February 7, 2024 | David F. Coppedge

Winged Darwin: Pterosaur Diversity, But No Ancestor

A lizard could not just take off like a bird.
Flight specs are required!


In a curious Darwinian law, storytelling vigor is inversely proportional to evidence.

Every time a pterosaur fossil is discovered, we keep looking for evidence of a transitional form between a landlubber reptile and these expert flyers. No luck so far.

New species of Jurassic pterosaur discovered on the Isle of Skye (University of Bristol, 6 Feb 2024). The Isle of Skye has revealed another pterosaur fossil. You have to love the name of this group of pterosaurs: “Darwinoptera” or “winged Darwin.” But does it help his theory?

The new pterosaur is part of the Darwinoptera clade of pterosaurs. Its discovery shows that the clade was considerably more diverse than previously thought, and persisted for more than 25 million years, from the late Early Jurassic to the latest Jurassic. During this period species within the clade spread worldwide.

The discovery underpins a new and more complex model for the early evolution of pterosaurs.

But it’s not a new or complex model of evolution. It’s simple: no evidence that pterosaurs evolved. Why keep trying to stuff uncooperative fossils into a story about progress from primitive to advanced?

The rarity of Middle Jurassic pterosaur fossils and their incompleteness has previously hampered attempts to understand early pterosaur evolution. This discovery shows that all principal Jurassic pterosaur clades evolved well before the end of the Early Jurassic, earlier than previously realised. The discovery also shows that pterosaurs persisted into the latest Jurassic, alongside avialans, the dinosaurs which eventually evolved into modern birds.

Excuse us, but there are pterosaurs, and there are birds. One cannot say they evolved (presumably from pre-pterosaurs and pre-birds) without evidence.

When will evolutionists stop their bad habit of begging the question? Many scientists skeptical of Darwinism would say pterosaurs and birds did not evolve. Deal honestly with them. Do not assume your own theory!

Useless Darwin Years

Adding millions of Darwin Years does not help their evolution tale. Look: they just gave themselves 10 million more Darwin Years [“earlier than previously realized”] but still there is no pre-pterosaur! They were already flying around the world, diverse and well-designed for flight. Would these evolutionists at Bristol go to an air show and claim that the airplanes evolved by natural selection (NOT by intelligent design) from unobserved pre-airplanes?

Powered flight, recall, is an irreducibly complex system with multiple requirements. You can’t glue wings on a lizard and get a pterosaur. As proof, recall how early human experimenters with flight put wings on their arms and jumped off cliffs. The results were not pretty; they should have gotten Darwin Awards (negative selection; i.e., eliminating oneself from the gene pool).

Professor Paul Barrett, Merit Researcher at the Natural History Museum and senior author on the paper, said: “Ceoptera helps to narrow down the timing of several major events in the evolution of flying reptiles. Its appearance in the Middle Jurassic of the UK was a complete surprise, as most of its close relatives are from China. It shows that the advanced group of flying reptiles to which it belongs appeared earlier than we thought and quickly gained an almost worldwide distribution.”

They were completely surprised because this fossil doesn’t fit the Winged Darwin story plot. This insistence on maintaining a narrative of pterosaur evolution for which there is no evidence is getting close to being described as a mental illness: saying or doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Science is supposed to be about following the evidence where it leads.

Pterosaur: Unique flying reptile soared above Isle of Skye (BBC News, 6 Feb 2024). This fossil has been placed on the evolutionary timeline when pterosaurs should have been evolving by natural selection of random mutations, but Ceoptera was already a skilled flyer. Natural History Museum paleontologist Stephen Brusatte should know better than to fib with bluffing confibility:

Prof Steve Brusatte, who was not involved in the research, says it was unique to Scotland. The research proves that a type of pterosaur between the primitive and advanced stages of evolution existed, he adds.

“This is the time before birds, so pterosaurs ruled the sky. This research shows that pterosaurs were common animals in Scotland, soaring over the heads of dinosaurs,” he said.

It proves nothing of the sort. He cannot say a primitive pterosaur that couldn’t fly “existed” before this one. Where is his evidence? There is none! Diversity does not prove evolution from a pre-pterosaur that could not fly. That is what evolutionists need to find.

The new “Darwinopteran” pterosaur, Ceoptera. Does this look like a transitional form? It has all the features of advanced pterosaurs, including powered flight—nothing primitive about it. It was found 10 million Darwin Years earlier than evolutionists expected, on the other side of the world from China where its supposed cousins were found. Claiming that this fossil helps Darwinians understand “pterosaur evolution” is a big fat bluffing lie.

Newly identified prehistoric pterosaur will help us understand evolution of flying reptiles (The Conversation, 6 Feb 2024). More confibulating here by Elizabeth Martin-Silverstone and Paul Barrett.

  • When dinosaurs roamed the land, the skies above their heads were filled with a variety of soaring reptiles, which swept through the air on slender, membranous wings. These animals, pterosaurs, were not dinosaurs but their evolutionary cousins….
  • The lack of good pterosaur specimens from this time interval has hindered scientists’ attempts to understand how pterosaurs evolved from these earlier forms to those that dominated the skies later in Earth’s history. Ceoptera helps to fill this a [sic] gap.
  • For 15 years scientists have studied transitional pterosaurs that show a mix of features seen in the earlier, tailed forms and their later, giant relatives. Ceoptera is one of these transitional forms (called a Darwinopteran), one of the first members of this group known from Europe, and is the second-oldest darwinopteran worldwide.
  • This makes Ceoptera crucial in understanding the pace of pterosaur evolution, and it has pushed back the appearance of more advanced pterosaurs to the Early Jurassic period, about 10 million years earlier than previously thought. It brings us one step closer to understanding where and when the more advanced pterosaurs evolved.

We must call out this sin among evolutionists when we see it. What they said here is patently false. Misstating the evidence should be anathematized in science, but evolutionists get away with it. No pterosaur ancestor has been found. No pterosaur is a “transitional form.” All of them flew. Furthermore, no common ancestor between dinosaurs and pterosaurs is known unless one begs the question by assuming that earlier reptiles “might” have been ancestors.

Jurassic ‘mist wing’ fossil discovered on Scottish island could be missing link in pterosaur evolution (Live Science, 6 Feb 2024). Reporter Jacklin Kwan calls this fossil a ‘missing link’ three times—a loaded phrase that assumes Darwinism. “The new discovery helps scientists understand a critical “missing link” in this evolutionary history of pterosaurs,” she says with no evidence or critical thinking at all. She points out that evolutionists think the Darwinopteran pterosaurs are ‘primitive’ because they have tails.

The Middle Jurassic was a critical time in pterosaur evolution in which primitive, short-handed, long-tailed pterosaurs evolved into long-handed, short-tailed animals….

The discovery shows that species within the Darwinoptera clade were more structurally diverse than previously thought. “It brings us one step closer to understanding where and when the more advanced pterosaurs evolved,” Martin-Silverstone said.

Once again, the “understanding” that Darwinists seek consists of hot air, not substance.

Why is it so hard for Darwinists to tell the truth? Just lay the evidence out there, and stop trying to connect the dots when you have no lines of evidence to do it. Pterosaurs existed; they had powered flight; they were diverse; they are extinct, but we have fossils of them from around the world. They were amazingly well-designed for living on the wing.

Read the evidence against a claimed pterosaur ancestor by Gunter Bechly, a former Darwinist, at Evolution News. He tries to be fair with the proposed ancestor, but ends up agreeing with our assessment that evolutionists, despite their ballyhoo, are full of hot air. He says,

The ubiquitous phenomenon of fake news is unfortunately not restricted to political and social issues but more and more becomes a problem in popular science communication. You can neither trust press releases and media reports nor science popularizers like Bill Nye or David Attenborough, who have far more of a worldview agenda than than they do scientific expertise. You cannot even trust the scientists themselves, who are often openly encouraged by PR departments to oversell their results to boost their careers and grants. Good science is going down the drain. This is a genuine and objective problem, which I observed and discussed with colleagues long before I became a Darwin critic and ID proponent.

Long story short: Forget all the pop science ballyhoo, and if you should not trust my word, just check the provided primary sources to see that there is much ado about nothing concerning the alleged recent breakthrough in our knowledge on the evolutionary origin of pterosaurs. It’s still a complete mystery and defies Darwinian expectations.

If Darwinists want to do some experimental science, let them take lizards and drop them from trees. See how long it takes them to learn powered flight. Publish the results in peer-reviewed journals. For the sake of tender eyes, please don’t show the blood on the ground. 

Darwinists experimenting with powered flight.
Credit: J.B. Greene


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  • JSwan says:

    This highlights 3 constantly repeated failures they unknowingly admit to. [1] they are always pushing back the timeline by millions or 10’s of millions of years (I’ve captured many dozens of instances) [2] they are always ‘surprised’ when the evidence doesn’t fit their narrative but in some way supports design (but they are blind to) [3] they claim the surprise will help them to better understand evolution! Really? They just keep pounding a square peg into a round hole so they never do come to the knowledge of the truth. PS Gunter writes some great stuff having escaped from the evolutionary dogma worldview.

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