This article is from
Creation 20(2):41, March 1998

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Dino-bird evolution falls flat!


Readers may remember the recent media fanfare about the so-called ‘feathered dinosaurs’ (including Sinosauropteryx) supposedly proving that dinosaurs evolved into birds. We covered these in Creation 19(2):6 (see Kentucky fried dinosaur?) and 19(4):49, 1997. We cautioned that many media ‘proofs’ of evolution are later refuted with barely a whimper in the media. Recent research has proved the point:

  • ‘New research shows that birds lack the embryonic thumb that dinosaurs had, suggesting that it is “almost impossible” for the species to be closely related.’1 A team led by bird expert Alan Feduccia, chairman of biology at the University of North Carolina, studied bird embryos under a microscope, and published their study in the journal Science.2

  • A team led by John Ruben, a respiratory physiology expert at Oregon State University in Corvallis, analysed fossil outlines of Sinosauropteryx’s internal organs. Its ‘bellowslike lungs could not have evolved into the high-performance lungs of modern birds.’3 Indeed, birds have a complicated system of air sacs which keep air flowing in one direction through special tubes (parabronchi) in the lung, and blood moves through the lung’s blood vessels in the opposite direction for efficient oxygen uptake,4 an excellent engineering design.5 Interestingly, some defenders of dinosaur-to-bird evolution, discount this evidence against their theory by saying ‘the proponents of this argument offer no animal whose lungs could have given rise to those in birds, which are extremely complex and are unlike the lungs of any living animal.’6 Of course, only evolutionary faith requires that bird lungs arose from lungs of another animal.

  • Also, Ruben and ancient bird expert Larry Martin believe that the so-called ‘feather’ traces are actually frayed collagen fibres beneath the skin. Feather expert Alan Brush, University of Connecticut, Storrs, points out that they ‘lack the organization found in modern feathers.’7


  1. The Cincinnati Enquirer, 25 October 1997. Return to text.
  2. Ann C. Burke and Alan Feduccia, Developmental Patterns and the Identification of Homologies in the Avian Hand, Science 278(5338):666–8, 24 October 1997, with a perspective by Richard Hinchliffe, The Forward March of the Bird-Dinosaurs Halted? on pp. 596–7. Return to text.
  3. Quoted in Ann Gibbons, Lung Fossils Suggest Dinos Breathed in Cold Blood, Science 278(5341):1229–1230, 14 November 1997. Ruben’s paper was published in the same issue, Lung Ventilation in Theropod Dinosaurs and Early Birds, pp. 1267–1270. Return to text.
  4. M. Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler and Adler, Bethesda, Maryland, pp. 199–213, 1985; K. Schmidt-Nielsen, How Birds Breathe, Scientific American, December 1971, pp. 72–79. Return to text.
  5. Engineers make much use of this principle of counter-current exchange which is common in living organisms as well—see P.F. Scholander, The Wonderful Net, Scientific American, April 1957, pp. 96–107. Return to text.
  6. K. Padian and L.M. Chiappe, The Origin of Birds and their Flight, Scientific American 278(2), 38–47, Feb. 1998; quote on p. 43. Return to text.
  7. Quoted in Plucking the Feathered Dinosaur, sidebar in Ref. 3. Return to text.

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