Feathered Dinos, Dino-Birds and their True Identities
Feathered dinosaurs and birds being classified as dinosaurs are popular topics these days in the science circuit. Unfortunately, the sole true purpose of this portrayal is to seemingly further evidence for Darwinian evolution on the macro scale. Because of this, amny new "evidences" have come to light, especially within the last two decades, that seemingly show solid, fossil evidence of dinosaurs clade in plumage or of animals transitioning from reptile to ave.
Here we will dissect the most famous examples of such transmutations and explain their true identities based on fossil evidence and critical examination.
One of the most famous feathered dino finds of all time has been Sinosauropteryx (Chinese Reptilian Wing), a small Compsognathid theropod unearthed in 1996 in the Liaoning province of China. It has been made famous in recent years due to it's supposed covering of primitive feathers and the fact that it is the first dinosaur to have it's real coloring discovered and portrayed by researchers.
Sinosauropteryx was a small species of dinosaur, the largest known specimens do not exceed 3.5 feet long. A number of these animals have been uncovered as fossils, curiously with what appears to be the remains of some form of external covering that many quickly interpreted as proto feathers. Paleoartists and scientific media outlets around the globe began putting out articles with well done portraits of Sinosauropteryx covered in primitive feathers, especially after the animals' natural coloring was reportedly discovered.
However, these journals and artists seemed to have jumped the gun (as is often the case with sketchy cases) in displaying to the masses a caramel colored fuzzy dino. It is has since been called into question as to the actual fossil evidence for proto feathers on these creatures. There is indeed the remains of some type of external covering. The issue is not over the evidence of such fossilized remains, but over the identification of what this covering actually is the remains of.
It has been argued by many researchers that the frayed remains were in fact not the remains of feather-like structures, but in fact the frayed remnants of collagen fibers. A number of proponents of the feather ID have pointed out that color has supposedly been found in the structures, however Professor Theagarten Lingham-Soliar at the University of Kwazulu Natal of South Africa has criticized the claimof coloring as "an optical illusion created when the scanning electron micrograph is reproduced at low image size". So it seems as most of the claims about this little reptile have been hyoed beyond the evidence.
One clue as to the true identity of the structures jutting from the body of Sinosauropteryx in some specimens comes from the classic "dead dino posture" with head and neck thrown backwards over the body. This pose is extremely common in fossil animals around the globe, especially dinosaurs. It is actually the result of the process known as Opisthotonus, the severe muscle spasms caused by the nervous system malfunctioning due to oxygen deprivation. This is very consistent with drowning in a flood as scripture describes happened some time around 2300 BC.
This posture of having the head pulled back over the body is caused when the animals death throes are caused by the muscle spasms (opisthotonus), which caused the buckling of the thick integument (the animal's skin). This would only be possible if the animal had a crest running down it's back instead of many proto feathers. This makes sense seeing as how comprehensive tensile strength would be necessary for such fraying and damage to occur to the animal, possible only with a crest running the length of it's tail and body similar to that of many modern lizards such as the Green Basilisk (Basiliscus Prumifrons). In addition to this, the tail of Sinosauropteryx ends in a smooth, narrow surafce, diffuclt for the attachment of feathers. Also, Sinosauropteryx is considered to have lived in a swampy environment, so a crest would have been quite useful for swimming.
One last point is the note that several experiments ahve been performed on diceased chickens that, when submerged in water, begin arching their neck back akin to the "dino death pose" due to their ligamentum elasticum having less resistance as muscle and other tissue around it decayed. The ligamentum elasticum is naturally taught, so as tissue around it decays, it encounters less resistance and naturally pulls the head and tail of many animals into the arched back position we often see in dinosaur fossils.
So it seems as though despite what many researchers and scientific journals have promoted, Sinosauropteryx was far from being a fuzzy dino,but wasmuch more akin to certain modern day semiaquatic lizard species. It would be quite intersting to see such an animal in it's natural environment.
One of the most famous fossils in history, Archaeopteryx has caused quite a stir since it was brought to light in 1861 in Germany. It was long used as absolute proof of Darwinian evolution. Heralded as a transition between reptiles and birds. After all, it had a long tail and teeth and claws like reptiles have. And it also had feathers and wings like all good birds do. So who could dispute such rock hard proof against the old fashioned biblical account of origins and history?
It may come as a shock to many that while Archaeopteryx is indeed a legitimate fossilized creature, it is far from being proof of evolution, as has been shown numerous times since it's discovery and promulgation in the 19th century. We have learned a great deal about this creature since it was discovered. 1)We have discovered tiny bumps on it's bones where ligaments connected the feathers to the body.
2)It's feathers have been examined and described in much greater detail so that we know it's feathers were fully formed and functional for flight, just as those of modern birds.
3)We now know that the feathers had veins and barbules like modern birds.
4)We have discovered melanosomes in fossil feathers and iit is now thought that it's feathers were black in color (assuming the tests yielded accurate results).
5) CT scans have revealed that Archaeopteryx had a brain like that of modern birds, three times as large as the brain of a dinosaur of the same size.
6) It had large optic lobes for processing the visual input for flying, an adaptation necessary for flying animals.
7) It's inner ear was similar to that of modern birds.
There are a few other evidences suggesting Archaeopteryx is a bird as well such as perceived flight ability and the fact that it had perching feet. All of these factors make it virtually impossible for Archaeopteryx to have been a forgery given the effort it would have taken and the knowledge at the time of discovery.
Far from being a reptile fossil with feathers superimposed on it to produce a fake fossil, and far from being an intermediate creature between reptiles and birds, Archaeopteryx was in fact a genuine, fully functional bird. However, while it was a bird it was a truly unique bird, with features uncommon in many modern birds such as clawed fingers, it seems to have been more suited to gliding and climbing than flying, much smaller pelvic bones, teeth, and a number of other differences. However, despite it's unique traits, it was indeed a fully formed bird and everything that makes a bird, a bird, was there. For all purposes of classification it was indeed a true bird. It can no more be used as evidence for evolution than the platypus or any other creature we know of. It was simply a unique bird, and one we wouldlove to know more about.
Over the years many Christians have proclaimed that Archaeopteryx is a hoax, a forgery invented by evolutionists in an attempt to support their beliefs and discredit the biblical account. While evolution and bad science have certainly done much damage to the relationship with our Lord formillions of people, Archaeopteryx being a hoax is simply not supported by the data. It has been demonstrably shown to have been a real animal, that in no way conflicts with the biblical view. There is no reason, scientific or scriptural to believe or teach that Archaeopteryx was a hoax.