of aviation shared a fascination with the observation and study of flying creatures. Consider the following conversation with Samuel Langley, as recalled by Charles Manly, who piloted Langleys ill-fated experiments:
I here asked Mr. Langley what first attracted his attention to aerial navigation. I cant tell when I was not interested in it, he replied. I used to watch the birds flying when I was a boy and to wonder what kept them up.... It finally occurred to me that there must be something in the condition of the air which the soaring birds instinctively understood, but which we do not (Manly, 1915, Image 62).
In 1900, Wilbur Wright wrote a 17-page letter to Octave Chanute, a prominent mechanical engineer who, like Lilienthal, experimented with hang gliders. In this letter, Wilbur outlined the program of aeronautical research that he and his brother were about to undertake. He began the letter with a discussion of his affinity for flight and flying creatures, as follows:
For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man.... My general ideas of the subject are similar [to] those held by most practical experimenters, to wit: that what is chiefly needed is skill rather than machinery. The flight of the buzzard and similar sailors is a convincing demonstration of the value of skill, and the partial needlessness of motors. It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge & skill. This I conceive to be fortunate, for man, by reason of his greater intellect, can more reasonably hope to equal birds in knowledge, than to equal nature in the perfection of her machinery (Wright, 1900, Image 1, emp. added).
These and numerous other references to bird observations attest to the fact that birds were a dominant source of inspiration for these early aeronautical researchers.
In fact, mankind has observed birds and dreamed of flight throughout recorded history, as evidenced by the ancient Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus. Daedalus is said to have fashioned wings of wax and bird feathers so that he and his son, Icarus, could escape imprisonment on the isle of Crete. The legend says that Icarus, in spite of his fathers warnings, flew too close to the sun, the wax in his wings melted and he perished in the Mediterranean Sea below. While this story is fictional, it certainly reflects the imaginative desire of its author to take to the air as a bird. As John D. Anderson, Jr., stated in his foundational text on the aerodynamics of flight: All early thinking of human flight centered on the imitation of birds (1989, p. 3). Having no flying experience, it is only natural that man, in his desire to fly, would seek to imitate the readily observable creatures who openly display their capability.
And capable they are! Birds are highly specialized both physiologically and instinctively to perform their marvelous feats of flight. Flying birds are uniquely configured for flight in their structure, musculature, profile, metabolism, and instinctive knowledge. Wilbur Wright accurately characterized this in his letter to Chanute when he referred to flying birds as nature in the perfection of her machinerya feature which he said man could not reasonably hope to equal (Wright, 1900, Image 1). It is most interesting to study, as did the pioneers of aviation, the specific qualities of birds that make them wonderfully adept at riding the wind.
Perhaps the most visible feature of bird flight is the motion (i.e., flapping) of the wings. A birds wings move in such a way as to produce both lift and thrust simultaneously. Man has never successfully imitated this capability, either in the manipulation of artificial wings in the manner of the Daedalus myth (though many have tried), or mechanically in the tradition of Leonardo DaVincis ornithopter concepts, prompting Anderson to state that human-powered flight by flapping wings was always doomed to failure (1989, p. 4). Indeed, it was the observation that birds sometimes flew without moving their wings, via gliding and soaring, that ultimately led to the success of heavier-than-air flight, through the realization that fixed wing flight was also a possible design solution.
An eagles long, broad wings are effective for soaring. To help reduce turbulence as air passes over the end of the wing, the tips of the end feathers are tapered so that when the eagle fully extends its wings, the tips are widely separated.
Birds do fly by flapping their wings, however, and the secret lies in the wings two-part structure. The inner part of the wing is more rounded in shape and moves very little, thus providing the majority of the lift. The outer part of the wing, on the other hand, is flatter, has a sharper edge, and executes most of the flapping motion, by which it produces both thrust and some lift. The outer part also serves another important purpose in flight. In his letter to Chanute, Wilbur Wright further stated:
My observation of the flight of buzzards leads one to believe that they regain their lateral stability when partly overturned by a gust of wind, by a torsion of the tips of the wings (1900, Image 4).
That is, birds turn the outer part of their wing to a higher angle relative to the wind to generate more lift on one side, and to a lower angle, reducing the lift, on the other side. This causes the bird to roll, in modern aerodynamic vernacular, in order to restore its lateral balance. Wilbur went on to explain his wing-warping design for accomplishing lateral stability based on this observation of the flight of buzzards. Modern aircraft use ailerons, small hinged surfaces on the back side of the wing and near the tip, to provide this lateral balancing, but the aerodynamic principle is the same. [NOTE: The next time you fly, try to sit just behind the wing and note the ailerons moving up and down frequentlykeeping the aircraft balanced.] It should be no surprise that the muscles of a bird are specially configured, in size and positioning, to perform the motions of flapping and wingtip torsion. Clearly, the wing of a bird is highly specialized in both structure and musculature to provide the lift, thrust, and lateral equilibrium required for flight.
In the early pursuit of human flight, it was a challenge to design a machine that was light enough to fly, but strong enough to survive the flight. All of the Wright brothers aerodynamic research to optimize lift would have meant very little had they been unable to design a structure that weighed less than the lift their wings were able to produce. The Wrights used spruce, a strong, lightweight wood, for the frame of their aircraft and covered the frame with muslin cloth. Had they used significant amounts of metal in their structural design, as in modern aircraft, they would not have succeeded. They also had to design and build their own engine since existing designs did not provide satisfactory power-to-weight ratios. Sufficiently strong, lightweight, structural materials, and an engine that maximized power for minimal weight, were critical factors in the Wright brothers success.
Birds are light enough to fly due in large part to several properties of their body structure, including bones that mostly are hollow, and an impressive covering of feathers. The mostly hollow structure of bird bones provides a light, yet strong, framework for flight. Solid bones, like those possessed by other creatures and humans, would render most birds much too heavy for flight. As evolutionist and noted ornithologist Alan Feduccia stated:
The major bones are hollow and pneumatized [filled substantially with airJF].... [S]uch bones as the lightweight, hollow humerus are exemplary of this structural complexity (1999, p. 5).
Bird beaks also are made of lightweight horn material instead of heavier jaw and teeth structures. Feduccia noted, [I]t is dogma that the avian body is characterized by light weight (p. 3), and points out that even the bird skin is greatly reduced in weight and is paper-thin in most species of flying birds (p. 10). By far however, the most innovative structural feature contributing to the general flightworthiness of birds is the feather.
The phrase light as a feather has to be one of the oldest and most-used clichés in the English language. Yet, light as feathers are, their unique structure makes them sufficiently strong to stand against the aerodynamic forces that a birds wings routinely experience. The central shaft or rachis (Feduccia, 1999, p. 111) of a feather is an amazing structure, incredibly strong and stiff considering its negligible weight. Feather vanes are composed of fluffy strands, called barbs, that protrude from the shaft. Each barb has small hooks that attach to ridges on adjoining barbs. This characteristic allows feathers to maintain their shape to keep airflow around the bird as streamlined as possible. In fact, Feduccia observes that because of their asymmetry, flight feathers have an airfoil cross-section (p. 111), so they must maintain their shape to keep the bird aloft. When these hooks become detached, they have to be carefully aligned to reattach, which is accomplished in remarkable fashion by a birds instinctive preening (Vanhorn, 2004). Without a doubt, the feather is one of the most amazing and highly specialized structures in nature.
Diagram of a feather
Illustrated by Thomas A. Tarpley
© 2004 AP
Cross-section of two barbs showing how their barbules hook together.
KEY: A. Shaft (Rachis); B. Vane; C. Barbs; D. Hooked barbules; E. Ridged barbules.
The magnitude of the Wright brothers accomplishment was due to the fact that it involved powered flight of a heavier-than-air vehicle. They had to design their own engine to obtain a sufficient power-to-weight ratio. Likewise, the musculature of birds, which provides their power for flight, also is specially configured. First, the major flight muscles [comprise] a disproportionate amount of the bodys weight (Feduccia, 1999, p. 3). Feduccia also observed:
The main muscle arising from the keel and responsible for raising the wing for the recovery stroke in modern birds is the large supracoracoideus, and it has unusual features that allow it to perform this function (p. 10).
Feduccia further notes that the birds sternum is keeled, meaning that it has a forward protrusion to accommodate attachment of the extensive flight musculature (p. 10). Indeed, the birds muscles and its skeletal structure are uniquely built for flight.
Birds are not only structurally specialized for flight, however. The almost constant flapping of wings requires a tremendous amount of energy. Significantly, flying birds possess a metabolic rate that is much higher than most other creatures. This allows them to consume high-energy foods and convert that food efficiently enough to supply the large quantity of energy required for flight. Feduccia comments that birds are highly tuned metabolic machines (1999, p. 1). High-energy fuel is not the only requirement for a high metabolism, however. Such high-rate energy conversion also requires significant amounts of oxygen. A birds lungs are unlike those found in any other creature. Birds do not have to breathe out, as do other vertebrates. It is not difficult to see how breathing out would be detrimental to flight; this would be much like the thrust reversal mechanisms used on modern aircraft to slow them down after landing, though on a smaller scale. Instead, the lungs of a bird are configured to allow air to flow through and out the other end, after it has acquired oxygen from the air much more efficiently than the lungs of other animals (Feduccia, p. 388). The oxygen obtained is sent to sacs throughout the birds body, helping to maintain balance and supply the oxygen as directly as possible to the hard-working flight muscles. The metabolic system of the bird is unique in the animal kingdom, and perfectly suited to a flying creature.
The Wright brothers could not have known all of these facts regarding bird metabolism or the specifics of the structural specializations that make birds flightworthy. They were, however, highly impressed with the ability of birds to manipulate their physiology to control their speed and direction of flight, and to perform amazing acrobatic feats in the air. A critical piece of the Wrights success in developing the first practical aircraft is the three-axis control system that they devised. The wing-warping that controlled the roll orientation of their aircraft has already been discussed. The wing-warping, however, also provided steering control of the aircraft, working with the rudder (the Wrights had observed that gliding/soaring birds would generally roll into turns). The steering orientation of an aircraft is known as yaw. Finally, the elevator control surface provided regulation of the pitch (nose up/down) orientation of their aircraft. While it did provide full control of all three of these axes, the Wright design was statically unstable, meaning that if the pilot let go of the controls, even for a very brief period of time, the machine would crash. In contrast, most modern passenger aircraft are designed to be statically stable.
This constant expenditure of control effort was physically exhausting; nonetheless, the Wright brothers became highly skilled pilots as a result of practicing with their machines. This pursuit to control the aerodynamics of their machine is consistent with Wilbur Wrights stated belief that man, by reason of his greater intellect, can more reasonably hope to equal birds in knowledge (Wright, 1900, Image 1, emp. added). Eventually, the fly-by-wire concept was developed whereby computers came to perform many of the flight control functions that the Wrights had to actuate manually. Coupled with statically stable aircraft designs, fly-by-wire made flying much less strenuous for the pilot. Human beings, unlike birds, have the ability to analyze and understand concepts like aerodynamic forces and, in turn, manipulate that understanding to their own benefit.
Though birds certainly do not come close to man in intellect, they are quite masterful in controlling their bodies and wings to achieve remarkable maneuvers in the air. Human beings in aircraft have never duplicated many of the flight maneuvers that birds perform with apparent ease. This fact is illustrated by recent, and ongoing, research studying how birds use vortices (regions of rotating air) that are created at the front (leading) edge of their wings to create lift (Videler, et al., 2004), as well as how they turn sharply at high speed (Muller and Lentink, 2004). Leading edge vortices are used in supersonic aircraft with small, delta-shaped wings to provide additional lift while landing, but Muller and Lentink suggested that the principle can be further exploited to increase significantly the maneuverability of these aircraft.
A V-22 Osprey can rotate its engines to transition from hovering to forward flight and vice versa.
Credit: ©Boeing 2008
How is it, though, that birds know precisely when to flap, twist the tips of their wings, pull their head back to change their center of gravity, fan out their tail feathers, sweep their wings back to manipulate leading edge vortices, glide, soar, preen, etc.? Langley was addressing this very question when he said, It finally occurred to me that there must be something in the condition of the air which the soaring birds instinctively understood, but which we do not (Manly, 1915, Image 62). Birds must instinctively know how to control properly their physiology for flight, because they certainly do not have the reasoning ability of humans that would allow them to hypothesize about the nature of air movement and verify their reasoning experimentally, as did the pioneers of human aviation. Yet in spite of this reality, a bird coming to rest lightly on top of a fence post eclipses everything humans have been able to accomplish in 100+ years of concentrated flight design. Even aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capability like the AV-8 Harrier and the V-22 Osprey cannot pinpoint a landing that accurately. How did birds arrive at this instinctive knowledge?
Evolutionary theories of how bird flight might have evolved fall generally into two groups. The first group involves the so-called ground-up theories. This is the idea that dinosaurian reptiles evolved the ability to fly, after being lucky enough to sprout rudimentary wings, presumably driven by the desire to catch flying insects for food. Feduccia himself does not subscribe to the ground-up theories, but is instead a proponent of the other group, the so-called arboreal theories of bird evolution. These theories suggest that tree-dwelling reptiles (dinosaur ancestors in Feduccias view) learned to fly after first learning to glide, most likely in order to escape predators (see Feduccias chapter titled Genesis of Avian Flight, pp. 93-111). Even the gap between gliding and flying is enormous, however. Sir George Cayley is known to have successfully flown a manned glider as early as 1853, but it would be over 50 years before the first successful powered flight at Kitty Hawk, in spite of the intense efforts of many including, most notably, Samuel Langley.
Suppose for a moment, though, that either theory of bird flight evolution might be true. It is not difficult to imagine that vast multitudes of these creatures would have perished in the early process of learning to use their rudimentary flying equipment, just as many humans, like Otto Lilienthal, have died as mankind has slowly learned the intricacies and hazards of flight. If true that evolving birds had struggled through a similar process, then one would expect to find large numbers of transitional animals, possibly with developing wing structures, prototype feathers, or some other underdeveloped birdlike features in the fossil record. Feduccia admitted the lack of such fossils, and tries to excuse it stating, Most bird bones are hollow and thin walled...and are therefore not easily preserved (p. 1). He went on to suggest:
One could, technically, establish a phylogeny [evolutionary ancestryJF] of birds, or any other group, exclusively of the fossil record, and perhaps have a reasonably good idea of the major lineages using evidence from such diverse areas as anatomy and biochemical and genetic (DNA) comparisons. Yet, even then, problems are legion. Not only is there considerable argument about the methodology that should be employed, but the search for meaningful anatomical features (known as characters) that elucidate relationships is laden with problems because, beneath their feathers, birds tend to look very much alike anatomically (p. 1).
Amazingly adept fliers, birds provide mankind with the inspiration and impetus to pursue the ability to fly.
In other words, birds look like birds, and the fossil evidence suggests that they always have. This dilemma is particularly troubling for evolutionists when it comes to feathers, where according to Feduccia, Feathers are unique to birds, and no known structure intermediate between scales and feathers has been identified. Nevertheless, it has generally been accepted that feathers are directly derived from reptilian scales... (p. 113). Even the feathers of the urvogel (literally, first bird), known as Archaeopteryx, are said to have a pattern essentially that of modern birds (p. 111).
Speaking of the urvogel, Feduccia at one point stated, The Archaeopteryx fossil is, in fact, the most superb example of a specimen perfectly intermediate between two higher groups of living organisms (p. 1, emp. added). Ironically, however, he later came very close to contradicting himself when he counters the ground-up theories of flight origin by observing that most recent studies have shown Archaeopteryx to be much more birdlike than previously thought (p. 103). [NOTE: For a refutation of the evolutionists erroneous claims regarding Archaeopteryx as a missing link, see Harrub and Thompson, 2001, 21:25-31.] So, how does evolution explain the lack of fossil evidence for the evolution of birds? Feduccia explained, All these known facts point to a dramatic, explosive post-Cretaceous adaptive radiation (p. 404). In other words, it happened very fast in evolutionary terms (as little as five million years according to Feduccia)supposedly too fast to leave behind any transitional fossils. Five million years is a very long time for the total absence of a transitional fossil record (all of human history could unfold more than 830 times in five million years). How convenient for evolutionists to assert that evolution occurred quickly during those periods that lack transitional fossils. Their theory depends on missing linksyet these links are still missing. As if explaining the evolution of bird flight was not difficult enough, though, evolutionists still need to explain the evolution of flight in insects, pterosaurs, and bats as wellalso with no transitional fossil evidence.
It is unanimously acknowledged that the Wright brothers designed and built the first practical heavier-than-air flying machine. The contributions of Cayley, Lilienthal, Langley, and others leading to that event, are also readily recognized. However, many, like Feduccia, observe birds just as these aviation pioneers once did, but see it as the end result of millions of years of accidental, unlikely random mutations refined by a process of natural selection. Considering the complexity and multiplicity of specializations required to give flying birds their ability, this viewpoint is very difficult to swallow (pardon the pun). The structure of a birds feather, alone, is sufficient evidence of irreducible complexity (Vanhorn, 2004), but taking all of the birds specializations into account, the irreducible complexity becomes absolutely overwhelming. Even if we suppose that some animal could obtain nature in the perfection of her machinery by accident (an accident of miraculous proportions to be sure), how would it survive long enough to learn to use that machinery? Further, assuming it was fortunate enough to develop the physical attributes of flight and managed to learn how to use them, how could it pass that knowledge to future generations of avians without intellectual understanding? It took man, with his far superior intellect, around 6,000 years to make the first halting leaps in flight, and he has not even come close to equaling, much less surpassing, a simple birds mastery of the skies. No, the evolutionary explanation is quite inadequate and unscientific.
In the Old Testament, God asked Job: Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars, stretching his wings toward the south? (Job 39:26). Clearly, Gods question is rhetorical and assumes that Job would have had ample opportunity to observe birds in flight and marvel at their ability. Job may never have dreamed that man would one day share the skies with birds, so he most assuredly acknowledged that the flight of the hawk was well beyond his own understanding. All of our achievements in flight, however, have only served to underscore the meaning behind Gods question to Job. In spite of all we have accomplished in flight design, we still do not fully understand how birds, insects, and bats do what they do. We do understand, however, that they did not design themselves, we certainly did not make birds capable of flight, nor did we teach them how to fly. In fact, we must humbly admit that they taught us.
Notice that even evolutionists like Feduccia cannot avoid using words like optimized, fine tuned, invented, and designed when speaking of birds and flight. For example, Feduccia called the feather a near perfect aerodynamic design (p. 130, emp. added), and attributes to them an almost magical structural complexity (p. 132, emp. added). He further stated that the shape and size of wings have been optimized to minimize the energy required to fly (p. 16, emp. added), and that a birds metabolic system is fine tuned (p. 1, emp. added). And he asserted, In order for flight to be possible, flight architecture was invented early on (p. 1, emp. added). Feduccia also suggested:
Flight is, in a morphological sense, the biomechanically and physiologically most restrictive vertebrate locomotor adaptation permitting little latitude for new designs.... As an analogy, an engineer can construct a terrestrial vehicle in diverse configurations, but there is really only one basic design for a fixed-wing aircraft (p. 3, emp. added).
He meant for this suggestion to explain why there is little divergence, or differences in characteristics, among bird species. But he unwittingly made the point, instead, that this lack of divergence points most naturally to design. Since flight is such a restrictive adaptation, random processes, which depend by definition on probabilities, are much more likely to select away from the ability, regardless of the benefit it might hold for the animal. Thus, evolution is simply at a loss to explain the abundance, diversity, and very existence of the flying creatures that we observe. Furthermore, optimization, invention, design, and fine-tuning are not processes that occur naturally, randomly, or by accident. They occur only through focused application of intellectual ability.
Likewise, the accomplishment of December 17, 1903 was no accident. The Wright brothers could not have designed their flying machine carelessly, much less randomly, and their airplane would not have flown as it did in the absence of their skillful piloting. They did not develop piloting skills naturally or by chance, either, but through arduous, disciplined experimentation and practice. Neither could the specializations and instincts that allow birds to navigate the skies have happened by accident. No, the hawk does not fly by our understanding. Instead, the hawk, sparrow, owl, thrush, swallow, etc., fly by instinct, possessing an inherent fly by wire control computer designed by One whose capability far exceeds that of Orville and Wilbur Wright, Samuel Langley, Otto Lilienthal, George Cayley, or any other human being. The Wright flyer required strenuous exertion by the pilot to be able to fly, but God designed His flying machines, not only to have the capability of flight, but also to know inherently how to use it to incredibly impressive effectiveness.
It has been said, If God had wanted man to fly, He would have given him wings. Actually, He did. God, the Master Designer, both created the wondrous flying creatures that we observe, and gave His crowning design, man, the ability to observe, reason, and imitate. Thus, He provided both the inspiration and the means for man to achieve everything he has accomplished in his brief history of flight. So, with regard to either birds or the airplanes we see passing over our heads and homes, as Amos Ives Root observed so long ago, the flying machine is one of Gods most gracious and precious gifts (1905).
Anderson, Jr., John D. (1989), Introduction to Flight (New York: McGraw-Hill), third edition.
Feduccia, Alan (1999), The Origin and Evolution of Birds (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press), second edition.
Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2001), Archaeopteryx, Archaeoraptor, and the Dinosaurs-To-Birds Theory[Part I], Reason & Revelation, 21:25-31, April.
Hedrick, Tyson L., James R. Usherwood, and Andrew A. Biewener (2004), Wing Inertia and Whole Body Acceleration: An Analysis of Instantaneous Aerodynamic Force Production in Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) Flying across a Range of Speeds, The Journal of Experimental Biology, 207:1689-1702.
Manly, Charles M. (1915), Legal CasesWright Co. v. Curtiss Aeroplane Co.Affidavits: Manly, Charles M., The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers, January 19, Library of Congress, [On-line], URL: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mwright&fileName=04 /04109/mwright04109.db&recNum=61&itemLink=r?ammem/wright:@ field(DOCID+@lit(wright002721)).
Muller, U.K., and D. Lentink (2004), Turning on a Dime, Science, 306:1899, December 10.
Root, Amos Ives (1905), First Published Account of the Wright Brothers Flight, Gleanings in Bee Culture (Medina, OH: A.I. Root Company), [On-line], URL: http://www.rootcandles.com/about/wrightbrothers.cfm.
Vanhorn, Matthew (2004), Words of a Feather, Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2610.
Videler, J. J., et al., (2004), Leading-Edge Vortex Lifts Swifts, Science, 306:1960-1962, December 10.
Wright, Wilbur (1900), Octave Chanute Papers: Special Correspondence, The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers, May 13, Library of Congress, [On-line], URL: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mwright&fileName=06/ 06001/mwright06001.db&recNum=0&itemLink=r?ammem/wright:@field( DOCID+@lit(wright002804)).
Copyright © 2008 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
"Frankly, there's a lot of museum politics involved in this, a lot of careers committed to a particular point of view even if new scientific evidence raises questions," Ruben said. In some museum displays, he said, the birds-descended-from-dinosaurs evolutionary theory has been portrayed as a largely accepted fact, with an asterisk pointing out in small type that "some scientists disagree."
Well, a big fat duuuuuuuh! Tweety Bird could have told him that.
Eventually a “sport” or mutation occurred in some reptile - probably a small raptor like creature - which had the design of a primitive feather. The primitive feather originated in a mutation which gave the primitive reptile a selective advantage over his peers in acquiring a mate - flashier than colored belly patches in a mating ritual. Those reptiles with better developed feathering were more successful in breeding than those that lacked them, so those who had the genetic background that produced the most feathers had the most offspring. Maybe over time the feathers conferred another selective advantage in retaining body heat. So there were suddently two factors that provided a reproductive advantage for better feathering. As time moved forward, those reptiles with feathering on their limbs could glide and this provided an advantage in escaping predators or securing prey.
Something like that happened.
NOTHING involved any “thinking” on the part of the reptile - it was just an environmental advantage that benefitted those creatures with that specific genetic make-up in the first place.
The only “intelligence” involved was that of the Creator who fashioned the biological, physical, chemical and physiological rules which allowed this to occur, and, perhaps, even directed that evolution.
I believe in Evolution, but I believe a Divine Intelligence guided that evolution, directly, indirectly or both.
Darwin wrote that if a smooth transition of fossils was found, his theory would be wrong.
NOTE: There is no smooth transition of fossils.
In fact, it is so lacking, there is a whole theory created to explain why there are not any. It’s called “punctuated equilibrium theory” in evolution.
Anybody that knows the fossil record and believes in macro evolution does so in SPITE of the evidence.
The big problem, of course, is evolutionists have no idea how their “creator” created itself. They just know it happened. The creation of a single usable protein via random processes has been likened to a solar system full of blind men all simultaneously solving the Rubik’s Cube. The most “simple” cell requires dozens of such proteins, and that’s not counting the cell membrane, protoplasm, organelles and the most complex code in the universe: DNA.
The above is a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, as is the increased complexity of life they claim must’ve happened. Observed mutation, reality, in other words, without exception, results in decreased complexity.
Micro evolution? No problem. Macro evolution? No evidence.
Only your confused version of the Second Law.
A scientist admitting they made a mistake is the worst, because it screws up all the complaining about “settled science”. Burning is too good for him.
Good for you. I’ve gone through the closed system fallacy ( the earth isn’t closed, we get energy from the sun, etc.) and it bounces off. An argument against blind faith is hopeless. My question is, “If all science is a fraud, why use “science” to disprove science?” Well, one reason is that there is money in creation textbooks, web sites, museums and the like.
Another ICR fraud, you mean. Somehow Lyin' Brian always manages to leave out some key information that would undermine his point. Feduccia has long argued that birds didn't evolve from dinosaurs, but that doesn't mean he thinks there's no evolutionary connection. On the contrary, he thinks that both birds and dinosaurs evolved from still older ancestral forms. Let's read the Science Daily article about the findings, shall we?
Czerkas and Feduccia...believe that dinosaurs are not the primitive ancestors of birds. The Scansoriopteryx should rather be seen as an early bird whose ancestors are to be found among tree-climbing archosaurs that lived in a time well before dinosaurs.Archosaurs were also the ancestors of dinosaurs, so dinosaurs would be cousins to birds rather than their ancestors. The suggestion, as Brian puts it, that "birds were birds and dinosaurs were dinosaurs from the moments of their creation" is just not supported by this work. But he won't tell you that.
As for the evolution of flight, again from the Science Daily article: "Their findings validate predictions first made in the early 1900's that the ancestors of birds were small, tree-dwelling archosaurs which enhanced their incipient ability to fly with feathers that enabled them to at least glide." So it's not a matter of four-legged creatures sprouting wings, it's a matter of animals that already jumped from tree to tree finding a better way to do it.
This is all aside from the question of whether Feduccia is right about the evolutionary paths of birds and dinosaurs. I think most researchers still disagree with him.