First North American ‘Feathered’ Dinosaur?

Out of the drawers at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology were stored specimens that were discovered in upper Cretaceous, which is when true birds  were already flying around the earth when they lived.  Impressions of mostly straight lines was interpreted to be that of “feathers” on a dinosaur!

Artwork began to emerge in the media as it just loves to hype up these kinds of things, the specimen was touted as the very first North American “feathered” dinosaur! Where was the critique or alternative analysis in these publications that were claiming that those mostly straight line impressions were not only feathers but claiming the dinosaur was using those alleged feathers as a courtship display like the BBCscience daily,, and even live science?

In Zelenitsky’s paper, where all this hype is coming from, words like vane, and pennaceous are noticeably missing throughout the paper! One does find the word barbule being mentioned.  Further, these supposed “feathers” are not connected to the skeleton, rather the impression in the rock is separated by a centimeter or more at various angles from parallel to almost perpendicular.

They give it a name, Ornithomimus  which means  “ostrich-mimic” dinosaur which they claim has a filament or shaft, much simpler than the complex vanes of true feathers with their barbs, barbules and interlocking hooks.  This species is different from other claims of ‘feathered’ dinosaurs, because those others were lizard-hipped dinosaurs and this one is, bird-hipped.

This adds to the complexity of the evolution of birds from dinosaurs because it would claim that dinosaurs had feathers long before flight. They admit, their new discovery (interpretation) is too heavy to fly. So they suggested it was some sort of courtship dance.

It is interesting to note, that the adult had the scratch like impressions (labeled as feathers) but one juvenile did not have it.  The third had markings on the bone itself.  The paper stretches  hard data for imagination  by claiming that criss-cross markings on the bone are inferred traces left by shafted feathers without bearing any resemblance to actual feathers! Yet we see their artwork showing the adult with fully-fledged wing feathers, barbs, barbules and all, and even multiple colors! Talk about using the imagination with so little data. Whatever the markings mean, they complicate the story of dinosaur-to-bird evolution.

Part of the reason of all this hype over little markings on a bone and mostly straight line impressions in the rock, is because they use dinosaurs to try and spark interest in evolution ( they know that kids love dinosaurs) and do not like the fact that dinosaurs fit well in the biblical creationism. So was there a first North American “feathered” dinosaur that was discovered in storage at a museum? The answer of course is no, there is not enough evidence to suggest  that the animal had a courtship dance with all its colors of its feathers!

4 thoughts on “First North American ‘Feathered’ Dinosaur?

  1. Further, these supposed “feathers” are not connected to the skeleton….


    Uh… yeah. Here’s a newsflash: the mesenchyme and epidermis are two different kinds of tissue entirely.

    This adds to the complexity of the evolution of birds from dinosaurs because it would claim that dinosaurs had feathers long before flight.

    That has already been known for quite a while. There are loads of feathered dinosaur specimens that obviously could not fly (e.g. Shuvuuia). If this is news to you, it suggests that you should stop relying on creationists for your information about evolution.

  2. Michael will be interested to know that the judge in Coppedge v JPL ordered a final ruling to be drawn up. Coppedge was a systems analyst at JPL’s Cassini mission who was demoted and later fired. Coppedge claimed he was fired for telling co-workers about intelligent design, and distributing a DVD.

    Judge Ernest Hiroshige’s ruling will be in favor of JPL, which claimed that Coppedge was disruptive and had let his skills slide.

    The judge will issue his final ruling within 30 days, ABC News reports.

    Michael devoted multiple posts to the Coppedge case as a cause célèbre last spring before the trial. Impervious to facts as always, he ignored all contrary evidence and predicted confidently that Coppedge would win.


  3. Michael, who can boast only an associate degree in mass prevarication from the Dishonesty Institute, presumes to inform his readers that Darla Zelenitsky, a PhD professor in geoscience,[1] doesn’t know what she is talking about. WHAT’S MORE, Michael offers his conclusions without ever having been within a thousand wingspans of the subject fossils.[2] AND, as Nullifidian noted, without the slightest glimmer of knowledge of the anatomy of feathered animals.[3]

    We inform Michael almost monthly that feathers did not initially evolve for flight, and that few feathered dinosaurs are actually direct ancestors of modern birds. Yet he persists in this teleological fantasy that all dinosaurs were DESTINED to fly.[4] There is a point at which persistent ignorance is indistinguishable from stupidity.

    Michael missed one of his favorite talking points here. The Science paper shows one of the fossils in the “dinosaur death pose” (opisthotonic posture) that creationists claim results from sudden death from a worldwide flood.[5] You’re slipping, Michael.


    [1] As well as six PhD co-authors, one of whom is a museum director.

    [2] From a small photo in the paper in Science Michael can deduce that they were not feathers at all, but gnaw marks from a demented creationist five thousand years ago.

    [3] Forget high-school biology. Even a quick run through Chicken Plucking for Dummies (Bantam Books 1998) would disabuse Michael of his quirky notions on this subject.

    [4] Think of it this way: Maybe some dinosaurs flunked out of flight school. In the case of ornithomimosaurs, because they were overweight.

    [5] Of course, modern birds exhibit this posture as well. New Scientist has reported an experiment involving chickens. Perhaps they do it as a memorial to the Flood.

  4. Out of the drawers at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology were stored specimens that were discovered in upper Cretaceous, which is when true birds were already flying around the earth when they lived.

    When the first sentence of a post is a grammatical train wreck, why should anyone credit the rest of the post?

    Can you at least make a stab at trying to correct it?

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