I’m cheating here, summarizing an article published in the June 2012 issue of “Acts and Facts”, which is a free publication of the “Institute for Creation Research”, or “ICR”.
The article, written by Frank Sherwin and Brian Thomas, was prompted by a recent fossil find in China which is said to be “another” specimen of a fossilized dinosaur complete with feathers. The implication of course is that these creatures were mid way between being dinosaurs and birds.
The animal, named “Yutyrannus huali” is said to be a “gigantic feathered dinosaur”, “the largest yet found”. Such were the headlines.
However, when you start to read below the headlines, or to listen to the information following the sensational TV announcements, you find that the “feathers” are subsequently called “feather-like structures” or something rather more technical, scientific-sounding, and impressive, such as “protofeathers”.
The article’s authors point out the major, and huge, differences between what has been found and real, actual bird feathers as we know them. For example, real bird feathers have semi-hollow cores and branching barbs, and the fossil’s filaments do not.
Further, neither dinosaur skin impressions nor original dinosaur skin has follicles similar to those that produce feathers in birds.
The Yutyrannus huali was a Chinese tyrannosaur. Somehow I just can’t picture a tyrannosaur – a “gigantic feathered dinosaur”, perching in a tree or on a cliff edge, leaping into the air, and then gliding gracefully to the ground, even if it had managed to climb the tree in a desperate search for food.
Sherwin and Thomas state that the so-called “feathers” are more logically interpreted as being fossilized fragments of partly decayed skin.
Skin contains collagen protein fibers that decay more quickly than the soluble biomaterials that surround them. In an environment such as the Flood of Noah’s day, the dinosaurs would have begun rotting while being transported by the waters. The soluble flesh rotted first. The collagen fibers would have soon rotted too, “but the surrounding mud or wet sand quickly turned to dry rock that inhibited growth of collagen-eating microbes”.
The authors give an example of a 2005 comparison of partially decayed skin from a variety of animal carcasses with dinosaur “feathers”. The evolutionary authors of the study said that calling dinosaur fossil structures “feathers” is misleading.
Of course, Archeopteryx is the famous alleged link via theropod dinosaurs between reptiles and birds. Sherwin and Thomas point out some of the major differences between the structure of a bird and that of a theropod, saying that “no evidence supports the story that such fully formed wings (as the archaeopteryx had) with fused clavicles ‘evolved from’ the tiny., clavicle-free theropod forelimbs”. They state confidently that Archeopteryx was all bird, without a single transitional structure.
One thing that dinosaur-feather believers choose to ignore is that fossil bird prints have been found in rock layers supposedly containing some of the “earliest” dinosaurs.
The authors make the point that even if a true feathered dinosaur were to be found one day, it would not solve evolution’s huge problem of converting a reptile skeleton into that of a bird.
Dinosaurs and birds were created as distinct “kinds” at the beginning of all life as recorded in the early chapters of Genesis.
For the full article complete with pictures, and its references, follow this link:
To peruse ICR’s entire inspiring and informative web site, which includes articles on many contemporary subjects in the creation/ evolution debate, try this one: