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Creation 35(2):32–33, April 2013

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Amazing preservation: Three birds in a dinosaur!

Did dinos give rise to birds? No—they ate them



A fossil of the small theropod dinosaur Sinocalliopteryx gigas found in Liaoning, China, was so well preserved that researchers were able to make out its intact stomach contents.1 They were able to see the last thing it had eaten—a bird dinner. As the bird had only been partially digested (indicating death of the Sinocalliopteryx had occurred not long after its last meal) the researchers were even able to identify the species of the bird: Confuciusornis sanctus.

What’s more, that bird specimen was not the only one found in the dinosaur’s stomach. There was another Confuciusornis sanctus carcass as well, and “both were in a similar state of partial digestion”.1 Given that “remains as delicate as small bird bones have presumably short digestion periods”, the researchers conclude, logically enough, that the two Confuciusornis birds must have been consumed in fairly rapid succession, “in order for the first individual not to have had time to be digested noticeably beyond that of the second.”1


Evidently the dinosaur liked eating birds, because there were the remains of a third bird in its stomach too, in a somewhat more advanced state of digestion, which the researchers say might also have been a Confuciusornis. Paleontologist Scott Persons mused, “The fact that this Sinocalliopteryx had not one but three undigested birds in its stomach indicates it was a voracious eater and a very active hunter.”2

How did this fossil, and many other fossils at Liaoning similarly “exquisitely preserved”,3 with even “abdominal contents in exquisite detail” being preserved,4 come to be this way? The secular uniformitarian models, based on the idea that ‘the present is the key to the past’, really don’t even begin to make sense of the fossils even just at Liaoning, let alone globally. Rather, knowing what really happened in the past is the key to understanding the present world—including fossils. The Bible tells us of a global catastrophic event, the Flood of Noah’s day, about 4,500 years ago. This is why we find billions of fossils in sedimentary rock worldwide.


This correct understanding utterly washes away the millions of years so needed by the evolutionary paradigm. Textbooks, museums, and television documentaries promoting that paradigm have said that over millions of years dinosaurs gave rise to birds, which in turn evolved the ability to fly. But the Confuciusornis birds in the dinosaur’s stomach were birds “capable of powered flight”,1 and also had a beak rather than teeth. And as this is not the first dinosaur discovered with bird remains in its belly,5 where does that leave the millions-of-years dino-to-bird scenario? No wonder that evolutionists are “in a flap”.6

References and notes

  1. Xing, L., Bell, P., Persons, W., Ji, S., Miyashita, T., et al., abdominal contents from two large early Cretaceous compsognathids (Dinosauria: Theropoda) demonstate feeding on confuciusornithids and dromaeosaurids, PLoS ONE 7(8): e44012. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044012, 29 August 2012. Return to text.
  2. Dinosaur ‘ate slow-flying birds’, Press Association, uk.news.yahoo.com, 29 August 2012. Return to text.
  3. The words “exquisitely preserved” have been used by evolutionists to describe a great many of the fossils unearthed at Liaoning. E.g. a fossilized pterosaur embryo “enjoying its last few days in its egg”—Wang, X. and Zhou, Z., Pterosaur embryo from the Early Cretaceous, Nature 429(6992):621, 2004; which we reported on in Creation 27(2):35, 2005; Tiny pterosaur’s untimely end. Return to text.
  4. The exact wording used in the Introduction in Ref. 1. Return to text.
  5. O’Connor, J., Zhou, Z. and Xu, X., Additional specimen of Microraptor provides unique evidence of dinosaurs preying on birds, PNAS, pnas.org/content/early/2011/11/17/1117727108.full.pdf+html, 21 November 2011. Return to text.
  6. Thornhill, T., First proof of bird-eating dinosaur has scientists in a flap, www.dailymail.co.uk, 23 November 2011. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments

A. S.
I love how the evolutionists have latched onto the dino/bird evolution part of this article and totally ignore the 'nail in evolution's coffin' portion of it. If evolution were true you wouldn't have fossils like these. Pure and simple.
Glenn M.
The 'Evolution tree' is assumed, and is not demonstrated by the fossils. The fossil in question demonstrates that dinosaurs & birds existed at the same time, nothing more but also nothing less. Evolutionary story telling is what is contrary to the fossil record.
Aleksandar K.
Well, they can just say: "Oh, birds must have started evolving earlier than we thought. How exciting evolution is!" And probably will...
Steven T.
You do realize that "how could dinosaurs have evolved from theropod dinosaurs if non-bird theropods were eating birds" is just a variant of "if humans evolved from apes, why are there still apes?" Evolutionary theory posits an evolutionary tree, not a ladder: different populations of a common ancestral species can evolve in different directions, with some lineages remaining primitive, others becoming derived in different ways. One branch of the theropod dinosaur line gave rise to birds; others gave rise to different non-bird theropods. Note that even today, many birds eat other birds; I don't know whether you consider any of these predator-prey pairs to fall into the same "kind" or not, but evolutionists are hardly dissuaded by birds eating birds from concluding that all birds share a common avian ancestor.
Peter H.
I imagine that when evolutionists are confronted with this evidence, they will claim that change happened over different eras in different locations. That was the excuse offered me when I told an atheist about the out of sequence tetrapod prints in Poland!
Is there any way round these escape routes, other than say that this is yet another example of evolutionism being unfalsifiable!?
David Catchpoole
Peter, you've pretty much hit the nail on the head with your 'unfalsifiable' observation. And something so unfalsifiable surely must provoke an examination of whether it can be labelled 'science' at all.
Steve W.
Because birds evolved in the late Jurassic period, while this dinosaur lived in the Cretaceous period (which is later than the Jurassic period). Not all dinosaurs evolved into birds. It blows my mind how blatantly ridiculous this author's argument is.
Mark P.
David, thank you for another vivid example of sudden events that have been preserved as fossils. It is very encouraging to those of us who heard only the uniformitarian paradigm when we were students. Concerning a possible objection to the logical reasoning "Did dinos give rise to birds? No—they ate them" that birds evolved from dinosaurs, and then both existed for a period of time, I found that the links under Related Articles and the Q&A Creation Topics lead to information that would be very helpful on that and many other challenges which might come up in a constructive dialogue.
James T.
Dr Catchpoole,one thing that i believe should be added to this article is what i believe evolutionists commented on,in a older article similar to this one.Evolutionists would claim that even if dinosaurs ate birds,this does not refute them evolving into birds.I think you should add your explanation as to why their argument does not work in case one does try to refute this article with this argument.

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