What? Another feathered dinosaur claim?

Many news agencies have reported on two fossils found in Northern China that are claimed to be feathered theropods (meat-eating dinosaurs). The fossils, Protarchaeopteryx robusta and Caudipteryx zoui, are claimed to be ‘the immediate ancestors of the first birds’.

We should remember that the media often sensationalize ‘proofs’ of evolution, but the later disproofs hardly rate a mention, even by other evolutionists. For example, in Creation 19(3):6 June 1997, we reported a retraction of another recent ‘feathers on dinosaur’ claim. We also reported very strong evidence from the forelimb and lung structures that dinosaurs could not have been the ancestors of birds (Creation 20(2):41 March 1998, see online version).

The two latest discoveries are ‘dated’ at 120 to 136 million years while Archaeopteryx, a true bird, is ‘dated’ at 140 to 150 million years. How can these ‘bird ancestors’ be far younger than their descendants?

Evolutionary ornithologists Larry Martin and Allan Feduccia, strong critics of the dino-to-bird dogma, believe that the fossils are more likely to be flightless birds similar to ostriches. Caudipteryx even used gizzard stones like modern plant-eating birds, but unlike theropods.


  • Ji Qiang, P.J. Currie, M.A. Norell and Ji Shu-An, ‘Two feathered dinosaurs from northeastern China’, Nature 393(6687):753–761, 25 June 1998. Perspective by K. Padian, same issue pp. 729–730.
  • Washington Post, 25 June 1998.
Published: 28 February 2006