November 14, 2018 | David F. Coppedge

Extinct Cretaceous Birds Flew

They flew, they had feathers, they landed on top of dinosaurs. Did they evolve from dinosaurs?

A press release at Berkeley News talks about enantiornithine birds (“opposite birds”) from the late Cretaceous. As far as we know they are all extinct, along with the dinosaurs. Evolutionists insist that they evolved from theropod dinosaurs, and yet the adaptations for powered flight are immense (see documentary Flight: The Genius of Birds from Illustra Media). “You don’t just partly fly,” quipped Paul Nelson in the film, because the entire anatomy of the creature has to be remodeled for that function: the bones, the lungs, the heart, the metabolism – virtually every body system is engineered for flight. And the enantiornithines had them all:

  • Feathers and quill knobs
  • A springy furcula (wishbone) for strong muscle attachments
  • Wings for strong and agile flapping flight
  • The same size ranges of modern birds: chickadee to vulture size
  • Sexual dimorphism (most likely)

Very little seems different from modern birds, except that some had teeth in their beaks and claws on their feet. The particular enantiornithine discussed in the article, named Mirarce eatoni, was found in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument in 1992, but not analyzed in detail till now. Said to be 75 million Darwin Years old, it was the size of a turkey vulture. The fossil had exceptional preservation for enantiornithines, which are found around the world but usually flattened or fragmentary. This one was found in 3-D, allowing more details about its anatomy and physiology.

Her analysis showed that by the late Cretaceous, enantiornithines had evolved advanced adaptations for flying independent of today’s birds. In fact, they looked quite similar to modern birds: they were fully feathered and flew by flapping their wings like modern birds. The fossilized bird probably had teeth in the front of its beak and claws on its wings as well as feet. Some enantiornithines had prominent tail feathers that may have differed between male and female and been used for sexual display.

“It is quite likely that, if you saw one in real life and just glanced at it, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish it from a modern bird,” Atterholt said

Two major mysteries revolve around this evolving story: how enantiornithines “evolved advanced adaptations for flying independent of today’s birds,” and why all of them went extinct with the dinosaurs.

Evolutionists are committed to their dinobird story: “All birds evolved from feathered theropods – the two-legged dinosaurs like T. rex – beginning about 150 million years ago,” the article argues by assertion, “and developed into many lineages in the Cretaceous, between 146 and 65 million years ago.” And yet here are two serious flaws in their story. If the origin of powered flight in birds was miraculous once, how about more than once, with the results being so close as to make the two bird groups almost indistinguishable? The second flaw is how all but the “modern birds” group survived the extinction.

This is typical of articles on evolution. They tell you flatly and confidently that “it evolved,” then present conundrums that leave you breathless with incredulity. Powered flight multiple times? Convergence so close as to be indistinguishable? Selective extinction? Something is dreadfully wrong with this story. Imagine inventing something able to lift its body weight against gravity, and do it with finesse and agility, and then attributing it to blind natural forces? That assertion should sound crazy from square one. The rest of the story falls out of the sky like a plucked chicken when you think about it. Why not start with the obvious attributes of intelligent design that make these animals strong flyers? At least you remove the worst of the conundrums, and only have to worry about the selective extinction. It’s much easier to explain things dying out than evolving.



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