Archaeopteryx Was Not Very Bird-like: Inside The First Bird, Surprising Signs Of A Dinosaur

Posted by Chris Parker | October 11, 2009 0

An important part of the evolutionary mythology is that dinosaurs evolved into birds. There seems to be nothing that will convince these believers that the theory is “bird-brained” and that there is no supporting evidence for it.

Storrs Olson, Curator of Birds at the Smithsonian noted that a cadre of “zealots” were trying to “actively promulgate the theropod dinosaur origin of birds theory in concert with Nature and National Geo”. They were in fact working to convince the public that it was all “settled science’.

Olson called them “highly biased proselytizers of the faith”, which really had to sting. Shortly thereafter, their golden transitional feathered dinosaur fossil, Archaeoraptor, turned out to be made up of Elmer’s Glue, multiple fossils and imagination.

Not to long ago, researchers at Oregon State University made a “fundamental new discovery” about how birds breathe and about the lung capacity needed for flight– concluding that it was unlikely that birds descended from any known theropod dinosaurs.

They also noted the politics involved in kicking dirt on such a sacred cow as dinobirds. Others have provided evidence that the supposed feathers were actually other structures, such as a fringe running down the dinosaur’s back.

After the Archaeoraptor tragedy, science has pinned its dino-bird hopes on Archaeopteryx, which is supposed to be a transitional fossil between dinosaurs and birds. In the following article, it appears that this fossil is also not what they believed it to be…

Archaeopteryx Was Not Very Bird-like……

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2009) — The raptor-like Archaeopteryx has long been viewed as the archetypal first bird, but new research reveals that it was actually a lot less “bird-like” than scientists had believed.

In fact, the landmark study led by paleobiologist Gregory M. Erickson of The Florida State University has upended the iconic first-known-bird image of Archaeopteryx (from the Greek for “ancient wing”), which lived 150 million years ago during the Late Jurassic period in what is now Germany. Instead, the animal has been recast as more of a feathered dinosaur — bird on the outside, dinosaur on the inside.

That’s because new, microscopic images of the ancient cells and blood vessels inside the bones of the winged, feathered, claw-handed creature show unexpectedly slow growth and maturation that took years, similar to that found in dinosaurs, from which birds evolved. In contrast, living birds grow rapidly and mature in a matter of weeks.

Also groundbreaking is the finding that the rapid bone growth common to all living birds but surprisingly absent from the Archaeopteryx was not necessary for avian dinosaur flight.

The study is published in the Oct. 9, 2009, issue of the journal PLoS ONE. In addition to Erickson, an associate professor in Florida State’s Department of Biological Science and a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, co-authors include Florida State University biologist Brian D. Inouye and other U.S. scientists, as well as researchers from Germany and China.

“Living birds mature very quickly,” Erickson said. “That’s why we rarely see baby birds among flocks of invariably identical-size pigeons. Slow-growing animals such as Archaeopteryx would look foreign to contemporary bird-watchers.”

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