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Feathered dinosaur fossils find has Chinese scientists all aflutter - Comments

TGarrett's Avatar Comment 1 by TGarrett

Almost a Crock-a-duck! We win again - we've got the fossils.

Sat, 26 Sep 2009 12:11:00 UTC | #401011

Fuzzy Duck's Avatar Comment 2 by Fuzzy Duck

I so want one of these as a pet. Though my favorite feathered theropod remains the mallard.


Kevin

Sat, 26 Sep 2009 12:28:00 UTC | #401016

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 3 by Jos Gibbons

I wish they wouldn't act as if these fossils "confirmed" what we basically already knew. It not only exaggerates the importance of individual fossils, but also misrepresents our level of ignorance or uncertainty about the ancestry of modern birds. This happens a lot with journalists' coverage of primates too.

Sat, 26 Sep 2009 12:48:00 UTC | #401019

Thomas Byrne's Avatar Comment 4 by Thomas Byrne

Wow. The amount of gaps is increasing.

Sat, 26 Sep 2009 15:16:00 UTC | #401068

digibud's Avatar Comment 5 by digibud

I very much doubt this is true. It would mean that life evolved over a long period of time and not the 6,000 years we know. Whoa! Must have been channeling a creationist for a moment! In all seriousness, at SOME point there has to be a creationist that says, "Ok, I give up. These discoveries make logical sense. I was wrong all this time." Maybe we need a web page for creationists that now "see the light".

Sat, 26 Sep 2009 15:45:00 UTC | #401079

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 6 by mordacious1

The paper on this is here:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7264/pdf/nature08322.pdf

Give it some time to load, it's a pdf file, but it is well worth the wait.

Sat, 26 Sep 2009 17:53:00 UTC | #401126

chuckg's Avatar Comment 7 by chuckg

I'm incredibly impressed by the Chinese paleontologists, and I like how they named it in honor of Huxley. They couldn't have thought of a greater guy to honor ... oh maybe one, RD!

Sat, 26 Sep 2009 18:57:00 UTC | #401145

ridelo's Avatar Comment 8 by ridelo

I suppose that if a modern bird like an eagle would be transposed to those times in a time machine he would be in advantage like an F16 among biplanes.
Those 'birds' seem rather clumsy. Prototypes.

Sat, 26 Sep 2009 21:10:00 UTC | #401175

Actaeon's Avatar Comment 9 by Actaeon

This really proves that creationists haven't got a flying chance of survival. Our evidence is evolving; they are going the way of the Dodo.

Sat, 26 Sep 2009 23:09:00 UTC | #401183

NakedCelt's Avatar Comment 10 by NakedCelt

Comment #419255 by digibud:

In all seriousness, at SOME point there has to be a creationist that says, "Ok, I give up. These discoveries make logical sense. I was wrong all this time."
For any given discovery, I'm sure there are a few somewhere. I'm an ex-creationist.
Maybe we need a web page for creationists that now "see the light".
I'm willing to help start one.

Sun, 27 Sep 2009 01:20:00 UTC | #401196

dumbcountryhick's Avatar Comment 11 by dumbcountryhick

First they tried to make theropod dinos evolve into birds from the ground up.
But when that didn't fly they moved them into the trees so they could evolve flight gradually from the trees down just like the 'mythical' thecodont or crocodilomorph of old.
But long hind limbs directed below the pelvis and relatively short forearms are not so great for an arboreal lifestyle.
So what's next£ You guesses it! We'll just redefine theropod as any small arboreal archosaur that is a plausible protoavis and our troubles are over!
If your not using science you gotta use something.

Sun, 27 Sep 2009 02:22:00 UTC | #401199

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 12 by Bonzai

The creationist would say this is the remain of some winged monster described somewhere in the bible.

Sun, 27 Sep 2009 02:28:00 UTC | #401200

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 13 by alaskansee

Well it's a funny thing to say but thank mankind the fossils were found in China! Not the highest standards for human rights but at least they're able to call a crocoduck a crocoduck.

I'm off to the Badlands now. (10% of the worlds fossil finds) Last time we took the kids, the oldest walked down the ramp into the (Tyrell) museum and said in the loudest voice you could imagine "I can't believe it". The look on his face helped the effect but the laughs from everyone else in the museum were priceless.

That's the way people should learn about evolution.

Sun, 27 Sep 2009 06:39:00 UTC | #401219

maxamillion's Avatar Comment 14 by maxamillion

While this does seem to be a remarkable find, I will be pleased when some more analysis is done on this thing.

The artist's impression has four legs, that's OK, but what's with the claws on the wings? How would that fit with the homology of a Bird or a Dinosaur?

Sun, 27 Sep 2009 07:44:00 UTC | #401228

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 15 by phasmagigas

maxamillion

The artist's impression has four legs, that's OK, but what's with the claws on the wings? How would that fit with the homology of a Bird or a Dinosaur?


claws on wings would be expected amongst the early bird cousins. If you mean the digit allocation of dinos/birds which apparently didnt match and questioned the dinosaurian origin of birds, that seems to have been explained by some 'frame shifting' of the development of the digits in question.

some modern birds have claws on their wings which could be ancestral (hoatzin chick, emu)

Sun, 27 Sep 2009 11:39:00 UTC | #401249

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 16 by phasmagigas

tgarret

Almost a Crock-a-duck! We win again - we've got the fossils.


nope, once the crocoduck is found they will ask for the man-o-scorpion or maybe the chicken-0-worm.

its funny but somehow creationists find the missing crocoduck fossil a plausible refutation of evolution but if you throw the man-o-scorpion ot the horse-o-dandelion at them they'd start looking confused (i cant think why, same sillyness, different groups)

Sun, 27 Sep 2009 11:51:00 UTC | #401250

maxamillion's Avatar Comment 17 by maxamillion

phasmagigas #15

some modern birds have claws on their wings which could be ancestral (hoatzin chick, emu)


Thanks for that I had forgotten about the Emu chicks.

Sun, 27 Sep 2009 12:02:00 UTC | #401251

The Truth, the light's Avatar Comment 18 by The Truth, the light

NakedCelt, what evidence eventually caused you to give up creationism?

Sun, 27 Sep 2009 19:55:00 UTC | #401380

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 19 by alaskansee

Yes, congratulations to you NakedCelt, it's hard for many of us to imagine being in your position and we'd like to hear your story.

I think of Richards comments on the appreciation of science at these moments because I'm happy that a mind has been opened to the amazing depth, detail, interest and stuff of it all NOT the whole "fuck you we got one of yours" feelings.

Again kudos to you being able to see through the smoke.

Mon, 28 Sep 2009 05:06:00 UTC | #401476

NakedCelt's Avatar Comment 20 by NakedCelt

I've discussed my story in a general kind of way before now; much of it can be found on Other Comments. If you're looking for hope that what convinced me can be applied to other creationists, I'm afraid you're in for a disappointment. My story is not very typical. I grew up in a theistic-evolutionist home within a majority creationist church; my mother was a biology teacher from before I was born until her recent retirement from that position. (She is also, since a few years ago, a Baptist minister.) So I always had plenty of access to popular science material. In fact, two of my childhood fascinations were dinosaurs and primates. I think it's safe to say I knew more about evolution than most teenagers do when I rejected it.
You can read every evolution book ever written for children and still miss an awful lot of it. Very few go into the actual evidence, apart from the fossil record, which not coincidentally is the part the creationists also concentrate on. I knew about continental drift, because it was mentioned in some of the dinosaur books, but I'd never seen a discussion of geology as such beyond the very basic igneous/sedimentary/metamorphic classification.
As a teenager I wanted to figure things out for myself, rather than having them served up for me by other people. I was also getting involved with my church youth group and wanted to excel at enthusiasm for Christianity. So I set about figuring out an alternative, God-centred history of the planet.
At first I gave up dinosaurs and primates for the Bible. Then along came Jurassic Park when I was fifteen. I had to find out about dinosaurs, and it so happened my high school had a copy of Robert Bakker's The Dinosaur Heresies.
Now I wouldn't recommend The Dinosaur Heresies as an unbiased approach to dinosaurs. Yet, while his discussion of sedimentary geology is fairly hasty and simplistic, it was still better than anything else I had seen. Bakker gave clear and simple evidence that, in one place relevant to his thesis, the sediments had been subject to repeated drying and cracking in between floods. That was a severe blow to my belief that Noah's Flood had created most fossiliferous rocks.
I had a simple answer for why there seemed to be a rough continuity between extinct animals and living ones. God, I believed, had made it that way so that human beings would see they were part of life on Earth and be humbled. But that didn't explain the whale born with a leg sticking out of its side that Bakker mentioned in his argument about clavicles (dinosaurs mostly lack them, birds have big ones, therefore, the argument used to go, birds can't be directly descended from dinosaurs. Bakker argued that the genes for clavicles were present but inactive in many dinosaurs and were reactivated when birds came on the scene). Why would God put genes for non-existent appendages in his creations?
I'd also read the entire Bible. Once, I read it in a week, to prove I could. The bloodthirstiness didn't bother me at that age; presumably the people killed by God or at God's command were like the bullies at my schools and deserved it. No, the thing that bugged me morally was Jesus' words from the Cross in Luke's gospel: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Forgive them, when they hadn't repented? All my teachers said that was impossible!
Trying to figure out precise genealogies -- now, that was another thing. Matthew and Luke didn't fit each other, and there were clear mismatches between them and Genesis and Chronicles. Likewise, Ezra and Nehemiah clearly described the same events around the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and yet their numbers didn't match. Evidently the Bible was not as inerrant as all that.
Because of my whole alternative-creation-theory project, I picked up biology at seventh-form level, and started University on a geology major with some zoology papers on the side. Here, for the first time, I was really presented with the evidence for an old Earth and evolution in large chunks.
Habit takes a while to die, though. I remember very clearly my second or third geology field trip. We were looking at an outcrop of sedimentary strata which, our instructor said, were from about the Miocene. There were layers of coal and layers of marine mudstone, a centimetre or two thick each, alternating. Clearly, the instructor said, this must have been a coastal area during a time of variable sea level -- sometimes above water and forested (hence the coal), sometimes submerged (hence the mudstone). For a reason I didn't immediately understand, I found this hard to deal with. Then I realized that I was trying to figure out an alternative flood-geology scenario in my head, as I'd been doing for three or four years, and there simply wasn't one. And then I knew I didn't have to do that any more. Noah's Flood had never been the explanation.
I don't regret my years as a creationist, for a very simple reason. Everything I read assumed, but didn't argue, evolution, so I developed an ingrained habit of asking "Yes, but how do you know?" and trying to figure out an alternative explanation. I'm willing to bet that's not usual for creationists. That habit swept away my creationism itself when I allowed it to, and went on to demolish my faith entirely -- which, to my very great surprise, made my life a lot better. But that's another story.

Wed, 30 Sep 2009 04:26:00 UTC | #402113

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 21 by Billy Sands

The finds date back to between 151m and 164m years ago, which suggest they are older than archaeopteryx, previously thought to be the oldest undisputed bird.


To be pedantic, it actually has more dinosaur like than bird like features. This is quite important because creationist just claim that it is just a perching bird (despite the fact that it does not have a reversed hallux)

Wed, 30 Sep 2009 10:23:00 UTC | #402176