Discovery of ‘Feathers’ On Dinosaur Rises Questions

There is a pattern emerging about this latest and surprising discovery which will be discussed in a moment. Most of these discoveries come from either Germany or China, and often times involve the same fossil-hunters, and often times come from private collectors!

Giving the name, Sciurumimus which was discovered in Germany in the hands of a private collector which means “squirrel-mimic.” The fossil is a juvenile in a typical “dinosaur death pose” found globally in other places which creationists believe suggests a rapid suffocation in  water caused by a global flood.

Why all the fuss over Sciurumimus? Here is what they say in Nature News

“Palaeontologist Paul Barrett of London’s Natural History Museum agrees that the structures on Sciurumimus are probably protofeathers. Although additional geochemical work is needed to study the features’ details, Barrett says, the fossilized wisps are very similar to the fuzz seen on other dinosaurs.”

“But he notes that the presence of these filaments among all dinosaurs is “speculation”. Feathery structures might be a common feature of dinosaurs, but it’s also possible that they evolved multiple times.”

“We need more examples in both non-coelurosaurian theropods, and particularly in the other big dinosaur groups, before we can really speculate that these features are a character of dinosaurs as a whole,” Barrett says.”

Nature News dubs this discovery as having “protofeathers” but one would be looking in vain to find feathers with barbs and barbules as found in birds! You see, type 1 protofeathers are also found on you, horses, dogs, cats, and other animals who have hair!

Science Daily calls it a surprising find…

“This is a surprising find from the cradle of feathered dinosaur work, the very formation where the first feathered dinosaur Archaeopteryx was collected over 150 years ago,” said Mark Norell, chair of the Division of Palaeontology at the American Museum of Natural History and an author on the new paper along with researchers from Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie and the Ludwig Maximilians University.”

One of the reasons for the surprise is that the fossil appears in the same limestone in northern Bavaria as Archaeopteryx  which was discovered 150 years ago, that was fully fledged with flight feathers: meaning, at the very least, that this creature and birds with powered flight were already contemporaries. This rises questions and causes additional complexity in the evolutionary story.

“Repeat evolution” is being invoked in order to connect this dinosaur with evolving feathers that can be eventually used for flight within in future  creatures, but not all are sold on the idea that this dinosaur is related to birds.

This rising another question, if a fossil was found exquisitely preserved and its tail was clearly seen but none of the internal organs were not observable, would you then postulate that dogs were evolving flight?

There are complications with this discovery if one attempts to connect it with evolving flight…The  “protofeathers” are on the wrong animals! Their dates overlap, or belong in the wrong eras.  The discoveries do not demonstrate a  progression in complexity over time till true powered flight is thought to have evolved.  They are either simple protrusions, or complex feathers found on animals that clearly used them for flying or gliding or perhaps were even secondarily flightless!

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8 thoughts on “Discovery of ‘Feathers’ On Dinosaur Rises Questions

  1. “Most of these discoveries come from either Germany or China”

    Well, of course. You see, there are two distinct types of dinosaurs: one that likes beer, and one that likes tea.

  2. a typical “dinosaur death pose” found globally in other places which creationists believe suggests a rapid suffocation in water caused by a global flood.

    Creationists can an do believe anything they like.

    There are seveal current hypotheses about why dinosaurs—and birds, too, by the way—are frequently found in this configuration.

    One hypothesis that has been shown not to produce it is death by flowing water. See Padian & Faux, “The opisthotonic posture of vertebrate skeletons: post-mortem contraction or death throes?”, Paleobiology 33(2): p. 201-226 (2007).

    Unfortunately we know that Michael will continue to proclaim this creationist canard. Demonstrating once again how creationism refuses to follow the evidence.

  3. You see, type 1 protofeathers are also found on you, horses, dogs, cats, and other animals who have hair!

    Sorry, Michael. You have been caught in a lie again.

    The hair of dogs, cats, and other mammals have nothing to do with any kind of feather.

    Although hair and feathers are made of different forms of the same material (a and b keratin), their structure and evolutionary history differs.

    The structure of hair is different from that of scales and feathers. A hair is basically a cone of keratin that is derived from keratinized cells in the dermis, or middle layers of skin. The hair is generated and formed in a pit in the skin called the follicle. The hair has an inner and outer sheath. Near the base of each hair attached to the follicle is a small muscle, called an erector pilli.

    Feathers, on the other hand, are modified scales.

    Nature News dubs this discovery as having “protofeathers” but one would be looking in vain to find feathers with barbs and barbules as found in birds!

    Not quite a lie, but deceptive. After noting that the cited article speaks of “protofeathers”, (which are type 1) Michael then proceeds sweep that under the rug and describe them as modern bird feathers, which are of a different type (type 2). The cited article says they are not modern feathers. They are “primitive.”

    A[apparently Michael’s denial of evolution is so thorough that he cannot even perceive such a difference..

  4. “Hair and Feathers”[1] is a 10-page account of the structural differences between mammalian fur and avian feathers. They arise from different tissue by separate processes,.

    The author presents a theory n the different evolutionary paths. Feathers evolved from scales, whose function is protection. Hair, on the other hand, arose from primitive sense organs—tactile receptors.

    Protofeathers were discovered after the above article was written. Although these superficially look more like hair, they still have the dermal structure of an avian feather, which is quite different from that of a hair. Protofeathers are discussed at length in “Evolving a Protofeather and Feather Diversity.[2] The feathers of the first fossil find, archeopteryx, possessed the modern avian type, not the primitive protofeathers of its contemporaries.

    =============

    [1] J.S. Kingsley, The American Naturalist 31:767-777 (Sep. 1897)

    [2] A.H. Brush, Integrative & Comparative Biology 40:631-639 (2000).

  5. Casey Luskin of the Dishonesty Institute has made substantially the same claims that Michael did about the newly disovered protofeathers. Troy Britain took him apart in “Fuzzy thinking about fuzzy dinosaurs”

    Note Luskin’s quotes out of context, and carefully placed ellipses which attempt to make the discoverers of these fossils say something entirely different from what they actually said.

    Reason #34 for disbelieving creationists: Lack of integrity and moral standards..

  6. One of the reasons for the surprise is that the fossil appears in the same limestone in northern Bavaria as Archeopteryx which was discovered 150 years ago, that was fully fledged with flight feathers: meaning, at the very least, that this creature and birds with powered flight were already contemporaries. This rises [sic] questions and causes additional complexity in the evolutionary story.

    Wrong again. Archeopteryx was not contemporary with birds, and was not itself a bird. In fact, most paleontologists believe that archeopteryx was not directly ancestral to modern birds. Think of it this way: If Michael were a bird, archeopteryx would be his uncle, not his father.[1]

    “Repeat evolution” is being invoked in order to connect this dinosaur with evolving feathers that can be eventually used for flight within in future creatures, but not all are sold on the idea that this dinosaur is related to birds.

    Michael has not been listening again. No one has said that this dinosaur has any direct relation to birds. In fact, this is the point of the paper, which Michael seems to have missed entirely.

    Michael is also thoroughly suffused with creationist teleology, in which everything that happens must have an ulterior purpose. Feathers were not initially “for” flight at all. They provided a measure of thermal insulation, which aided regulation of body temperature.[2] Protofeathers afforded some insulation, and modern feathers offer even more, because of their barbules and interlocking structure that trap air.[3]

    This rising [sic] another question, [sic] if a fossil was [sic] found exquisitely preserved and its tail was clearly seen but none of the internal organs were not [sic] observable, would you then postulate that dogs were evolving flight?

    Can anyone discern any glimmer of coherent thought in this word salad? Michael seems to be saying something like, if I saw only the outside of a cow in a meadow, would I postulate that pigs were turning into zebras? You’re making even less sense than usual, Michael.

    ================

    [1] Altho Michael does claim to have feathers himself: “You see, type 1 protofeathers are also found on you, horses, dogs, cats, and other animals who have hair!”

    [2] Just as hair does for mammals. But here also, there is no teleology. Hair seems to have originally evolved as a network of tactile sensors. Nature is full of such functional shifts—insect wings were originally for breathing. Lungs were originally for buoyancy control. And so on.

    [3] Here in Minnesota, everyone owns a down parka. Its purpose is to keep us warm, not to help us fly.

  7. I drop a leave a response whenever I like a article on a website or if I have something to contribute to the conversation. It is caused by the fire communicated in the post I looked at. And on this post Discovery of ‘Feathers’ On Dinosaur Rises Questions | New Discoveries & Comments About Creationism. I was moved enough to post a comment ;) I do have 2 questions for you if you don’t mind. Could it be only me or does it look as if like some of the remarks appear like they are left by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing at additional sites, I’d like to keep up with everything new you have to post. Could you make a list every one of all your public pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  8. Clementina, you may rest assured that Michael does have an impact.

    He is the reason that the US issues 85,000 H1B visas every year for immigrants to supply our need for scientists and technologists that native Americans are unable to fulfill—despite an 8.2% domestic unemployment rate!

    The shortfall of domestic sci/tech workers is not lack of talent. Rather, it is the American educational system that dumbs down the teaching of science. A recent poll placed the US 37th of 65 countries in science education, between Bulgaria and Uzbekistan.[1] And much of this problem can be laid at the feet of creationists and other science denialists who interfere with school curricula, politicize research,[2] and manufacture false dichotomies between science and religion.[3]

    The ironic part is that, if you want to get a good K-12 education in science these days—especially in evolution—you have to go to a Catholic school, not a public school.

    The immigrants do keep coming, although an Indian scientist working in California recently said that we can’t expect India to supply the US with scientists forever. In fact, increasing numbers of immigrant STEM grad students are returning to China, Korea, and India after graduation. And major US drug companies are moving their research facilities to Asia–not for lower labor costs, but rather to tap the larger pool of qualified workers.

    These days, world leadership depends more upon technological prowess than upon military might. Creationists seem to be bent on destroying that world leadership. As long as they can maintain their belief system,[4] the cost doesn’t matter.

    But it matters to me.

    ===============

    [1] The math score—25th of 65—was higher. Creationists don’t interfere with math education as much.

    [2] A high-water mark (so to speak) occurred when North Carolina last month legislated the maximum amount that the Atlantic Ocean could rise in the next few years. Does no one remember King Canute?

    Or maybe it was when a Catholic bishop in Louisiana called for outlawing any hybridization of human cells with those from other species. He had no idea that many drugs are made this way: insulin from hybrids with bacteria, growth hormone from the milk of transgenic cows, and the anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 from hybrids of human cells and tobacco.plants.

    [3] Last year, Francisco Ayala won the prestigious Templeton Prize (more money than the Nobel!) for advancing spiritual values. Ayala is a Catholic priest who is a world-famous evolutionary biologist. Georges Lemaitre, the founding father of modern cosmology, was also a Catholic priest.

    [4] Fundamentalism was born after WWI as a reaction against the increasing complexity of science and new learning. It was founded upon ignorance, and deliberate ignorance remains a linchpin of its belief system. See Numbers, The Creationists (Harvard U Press, 2d Ed., 2006)

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