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1/05 - Alison writes
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Mr. Niednagel - I am doing a science project on the Archaeopteryx, and I was hoping that you could answer a few questions for me. What were some of the predators to the Archaeopteryx? How did the Archaeopteryx's anatomy give it an advantage over other living creatures during the Jurassic time period? How intelligent was the Archaeopteryx? Did the Archaeopteryx nurture its young?
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Thank you for writing, Alison. I normally don't take multiple question submissions for our monthly Q&A, but I felt that Archaeopteryx is such an important topic that it should be dealt with. I fear that my answers, however, may not be the answers you're looking for, but as I'm not one to beat around the bush, I'll give it to you straight.

First, in case you have yet to read it, take the time to browse an article I wrote a few months back entitled Archaeopteryx: The Bird (under C vs E). Now, above all else, Alison, you must realize that Archaeopteryx was a true bird; not a missing link, but as much of a bird as any bird alive today. True, it was a different type of bird, but a bird nonetheless. Mainstream science is now even beginning to agree with this. "Despite its teeth and bony tail, Archaeopteryx was clearly a bird, as it had wings fringed with long flight feathers exactly like those of birds today." (David Lambert, Guide to Dinosaurs, Dorling Kindersley, p. 52, 2000)

Question #1: Archae was a flyer, so by looking at various predators that modern birds have today, we can probably get somewhat of a clear picture as to what predators Archae would have had, such as larger, carnivorous birds, snakes, etc.

Question #2: Space doesn't allow me to delve into the various evolutionary time periods (Triassic, Jurassic, etc), but these periods are based on faulty interpretations of the supposed "Geologic Column," which doesn't exist in its entirety any place on earth (please see Sept Q&A).

Question #3: The general consensus now is that the brain of Archae was essentially that of a flying bird, with a large cerebellum and visual cortex. So, in terms of determining Archae intelligence, it would again be wise to study modern birds.

Question #4: Again, because Archae was a bird, there is little reason to think that it raised and cared for its young much differently then present-day birds. The question is: which type of bird did Archae's habits most resemble? That's an article of itself.

Thanks for writing,

Jordan Niednagel





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Cryptozoology - The study of the hidden animal world, cryptozoology is a science of speculation and surprise, involving the search for animals thought to be extinct to new creatures never before identified.


Creation vs Evolution - What was popularized in 1859 by former Christian turned agnostic, Charles Darwin, has in our day become one of the most hotly contested and sharply dividing issues to be found anywhere.


Dinosaurs - Considerable controversy surrounds dinosaurs, from their place in history to their color, habits, and overall physiology. As viewpoints collide, the search for answers continues.



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