to the question whether there is any fossil evidence for "reptile-bird
evolution," evolutionists pronounce the name of one single
creature. This is the fossil of a bird called Archaeopteryx,
one of the most widely known so-called transitional forms
among the very few that evolutionists still defend.
Archaeopteryx, the so-called ancestor
of modern birds according to evolutionists, lived approximately
150 million years ago. The theory holds that some small dinosaurs,
such as Velociraptors or Dromaeosaurs, evolved by acquiring
wings and then starting to fly. Thus, Archaeopteryx is assumed
to be a transitional form that branched off from its dinosaur
ancestors and started to fly for the first time.
However, the latest studies of Archaeopteryx
fossils indicate that this explanation lacks any scientific
foundation. This is absolutely not a transitional form, but
an extinct species of bird, having some insignificant differences
from modern birds.
| One of the important
pieces of evidence that Archaeopteryx was a flying bird
is its asymmetric feather structure. Above, one of the
creature's fossil feathers.
The thesis that Archaeopteryx was a
"half-bird" that could not fly perfectly was popular among
evolutionist circles until not long ago. The absence of a
sternum (breastbone) in this creature was held up as the most
important evidence that this bird could not fly properly.
(The sternum is a bone found under the thorax to which the
muscles required for flight are attached. In our day, this
breastbone is observed in all flying and non-flying birds,
and even in bats, a flying mammal which belongs to a very
different family.) However, the seventh Archaeopteryx
fossil, which was found in 1992, disproved this argument.
The reason was that in this recently discovered fossil, the
breastbone that was long assumed by evolutionists to be missing
was discovered to have existed after all. This fossil was
described in the journal Nature as follows:
The recently discovered
seventh specimen of the Archaeopteryx preserves a partial,
rectangular sternum, long suspected but never previously documented.
This attests to its strong flight muscles, but its capacity
for long flights is questionable.124
This discovery invalidated the mainstay of the
claims that Archaeopteryx was a half-bird that could not fly
Morevoer, the structure of the bird's feathers
became one of the most important pieces of evidence confirming
that Archaeopteryx was a flying bird in the true
sense. The asymmetric feather structure of Archaeopteryx
is indistinguishable from that of modern birds, and indicates
that it could fly perfectly well. As the eminent paleontologist
Carl O. Dunbar states, "Because of its feathers, [Archaeopteryx
is] distinctly to be classed as a bird."125
Paleontologist Robert Carroll further explains the subject:
The geometry of the
flight feathers of Archaeopteryx is identical with that
of modern flying birds, whereas nonflying birds have symmetrical
feathers. The way in which the feathers are arranged on
the wing also falls within the range of modern birds… According
to Van Tyne and Berger, the relative size and shape of the
wing of Archaeopteryx are similar to that of birds that
move through restricted openings in vegetation, such as
gallinaceous birds, doves, woodcocks, woodpeckers, and most
passerine birds… The flight feathers have been in stasis
for at least 150 million years…126
Another fact that was revealed by the structure
of Archaeopteryx's feathers was its warm-blooded
metabolism. As was discussed above, reptiles and dinosaurs
are cold-blooded animals whose body heat fluctuates with the
temperature of their environment, rather than being homeostatically
regulated. A very important function of the feathers on birds
is the maintenance of a constant body temperature. The fact
that Archaeopteryx had feathers shows that it was
a real, warm-blooded bird that needed to retain its body heat,
in contrast to dinosaurs.
O. Dunbar, Historical Geology, John Wiley and Sons,
New York, 1961, p. 310.
126 Robert L. Carroll, Patterns and
Processes of Vertebrate Evolution, Cambridge University
Press, 1997, p. 280-81.