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!

Pseudoscientific Poison: Social Darwinism

Nature News published an article that was quite shocking to say the least, it went like this… “Mostly The Big-Brained Survive” and the article went without mentioning evolution which says nature favors the fittest.

“Brain size relative to body size is fairly predictable across all mammals, says Eric Abelson, who studies biological sciences at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. “As body size grows, brain size grows too, but at slower rate,” he says.”

“Plotting brain size against body size creates a tidy curve. But some species have bigger or smaller brains than the curve would predict for their body size. And a bigger brain-to-body-size ratio usually means a smarter animal.”

Using conservation as its passion rather than what it is, a social Darwinian idea which is poison…The doctrine implies that smarter automatically means that are more capable avoiding extinction because nature they claim favors the smarter animal.

Marris and Eric Abelson from Stanford University did not embrace the poison of social Darwinism rather to their credit, they outlined some disadvantages of being big-brained.

“For species larger than about 10 kilograms, the advantage of having a large brain seems to be swamped by the disadvantage of being big. Large species tend to reproduce later in life, have fewer offspring, require more resources and larger territories, and catch the attention of humans, either as food or as predators. Hunting pressure or reductions in available space can hit them particularly hard.”

There might be an underlying reason why Marris and Abelson did not distance themselves from the poison of social Darwinism like Marris and Eric Abelson did.  They engaged themselves with speculations they are not possible to prove. They make a terrible assumption that brain size has something to do with how smart species are when it fact it could be quality of the brain rather that its size.

They link intelligence to survival which implies nature only sees the strong worth saving while getting rid of the weak. And lastly, implying that it’s others who make the decisions on what species is worth saving and what species is worth not saving and their work is supposed to help those who make the decisions.

The Darwinist believes nature favors the fit but says who? Even though the world is far from perfect, humans do help the weak, feed the poor, assist the weak with certain tasks they are unable to do anymore, there are laws in such places as the United States were employers cannot discriminate a person based on handicap.  We live in an imperfect world that still cares for the weak!

What Marris and Abelson did is useless and illogical. Their underlying reason is to elevate people who are smart to blind faith. For example, if a group of smart people decide this particular species should survive over another, then that is the right decision because they are smart and the species whom they pick is smart as well. In reality, its circular reasoning using the poison of social Darwinism! Animal intelligence should have no baring whatsoever on conservation!

The Political Bias In Mainstream Science Journals

Scientific Journals and reports tend to take sometime to address the political atmosphere, often times advocating to the readers a particular leaning to a certain political party. In America, there has been discontent on how the economy is going and how much debt has been accumulating for services among the public at large.

It has alarmed mainstream science journals such as Nature who fear their issues such as man-made climate change, health-care bill, cap and trade, and embryonic stem cell research will not get enough funding and increased regulations if the Republicans get into power.

Nature only publishes letters that are one-sided like Richard Kool (Royal Roads U, British Columbia) who claimed that science is a “threat to the far-right fringe.” Nothing could be further from the truth! Let me tell Richard and the Editorial staff at Nature. How did those Chilean miners who were trapped 2300 feet below the surface get rescued? Was it government aid or companies who are driven to make profits?

They were able to rescue those miners because of an American company (Center Rock) who called the Chilean government and told them that they have a drill bit that might help them. Government aid, or donations to causes that Nature endorses, those miners would be still down there!  Relying on Chinese manufacturing the bit would have broken before the rescue could take place so they would be still down there as well. A drill bit for drilling into the earth would be considered a tool against biodiversity. An American business who makes things for a profit, helped saved those people with innovation which happened as the result of accumulating profits of something people want!

This is not to say, companies never do bad, because they do just like non-profits. But Nature’s biased position is totally illogical. They certainly didn’t use a scientific method to arrive at their conclusions. The people who are champing innovation are in the private sector which also provides the massive funding that scientists get for research. Without the private companies success, innovation dies and so does funding!

Three other articles in Nature that have depicted Republicans as obstructionists.  Jeff Tollefson, for instance, ended his article with quotes from Paul Bledsoe, whom he called a centrist: “Climate-science denial is a by-product of extreme partisanship and a kind of reactionary mode among conservatives, and I expect that this will wane,” he said.  “But if large parts of the Republican Party begin to deny consensus science, then the climate community will have to confront them about it.”

Deny consensus, yea right, is this the same consensus that brought us climategate? This also brings us to another question, should taxpayer money be used for left-leaning political agendas? Don’t they make enough money that they could do that on their own time? By thumbing their noses at the private sector innovations, is this not hindering science?

Looking For Clues About The Cambrian Explosion

The sudden appearance of complex major body parts in the fossil record during this period has surprised many evolutionists over the years. So researchers haven taken a sample of a genome from an animal that lives on the Great Barrier Reef.

Nature News unravels this latest story…“With a simple body plan lacking organs, muscles and nerve cells, the sea sponge hardly seems a rich avenue for study. Yet this humble organism squats firmly at the doorway to one of life’s great mysteries: the leap to multicellularity…

The paper also mentions the discovery moves complexity back in time and that the genome contains “analogues of genes that, in organisms with a neuromuscular system, code for muscle tissue and neurons.” This seems very strange considering a sponge doesn’t have a neuromuscular system nor does it have a central nervous system so why would a sponge have all those genes?

In that same issue of Nature…

“The researchers also identified parts of the genome devoted to suppressing individual cells that multiply at the expense of the collective.  The presence of such genes indicates that the battle to stop rogue cells — in other words, cancer — is as old as multicellularity itself.  Such a link was recently hinted at by work showing that certain ‘founder genes’ that are associated with human cancers first arose at about the same time as metazoans appeared.  The demosponge genome shows that genes for cell suicide – those activated within an individual cell when something goes wrong – evolved before pathways that are activated by adjacent cells to dispatch a cancerous neighbour.”

This is not one calls good science but there is much imagination going on here. There is no evidence for such an ancestor only a claim there was one and no evidence for a mechanism by which genes having foresight would have emerged in single-celled creatures. All they claim is an a non-observational  hypothetical that says complexity started with a genetic toolkit must have been present in a sponge ancestor. The Cambrian Explosion happened according to this paper is because of “quantitative rather than qualitative differences” in the tools.  But does this really explain a trilobite, or a segmented worm, or animals like shellfish, crabs, the predator Anomalocaris, and all the other amazing creatures found at the point of the Cambrian explosion?  And why would a microbe come up with these tools in the first place, even to produce a sponge?

This hypothetical is some sort of mythical science fiction novel, not real science. The animal evolved “foresight” that it was able to come up with many complex innovations? The only thing that has “foresight” and also has innovations in complex situations is intelligence! What we are seeing here is an evolutionary story trying to explain away the highly complex designs made by God, and giving a mindless direction with a mechanism (known or unknown) the same ability as what intelligence can do which is not logical nor good science!