Feathered Dinosaurs? | The Institute for Creation Research
Feathered Dinosaurs?

For several years, paleontologists – mainly in China - have been unearthing fossils of dinosaurs bearing alleged feather-like imprints. Macroevolution theory states that modern birds are simply feathered dinosaurs. This means the scales of reptiles slowly evolved into feathers.

A dated showcase for evolution – Archaeopteryx – was discovered soon after the publication of Darwin’s infamous book in 1859. Other fossil specimens of Archaeopteryx were later discovered, but they all had feathers and wings, with no indication of how the front legs gradually evolved into wings. More importantly, the flight feathers of this creature are fully developed with no indication as to how they allegedly evolved from scales. The reader is urged to consult Dr. Duane Gish’s book, Evolution: The Fossils Still Say NO for a more detailed discussion.

After many decades of finding no fossils that would make the connection between birds and dinosaurs (Archaeopteryx being a contentious exception), secular scientists have now discovered fossils that provide a critical connection. But the “feathered dinosaur” fossils could be viewed as discoveries of convenience, much like the 1996 discovery of “microfossils” on the famous Mars meteorite conveniently made at a time that NASA needed government funding. (Today, the Martian “microfossils” are controversial at best, with a majority of scientists dismissing them.)

How would the creationist view the feathered dinosaur discoveries?

Let’s begin by looking at the big picture. There has never been a single discovery, either in the laboratory or in the field of fossil hunting (paleontology), that the secularist could triumphantly point to and claim as positive evidence for macroevolution. This has held true right up to the eve of school board battles presently raging in no less than 18 states in regard to the teaching of origins. What better time to discover fossils that finally validate Darwinism?

The reader should be very cautious of such claims, keeping in mind the embarrassing Archeoraptor fiasco, and National Geographic’s rush to publication, disregarding calls for a more detailed investigation of this strange fossil. (See Dr. Steve Austin’s excellent article on Archeoraptor at Impact No. 321 . See also “ Open Letter to Dr. Peter Raven of National Geographic Society” http://members.aol.com/acoxon1274/Olson_archaeraptor.html )

Feathers, “Protofeathers” or Fibers?

Evolutionism posits that the scales of reptiles slowly evolved into the beautiful and ornate feathers of birds today.

The first question the skeptic should ask is, “Do these ‘feathered dinosaurs’ have real feathers, and if not – what are the markings?”

Creation scientist David Menton provides compelling scientific evidence why such a transition could never take place. Even from their embryonic stages, scales and feathers are completely different. Dr. Menton describes how feathers are very complex, composed of a barb, barbules, and hooks, first erupting from complex follicles. Scales come from folds in skin.

Zoologists would need to see fossil evidence showing scales in the process of converting into feathers. So far, this has not been documented.

Dinosaur discoveries of the past, such as Sinosauropteryx (meaning ‘first Chinese dragon feather’) and its “protofeathers” were seen by evolutionist John Ostrom as nothing of the sort. Oregon State University’s John Ruben is a professor of zoology and says these structures are likely collagen connective fibers.1 Sinosauropteryx was just a theropod and did not possess any characteristics attributable to birds. Indeed, theropods had long, stiff tails, hardly a requirement for flight! Other front-rank evolutionists are divided on Sinosauropteryx , as well as more recent feathered dinosaur discoveries.

The recently discovered Falcarius utahensis is described as having not true feathers, but “ a woolly feather-like plumage” according to BBC News.2 The story also states the creature was found in a "mass graveyard;" this fact fits the Flood model.
Many animals of the pre-Flood world were bizarre to be sure, with structures and tissues not seen in animals today. Those holding to an evolutionary worldview are sometimes quick to see such unique structures as possible transitions. Creationists view dinosaurs having woolly plumages and collagen fibers as –dinosaurs with woolly plumages and collagen fibers, nothing more.

  1. Appenzeller, T. 1999. T. rex was fierce, yes, but feathered, too. Science 28:2052–53
  2. BBC News. 2005. Killer dino 'turned vegetarian,’ BBCNews.com, May 4, 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4512487.stm
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