How was your week? We had an awesome birthday party/farewell party to my grandson and youngest daughter who are moving to Alaska. The cooler weather and winds let up for the day and it was pleasant and sun shinny. But what made it so special was everyone who came to show their love and support.
Speaking of support...can science support dinosaur “protofeathers”? Let’s take a look.
First it is important to understand what a “protofeather” is thought to be. We have already addressed in an earlier blog (What Came First The Chicken or The Egg?) the anatomical difference between scales (whom many secular scientists claim changed into feathers) and feathers. Here is a quick review; feathers grow out of skin follicles just like mammalian hairs. “They are completely different from reptilian scales in their organization, development, function, and mode of replacement. Indeed, they are unique systems involving stem cells and specialized regulatory proteins. Built-in timers know when to shed a worn feather and grow a fresh replacement. Such complexity defies ideas of gradual change since all these parts have to be in place and working together at the same time to make even one feather. In contrast, scales are simply thickened folds of skin.”1 However there are evolutionary scientists who insist that the earliest stages of feather evolution consist of filaments (dinofuzz) that can be found on dinosaurs’ skin in the fossil record. They believe this the the transition form between scales and feathers.
So what exactly is this dinofuzz? As early as 1830, George Goldfuss, professor of natural history at Bonn University, Germany, claimed evidence of hair in the fossil Sccaphognathus (a pterosaur). By 1960 another pterosaur fossil (Sordes pilosus) was discovered which showed thin, fine filaments very clearly. Thus the word dinofuzz was coined. “During the last decade, a series of superbly preserved small dinosaurs, many of them with fossil evidence of the body covering (dinofuzz), have been found in the Jehol Group of northeast China, the same rocks that have also produced such pterosaurs as Jeholopterus...In some respects, this fuzz looks remarkably similar to the body covering borne by pterosaurs. Indeed, some scientists have even suggested that they are one and the same thing, implying that something similar was already
present in ortnithodirans and subsequently evolved into the hair of pterosaurs and dino fuzz, the latter eventually evolving into true feathers.
“It’s an exciting idea, but there are several difficulties. The way feathers (and by implication, feather forerunners such as dino fuzz) develop from deep in the skin appears to be quite different from the origin of pterosaur hair, which seems to have grown directly from the surface of the skin. More significantly, there is no evidence of dino fuzz in most dinosaurs or any ornithodiran (the dinosaur that is proposed evolved into birds), and, in any case, this idea only works if pterosaurs are ornithodirans, which, as already recounted in Chapter 4, is not at all certain. It would seem that, for the present, the case for a common origin of pterosaur hair and dinosaur fuzz is still far from being proven.”2
Further difficulties concerning protofeathers. “Certain theropod dinosaurs, such as Sinosauropteryx, have fossilized fibers. This
‘dino-fuzz’ has been interpreted as protofeathers, but this interpretation has been disputed by other evolutionary paleontologists. One study pointed out: ‘The major, and most worrying, problem of the feathered dinosaur hypothesis is that the integumental structures have been homologized with avian feathers on the basis of anatomically and paleontologically unsound and misleading information.’ ”3 Also, “now, fibers have been found on Tianyulong, which is not even a theropod. This fact has been difficult to explain by those who are convinced that theropods evolved into birds. Why did these non-theropods have ‘protofeathers’ if they were not destined to morph into birds? It
appears that these fibrous processes were present with the very earliest dinosaurs, whether they were theropods or not. In the journal Nature, Lawrence Witmer of Ohio University stated, "Perhaps the only clear conclusion that can be drawn ... is that little Tianyulong has made an already confusing picture of feather origins even fuzzier.” ”4 k
Recently there has been a great deal made out of supposed dino fuzz found in amber. Secular scientists assigned these samples to Late Cretaceous deposits dating to at least 65 million years ago. “However, the amber was still transparent, indicating that it is thousands and not millions of years old.4 Translucent amber cannot contain anything from some evolutionary dinosaur age, because oxidation would have long since darkened it.
“If dinosaurs evolved into birds, then protofeathers should be found on dinosaur fossils located below (and therefore dated before) fossils of birds, not above and after them. McKellar's fibers came from Cretaceous deposits, but true bird feathers have been found in fossil layers far below the Cretaceous. Why would feathers still be evolving long after they supposedly alreadyexisted?
“Yale University's Richard Prum told ScienceNOW: The lack of any other remains in the amber—a distinctive bit of bone, say, or a shred of skin—leaves open the possibility that the structures aren't associated with dinosaurs at all. Indeed…they could be something completely new that hasn't been preserved elsewhere in the fossil record.”5
It’s good to see that there are at least some scientists out there that are still interested in true science. Perhaps one day they will see God’s fingerprints in all of His creations. Please keep these people in your prayers.
Until next time, God bless and take care,
This week in the night skies: Friday, November 28 First-quarter Moon!
2Unwin, David M., The Pterosaurs From Deep Time, PI Press, New York, New York, 2006. Pp 132-135.