Bird Evolution

by Stephen Caesar

Contrary to popular belief and media propaganda, the evidence for the evolution of birds from ancestral dinosaurs is not indisputable. Movies like "Jurassic Park," as well as numerous popular books and articles on the subject, attempt to make people believe that the theory of birds having evolved out of dinosaurs is an open-and-shut case.

This is not quite true. The evidence of the alleged transition from dinosaur to bird is lacking in the fossil record, as George E. Watson, Curator of Birds at the Smithsonian Institution, admitted: "Not until the late Cretaceous, some 50 million years after Archaeopteryx (supposedly the ancestor of all modern birds), do birds appear in the fossil record in North America. The gap seems illogical. The sudden burst of a diverse bird life, including some species remarkably close to modern families, implies the presence of earlier, more primitive birds, but they left no fossil trace." Commenting on the alleged transition from lizards to birds, Watson admits: "A scant fossil record tells little of how these adaptive changes came about?"

Similarly, ornithologist W.E. Swinton noted: "The origin of birds is largely a matter of deduction. There is no fossil evidence of the stages through which the remarkable change from reptile to bird was achieved." Famed paleontologist John Ostrom of Yale University summed up the problem with the belief that birds evolved from dinosaurs: "We don?t have the evidence to support any kind of direct lineal descent. There are too many gaps in the fossil record. We?re in the business of connecting dots scattered in time and space."

In addition to this lack of fossil evidence, there is anatomical evidence coming to light that renders the dinosaur-to-bird scenario even more unlikely. Ann Burke, a biologist at the University of North Carolina, and her colleague, Alan Feduccia, an expert on bird evolution, have come out against the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurian ancestors.

Writing in the journal Science, Feduccia gave two chief reasons why the hypothesis of dinosaurs evolving into birds is erroneous. First, he pointed out that the earliest birdlike dinosaurs appear in the fossil record millions of years after the appearance of the first known birds. "Second," he wrote, "flesh-eating dinosaurs thought to have given rise to birds were large, earthbound creatures with heavy balancing tails and short forelimbs. This is absolutely the worst body plan for the evolution of bird flight."

It is interesting to note that the above comments all come from committed evolutionists, not creation scientists. Thus, the statements cannot be dismissed as "creationist propaganda." The fact is that, even within the evolutionary camp, the theory of birds having evolved from dinosaurs is highly in doubt, and the attempt by the media and academia to present the theory as established fact must be viewed as an act of deliberate dishonesty.

Stephen Caesar is head of Bible Proof Ministries, P.O. Box 381914, Cambridge, MA, 02238-1914. He is currently pursuing his master?s degree in anthropology/archaeology at Harvard.