Completely speculative and forced interpretations are being made regarding feathered dinosaurs unearthed in China, and these are being depicted, with widespread media propaganda, as scientific facts.
One of the fossils subjected to such media propaganda is Microraptor gui. This specimen, found in China and given the name M. gui, was described in an article named "Four-winged dinosaur from China" in Nature (1) dated 23 January 2003 and depicted as belonging to a "four-winged animals," and it was suggested that this extinct creature was able to fly.
The myth that birds evolved from four-winged dinosaurs and the articles published about M. gui from time to time are used as tools of Darwinist propaganda. However, it is important to realise that neither the "four-winged dino-bird" fossil found, nor any other scientific discovery, constitutes evidence for the "evolution of birds." The scientific facts that invalidate this propaganda are as follows:
1. The age of the fossil in question has been calculated at 130 million years. This is a younger period, by some 20 million years, than that of Archaeopteryx, the oldest flying bird. This means that the title awarded to M. gui by evolutionists, "the progenitor of birds," represents an evident contradiction and thus reveals that the whole matter is quite fictitious.
Archaeopteryx lived some 150 million years ago and is the oldest known species of bird. No fossils of any other bird known to have lived before Archaeopteryx have ever been found. (2)
Archaeopteryx"s flight anatomy resembles that of modern-day birds in a great many regards: it has the same asymmetrical feathers as present-day flying birds, the same flawless wing structure, the same hollow, light skeletal structure as modern birds, a chest-bone that supports the flight muscles and a great many other features, and has rather successfully convinced scientists that it was a flying bird.
Two characteristics of Archaeopteryx that are absent from modern-day birds are the teeth in its beak and the claws on its wings. Based on these features, evolutionists have sought to represent Archaeopteryx as a primitive bird, pointing to various of its features as being reptilian. However, it is known that some present-day bird species possess wing claws. It has also been realised from other fossil discoveries that Archaeopteryx"s teeth are not unique to that species, and that other species which may be described as "toothed birds" lived in the past.
For all these reasons, scientists now agree that the evolutionist thesis depicting Archaeopteryx as a "primitive bird" is wrong, and that it actually bore a strong resemblance to modern birds. As Professor Alan Feduccia of Kansas University, one of the most respected authorities in the field, has stated: ""Most recent workers who have studied various anatomical features of Archaeopteryx have found the creature to be much more birdlike than previously imagined," The Darwinist propaganda regarding Archaeopteryx is also wrong. Again according to Feduccia, until recently, "the resemblance of Archaeopteryx to theropod dinosaurs has been grossly overestimated." (3)
So what are the implementations of the fact that Archaeopteryx is the oldest known bird with the ability to fly on the propaganda regarding M. gui? It is clear that birds existed about 150 million years ago. They were already flying. Therefore, if evolutionists wish to depict a number of candidates as the "progenitors of birds" they need to show that these are older than 150 million years.
This fact we are discussing is enough on its very own to show that the storm over the "four-winged dino-bird" is a very superficial and mistaken one. That is because the fossil M. gui, which is sought to be portrayed as the "progenitor of birds" is 130 million years old. In other words, it is 20 million years younger than Archaeopteryx. There can be no doubt that depicting this fossil as "the primitive ancestor of birds" when there were already flying birds around 20 million years before it, is like saying that a child is older than her grandmother, which is total nonsense.
2. Anatomically, Microraptor resembles dinosaurs. The digit pattern is compatible with these. However, the digit patterns of birds, alleged to have evolved from Microraptor, and those of dinosaurs are significantly different. This difference in the digit patterns cannot be explained in terms of an ancestor-descendent relationship, and has dealt a severe blow to the thesis that M. gui is the progenitor of birds.
We have several pieces of evidence for regarding M. gui, the subject of evolutionists" "four-winged bird" propaganda, as a dinosaur. Its digit patterns are set out not 2-3-4- as in birds, but 1-2-3, and on its hind feet is a "killer" claw (4) characteristic of the dromaeosaurs (a small and medium-sized group of carnivorous dinosaurs that lived between 144 and 66.4 million years ago). Not even from an evolutionist perspective is it possible to build a progenitor-descendent relationship between M. gui, which has such a different digit pattern, and birds.
Dr. Alan Feduccia strongly opposes the thesis that birds evolved from dinosaurs, and is known for basing his objections on the most concrete evidence. He has said the following regarding the difference in the digit pattern:
"This [the difference in the digit pattern] creates a new problem for those who insist that dinosaurs were ancestors of modern birds. How can a bird hand, for example, with digits two, three and four evolve from a dinosaur hand that has only digits one, two and three? That would be almost impossible." (5)
The anatomical differences between M. gui and dinosaurs are not limited to the digit pattern. Generally speaking, the anatomy of birds is separated by deep differences from the dinosaurs, and thus from M. gui, put forward as their alleged ancestors. To such an extent, in fact, that based on these differences, Dr. Feduccia describes the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs as the greatest embarrassment of paleontology of the 20th century.
Well, I"ve studied bird skulls for 25 years and I don"t see any similarities whatsoever. I just don"t see it... The theropod origins of birds, in my opinion, will be the greatest embarrassment of paleontology of the 20th century. (6)
3. Scientific developments regarding M. gui have shown that this creature"s capacity to glide through the air was not as had been previously estimated.
Shortly after the description of M. gui in Nature, the number of objections from the world of science to the scenarios built up around it began to rise. Although M. gui was initially portrayed, with widespread media propaganda, as a flying animal, a great many scientists subsequently made statements to the effect that it could not actually fly. M. gui"s loss of credibility in the face of these interpretations is summarised thus in National Geographic:
But the Chinese team … doesn"t think this animal ran or flapped well enough to take off. Its leg feathers would"ve tripped it up like a hurdler in a ball gown.
Instead, the ample feathers could have formed an airfoil or parachute similar to those of flying squirrels and other tree-dwelling gliders, the scientists say…
Other scientists aren"t sure what to make of the new fossil, arguing that gliding doesn"t necessarily evolve into powered flight: Why waste energy beating your wings when you could take it easy? … Some researchers suggest that M. gui"s leg feathers weren"t useful for flight at all…(7)
To summarise in brief, the scientific facts of these objections are as follows:
a) Birds" pelvic bones refute the assumption that M. gui glided in the air.
The apparent reason why evolutionists link the flight of this animal to its alleged evolution is the feathers on its front and hind limbs. Some evolutionists suggest that it was a tree-dwelling creature that glided from tree to tree by opening its front and back limbs out towards the sides. In the reconstruction picture published in the media M. gui is shown as having its rear legs opened to the side and perpendicular to the ground. Indeed, there are no grounds for thinking that M. gui could open its legs out sideways. The fact is that their pelvic anatomy makes it impossible for birds to open their hind limbs out at 180°. For example, if the chicken legs one buys from the supermarket are opened out as shown in the picture at the top of this article, the hip bones will immediately break.
b) It is debateable whether the feathers assumed to have been present on M. gui"s limbs were really attached to the leg or not. Furthermore, these are of a nature as to prevent bird flight, for which reason they constitute no evidence to support the alleged evolutionary origin of bird flight.
In an article published in the journal Bioscience in May, 2003, Kevin Padian, curator of the UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology opposed the thesis that M. gui constituted evidence for the origin of flight and set out the elements of the creature"s anatomy that prevented that scenario from emerging. (8)
First, Padian states that he is by no means convinced that the rear leg feathers maintained to be present on M. gui were actually attached to the leg at all[*]. Second, even if these are attached to the limb there are no grounds for supposing that the gliding of M. gui evolved into the powerful winged flight of birds. Birds do not use their hind limbs in a flight stroke and these, like an aeroplane pulling up its wheels, are stretched back and fixed. Yet M. gui"s limb feathers make that impossible. Indeed, Padian notes, "So the leg feathering in Microraptor has nothing demonstrably to do with the evolution of the kind of flight that more derived birds use." (9)
Henry Gee, a palaeontologist and also editor of the journal Nature, says, "Four wings is a perfect recipe for gliding, but not for powered, flapping flight," and states that he does not subscribe to the theory that M. gui"s gliding action is related to bird flight. (10)
As we have seen, the claims of four-winged bird propaganda made concerning M. gui consist of imaginary assumptions lacking any scientific justifications. At the basis of the way that Darwinists support the claim of bird evolution as a scientific fact lies their devoted devotion to evolution.
Why the Idea of Bird Evolution Is No Longer Tenable
[*] The structures possessed by the dinosaur fossils unearthed in China are interpreted by evolutionists as feathers and used as evidence for the claim that birds evolved from dinosaurs. The latest study, however, showed that a dead animal"s muscle fibres could be deformed with fossilisation and assume an appearance closely resembling that of feathers, thus misleading evolutionists into speaking of a "feathered dinosaur." For more information, see Scientific American"s Dino-Bird Errors
1 Xing Xu, Zhonghe Zhou, Xiaolin Wang, Xuewen Kuang, Fucheng Zhang, Xiangke Du, “Four-winged dinosaurs from China”, Nature, 421, 335 - 340
2 Even if the 225-million-year-old fossil known as Protoavis is claimed to be “the oldest bird”, this has not received widespread acceptance.
3 Alan Feduccia, The Origin and Evolution of Birds, Yale University Press, 1999, 81
4 Justin Costa Rica, “M. gui: Bird or Dinosaur? A look into the therapod dinosaur-bird evolution debate”
5 “LATEST EVIDENCE: OSTRICH STUDY REFUTES THE DINO-BIRD STORY,” http://www.darwinism-watch.com/myth_bird_evolution.php ; David Williamson, "Scientist Says Ostrich Study Confirms Bird "Hands" Unlike Those Of Dinosaurs", EurekAlert, 14 August 2002, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-08/uonc-sso081402.php
6 Pat Shipman, "Birds Do It... Did Dinosaurs?", New Scientist, 1 February 1997, 28
7 Christopher P. Sloan, “Lord of the Wings”, National Geographic, May 2003
8 Kevin Padian, “Four-Winged Dinosaurs, Bird Precursors, or Neither?”, BioScience, vol: 53 No: 5, 450 - 452
10 Henry Gee, “Fossil boosts trees-down start for flight”, Nature Science Update; Perspective on Ref.1, 23 January 2003.