“Exceptionally well preserved” fossils discovered in China purportedly show feathered dinosaurs from more than 150 million years ago, making them older than alleged dino-bird Archaeopteryx. A study of one fossil was published last week in the journal Nature http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7264/full/nature08322.html A Pre-Archaeopteryx Troodontid Theropod from China with Long Feathers on the Metatarsus”), and other details were presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Creationists have good grounds for considering Archaeopteryx a true bird.
The fossils, such as one named Anchiornis huxleyi, bear the imprints of what could be interpreted as feathers as well as the usual bones (see an image of the fossil slab from the Nature article). “All over the skeleton, you see feathers. . . . We realized that this was a much more important species, and definitely one of the most important species for our understanding of the origin of birds and of their flight,” said paleontologist Xing Xu of Shenyang Normal University.
University of Bristol paleontologist Michael Benton, who was not involved in the study, commented, “Drawing the tree of life, it’s fairly obvious that feathers arose before Archaeopteryx appears in the fossil record.” Of course, creationists have no bone to pick over that; if feathers “arose” on Day 5 of Creation Week (Genesis 1:20–23), and if most of the fossil record was formed almost two millennia later (Genesis 7:21–23), then feathers would indeed have arisen before Archaeopteryx remains were fossilized.
Creationists have good grounds for considering Archaeopteryx a true bird. For example, several types of birds in the fossil record have teeth. As for the “feathered dinosaur claims,” such fossils have never shown undisputed feathers, but rather vague representations that could be interpreted as something other than feathers.
In other words, there is a clear distinction between fossil dinosaurs and fossil birds, which corresponds with the fact that evolutionists cannot explain how reptilian scales could have evolved into avian feathers (which are an incredibly sophisticated design, totally different from scales). Of course, if—hypothetically—feathered dinosaurs had existed, even that would not prove dinosaur-to-bird evolution; we would merely understand that some created dinosaur kinds were feathered.
Like Archaeopteryx, A. huxleyi was probably a unique (and, obviously, now-extinct) avian creature that showed some traits that modern birds either lost over the years, or that other bird kinds never had. But their commitment to a specific interpretation of the fossil record’s dates means that evolutionists place this fossil at more than 150 million years ago—the time of dinosaurs. Hence, in their eyes, A. huxleyi can only be a dinosaur.
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