Dinosaurs and Birds

7 Mar 2019

This post was sent in by Robert and must come under evolution rather than geology as it is speculative and from a Creationist attempt at rationalisation of recent claims that birds are directly descended from one branch of the dinosaurs. Go to https://crev.info/2019/03/why-is-china-the-leader-in-feathered-dinosaur-... ... and ignore the slant of the article which seeks to identify the Biblical flood with the demise of various life forms - including the dinosaurs. Are dinosaurs really the evolutionary predecessors of birds?

Evolution seems to be a fact of life but it may have proceeded in fits and starts rather than a continuous step change from one animal to the next. Taking into account catastrophism (and an asteroid strike is a catastrophe) one can see that modern dolphins have managed to fill a niche formerly occupied by ichthyosaurs in Cretaceous and Jurassic waters. Hence, when animals within a niche system are decimated they will be replaced by another animal (evolving after catastrophe and seeking out a niche situation in order to thrive and prosper). The author at the link is only referring to Darwinian evolution and has studiously ignored its more recent nuances and updates. Secondly, the Chinese have more scientists than any other country in the world. This is as a result of a deliberate policy by the government of China with the intention they will become world leaders in numerous scientific subjects - and dinosaur research is all part of that process. A few scientists at museums in the UK can hardly compete with the sheer numbers of scientists the educational system is pouring forth in China. Whether those same scientists will be able to step out on a limb, like western scientists, is another thing, or will they have to conform to a consensus opinion. We don't know how that will pan out but the Chinese are also blessed with some rich dinosaur geology - lots of fossils embedded in rocks. This is somewhat like the later Ice Age remains that exist in huge quantities in Chinese loess formations. China is a big country.

It is a fact that dinosaurs unearthed in China are seen as falling at the interchange between dinosaurs and birds - but is the transition in the mind of scientists rather than in the fossils. With that thought in mind this is a useful article to read as it challanges orthodox thinking (and we have all been awash with the new discoveries, even if only as parents of children fascinated with these beasts). Do birds directly evolve from dinosaurs. Well, the answer is that without the asteroid strike it may not have happened. As it is the asteroid strike did occur and birds were able to evolve. The author claims only birds have feathers and all extent animals with feathers were birds (including in the Jurassic and Cretaceous). As ichthyosaurs were reptiles and dolphins are mammals one can see different animal species can fill similar niche situations - so should we be a bit sceptical of some of the claims made by palaeontologists. It's never a bad idea to be sceptical - of any claim. However, the author goes on to spoil it all by claiming, as if it is a fact, that the Biblical flood played a role. He is right in his description of the dinosaur landscape that has been unearthed in China, buried under sediments. It includes not just a lot of different fossils but flowering plants, mosses, spiders, insects of all kinds, snails, clams, algae and various other things such as ferns, pine trees, cypress trees and gingko trees. The fossils themselves are embedded in stone.

The downside is that dinosaur fossils have become part of the great Chinese industrial endeavour - and workshops exist that fabricate fossilised dinosaurs (in the same mode as workshops churn out lots of plastic products which are sold on to the rest of the world). Have fossil dinosaurs become the subject of the great gold rush where individual Chinese seek to better themselves in all kinds of production methods - and are somewhat creative in the way they put these bones together. Is the link between birds and dinosaurs the result of Chinese peasants spotting a niche in the market - selling palaeontologists fake fossil constructs. It is alll very clever and it is well known that fake or touched up fossils are sold in the various bazaars in North Africa. In other words, the Chinese have not necessarily set a precedent as they are not the first to do this - and it may very well be quite easy to fake various geological and archaeological artifacts. If western scientists realised somewhat later they had been duped would they broadcast their gullibility? One might wonder as they say. However, the majority of fossils are dug out by palaeontologists rather than peasants with an eye for a quick buck or two. The science is coming from actual excavations - but the hype could be fueled by fakes.