This article is from
Creation 21(2):6, March 1999

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Polly find a cracker
Fossil parrot jaw found in ‘dinosaur rock’ causes controversy.


When was the last time you saw an artist’s reconstruction of a ‘Cretaceous landscape’ which showed brightly-coloured parrots wheeling through the air above dinosaurs? The reason we don’t see drawings like that is because evolutionists have long believed that such ‘modern’ types of birds had not evolved back in the alleged time when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Therefore, the discovery of a portion of modern parrot jaw in a rock which is assumed by evolutionists to be 70 million years old (in the so-called ‘Cretaceous’ period of evolutionary history) has caused some controversy. Although several experts insist it can only be a parrot’s jaw, some like Alan Feduccia, who says it would be ‘an astounding discovery,’ attack it as being based on ‘skimpy’ evidence.

To form fossils at all requires special conditions, like rapid burial by sediment, so it is not surprising that bird fossils are relatively rare. Other modern-type birds recovered from ‘dinosaur rock’ have all been of the water-dwelling variety, such as loons, shorebirds and frigate-birds.

The fossil in question was actually unearthed 40 years ago, and lay forgotten at the University of California, Berkeley till graduate student Thomas Stidham came across it. The 13 millimetre specimen is apparently from the lower jaw of a parrot the size of a macaw.

Not only is it shaped like a parrot’s jaw, X-rays reveal a K-shaped impression (blood vessel and nerve tracks) identical to, and characteristic of, that of modern parrots.


  1. Rick Callahan, ‘Fossil Find Suggests Parrots Coexisted with Dinos,’ Fox News Online, 5 November 1998.
  2. Thomas Stidham, ‘A lower jaw from a Cretaceous parrot,’ Nature 396(6706):29–30, 5 November 1998.