Does Foot Feathers Prove The Controversy Over Bird Evolution?

Fossil hunters are very competitive, a new discovery could mean fame, money, and other sorts of media like movies and tv-shows.  A fossil was discovered in China back in 2005. The discoverer has claim it puts to rest the controversy over bird evolution. Nature recently writes about those claims as science daily does as well…

The transition from dinosaurs to birds is poorly understood because of the lack of well-preserved fossils, and many scientists argue that bird-like dinosaurs appear too late in the fossil record to be the true ancestors of birds.

In the journal Nature this week, Xing Xu and colleagues describe an exceptionally well-preserved fossil of Anchiornis huxleyi from the province of Liaoning, China. Long feathers cover the arms and tail, but also the feet, suggesting that a four-winged stage may have existed in the transition to birds.

“Extensive feathering of the pes [foot] is also seen in some modern birds, and serves an insulating or protective function.  In most cases the feathers are not organized into a coherent planar surface as in Microraptor, Pedopenna and Anchiornis, which indicates that the pedal feathers of these fossil taxa may have differed from those of extant birds in having an aerodynamic function.

This would imply that a four-winged condition played a role in the origin of avian flight, as suggested by previous studies, although this conclusion is not universally accepted.  However, the significant differences noted above between the large pedal feathers of Anchiornis and those of Microraptor suggest that these feathers might have been less aerodynamically effective in Anchiornis than in Microraptor.”

The argument of this fossil actually makes evolution more cloudy than ever on this issue because going from four wings to two wings is devolution rather than progressing evolution. There is no clear picture of evolutionary powered flight. It’s uncertain if this animal could actually fly or even the feathers were nothing more than used for insulation.

It is certain that this represents another species that went extinct among a majority of past species that did likewise.  Birds as we continue to study them, have designed bones with wings and respiratory systems for powered flight.  The specified complexities of birds coming from dinosaurs holds no real water. An odd ball such as Anchiornis  doesn’t necessarily mean bird evolution.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Does Foot Feathers Prove The Controversy Over Bird Evolution?

  1. “The argument of this fossil actually makes evolution more cloudy than ever on this issue because going from four wings to two wings is devolution rather than progressing evolution.”

    You again do not understand at all the theory of evolution: there is no ‘progressing evolution’: it is perfectly fine to go from four wings to two wings if that is better adapted to the environment. Evolution does not have a direction !

  2. (A) Michael’s ghost: “Fossil hunters are very competitive, a new discovery could mean fame, money, and other sorts of media like movies and tv-shows.”

    That shows how much you know about fossil hunting. Name a rich fossil hunter. Just one.

    (B) Michael’s ventriloquist: “The argument of this fossil actually makes evolution more cloudy than ever on this issue because going from four wings to two wings is devolution rather than progressing evolution.”

    Why do you think bird ancestors went from four wings to two>? Did you even read the Science Daily article (much less the Nature article)? In case you missed it, rather than distorting it deliberately, the fossil is not the ancestor of modern birds.

    Regardless—going from four wings to two is devolution in the same sense that humans have devolved from spiders because spiders have eight eyes and we have only two.

    (C) Michael’s eminence grise: “There is no clear picture of evolutionary powered flight.”

    Flight is not powered by evolution. It’s powered by ATP and oxygen.

    (D) Michael’s confused source: It’s uncertain if this animal could actually fly or even the feathers were nothing more than used for insulation.”

    See (B) above. In case you missed it again, the fossil is not the ancestor of modern birds. Feathers originally evolved for insulation, not for flight. Your source apparently missed that as well. This is the problem with pontificating about something that you don’t know anything about. Science is not like True Believers’ interpretation of the Bible, where you see only the words in front of your eyes, and not their context nor history.

    (E) Michael’s wizard behind the curtain: “An odd ball such as Anchiornis doesn’t necessarily mean bird evolution.”

    In the same sense that the dog didn’t necessarily chew up your slippers while you were out just because his saliva is all over them and bits of cloth still cling to his teeth. Your evolutionist neighbor must have flown home from Cincinnati and sneaked through a locked window and past your alarm system to do it. Must have. Everyone knows that dogs don’t evol—uh—chew slippers.

    Michael, it must be hard. I mean, what to tell the children. They read about Anchiornis and a hundred million years, Ardi is splashed all over the newspapers, and has a major article in Time magazine. Tiktaalik is paraded as a transition between fish and amphibians. Their school textbooks tell them that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old.

    You try to convince them that this is all eyewash, that everything beyond 6,000 years is a figment of an overactive imagination. That the scientists who invent their drugs and the geologists who find oil for them are deluded. That all court decisions involving creationism and science are hopelessly biased. No wonder you have a siege mentality.

    Is it any surprise that a major source of atheists is children of biblical literalists? After all, if their parents lied to them about that, what else did they fabricate? Witness Abbie Smith, the virus researcher who started the popular ERV blog after demolishing Michael Behe’s “facts” on the HIV virus—fundamentalist parents, atheist daughter. Perhaps the best documented is Laurie Lebo, daughter of the owner of a fundamentalist radio station in Dover, PA. Her book “The Devil in Dover” describes her journey to atheism after listening to Ken Miller and Kevin Padian describe evolution while she covered the Kitzmiller trial for the local newspaper.

  3. Second-hand Science Daily: “The transition from dinosaurs to birds is poorly understood because of the lack of well-preserved fossils….”

    Creationists demand detailed evidence of evolution, while providing none at all of their own. Here is an apropos analogy that I ran across recently.[1]

    “Want to start trouble? Ask the patron on the next stool if he can produce proof of his unbroken patrilineal ancestry for the last four hundred years. Failing your challenge, the legitimacy of his birth is to be brought into question. At this insinuation, tables are overturned, convivial beverages spilled, and bottles fly. No fair, claims the gentle reader. This goes beyond illogic to impoliteness, because not only are you placing on the other patron an unreasonable burden of proof, you are also questioning his integrity if he fails. But isn’t that what creationists do when they claim that our picture of evolution in the fossil record must be fraudulent because there are gaps in the fossil record?”

    ===================
    [1] Antonio Lazcano, “Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism,” p.199. Some of us have the integrity to attribute words that are not our own..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s