Fossil Fibers Befuddle Dinosaur Evolution
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *
Evolutionary museums and textbooks have often portrayed modern birds as the descendants of dinosaurs, a story that has been presented without empirical support. Now, a new “feathered” dinosaur discovery has thrown a wrench into the already dysfunctional machinery of the dino-to-bird tale. This dinosaur fossil with fang-like teeth, Tianyulong confuciusi, has been found with fibers that resemble structures believed by some evolutionists to be the precursors of feathers—the only problem is, it’s the wrong category of dinosaur to have them!1
Certain theropod dinosaurs, such as Sinosauropteryx, have fossilized fibers. This “dino-fuzz” has been interpreted as protofeathers, but this interpretation has been disputed by other evolutionary paleontologists. One study pointed out:
The major, and most worrying, problem of the feathered dinosaur hypothesis is that the integumental structures have been homologized with avian feathers on the basis of anatomically and paleontologically unsound and misleading information.2
For the dino-to-bird story to be true, the lizard-hip structures of theropods must have evolved into bird-hip structures. Some evolutionary scientists have further observed the extent of internal restructuring that theropods would have had to undergo in order to shift the bulk of their body mass from the rear to the front, noting that theropods have “exactly the wrong anatomy for flight.”2 Although these dinosaurs walked on two legs placed underneath their bodies like birds do, that is where the similarities end. Nor has a single transitional form between the two been confirmed.3
Now, fibers have been found on Tianyulong, which is not even a theropod. This fact has been difficult to explain by those who are convinced that theropods evolved into birds. Why did these non-theropods have “protofeathers” if they were not destined to morph into birds? It appears that these fibrous processes were present with the very earliest dinosaurs, whether they were theropods or not. In the journal Nature, Lawrence Witmer of Ohio University stated, "Perhaps the only clear conclusion that can be drawn ... is that little Tianyulong has made an already confusing picture of feather origins even fuzzier.”1
This news constitutes another refutation of the theropod-to-bird story. The information one can gather from the raw fossil data, however, fits with biblical creation. First, “no fossils from the first dinosaurs are known.”4 In other words, no fossils from their imagined evolutionary precursors have yet been found.5 But there are numerous fossils of dinosaurs that perished in a widespread watery cataclysm, such as Noah’s Flood.6 Their lack of evolutionary ancestors, their sudden appearance in the fossil record, and the global evidence for a massive extinction like that recorded in the Bible add up to dinosaurs having been distinctly created according to their own kinds, just as Genesis recorded.7
Second, no dinosaur has been found with any undisputed transitional feature. Even the newly discovered “dino-fuzz” is not feather-like (lacking rachis, barbs, barbules, or evidence of keratin rather than cartilage) and is perhaps more accurately interpreted as simply decorative fibers. Thus, it presents evidence for special creation by a God who is aesthetically-minded.8
There is no such thing in the real world as a feathered dinosaur. The news that this non-theropod dinosaur had fibers just adds more scientific evidence to corroborate the historical evidence that dinosaurs were created, not evolved.
- Witmer, L. M. 2009. Dinosaurs: Fuzzy origins for feathers. Nature. 458 (7236): 293-295.
- Feduccia, A., T. Lingham-Soliar, and J. R. Hinchliffe. 2005. Do Feathered Dinosaurs Exist? Testing the Hypothesis on Neontological and Paleontological Evidence. Journal of Morphology. 266: 134.
- Archaeopteryx was not a transitional creature. It was fully a bird, with flight feathers. Other more familiar birds have been discovered in rock layers below that of archaeopteryx, rendering moot any claims that it was transitional. See: Gish, D. 1989. As a Transitional Form Archaeopteryx Won't Fly. Acts & Facts. 18 (9).
- Ritter, M. Dinosaur find raises debate on feather evolution. Associated Press, March 18, 2009.
- “Paleontologists have virtually no clues to the origin of the ornithischian [bird-hipped] dinosaurs. They appear in the fossil record…already structurally distinct.” Stahl, B.J., J. R. Young, and S. Gamer (eds). 1974. Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution. New York: McGraw-Hill, 336.
- Morris, J. D. 2004. Are Fossils the Result of Noah’s Flood? Acts & Facts. 33 (11).
- Genesis 1:24.
- Thomas, B. 2009. The Apobetics of Aesthetics: A Hairy Problem for Evolution. Acts & Facts. 38 (4): 18.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on March 31, 2009.