The Classification of Living Things Fossils Reject the "Tree of Life"
The Burgess Shale Fossils Molecular Comparisons Deepen Evolution's Cambrian Impasse
Trilobites vs. Darwin The Origin of Vertebrates The Origin of Tetrapods
Speculations About Cœlacanth Physical Obstacles to Transition from Water to Land
The Origin of Reptiles Snakes and Turtles Flying Reptiles Marine Reptiles












 Flying Reptiles

One interesting group within the reptile class are flying reptiles. These first emerged some 200 million years ago in the Upper Triassic, but subsequently became extinct. These creatures were all reptiles, because they possessed all the fundamental characteristics of the reptile class. They were cold-blooded (i.e., they could not regulate their own internal heat) and their bodies were covered in scales. But they possessed powerful wings, and it is thought that these allowed them to fly.

Flying reptiles are portrayed in some popular evolutionist publications as paleontological discoveries that support Darwinism-at least, that is the impression given. However, the origin of flying reptiles is actually a real problem for the theory of evolution. The clearest indication of this is that flying reptiles emerged suddenly and fully formed, with no intermediate form between them and terrestrial reptiles. Flying reptiles possessed very well designed wings, which no terrestrial reptile possesses. No half-winged creature has ever been encountered in the fossil record.


A Eudimorphodon fossil, one of the oldest species of flying reptiles. This specimen, found in northern Italy, is some 220 million years old.

In any case, no half-winged creature could have lived, because if these imaginary creatures had existed, they would have been at a grave disadvantage compared to other reptiles, having lost their front legs but being still unable to fly. In that event, according to evolution's own rules, they would have been eliminated and become extinct.

In fact, when flying reptiles' wings are examined, they have such a flawless design that this could never be accounted for by evolution. Just as other reptiles have five toes on their front feet, flying reptiles have five digits on their wings. But the fourth finger is some 20 times longer than the others, and the wing stretches out under that finger. If terrestrial reptiles had evolved into flying reptiles, then this fourth finger must have grown gradually step by step, as time passed. Not just the fourth finger, but the whole structure of the wing, must have developed with chance mutations, and this whole process would have had to bring some advantage to the creature. Duane T. Gish, one of the foremost critics of the theory of evolution on the paleontological level, makes this comment:


A fossil flying reptile of the species Pterodactylus kochi. This specimen, found in Bavaria, is about 240 million years old.

The very notion that a land reptile could have gradually been converted into a flying reptile is absurd. The incipient, part-way evolved structures, rather than conferring advantages to the intermediate stages, would have been a great disadvantage. For example, evolutionists suppose that, strange as it may seem, mutations occurred that affected only the fourth fingers a little bit at a time. Of course, other random mutations occurring concurrently, incredible as it may seem, were responsible for the gradual origin of the wing membrane, flight muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and other structures necessary to form the wings. At some stage, the developing flying reptile would have had about 25 percent wings. This strange creature would never survive, however. What good are 25 percent wings? Obviously the creature could not fly, and he could no longer runÖ100

In short, it is impossible to account for the origin of flying reptiles with the mechanisms of Darwinian evolution. And in fact the fossil record reveals that no such evolutionary process took place. Fossil layers contain only land reptiles like those we know today, and perfectly developed flying reptiles. There is no intermediate form. Carroll, who is one of the most respected names in the world in the field of vertebrate paleontology, makes the following admission as an evolutionist:

...all the Triassic pterosaurs were highly specialized for flight... They provide little evidence of their specific ancestry and no evidence of earlier stages in the origin of flight.101


The wings of flying reptiles extend along a "fourth finger" some 20 times longer than the other fingers. The important point is that this interesting wing structure emerges suddenly and fully formed in the fossil record. There are no examples indicating that this "fourth finger" grew gradually-in other words, that it evolved.

Carroll, more recently, in his Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution, counts the origin of pterosaurs among the important transitions about which not much is known.102

To put it briefly, there is no evidence for the evolution of flying reptiles. Because the term "reptile" means only land-dwelling reptiles for most people, popular evolutionist publications try to give the impression regarding flying reptiles that reptiles grew wings and began to fly. However, the fact is that both land-dwelling and flying reptiles emerged with no evolutionary relationship between them.

100 Duane T. Gish, Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No, ICR, San Diego, 1998, p. 103.
101 Robert L. Carroll, Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. p. 336. (emphasis added)
102 Robert L. Carroll, Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution, Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 296-97.