June 30, 2021 | David F. Coppedge

Tweety Rex Found in China

This is not a joke. Evolutionists are actually trying to
connect a mighty dinosaur with a delicate tweety bird

Ponder this headline:

Tiny Ancient Bird Discovered in China Shares Skull Features With Tyrannosaurus rex (SciTech Daily). This is not the output of a drunk reporter at SciTech Daily; all the science news amalgamators (Phys.org, EurekAlert etc) are repeating the claim coming out of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. None of them are questioning the claim. Believe it or not, evolutionists are now connecting a bird skull less than an inch long, from a fossil that fits in the palm of the hand, with one of the mightiest dinosaurs the world has ever seen: the terror of Jurassic Park.

Researchers from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have discovered a 120-million-year-old partial fossil skeleton of a tiny extinct bird that fits in the palm of the hand and preserves a unique skull with a mix of dinosaurian and bird features.

The two-centimeter-long (0.75 inch) skull of the fossil shares many structural and functional features with the gigantic Tyrannosaurus rex, indicating that early birds kept many features of their dinosaurian ancestors and their skulls functioned much like those of dinosaurs rather than living birds.

The claim of similarity to T. rex is based on one trait: the lower jaw does not move, as it does in modern birds. Is that enough to claim an evolutionary connection between such opposite creatures?

In living birds, the quadrate is one of the most movable bones in the skull and allows for the unique feature of living birds known as “kinetic skull,” which allows the upper jaw to move independently of the brain and the lower jaw.

In contrast with living birds, however, the skull of this new “opposite bird,” as well as those of dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex and the close dinosaurian relatives of birds (e.g., troodontids and dromaeosaurs), is not kinetic. Instead, its bones are “locked up” and unable to move.

And yet not all enantiornithines (“opposite birds”, a diverse family of birds now extinct) had this trait. Saying that this one specimen connects it with dinosaurs is like saying that people with attached ear lobes are related to lizards. It takes a lot more than that to make a case.

Optical delusion: Stare at the bird until a T. rex appears.    (Min Wang, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

The paper by Min Wang et al. was published June 23 in Nature Communications, one of the open-access journals of Nature. The title uses the “shed light” metaphor so common in evolutionary literature: “Cretaceous bird with dinosaur skull sheds light on avian cranial evolution.” The paper uses the e-word evolution over 20 times, indicating that the authors believe skulls happened by chance, the Stuff Happens Law (SHL). Whatever we see, it must have evolved. Even when mixtures of traits are found, natural selection did it. Get a machete and cut your way through this word jungle that says the same thing in Darwinese Jargonwocky with a high PMCI (perhapsimaybecouldness index):

The heterogenous evolution among different cranial regions identified in crown birds may convey those cranial regions with variable developmental versatilities that are ultimately manifested by contrasting amounts of phenotypical disparity under the influence of natural selection. The rostrum and its variable kinesis in crown birds exhibits enormous adaptive variations that has allowed them to thrive with diverse ecologies and diets. The long-term evolutionary conservation of aspects of the ancestral dinosaurian skull well into the diversification of birds speaks to a combination of the constraints of developmental pathways, functional necessities, and perhaps an otherwise unrecognized versatility or foundational role of the dinosaurian palate, even when situated within the skull of a small volant vertebrate.

The next paragraph is even worse. Perhaps the Chines are trying out their English, not so much with help from a Tyrannosaurus, but from a Thesaurus. What did they say? After clearing the fogma, the paragraph is making simple, stupid claims:

  • Evolution works in mysterious ways.
  • Evolution confers on animals the ability to evolve.
  • Animals show a lot of variety. Evolution did it.
  • Mistakes in the embryo might get selected by the SHL.
  • Because of evolution, every animal gets by in its ecological niche and diet.
  • Amazing; evolution preserved a dinosaur skull trait in a miniature bird! (But not in all birds.)
  • If an animal needs it, evolution provides it.
  • The dinosaur skull had advantages that were too good to give up.
  • We never saw so much versatility in skulls before.

Connecting this little tweety bird with T. rex seems like a huge exaggeration. But you can forget it anyway. It was all for the press. The paper admits, “The phylogenetic result present here should be treated cautiously because morphological changes during the ontogeny of stem avialans are not fully understood.”

Noticed in passing: The fossil was found in the Liaoning Province of China, where most of the feathered dinosaurs come from (including some forgeries), and two of the co-authors are usually connected with those: Xing Xu (24 Aug 2018) and Zhonge Zhou. Nothing to see here; move along now.

The disguised credulity of papers like this are enough to make one believe in conspiracy theories. The Chinese are intentionally sneaking communist atheism into paleontology with Darwinism, or are running tests to see how gullible the Americans are. Probably not, but you never know.

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