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There are gaps between reptiles and birds (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (There are gaps between reptiles and birds (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CC214:

There are no transitional fossils between reptiles and birds.

Source:

  • Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985. Life--How Did It Get Here? Brooklyn, NY, 75.


CreationWiki response:

Note: Talk.Origins has used the worst possible source.


Talk.Origins' bias is quite evident by what they omit. First of all they omit any reference to dates, probably because it blows their entire bird evolution scheme out of the water. The dates of the fossils in question show no evidence of a trend; more modern types coexisted with less modern ones, thus there is no objective order to these fossils. Furthermore, they omitted the bird Protoavis which has been "dated" to 225 Million years which totally blows this dinosaur - bird sequence to pieces. It is only possible to get an evolutionary sequence out of this if one assumes evolution.

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

Notes:

  • The quotes below from Talk.Origins omit numerous references that were interspersed through the text.
  • Dates shown herein are evolutionary dates, and not accepted by CreationWiki.

1. Many new bird fossils have been discovered in the last couple of decades, revealing several intermediates between theropod dinosaurs (such as Allosaurus) and modern birds:

Yes, evolutionists have produced several fossils they claim as "intermediates between theropod dinosaurs...and modern birds" but most of these fossils come from China, and thanks to Archaeoraptor it is known that China has an active fake fossil industry. This fact is enough to put all such fossils in doubt until proved otherwise.

Talk.Origins gives no basis for the claim that Allosaurus is in any way transitional between theropod dinosaurs and birds. No data or reference is given to support it, and as such it totally unsubstantiated.

  • Sinosauropteryx prima. A dinosaur covered with primitive feathers, but structurally similar to unfeathered dinosaurs Ornitholestes and Compsognathus .

Sinosauropteryx, dated at 120–140 millions years, was a dinosaur. That the "feathers" are not unambiguously such is clear from the fact that they were called frayed collagen fibers by evolutionist Feduccia. Other evolutionists claim that this is "without merit" probably because they prefer to see Sinosauropteryx as transitional. This shows that evolutionists don't agree that Sinosauropteryx is transitional.

  • Ornithomimosaurs, therizinosaurs, and oviraptorosaurs. The oviraptorosaur Caudipteryx had a body covering of tufted feathers and had feathers with a central rachis on its wings and tail.

Dated at 120 -136 millions of years, Caudipteryx was a flightless bird.

Feathers are also known from the therizinosaur Beipiaosaurus. Several other birdlike characters appear in these dinosaurs, including unserrated teeth, highly pneumatized skulls and vertebrae, and elongated wings.

Dated to 125 million years, Beipiaosaurus seems to have been a flightless bird, complete with downy feathers. The downy feathers fibers were similar enough to Sinosauropteryx's frayed collagen fibers to see how they could be confused.

Oviraptorids also had birdlike eggs and brooding habits.

Dated to about 144 million years, Oviraptorid's birdlike shell of its eggs is a single mosaic trait and one that evolutionists date as after birds already existed. Once again it simply shows that God did not limit his creativity to our modern classification system. The brooding habits are based on the assumption that finding oviraptorid fossils over their eggs was a result of normal behavior. Given the fact that such nests were probably buried by a disaster—probably the Genesis Flood—it is likely that the mother Oviraptorids were just trying to protect them from destruction; it may not represent normal behavior.

  • Deinonychosaurs (troodontids and dromaeosaurs). These are the closest known dinosaurs to birds.

All troodontids have brains about the size of living flightless birds but large for dinosaurs, suggesting that troodontids are birds rather than dinosaurs.

Dated at 130 million years, dromaeosaurs were found in China, and did have feathers. More recent fossils have shown definite evidence of flight feathers. The available evidence not only shows that dromaeosaurs had flight feathers but that they could actually fly. It now appears that dromaeosaurs were indeed birds. Furthermore, it can be shown that dromaeosaurs were probably a variety of Archaeopteryx.

Sinovenator, the most primitive troodontid, is especially similar to Archaeopteryx.

Dated at about 144 million years, Sinovenator seems to be a variety of Archaeopteryx.

Byronosaurus, another troodontid, had teeth nearly identical to primitive birds.

Dated at 70–76 million years, Byronosaurus is known only from two skulls and seems to be a variety of Archaeopteryx.

Microraptor, the most primitive dromaeosaur, is also the most birdlike; specimens have been found with undisputed feathers on their wings, legs, and tail.

Dated to 125.5–130 million years, Microraptor is clearly a bird.

Sinornithosaurus also was covered with a variety of feathers and had a skull more birdlike than later dromaeosaurs.

Dated at about 125 million years, Sinornithosaurus seems be a flightless bird.

  • Protarchaeopteryx, alvarezsaurids, Yixianosaurus and Avimimus. These are birdlike dinosaurs of uncertain placement, each potentially closer to birds than deinonychosaurs are.

Which would be consistent with these being birds as well.

Protarchaeopteryx has tail feathers, uncompressed teeth, and an elongated manus (hand/wing).

Dated at 120-150 millions years, protoarchaeopteryx was a flightless bird.

Yixianosaurus has an indistinctly preserved feathery covering and hand/wing proportions close to birds.

Dated at 125 million years, Yixianosaurus seems to be a bird known only from a pair of wings.

Alvarezsaurids and Avimimus have other birdlike features.

Dated to about 70 million years, Alvarezsaurids seem to have been flightless birds.

Dated to about 70 million years, Avimimuss seems to have been a flightless bird.

  • Archaeopteryx. This famous fossil is defined to be a bird, but it is actually less birdlike in some ways than some genera mentioned above.

Dated at 140-150 Million years, Archaeopteryx is older than all other genera on this list, not just the more birdlike ones. All this shows is those genera mentioned above that are more birdlike than Archaeopteryx are also birds.

  • Shenzhouraptor, Rahonavis, Yandangornis and Jixiangornis. All of these birds were slightly more advanced than Archaeopteryx, especially in characters of the vertebrae, sternum, and wing bones.

Whilst they may have had some characteristics that are more birdlike than Archaeopteryx, they also had some that are less birdlike than Archaeopteryx, such as tail length and foot structure. So it depends on which characteristics one looks at as to whether these types are more or less birdlike than Archaeopteryx.

  • Sapeornis, Omnivoropteryx, and confuciusornithids (e.g., Confuciusornis and Changchengornis). These were the first birds to possess large pygostyles (bone formed from fused tail vertebrae). Other new birdlike characters include seven sacral vertebrae, a sternum with a keel (some species), and a reversed hallux (hind toe).

These are roughly contemporary with 'Shenzhouraptor, Rahonavis, Yandangornis, Jixiangornis and even Archaeopteryx, thus there is no objective order here.

  • Enantiornithines, including at least nineteen species of primitive birds, such as Sinornis, Gobipteryx, and Protopteryx. Several birdlike features appeared in enantiornithines, including twelve or fewer dorsal vertebrae, a narrow V-shaped furcula (wishbone), and reduction in wing digit bones.

One study "dates" enantiornithines to as early as 176 million years, which would make them older than Archaeopteryx. Due to this most paleornithologists do not accept this study but it shows that the evidence is there.

  • Patagopteryx, Apsaravis, and yanornithids. More birdlike features appeared in this group, including changes to vertebrae and development of the sternal keel.
  • Patagopteryx is dated at about 70 million years. It was a flightless bird.
  • Apsaravis is dated at about 70 million years.
  • No information on yanornithids could be found, not even a date.
  • Hesperornis, Ichthyornis, Gansus, and Limenavis. These birds are almost as advanced as modern species. New features included the loss of most teeth and changes to leg bones.
  • Hesperornis is dated to as early as about 140 million years.
  • Ichthyornis is dated at about 70 million years.
  • Gansus is dated to as early as about 140 million years.
  • Limenavis is dated at about 70 million years.

These "dates" show that even according to dating methods used by Evolutionists that there is no objective evolutionary order in these fossils. For example more "modern" Hesperornis and Gansus are dated as older than many of the so called more "primitive" types. The result is the order given by Talk Origins fictional construct of what Evolutionists want to be there and not how fossils are actualy found.