The prevalent belief that birds evolved from dinosaurs is continuing its downward spiral, as circumstantial evidence further mounts upon a pile so large that, well, it would take more than a T-Rex to push it over.
Let there be no misunderstanding. Not all evolutionists support the dino-to-bird theory on scientific grounds, such as Dr. Alan Feduccia, professor and former head of biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the author of the encyclopedic The Origin and Evolution of Birds (1999). One aspect of the faulty theory Feduccia enjoys pointing out is "the time problem in that superficially bird-like dinosaurs occurred some 25 million to 80 million years after the earliest known bird, which is 150 million years old."
Not long ago, Dr. Feduccia published a significant paper in Science after he and Dr. Julie Nowicki opened a series of live ostrich eggs at various stages of development and found what they believe to be proof that birds could not have descended from dinosaurs. In his own words:
"Whatever the ancestor of birds was, it must have had five fingers, not the three-fingered hand of theropod dinosaurs. Scientists agree that dinosaurs developed 'hands' with digits one, two and three -- which are the same as the thumb, index and middle fingers of humans -- because digits four and five remain as vestiges or tiny bumps on early dinosaur skeletons. Apparently many dinosaurs developed very specialized, almost unique 'hands' for grasping and raking. Our studies of ostrich embryos, however, showed conclusively that in birds, only digits two, three and four, which correspond to the human index, middle and ring fingers, develop, and we have pictures to prove it.
"This creates a new problem for those who insist that dinosaurs were ancestors of modern birds. How can a bird hand, for example, with digits two, three and four evolve from a dinosaur hand that has only digits one, two and three? That would be almost impossible."
Simply put, if birds evolved from dinosaurs, one would assume common genes. With common genes there would in turn be common development in the embryo. This, however, is not the case.
True. If one views a chicken skeleton and a dinosaur skeleton through binoculars they appear similar, but close and detailed examination reveals many differences, Feduccia said. Theropod dinosaurs, for example, had curved, serrated teeth, but the earliest birds had straight, unserrated peg-like teeth. They also had a different method of tooth implantation and replacement.
One of the most common proofs of evolution is the pentadactyl limb patterns, or the five-digit limbs, found in amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. They develop, however, in a strikingly different manner in amphibians and the other groups. The human embryo, for instance, develops a thickening on the limb tip called the AER, which stands for apical ectodermal ridge. It is then divided by programmed cell death (apoptosis) into five regions which then develop into fingers and toes. In frogs, on the other hand (no pun intended), the digits grow outwards from buds as cells divide.
Even if developments were similar among different species, or kinds, it would be quite a strain to use them as evolutionary evidence. Just as a car has a similar beginning at the manufacturing plant to a train, most would agree that both were manufactured separately, and that both were designed for a specific, unique purpose.
It is so very difficult to suppress personal bias in the blinding light of scientific evidence. A popular dinosaur website eloquently states it best: "Dinosaurs were warm-blooded, T. rex was a fearsome predator, and birds ARE dinosaurs -- because it just wouldn't be cool any other way." Indeed, it would be cool for dinosaurs to have been warm-blooded (very well may have been), for T-Rex to have been a fearsome hunter (most likely not), and the birds we see today to have once been those amazing dinosaurs of the past (most definitely not), but although it is difficult to admit it, the truth isn't always "cool."
T-Rex Slow, Not Sprinting
Authority Explorer - 3/20/02
To dogmatically state that the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex couldn't run worth a lick seems rather bull-headed, but, as evidence shows, it really looks to be the case. True Authority, like few other sites, won't spin you the story. We state the facts, give our opinion, and then make you, the reader, think about it. Let's take a look at this recent headline.
Theories about T-Rex being slow aren't anything new. They've been around for awhile. But at Stanford University in California new models of the leg muscles of T-Rex suggest that a real specimen may not have been able to run at all. Contrary to what Hollywood wants to hear, this could change everyone's view of the ferocious, agile creature we've all come to know.
"There is no way you could fit enough muscle into its body for that kind of locomotion," says John Hutchinson, co-author of an article appearing in the British-produced journal Nature. "You wouldn't have enough room left over for all the other body parts."
While some paleontologists compare the dinosaur's long, slender legs with those of an ostrich or horse, Stanford researchers, as well as others, say that a 45mph sprinting T-Rex is hodge-podge considering the animals enormous size. Using biomechanics, they created a computer model to analyze how much leg muscle mass is necessary for running.
"It is a simple model, although realistic enough to capture the principles of locomotion," said Hutchinson. "First, you have a stick figure model, with a bunch of segments joined by joints. Then you assign weights to those segments and compute the physics of the posture. When the foot is joined to the ground, you can compute the forces."
The computer model showed that in order for T-Rex to run 45 miles per hour, as much as 86 percent of its weight might have had to be leg muscle mass. That, according to Hutchinson, is ridiculous.
Can history shed any light on the subject? Accounts of dragons, some of their descriptions remarkably similar to a Tyrannosaurus, say that the animals were slow, yet deadly. For more information, see Dinosaurs In History.
Evidence suggests that the mother of birds were, simply put, birds. Often our imaginations get the best of us, and imagination, no matter how realistic it may be in our minds, doesn't go hand in hand with science. It is its worst enemy, in fact, and must be destroyed in the mind of every scientist.
1. Tribune news services, 'Dinosaurs not ancestors of birds, new study says,' Chicago Tribune, 24 October 1997, p.20.
2. Creation Magazine, 25(1): 'Ostrich eggs break dino-to-bird theory,' p. 34-35, 2003.
3. Authority Explorer, ''T-Rex Slow, Not Sprinting', March 2002.