The Great Dinosaur Mystery Solved Part 7

Alan Feduccia

Paleontologist Alan Feduccia objects to the notion of birds being descendants of dinosaurs and continues to stick with the orthodox view of birds being descendants of a certain common ancestral reptile even in the face of growing evidence of birds being direct descendants of maniraptorian dinosaurs like Velociraptor. Leave it to the creationists like Ham to take advantage of Feduccia’s denial and misrepresent him and his writings by misquoting him and use everything they muster like argument-from-authority and Red Herrings to promote a unmerited case against the fact that birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs, Thankfully these paleontologists are all among a very small minority, but creationists are making them as if they are of the leading authority, while if fact they’re not.

Appeal To Authority

From page 75 through page 77, Ham attempts to refute the notion of birds being dinosaurs by making appeals to authority and outdated claims, such as for example Ham claiming that it was John Ostrom (1928-2005), who begin to popularized the idea of dinosaurs evolving into birds. False. Actually, it was really Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s “bulldog,” who has brought on the idea of birds being dinosaurs first. It was rejected for decades until the 1960’s when Ostrom brought up the idea of birds being dinosaurs while he was studying fossil remains of Deinonychus, an early Cretaceous dromaeosaurid that was first discovered in 1964 and found features on him that bears a striking resemblance to modern birds including a Saurischian hip that looks more Ornithschian than Saurischian. Note Ham’s misquoting Feduccia by taking this quote out of context from an issue of Audubon Magazine,

“It’s just a fantasy of theirs, They just want to see living dinosaurs that now they think they can study them vicariously at the backyard bird feeder.”

Here’s what Feduccia says in full context with the correct words in bold,

“It’s just a fantasy of theirs,” says Alan Feduccia, an ornithologist from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a leading critic of the paleontologists. “They so much want to see living dinosaurs that now they think they can them vicariously at the backyard bird feeder.”

When the quote is put in full complete context, we find that Feduccia is actually scoffing openly at those who, through the discovery of Sinosauropteryx, is highly convinced that birds are indeed living dinosaurs. Feduccia is mistaken, though.

And yet, Ham took advantage of this and rip the quote out of context from page 38 of an outdated Audubon Magazine entitled The Origins of Birds: The Dinosaur Debate and used it to throw people off of the real truth behind the quote which is part of a debate between evolutionists over how the evolution of birds is processed. Ham feebly uses all sorts of distortions, misrepresentations and empty arguments against the feathered dinosaur fact, while showing disregard for the other side who favors the dinosaur-bird concept to be factual due to strong evidence pointing to it. While doing this, Ham deceives the reader into thinking that the feathered dinosaurs mentioned in this chapter are all fakes while in fact they are all real and valid.

First off Ham fabricates the discovery of Mononykus, the so-called “birdosaur” in 1993 that is really an Alverezsaurid, dinosaurs with 2 small stumpy arms with a small claw on each of them, claiming that scientists have reached the conclusion saying the dinosaur is really nothing more than a mole. Moles don’t have such puny arms and very long legs like Mononykus has. The claim, also being made in an issue of Creation Ex nihilio magazine, is nothing more than a direct fabrication of this article.

Sinosauropteryx

Secondly, Ham tries to discredit the notion of Sinosauropteryx having hair-like feathers on its back by fabricating a story about how 4 scientists (”the dream team.”) traveled to China to see the actual fossils of Sinosauropteryx. Despite what Ham claimed out of context, scientists have found that the feathers of the dinosaur were not feathers of modern types. Rather, they are actually prototype that looked very hair-like that are similar to that of the kiwi, a small flightless bird with hair like feathers covering all over its body. Although not part of the group, Alan Feduccia wrongfully concludes the hair like feathers on the dinosaur to be skin fibers a lot like the frill of an iguana. Thankfully, those who study the fossil never bought into the iguana skin claim because they found that the hair like feathers of the dinosaur covered all over its entire body, not just its back, and now it is known to have melanosomes (features found inside bird feathers containing pigments that provide birds and feathered dinosaurs, too with various types of color) within its feathers that gives this special dinosaur brilliant display of colors. The newspaper, where Ham got the distorted claim shown on page 76 from, came from a very brief rash article found in the 1997 issue of The New Scientist. He jumped to conclusions about what the scientists have found when they observed the fossils of Sinosauropteryx for the first time. Jeff Poling, webmaster of the dinosauria.com website wrote an article that clarifies what the article really said about the fossils and the conclusions made by the scientists who observed the fossils and found hair-like protofeathers on them.

Unenlagia

Thirdly, Ham then claims there was a report made of a discovery in South America of a dinosaur that’s more bird-like than any other dinosaur, which of course is Unenlagia, a dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous Period 90 million years ago in what is now South America. This claim about the dinosaur is true. It is much more bird-like than before and has the capabilities to flap his arms the same way a bird, like an ostrich flaps its wings. However, Ham here is trying to discredit the findings by falsely branding the dinosaur as just “a reptile” that’s known from “20 bone fragments” which is all an absolute lie.

Red Herring

Now, he gives out a Red Herring argument (an argument that attempt to throw people off the real factual trail), claiming that since birds are warm blooded, evolutionists would like to see dinosaurs as warm-blooded to support their theory. They’ve already seen it, Ham! For instance, when they observed dinosaur bones through a microscope, they found that dinosaurs have scores of hollow canals inside of them called haversian, which are similar to birds and mammals. This indicates that the dinosaurs must have been much more energetic and grew much more faster than previously thought. However, Ham, in his absolute denial, quote mines an article made up by Bill Stieg, who wrote a March, 1997 article from The Philadelphia Inquirer entitled “Did Birds Evolved From Dinosaurs?” (The article is actually entitled “Bones of Contention”). In it, Larry Martin, another critic of the birds as dinosaurs idea, is claimed to have said,

“Recent studies of the bones structure, when viewed under a microscope, of the dinosaurs showing they were the characteristics of cold-blooded animals. So were back to cold-blooded dinosaurs.”

This quote when put into full text actually reads,

“Martin didn’t see anything to change his opinion that this was no warm-blooded bird relative [Sinosauropteryx]. ‘Recent research has shown the microscopic structure of dinosaur bones was “characteristic of cold-blooded animals,” Martin said. “So we’re back to cold-blooded dinosaurs.’”

In full context, he was expressing his disbelief that these hair like structures were actually bird feathers in contrast to others who greatly favored the fossil to have imprints of hair like feathers growing on its body. Instead, Martin thought that the structures on the back of Sinosauropteryx were that of skin fibers resembling the skin fibers of an iguana. (Just as mentioned above.) This article is written when the discovery of the fossil is all brand new just before the notice of the so-called ’skin fibers’ that are actually hair-like feathers dotting all over the body of the fossil thus refuting the claims made up by Martin that the hair like fossil are just skin fibers.

To read the full article in full context click here.

To this out of context quote, Ham whines,

“Sadly, the secular media have become so blatant in their anti-Christian stand and pro-evolutionary propaganda that they are bold enough to make such [sic] ridiculous statements as, “Parrots and hummingbirds are also dinosaurs.”

No more ridiculous than such funny ha-ha statements as “Maybe one of the reasons dinosaurs are extinct is that we did not start our endangered species programs early enough” crap. In Ham’s delusional eyes, the supposed secular media’s “anti-Christian stand and pro-evolutionary propaganda” is anything that rejects Ham’s stupid lies regardless of Christian and/or secular background. To Ham, in a format no different than the Judizers of the days of the Apostle Paul, in order to become a true Christian, one must comply with Ham’s view Christianity and origins or else burn in Hell. Christianity does not work that way.

Young earth creationism is anti-Christian. They never really observed God’s Creation all the way down to the finest detail because of what God reveals through His creation greatly contradicts their dogma and says to them that they are totally wrong. They are afraid of the truth. They do not want to be told they’re wrong because of their selfish pride and arrogance, and yet turn around and boldly tell anyone who oppose their views that they’re wrong out of selfish pride. They just don’t want to have anything to do with everything that contradicts their self-centered dogma, even if God was there to show them all of the valid evidence for evolution, old earth, and against their views and prove to them that Darwin was right all along, front and center.

Finger origin

Next, Ham fabricates the claim about embryonic origins of the fingers of dinosaurs and birds where he claims that the fourth and fifth digits of the dinosaur embryo’s hand is lost while the first, second, and third digit fingers remain while the first and fifth digits of the bird embryo’s fingers gets lost leaving the second, third, and fourth fingers behind. This claim, he thinks, is showing that birds could not (in large capital letters) evolved from dinosaurs. It doesn’t.

Dinosaur Lung

Ham then fabricates the study of the lung areas of the feathered dinosaurs made by Feduccia and other like him, who asserts that the dinosaur must have been inhaling cold air and exhaling warm air with lungs that are very similar to a normal reptile’s heart. This is false. The result of an observation of a photograph taken of one of the fossil specimens and the fact that the fossils, especially the one shown in the photograph, were all crushed and badly damaged during fossilization to the point where it is difficult for scientists to interpret them correctly under the best circumstances just as explained here.

Here’s an article on PZ Myers’ Pharyngula blog that addresses about how dinosaur lungs and bird lungs are quite similar to each other.

Protofeathers

Finally, there is a claim made about the protofeathers on the dinosaurs being assumed to be alleged fibered skin similar to a sea snake fin. This is made up by another dinobird-critic named John Ruben of the Oregon State University, who also made conclusions about the fossils based on the photographs along and tried to demonstrate the dino feathers = snake skin claim by dissecting a tail of a sea snake. Thankfully, a great majority of those, who are highly familiar with the feathered dinosaur fossils, is NOT buying into this far-fetched sea snake skin claim. There is a sci.bio.paleontology Google group that has a thread here that contains an article by Ralph W. Miller III about the time he went to see presentations of Ruben, who demonstrated the sea snake fallacy just by teasing the skin fibers a bit to make it look more hairy than scaly. Philip J. Currie was also there disproving the sea snake fallacy as well. When Ruben was dissecting the bodies of a sea snake and a monitor lizards, he teased the skin a bit to look more like the hair like feathers of the dinosaur than what it really is. Here is what he said about his visit.

“I attended presentations by Ruben et al. on the collagen fiber hypothesis for the structures associated in situ with the Sinosauropteryx prima specimens, as well as talks by Philip J. Currie which disproved the hypothesis at both the SVP meeting in Chicago, 1997, and the Scientific Symposium at Dinofest in Philadelphia in April of 1998. Ruben et al. dissected a sea snake and a monitor lizard, stripped the bulk of the rope-like collagen frill supports of the dissected bodies, and teased the few remaining strands up away from the spine. They did not demonstrate that this procedure compares to natural processes of bioactivity or erosion on the internal collagen fiber bundles of dead reptiles, nor did they show that any fossil animal which should have sported a fin-like frill for swimming ever has been shown to preserve features comparable to the Sinosauropteryx filaments. Furthermore, their assertion that Sinosauropteryx was adapted to a swimming lifestyle is not supported by the theropod’s body plan. Most animals can swim, but this animal was not modified to optimize swimming, and it would not have benefited from a dorsal fin extending from its brow to the tip of its tail anyway, as much of the body would float above the water, and the body lacks the capability to produce full body sinuous serpentine movement as snakes, crocodilians, and lizards do. Not only that, but Currie pointed out that the fibers are not restricted to the midline of the body, but are ubiquitous, with fibers evident on the arms, legs, ribs, and back. One specimen held the remains of a lizard within, and the other has a mammal jaw inside its gut. There is no evidence that these animals ate fish or other marine creatures. The Bavarian specimen of the closely related Compsognathus longipes, which is anatomically quite similar to Sinosauropteryx, was preserved in the sediments of a lagoon, but the lagoon was an anoxic death trap which would not support marine life. Compsognathus was found with a lizard in its gut, too, by the name of Bavarisaurus. There is no reason to believe that compsognathids had aquatic lifestyles. I urge the curious among you to view the photograph of the teased collagen fibers in the _Science_ article, “Plucking the Feathered Dinosaur,” by Ann Gibbons, from _Science_, Volume 278, Number 5341, 14 November 1997, pp. 1229-1230. Compare these fibers to the actual fossil filaments on _Sinosauropteryx_ in the July 1998 National Geographic, at the top of page 83. As Currie and his fellow paleontologists describe them, the preserved filaments appear to be hollow, relatively coarse, curving gently, piling up atop one another, and crisscrossing over each other. They may also have a branching aspect to them, something like the down feather of a bird, but this cannot be verified at this time. I do not believe that the two images compare….. Also, bear in mind that Currie studied three specimens in person in some detail, whereas Ruben et al. were working from photographs alone.”

Without doubt, the sea snake skin fallacy Ham and other YECs promotes is nothing more another form of senseless red herring they use to curtail their followers from reality concept of feathered dinosaurs. To know more about feathered dinosaurs especially Sinosauropteryx, simply click here.

Denial of Evidence

In the end Ham, in his absolute denial and ignorance, blatantly lies to the reader, concluding that there’s no evidence for dinosaurs evolving into birds. Dinosaurs have always been dinosaurs and birds have always been birds just as long as they’re all clones, carbon copies of one another instead of what the valid evidence is telling us all along about dinosaurs having always been birds in one form or another.