Dinosaur Evolution Story Survives In Spite of Evidence

Posted on May 3, 2013 in Birds, Darwin and Evolution, Dating Methods, Dinosaurs, Fossils, Geology, Intelligent Design, Philosophy of Science, Politics and Ethics

The evolutionary story of extinction and the rise of dinosaurs faces challenges, but survives when the glue of imagination holds fragmentary evidence together.

A frequent kind of upset in many evolutionary scenarios is evidence that creatures and their ancestors appeared earlier than thought.  That’s what happened to dinosaur ancestors, according to Live Science: “Dinosaurs – or at least their ancestors – may have gotten an earlier start than once believed.

Fossils of archosaurs, thought to be dinosaur ancestors by evolutionists, appear in Africa and Antarctica doing just fine after the so-called Permian extinction that should have wiped them out along with 90% of other life forms, it is alleged.  One paleontologist has to insert a long hiatus into the evolutionary story: “We get the hint that the dinosaur radiation, which we don’t really see in the fossil record until about 20 million years later, is really starting to take off in this region.”

Yet the Permian extinction lacks any known cause: “No one knows why the mass extinction happened,” the article says.  Could it be an artifact of the evolutionary approach to the data, dependent upon a consensus? After all, “The fossil record around the Permian extinction is spotty,” the article says, “with most paleontological research coming from a few fossil sites in Russia and in South Africa.”  On that note, Science Daily cast some doubt on the venerable event itself.  Did 9 out of 10 species perish?  “It turns out, however, that scientists may have been looking in the wrong places.”

By piecing together two “snapshots” before and after the alleged Permian extinction using disconnected bits of fossil evidence from different parts of the world, Christian Sidor, a biologist at the University of Washington salvaged Darwinism.  He made up a story about different kinds of animals evolving to fill various niches in different ways after the presumed extinction.

That’s another evolutionary storytelling plot: if you loosen up the competition, evolution will take advantage of it.  From Science Daily:

These scientists have identified an outcome of mass extinctions–that species ecologically marginalized before the extinction may be ‘freed up’ to experience evolutionary bursts then dominate after the extinction,” says H. Richard Lane, program director in NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences.

According to the plot described by PhysOrg, Dicynodon, a pig-sized animal with a small tail, ever-growing tusks like an elephant and a beak like a turtle, was the dominant herbivore. “After the mass extinction at the end of the Permian, Dicynodon disappeared and other related species were so greatly decreased that newly emerging herbivores could suddenly compete with them.”  But how did these herbivores emerge?  Where did they come from?

Sidor even got political.  “He likened the change to politics: It’s hard to dislodge an incumbent politician, but once you do, anyone could step in to fill the gap,” Live Science said.  He made up a term for that, PhysOrg reported: “What we call evolutionary incumbency was fundamentally reset.”  Then Sidor alleged that humans are causing another mass extinction in our time.  So what?  Why couldn’t humans claim it’s just another reset of evolutionary incumbency?

These articles are based on a press release from the National Science Foundation that Astrobiology Magazine and others republished without comment. Sidor published his ideas in PNAS, where he introduced the concept of “evolutionary incumbency” as a kind of “biotic control” on evolution.  “The recognition of heterogeneous tetrapod communities in the Triassic implies that the end-Permian mass extinction afforded ecologically marginalized lineages the ecospace to diversify, and that biotic controls (i.e., evolutionary incumbency) were fundamentally reset,” the abstract states.  “Archosaurs, which began diversifying in the Early Triassic, were likely beneficiaries of this ecological release and remained dominant for much of the later Mesozoic.”  His thesis appears to rely on the proverb, “If you build it, they will come.”  Open up the ecospace and new creatures will emerge by blind, unguided processes of evolution.

Bird Evolution News

In other dinosaur news, PhysOrg claimed that Microraptor gui, a hawk-sized bird that was a good flyer with feathers and all, ate fish.  The article still calls it a “small flying dinosaur.”  Live Science pulled out a Darwinian icon for its headline, claiming that small feathered dinosaurs were “diverse like Darwin’s finches.”  Reporter Megan Gannon said this, replicating fallacies and misinformation:

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was famously inspired by the diversity of beak shapes among finches on the Galapagos Islands, which he took as a sign that the birds had somehow adapted to the specific environments where they lived. More recent research has shown that Darwin’s finches can evolve quite quickly. For instance, one species shrunk its beak size to better compete with another bird for small seeds in a mere two decades.

What Gannon failed to acknowledge was that beak size merely oscillated depending on the weather.  There was no net evolution.  Also, Darwin was not inspired by the finches.  The finch story came later after his ideas on evolution were already formed.  So what does this do for the idea that “feathered dinosaurs” were like Darwin’s finches?  Simply that they “may have similarly adjusted their beak size” in a similar way.  But did they do that on purpose?  A Yale postdoc made this statement: “So, in a way, the evolution of modern dinosaurs — birds — provides insight into ancient, extinct dinosaurs.

But the fossils she was talking about are caenagnathids.  No fossils of these small dinosaurs found in North America have been reported with feathers.  Wikipedia thinks they “would have been covered in feathers.”  Gannon posted an artist’s rendition of a recently-discovered Texas caenagnathid adorned with imaginary feathers – a trick evolutionists have been using for six years (2/08/06, 6/13/07, 9/29/08 commentary, 12/11/09 #2, 1/29/10 #1, 2/18/11 #4).

Speaking of birds, another story on Science Daily and Live Science claims that a bird that “lived after the time of dinosaurs” is the ancestor of hummingbirds and swifts: the analyses“suggest that the bird was an evolutionary precursor to the group that includes today’s swifts and hummingbirds.”  The small fossil, 12 centimeters from head to tail and estimated to weigh just an ounce, was found in the Green River formation of Wyoming.  The discoverers do not believe it could hover like hummingbirds or had any of the distinctive traits of the assumed progeny. Here’s the evolutionary spin: “The size of the fossil would indicate that the ancestors of swifts and hummingbirds evolved to be small before they gained their unique flying characteristics,” one of the researchers said.

The fossil contains soft tissue, too – remarkable for a specimen claimed to be 50 million years old: “carbon residues in the fossils — once thought to be traces of bacteria that fed on feathers — are fossilized melanosomes, tiny cell structures containing melanin pigments that give birds and other animals their color.”

For 12 years we have been showing that the Darwinian conception of earth history is a huge fabrication, built on imagination and ideology.  Fossils are mere props for a fictional story of millions of years that drives the search for credibility.  Since fossils are fragmentary and ambiguous, it is easy to fudge this or that caenagnathid or this or that dicynodon from Zambia or Tanzania into the Grand Myth.  Learn how it’s done.  Learn their catch-phrases (such and such “sheds light on evolution” etc.) and their propaganda techniques so that you won’t be snookered.  “Evolutionary incumbency”—good grief.  Clear the ecospace and watch the magic: new animals will just “emerge.”  If you build it, they will come.  The perpetrators of the myth are so inebriated with Darwine they can’t see what they are doing.  They think it’s science!  Well, what do you expect for research funded in part by the “Evolving Earth Foundation”?

A new book by Stephen Meyer, Darwin’s Doubt, is coming out in June.  It will show convincingly how the Cambrian explosion (all animal phyla appearing abruptly in the fossil record) undermines Darwinism and argues for intelligent design.  If you order now (click the link), you can get it at 43% off, plus receive four e-books as a bonus.  The Illustra film Darwin’s Dilemma is also excellent on that point, and Illustra’s new film Flight: The Genius of Birds gives strong evidence for intelligent design of birds as opposed to Darwinian stories about dino-to-bird evolution.  A two-volume work by PhD geologist Andrew Snelling, Earth’s Catastrophic Past (read a review), shows with examples from around the world that the evolutionary millions-of-years story cannot stand up to the overwhelming geological evidence for a worldwide flood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the mass extinction at the end of the Permian, Dicynodondisappeared and other related species were so greatly decreased that newly emerging herbivores could suddenly compete with them.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013–04-dinosaur-predecessors-gain-ground-world.html#jCp

3 Comments

Pikaia May 3, 2013

Paleontologists believe that certain kinds of dinosaurs probably had feathers because they’ve found so many with feathers lately that were already thought to be closely related because of skeletal evidence that they can safely assume that most of the remaining kinds had feathers. It’s like finding out that rats, mice, and hamsters have hair, then guessing that a gerbil has hair. It’s reasonable. And yes, it is partially based on the evidence that they share a common ancestor that also had feather-like structures. But you could predict it might have feathers just from the general similarity it has to other dinosaurs it’s classified with. So as long as creationists try to spin classification as being unrelated to evolution, they should also agree that caenagnathids probably had feathers. So how is that a trick? Try to keep your stories and misleadings straight.

Pikaia May 3, 2013

I’m not sure what misdeeds you’re ascribing to scientists in the story about the Permian extinction. Are you implying it never happened? If you’re implying that God caused the extinction then created new species to fill the space, where’s your evidence for THAT? Has anyone found God’s fossilized Permian footprint? If there’s no evidence for anything else, then why do you cast aspersions on the best conclusions based on the evidence that people have collected? That’s just science doing what it does. Trying to figure things out.

Editor May 3, 2013

Pikaia: I’m not sure it’s possible to keep a misleading story straight, but whatever. We do try to keep our stories straight. Part of that effort is in locating the damaging admissions in scientific papers. Watch for one in particular from Science Magazine about dinosaur-to-bird evolution that we will be reporting on.

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