A recent National Geographic (NG) article ‘Feathers for T. Rex?’ by the Senior Assistant Editor, Christopher Sloan,1 has attracted fierce criticism from some prominent evolutionists for its promotion of the idea that birds evolved into dinosaurs. The article even illustrated a baby T. rex with feathers, as well as putting feathers on another theropod dinosaur, Deinonychus. In a prominent heading, the article proclaimed: ‘We can now say that birds are theropods just as confidently as we say that humans are mammals.’2 It was based on a fossil illegally exported3 from Liaoning Province, China, tentatively named Archaeoraptor liaoningensis, allegedly a ‘feathered dinosaur’.
Readers of Creation magazine should be familiar with the extensive critiques of the dino-to-bird evolutionary theory, despite the sensationalist claims in the media.4 Even among evolutionists, some have refused to be swept along by the hype. For example, Alan Feduccia, a world authority on birds at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote an encyclopedic book on living and fossil birds.5 He pointed out much evidence against the dinosaur-to-bird theory, including the huge differences in lung and embryonic thumb structure. Also, dinosaurs have exactly the wrong anatomy for developing flight, with their large tails and hindlimbs and short forelimbs. And the so-called ‘feathered dinosaurs’ are ‘dated’ by evolutionists at millions of years later than undoubted birds.
His colleague, University of Kansas paleontologist Larry Martin, commented on the wishful thinking and bias of another ‘feathered dinosaur’ claim: ‘You have to put this into perspective. To the people who wrote the paper, the chicken would be a feathered dinosaur.’6
But the NG article was the last straw in shameless sensationalism for Storrs Olson, Curator of Birds at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. He wrote:
Among other things, Dr Olson, an evolutionist, pointed out: ‘None of the structures illustrated in Sloan’s article that are claimed to be feathers have actually been proven to be feathers. Saying that they are is little more than wishful thinking that has been presented as fact.’ Olson referred to the claim by Sloan — i.e. that ‘hollow, hairlike structures characterize protofeathers’8 — as ‘nonsense considering that protofeathers exist only as a theoretical construct, so that the internal structure of one is even more hypothetical.’7
Start with the Bible, the Word of the Creator God who was there, and never lies or errs. The Bible teaches that birds and other flying creatures were created on Day 5, while dinosaurs and other land animals, and man, were created on Day 6.
Facts never speak for themselves; rather they are always interpreted within a framework, or paradigm. Most important are the two opposing frameworks of Christianity and materialism. And the dino-to-bird scenario has become a dogma into which the evidence must be twisted.
Don’t believe everything you read in the media. Mostly, the media are biased towards evolution and against God. We should not be surprised that they splash supposedly pro-evolution ‘evidence’ on the front pages, but when this ‘evidence’ is refuted, even by other evolutionists, this is either buried in an obscure place, or not reported at all. This has happened repeatedly — remember the alleged life from Mars in an Antarctic meteorite, now almost universally discounted? And it has happened with many other ‘missing link’ claims, including alleged ‘feathered dinosaurs’. As shown, the NG article simply takes media sensationalism to a new low.
There is nothing in creationist theory forbidding dinosaurs from having feathers — it would not make them any more a transitional form than the egg-laying mammals, the platypus and echidna. But so far the evidence is lacking. And even if they existed, it would not prove they evolved from scales — feathers are completely different from scales in just about every respect.4,9
An eminent paleontologist in Beijing, Xu Xing, now claims that the fossil is not even genuine. Rather, ‘Archaeoraptor liaoningensis’ was really combined from the body and head of a birdlike creature and the tail of a different dinosaur. Dr Xu said that a fossil in a private collection in China contains the mirror image of the tail of the alleged Archaeoraptor.
But it mightn’t be a deliberate fake like ‘Piltdown Man’, a human skull and an ape’s jaw. Dr Xu said: ‘For science, this is a disaster. When pieces are stolen and smuggled out, sometimes blocks of fossils are matched together mistakenly. That can be a big mistake, and it misleads the public.’
At the time of writing, research is still ongoing, but Czerkas said that Xu may be right, and National Geographic plans to publish a correction in the March issue.2