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, phys.org, 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!

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The Amazing Fossils vs Their Invented Stories

“Believe it or not, the ancestors of elephants were once as small as mice,” says Dr Evans in phys.org. No, really Dr Evans? What is the scientific evidence for that conclusion? We chose the generation as our basic measure of evolutionary time, as it is the shortest interval over which evolutionary change can occur.” 

So Dr Evans, you deduced from your own invented data that it takes 24 million generations for a mouse to become an elephant, however, you say it only takes two million to loose all that weight to become tiny again! Believe it or not, you say…Not believing! No scientific evidence was presented, invented data doesn’t count.

Moving on…Duck-bill dinosaurs  are considered the champs for eating their veggies than elephants or even horses!

In live science

“The plants these dinosaurs fed on were tough and covered with hard, tooth-gouging particles. Hadrosaurids chewed their meals with teeth that possessed flattened grinding surfaces much like those of horses and bison. Some hadrosaurids sported up to 1,400 of these teeth, and were continually replacing them.” 

“The complexity of hadrosaurid teeth would have proved excellent tools for handling tough, gritty plants.”

The earth is only thousands of years old, which allows for discoveries like this to happen which allows us to learn more about the animals! Hadrosaurs teeth are considered 70 million years old by somehow avoiding decay in the invented evolutionary time frame but these teeth are a lot younger and are perfectly functional if placed in a living dinosaur as the research team points out…

“We were stunned to find that the mechanical properties of the teeth were preserved after 70 million years of fossilizationif you put these teeth back into a living dinosaur they would function perfectly.  

When the earth is young, one expects to find well-preserved fossils that normally would not survive so many millions of years. These fossils are amazing, the stories that follow them are not. Interesting to note, the teeth of Hadrosaurs is more complex than any known mammal which suggests so-called evolution of teeth has been going downhill the last 70 million years.

Although speculation can be questioned about how much understanding do they have about the teeth, they freely admit they lack the understanding with horses’ teeth. “We still don’t have a good understanding even of how horse teeth work.” 

In phys.org…They came up with a reason for such well-preserved teeth that could have lasted for so long...”Their complex dentition could have played a major role in keeping them on the planet for nearly 35 million years.” This is another Believe it or not question. In other words, they believe it could have been in the development of the teeth, like humans have primary dentition  of deciduous teeth and a secondary dentition of permanent teeth and Hadrosaurs has a third dentition, an invented story about how young teeth are old. Believe it or not about Hadrosaurs teeth? Not!

In another story, after over a century of a fossil known to be that of a  lemur (a primate) is now reclassified as a fish! Oops! Paleontologists often pride themselves on how much they can tell us about any given creature from just a fragment. They also like taking credit by saying now we can learn more  about fish transitions…lol One would think that proper identification is a prerequisite for understanding.  Over a 100 years of misidentification is a rather long time!

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!

More Conformation Verifying Soft Tissue In Fossils

When original dinosaur protein was discovered, it was met with skepticism because of the rate of decay, speculation of contamination was created in order to counter such a discovery. Those days have past as verification after verification have clearly refuted such an idea. In fact, a more recent study that consisted of ten universes claiming that the soft tissue found in the fossil record is, primordial.

In the abstract in PLoS

“Eleven collagen peptide sequences recovered from chemical extracts of dinosaur bones were mapped onto molecular models of the vertebrate collagen fibril derived from extant taxa. The dinosaur peptides localized to fibril regions protected by the close packing of collagen molecules, and contained few acidic amino acids. Four peptides mapped to collagen regions crucial for cell-collagen interactions and tissue development.

“Dinosaur peptides were not represented in more exposed parts of the collagen fibril or regions mediating intermolecular cross-linking. Thus functionally significant regions of collagen fibrils that are physically shielded within the fibril may be preferentially preserved in fossils. These results show empirically that structure-function relationships at the molecular level could contribute to selective preservation in fossilized vertebrate remains across geological time, suggest a ‘preservation motif’, and bolster current concepts linking collagen structure to biological function. This non-random distribution supports the hypothesis that the peptides are produced by the extinct organisms and suggests a chemical mechanism for survival. Now evolutionary researchers have the unduly task of setting out how proteins could last 65 million years.” 

Like every protein, Collagen, is a form of elongated fibrils, which are mostly found in fibrous tissues such as tendon, ligament and skin, and is also found to be in abundance in bone, and blood vessels. The human body contains 20 percent of collagen which plays a very important role in keeping the human body together. So did this study produce any evidence for proteins lasting even 10 or 20 million years? No! It’s just assumed that it happened to have lasted 65 million years because if they concede (allowing to follow the evidence where it may lead) that soft tissues are biologically unable to withstand decay long enough for that enormous time frame, they would be indirectly conceding to young-earth creationism so in turn, they label this falsification of soft tissue as a conformation for evolution. It’s the only ‘theory’ in science that claims falsifications are verification.

So a hypothetical reality is invoked over and over again in the paper where you can see them making assumptions by claiming a “geologic time” instead of actually testing it! Evolution always sounds better with hypothetical realities than actual observations. Again I ask, how can a story based on an untested scenario be considered science? The fact of the matter is, soft tissue is an observation that reveals a young earth not billions of years old!

Secular Paleontologists Addresses Most Tyrannosaurs

Dubbed as the children’s favorite pet monster, secular paleontologists write about what they know about these creatures…

In Science

“Tyrannosaurs, the group of dinosaurian carnivores that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and its closest relatives, are icons of prehistory.  They are also the most intensively studied extinct dinosaurs, and thanks to large sample sizes and an influx of new discoveries, have become ancient exemplar organisms used to study many themes in vertebrate paleontology.”

“A phylogeny that includes recently described species shows that tyrannosaurs originated by the Middle Jurassic but remained mostly small and ecologically marginal until the latest Cretaceous.  Anatomical, biomechanical, and histological studies of T. rex and other derived tyrannosaurs show that large tyrannosaurs could not run rapidly, were capable of crushing bite forces, had accelerated growth rates and keen senses, and underwent pronounced changes during ontogeny.  The biology and evolutionary history of tyrannosaurs provide a foundation for comparison with other dinosaurs and living organisms.”

Indeed, what do that have to say about one of the biggest shockers in discovering dinosaur fossils for proponents in evolution?

Referring to the T-Rex discovery which went public back in 2005…

“Schweitzer announced she had discovered blood vessels and structures that looked like whole cells inside that T. rex bone—the first observation of its kind. The finding amazed colleagues, who had never imagined that even a trace of still-soft dinosaur tissue could survive.”

Interesting enough, they didn’t do much bragging about this particular discovery other than the usual line of  increasing understanding in their particular framework. But back in 2008, they tried to undermine her research. Thomas Kaye from the Burke Museum of Natural History in Seattle with two colleagues concluded what they observed in the dinosaur bone was nothing more than a bacterial biofilm that grew in the hollow spaces inside the fossils!

New Scientist reported…

“We cracked open a lot of bones and spent hundreds of hours on an electron microscope examining them,” said Kaye. He concluded the soft material was not from dinosaurs, but from bacterial films which grew on cavities inside the bone long after the animal had died.”“More familiar biofilms are thin, sticky layers like dental plaque, but Kaye says the biofilms he found produced branching hollow filaments when they coated the inside of blood vessel cavities in the bone.”

Mary Schweitzer stood by her claims of the discovery and most likely was thrown back a bit by the opposition she was getting.  But this challenge to her study was highly questionable, why was biofilm inside fossilized bone discovered now after centuries of collecting fossils? How could these biofilms conform to original tissues and then persist after they decay away or fossilize and remain unaltered for 68 million years? Even Kaye’s team conclusion would suggest that these bones are not that old. In 2009, it was official, the soft tissue discovered was indeed, blood vessel proteins and structures resembling cells and it wasn’t the only animal!

“A controversial finding that protein fragments can be recovered from dinosaur  fossils has been replicated for the first time.  Two years ago, Mary Schweitzer, a paleontologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and colleagues stunned the paleontology community when they reported discovering intact protein fragments in a fossil from a Tyrannosaurus rex that died 68 million years ago.

The claim has remained contentious, because proteins in tissue normally degrade quickly after an animal dies. On page 626, however, Schweitzer and colleagues report finding an even larger number of protein fragments from an 80-million-year-old fossil from a duck-billed dinosaur, or hadrosaur, known as Brachylophosaurus canadensis.”

“This will either be nothing or the biggest revolution in paleontology ever,” says Tom Kaye, a paleontologist at the Burke Museum in Seattle, Washington, and a critic of the original T. rex study.”

Does it really increase understanding concerning the story of evolution? Supposedly 68 million years old with soft tissue and finding more with a supposed age of 80 million years old. Soft tissue degrades quickly, it’s not logical to conclude otherwise for any theory. So there is no increase in understanding evolution but a lot of back peddling which is why secular paleontologists danced around this discovery. Christians however, rejoice in findings because these soft tissues found in the fossil of T-Rex and another animal are not reformulating what the Bible says but rather confirms it!

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.