October 25, 2013 | David F. Coppedge

A Century Later, T. rex Is Still a Puzzle

Nature takes a look at the most famous dinosaur 108 years after its discovery and asks some questions only evolutionists would ask, ignoring questions creationists are asking.

In “Paleontology: the truth about T. rex,” Brian Switek in Nature presents as many puzzles as truths.  “Even one of the best known dinosaurs has kept some secrets,” the article begins. “Here is what palaeontologists most want to know about the famous tyrant.”  The article includes an infographic and various historical anecdotes, but the puzzles he refers to are these:

  1. Where did they come from?  “The dinosaur’s evolutionary origins, for example, are still a mystery.”  The monster’s “fuzzy origins” are not clear in the fossil record.  “The key parts of the story are missing,” Switek says, after describing historical changes in how to classify them.  Short answer: more fossils are needed to answer this question, even though earlier he boasted that we have lots of fossils of this species.  Stephen Brusatte (U of Edinburgh) said, “It’s rare to have so many good fossils of one dinosaur, so we can actually ask questions about T. rex — such as how it grew, what it ate and how it moved — that we can’t for other dinosaurs.
  2. What did they look like as juveniles?  Was Nanotyrannus a juvenile T. rex?  The debate goes on.  Once again, as Lawrence Witmer states, “The solution may reside in the tired plea for more fossils.
  3. Did they have feathers?  Here, Switek takes a swipe at artists who are too eager to link them with birds.  He presents this quote by Thomas Carr (Carthage College, Wisconsin): “There is no empirical evidence that tyrannosaurids had feathers,” Carr says, “and artists have no business decking them out with plumage until the day comes when a tyrannosaurid is found with feathers.
  4. Why did they have such short arms?  Switek quotes a paleontologist who denies that the arms were vestigial.  They still retained substantial musculature, for instance, indicating that T. rex used them.  But how did they use them, and for what purpose?  As for the suggestion they were decked out with feathers for display, see #3 above.

Switek said nothing about the question that most interests creationists: how can evolutionists believe that the soft tissue and blood vessels found in T. rex bones is over 65 million years old?  They believe that is one of the most spectacular discoveries about dinosaurs of all time, but it was completely ignored in this article.  Creationists couldn’t care less about their “evolutionary origins,” the first question on Switek’s list.

In other dinosaur news, Nature reported that a high school student from Claremont, California found the most complete skeleton yet of Parasaurolophus, a trumpet-headed duckbill dinosaur, including skin traces in southern Utah.  Kevin Terris was a lucky young man:

“It’s a truly remarkable specimen of a rare and iconic dinosaur,” says David Evans, a palaeontologist at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. “It demonstrates that Parasaurolophus underwent radical changes in skull shape from hatchling to adult, but it started in a fundamentally similar anatomical place as other closely related species.”

The article includes a 15-second video clip of a 3-D artist rendering.  All the data about “Dinosaur Joe” has been made freely available online.  ““If someone wants to 3D print the entire skeleton, they can” (see 10/21/13 entry about 3-D printing).

Everyone is intrigued by dinosaurs, but the questions people ask are often reflections of their world view.  We should follow the evidence where it leads, not assume an evolutionary ideology to fit data into a predetermined picture (5/03/13).  Creationists must do that, too, but look: the lack of ancestors, lack of feathers, and the presence of soft tissue should motivate honest paleontologists to reconsider the evolutionary stories usually told, and ask whether these fossils might really be young.  Why are so many found in the “dinosaur death pose” suggestive of drowning?  Why are so many jumbled into fossil graveyards mixed in with marine fossils?  Evolutionists don’t ask those questions because their eyes are focused on fitting the bones into a millions-of-years, slow-and-gradual, evolutionary-progress picture.  If the shoe fits, wear it; if it doesn’t, give it the boot and get new shoes.



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