I was reading several articles regarding flight and evolution in dinosaurs, and I find it helpful to identify some of the many incorrect assumptions involved in evolutionary thinking.
The article I want to focus on in this post is from Science Daily, and the headline states: “Evidence that prehistoric flying reptiles probably had feathers refuted”.
The flying reptiles being referred to are Pterosaurs, not dinosaurs. Pterosaurs had long, membranous wings like bats, and we suspect they may have been strong flyers and not gliders. I’ve always understood these creatures to be bald, having no feathers or fur, just skin. Why? Because that was the nature of the evidence.
However, going back to the 18th century, I’ve learned some scientists believe pterosaurs had feathers, and the debate has been on-going ever since. In fact, according to websites like Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica, these creatures have structures called pycnofibers or keratinous fibers, which, supposedly, evolved into feathers. But the article from Science Daily refutes this idea.
In 2019 there was a paper published in Nature Ecology and Evolution stating “Pterosaurs had feathers,” and it went on to claim that pterosaurs had four types of dermal structures, some showing “branching”. This branching effect is thought to be significant because structures called “protofeathers” have been found on some dinosaurs, and they have a branching effect too, and this would link pterosaurs to dinosaurs.
The problem with these types of claims is that these “dermal structures”, whether they’re called pycnofibers, keratinous fibers or protofeathers, aren’t feathers at all, and they’re not “evolving” into feathers. According to the latest research, the hair-like filaments found on pterosaurs are nothing more than tough fibers within the wing membrane. And the branching effect- found in only three fossil specimens- may be from these fibers decaying and unravelling.
There’s great demand for evolutionists to identify feathers in dinosaurs, and that’s because they believe dinosaurs evolved into modern day birds. Therefore, when these kinds of structures are identified, they assume this is the material feathers evolved from, and, in order to promote evolution, they refer to them as ‘feathers’, even though they’re not.
I’m glad there are some evolutionists willing to refute bad science and false evolutionary claims. Dr. David Unwin from the University of Leicester said, “The idea of feathered pterosaurs goes back to the nineteenth century but the fossil evidence was then, and still is, very weak. Exceptional claims require exceptional evidence — we have the former, but not the latter.”
I wholeheartedly agree. But that is the nature of most evolutionary claims. Often, it’s the need to prove evolution which drives scientists to claim that a certain organism “evolved” into another, even when that is not the case, or evidence is lacking.
Professor Dave Martill, said, “The clues are so cryptic, that we are still a long way from working out just how these amazing animals worked.”
It’s worth noting that scientists are working with “clues” and are trying to piece them together like a puzzle, but it’s a like a puzzle with many thousands of pieces, most of them are missing, and there’s no box-cover to reference. Anyone can piece them together and make unfounded claims that can’t be substantiated, and it’s up to us to practice discernment and critical thinking so that we don’t blindly accept evolutionary claims.
The bottom line is that there’s insufficient evidence to suggest pterosaurs had feathers at all, and I’m glad to see this theory refuted. From a creationist point of view, there’s no need to think dinosaurs evolved feathers. Only evolutionists need to believe that. And, depending upon which belief they hold on to, evolutionists may have to rewrite the evolutionary history of birds, dinosaurs, reptiles and flight. Whole theories would have to be flipped. But creationist theory would not.
Creationists would maintain (whether pterosaurs had feathers or not) that pterosaurs were perfectly designed- by God- for their initial environment, but they likely died out after Noah’s flood when they could no longer adapt to a new environment and changing climate.