February 23, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

South American Dinosaur Find Modifies Theories

A deinonychus-like dinosaur has been found in Argentina.  Representatives of this group, including velociraptor, had previously only been known in the northern hemisphere and Asia.  Since South America was supposedly on another land mass at the time, “The new discovery demonstrates that Cretaceous theropod faunas from the southern continents shared greater similarity with those of the northern landmasses than previously thought.”  The new species, named Neuquenraptor, was reported in Nature1 this week; see also the summary on BBC News which says the bones are “probably implying a much more ancient evolutionary history” for this group of dinosaurs.
    The discoverers invoke “convergent evolution” (homoplasy) in their phylogenetic classification of this species, stating that it’s a common problem:

As prompted elsewhere, homoplasy is a common problem in coelurosaurian phylogeny.  In this regard, the arctometatarsalian metatarsus shows a complex evolutionary history, and the basal position of Neuquenraptor provides useful information to test the monophyly of arctometatarsalian theropods.  Our analysis is consistent with recent interpretations that evolutionary transitions between the arctometatarsal and non-arctometatarsal foot occurred multiple times both in basal Coelurosauria (for example, Tyrannosauridae, Ornithomimidae) and maniraptorans (for example, alvarezsaurids, some oviraptorosaurs, derived troodontids and basal dromaeosaurids).  The arctometatarsalian condition thus constitutes one of the homoplastic features most frequently evolved between Coelurosauria.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)


1Fernando E. Novas and Diego Pol, “New evidence on deinonychosaurian dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia,” Nature 433, 858 – 861 (24 February 2005); doi:10.1038/nature03285.

“Convergent evolution” is a cop-out term, a non-explanation, that hides the ignorance of Darwin Party members behind jargon.  We see it all the time, whether talking about plants, vertebrates, bacteria, or what have you: the magic wand of convergence does the miracles.  Does it explain how similar features in very different groups converged on the same solutions?  No: it multiplies the improbability that these groups would all get the same lucky mutations to develop similar structures and functions independently.  This new find also pushes back the origin of this group of dinosaurs much farther back in their timescale, giving the Darwinists less time to evolve these mobile, agile hunters from their presumably less-capable ancestors.  The BBC News states, “Neuquenraptor argentinus is slightly different from its Northern Hemisphere relatives, having had several million years of isolated evolution.”  Can they tell this from a few foot bones?  The story, like a weak fence, is breaking down; don’t fall for linguistic tricks to whitewash the rotting timbers.

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Categories: Dinosaurs, Fossils

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