My last post was on the evolution of bird flight, and this post is a continuation. Here’s another article on feathered dinosaurs, titled “Shake it! Dinosaurs Waggled Flashy Tails to Woo Mates”.
There are many scientists who believe dinosaurs were birds, and/ or evolved into birds, and there’s a big push to indoctrinate as many people as possible with this belief. This article assumes such an evolutionary scenario, and then attempts to explain how dinosaurs used their feathers. “They were odd ducks, strange dinosaurs,” claims researcher Scott Persons, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Alberta in Canada.
The first just-so story researchers put forth is that dinosaurs may have used their muscular tails to shake tail feathers, hoping to lure a mate. But even assuming evolution is true and that dinosaurs had feathers, it’s impossible to “know” what dinosaurs did with their feathers or how they used them because, supposedly, no one was there to observe them. All we really have to support this conjecture are incomplete fossils.
The truth is we have difficulty understanding animal behavior today- despite the fact that we can observe many animals in their natural habitat. For example, why does a cat purr and rub against your leg? Is it because they love us and want to show affection, or is it because they’re instinctively applying their scent to mark their territory? Or why does a rooster crow? Is it because of disturbances in their coop at night, or does it have to do with being territorial, or because the sun is rising? And how would one even know that cats rub against things, or that roosters crow, if they had been extinct for 65 million years?
Yet this is what passes for science and can be published in a scientific journal. And to think, some evolutionary leaders would have us believe that real science can’t be accomplished without believing in evolution. But here we have scientists guessing about dinosaur behavior in the hopes of understanding dinosaur and bird flight better. At best they can only believe they have such an understanding based on the acceptance of their assumptions.
Another assumption made by the researchers is that they’re studying a 75 million year old fossil. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that such age estimates are unreliable. Dating methods, such as radiometric dating and index fossils have built-in assumptions and circular reasoning. Below is a good article explaining some of the problems with index fossils, which are used to date sedimentary rocks.
Persons also claims that, “There are good reasons to think they had gone vegetarian.” However, the sources I’ve checked suggests that no one knows what Oviraptors ate. Their diet is purely speculation.
Part of the theory why it’s believed that these dinosaurs might have used their tail feathers to lure the opposite sex is because Oviraptor tails were short, and were made of many tailbones with many points between the vertebrae where they could flex. The tailbones had many projections where large muscles could attach (according to computer models). This means, according to Persons, that it’s possible that the flexible, muscular tail could strike a pose and hold it long enough to do a “muscular dance with the tail.”
Evidence to support these conclusions, according to Persons, is that “in some Oviraptors, the last few vertebrae were actually fused together to become one solid, ridged, bladelike structure.” And, “The only other kind of animal where you see that are modern-day birds, where it’s called a pygostyle, which serves as an anchor point for a big fan of tail feathers.” Persons concludes that, since Oviraptors couldn’t fly, they must have used their feathers for courtship like peacocks and turkeys (even though peacocks and turkeys can fly).
If it’s true that some Oviraptors had fused vertebrae, then this implies that some did not. But even if some did have pygostyle vertebrae, that doesn’t mean that dinosaurs are related to birds and had feathers. It may simply mean that some animals have similar features to other animals. The “duck-billed” platypus, for example, has many features similar to other animals, such as birds, otters, beavers, reptiles, fish, amphibians, snakes, scorpions and bats, yet none are believed to be direct ancestors. Therefore, finding questionable similarities between Oviraptors and birds isn’t conclusive evidence that they’re related.
In fact, as I was researching pygostyles, I found that, in existing birds, this feature is represented by four to seven caudal vertebrae that are fused together, and this is where the rectrices (flight feathers on the tail) attach. The vertebrae of birds and humans are actually similar, except, in birds, it’s called the pygostyle, while in humans it’s called the coccyx, which is comprised of three to seven vertebrae. Both the coccyx and pygostyle, therefore, have caudal fusions. So, it’s not really accurate to claim that only modern-day birds have the last few vertebrae fused together. This further demonstrates that similarity doesn’t indicate evolutionary ancestry. The bird’s pygostyle actually seems to be more similar to a human coccyx than to the very end of the tail of an Oviratpor. I’m also left wondering exactly how many Oviraptor vertebrae were “fused together to become one solid, ridged, bladelike structure”. Persons said it was the last few. The word “few” is a bit subjective, and could be interpreted as two or three, which would be less than the four to seven in birds. And when I view the images, I have trouble spotting the fusion that they’re calling a pygostyle. So I’m left wondering why they even call it a pygostyle, and if this is technically accurate. I’m not an anatomist, but I’d certainly like to have better and more conclusive answers.
For some, however, no conclusive answers are needed because evolution is assumed. The similarities don’t need to be all that great; they just need to exist on some superficial level, and that’s enough to establish an evolutionary link.
It’s also interesting to note that pygostyles supposedly evolved during the Cretaceous period, about 140-130 million years ago. A bird called Confuciusornis sanctus, which lived 125- 140 million years ago already had a pygostyle, so it’s odd that Oviraptor, which lived at the end of the Cretaceous, about 75 million years ago, is considered an ancestor of modern birds.
Lastly, the illustrations and models of Oviraptor should be examined with an understanding that a lot of creative liberty and bias is used by the artist and scientists. The images we see appearing in magazines and all over the internet provide a wide range of possibilities, which goes to show that no one living today knows what one of these creatures truly looked like. Thus we don’t have to accept the evolutionary indoctrination that is being promoted. Those supporting evolutionary theory want the public to believe in feathered dinosaurs, so they create dinosaurs with feathers. But as I pointed out in my previous article, there’s no clear evidence that dinosaurs had feathers.