One-Ton 'Feathered' Dinosaur? | The Institute for Creation Research

One-Ton 'Feathered' Dinosaur?

Media reports are buzzing with misleading headlines. Wired Science reported, "Giant Feathered Tyrannosaur Found in China."1 Even the technical description, published in Nature, is titled, "A gigantic feathered dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China."2 Despite these assertions, the fossils' details show no actual feathers or feather imprints.

The Christian Science Monitor covered the story, too. The report might lead readers to believe that paleontologists actually found feathers, but they didn't. Though the title reads, "Dressed to kill: A feathered tyrannosaur is discovered in China," further into the article the "feathered" status is qualified—these tyrannosaur-like remains sport "feather-like features."3 The same article later quoted lead author of the Nature paper, Xing Xu, calling the fibers "simple filaments."3 The Nature text also describes them as "filamentous integumentary [skin] structures."2 So are they feathers, feather fibers, unknown fibers, or skin fibers? Answering this correctly is important. If they are not confirmed feathers, then these articles represent more examples of misleading headlines.

Those misled into thinking that the fossil fibers are feathers—when they actually are not—become more susceptible to the lie that dinosaurs evolved into birds. Such a transformation would not have been possible.4

The famous Chinese dinosaurs probably began rotting as they were transported in Noah's Floodwaters only 4,500 or so years ago, even as modern carcasses rot. The soluble flesh rotted first, leaving behind more resistant fibers that were then fossilized.

As is the case with other famous claims of Chinese fossil dinosaur "feathers," these are more straightforwardly interpreted as being the fossilized fragments of partly decayed skin. Researchers compared the fossil fibers to skin filaments from decaying carcasses, and found an excellent match.5

Why would so many headlines report that fossil feathers are present? Scientists themselves are not certain that the filaments are actually feathers. And a better explanation fits.

References

  1. Keim, B. Giant Feathered Tyrannosaur Found in China. Wired Science. Posted on wired.com April 4, 2012, accessed April 5, 2012.
  2. Xu, X. et al. 2012. A gigantic feathered dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China. Nature. 484 (7392): 92-95.
  3. Spotts, P. Dressed to kill: A feathered tyrannosaur is discovered in China. Christian Science Monitor. Posted on csmonitor.com April 4, 2012, accessed April 5, 2012.
  4. Thomas, B. Fossil Fibers Befuddle Dinosaur Evolution. ICR News. Posted on icr.org March 31, 2009, accessed April 5, 2012.
  5. 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.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on April 27, 2012.

The Latest
NEWS
Viking DNA Highlights Post-Babel Genetic Diversity
The standard theme often given for Viking history is that of blond-haired, blued-eyed, burly men exploring, trading, ransacking, and pillaging across Europe,...

NEWS
Getting Carbon into the First Cell
Today’s secular mindset replaces “In the beginning God…” with “In the beginning, hydrogen….” The extreme specificity...

NEWS
Secular Science Struggles to Explain Origin of Earth’s Water
Tim Clarey, Ph.D., and Jake Hebert, Ph.D. Secular scientists continue to struggle to explain the origin of Earth’s water. And a new study...

NEWS
South American Plant Fossils Confirm Flood Boundary
Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D. Fossil pollen, leaf and fruit impressions, and petrified wood taken from multiple locations...

NEWS
Record-Breaking Mouse, Higher Than Any Mammal
Recently, researchers have reported on the world’s “highest-dwelling mammal,” the yellow-rumped leaf-eared mouse, observed upon a dormant...

NEWS
Was This Cave Bear Really “Prehistoric”?
The preserved carcass of a “prehistoric” cave bear has been discovered in melting permafrost on an Arctic Russian Island.1,2 Reindeer...

NEWS
Have Scientists Found Life on Venus?
Secular scientists are obsessed with attempting to show that life on Earth is not unique and therefore must exist, if not elsewhere in our solar system...

NEWS
Inside October 2020 Acts & Facts
What is ICR’s vision for the next chapter of creation ministry? Why do mosquitoes attack humans? How did we celebrate the first anniversary of...

ACTS & FACTS
Abound in This Grace
One of the strongest exhortations for Christian giving is found in Paul’s encouragement to the believers in Corinth. In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul...

APOLOGETICS
Food Web Ecology Corroborates Scripture
Real-world ecology supports the Bible’s trustworthiness. Accordingly, how creatures get and use food matches how Scripture describes our world.1-3 Food...