New Dinos Found; What Do They Mean?
There is often a wide gap between the bones that are found and the stories that are told about them. As new dinosaur bones come to light, some reporters cannot resist imagining all kinds of things about their lifestyles. Here are two recent examples. As a bonus, we’ll add a non-dinosaur reptile story or two.
- Mongolia: It’s a Bird! It’s Plain! Ker Than reported on two “raptor”species unearthed in Mongolia in Live Science. He quickly associated these with alleged “feathered dinosaurs” like Microraptor gui. But wasn’t that a bird? He claimed that dromeosaurs were bipedal dinosaurs that “were closely related to birds and many of them are even known to have had feathers.” (For more on Microraptor gui, see the 05/19/2003 entry and analysis by Jonathan Sarfati at Answers in Genesis.)
- Fallout Shelter: Charles Q. Choi at Live Science reported on the find of an underground den of dinosaurs found in Montana. The setting and the shape of the snout and legs suggested that Oryctodromeus cubicularis, “digging runner of the lair,” dug burrows – the first dinosaur found with that ability. Choi connected that with the K-T extinction and suggested that these dinosaurs “dug deep, possibly to avoid catastrophe.” See also the BBC News.
- Lizard slithered: Jeanna Brynner wrote in Live Science about a lizard having nubs for front legs. This was provided as support for evolution: the fossil, she said, is “clarifying how some lizards shed their limbs as they crept through evolutionary time and morphed into slinky snakes.” Another paleontologist said this provided a window into what was happening 100 million years ago. “We now know that losing limbs isn’t a new thing and that lizards were doing it much earlier than we originally thought.”
Another surprise was noted. Losing the front limbs first seems odd, “when you would think it would be the opposite.” Wouldn’t a handicapped lizard shove its face into the dirt? “The front limbs would be useful for holding onto dinner or digging a hole, but it must be developmentally easier to get rid of the forelimbs,” confessed Michael Caldwell (U of Alberta). The end of the article contains a key disclaimer about the evolutionary value of this fossil: “Though the lizard find does not make for a ‘missing link,’ Caldwell suggests it suffices as a critical data point for helping scientists understand the aquatic process of limb loss.” National Geographic and EurekAlert also reported on this story. Question: has anyone proved this individual was not an unfortunate mutant?
- Leapin’ lizards: Another fossil lizard shows extended vertebra the discoverers believe allowed it to glide like a flying squirrel. For a picture, see Live Science. This had nothing to do with other flying reptiles, the pterosaurs, which were capable of true powered flight. There are “dragon lizards” in Asia capable of gliding today. Another gliding lizard fossil is known in Triassic strata. The discoverer made this tie-in to evolution: “It is really amazing to see evolution making nearly identical structures in animals of different origins spanning such a long history.”
Inferring behavior, ecology and motivation is keeping paleontologists busy. “We may not have resolved all that dinosaurs can do,” said one paleontologist.
Evolutionary paleontology is 30% digging and 70% storytelling. Maybe they think details about dry bones will bore the public. Everybody wants to hear a good campfire story, whether or not it is true. The more fanciful the better. The next theory will be that dinosaurs could sing, dance and play chess (cartoon).
Ezekiel told of a valley of dry bones that came to life (Ezekiel 37) but that was only a parable, and the resurrection occurred by intelligent design. The evolutionists tell their stories as if they believe them to be literally true. But can a consistent materialist conjure up behavior, motivation and intention from dry bones? Bones are designed; tell the Darwinist who engages in such flights of fancy, “Get your own dirt.” (See joke).
For those needing alternatives to the evolutionary interpretations of dinosaur bones, see the recent article in Answers magazine about sauropods, and in Journal of Creation about alleged “feathered dinosaurs.”