Talk:Bird

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This article is a complete and utter disgrace.

Stand back from this, and ask yourselves what is going on here? If this really is to be used as a resource, i.e. an encyclopaedia, then someone looking up the word 'bird', is looking to find out about birds, and not wanting to get into a discussion of whether or not birds descended from dinosaurs or not. This should have a typology of birds, in to different types, species etc, as well as discussing anatomical details, breeding habits and all sorts of stuff like that. Right at the end, perhaps there could be stuff about bird origins, but taking up 95% of the article, come on! --Felix 17:27, 19 April 2007 (EDT)

So far, this article has focussed on the supposition by evolutionists that birds and dinosaurs are related. If you can add some facts about birds which have nothing to do with the origins debate, we'd all be happy. --Ed Poor 17:32, 19 April 2007 (EDT)
then all the debate stuff should be moved to a page called "Bird-Dinosaur Controversy" or some such. It should not constitute the major part of an article on birds.--Felix 17:42, 19 April 2007 (EDT)

Why is the whole of the "Creationary view" section taken up with creationist critiques of the dinosaur-to-bird hypothesis rather than positive evidence for the "creationary" version of the origin of birds? Dadsnagem2 13:08, 18 March 2008 (EDT)

Probably because nobody's yet written that part. Are you offering? Actually, I think the section is a bit inaccurate in that perhaps only the first quote is to do with dinosaur-to-bird evolution, and the other two are to do with bird evolution regardless of whether it was from dinosaurs. Philip J. Rayment 22:17, 18 March 2008 (EDT)
No, not offering to write it. Because I don't take a "creationary view" of things, I'm really not qualified. Dadsnagem2 10:52, 20 March 2008 (EDT)

Contents

I'm sorry, but...

This article states that the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs is not supported by ANY scientific data. I'm sorry, but this is plain and simply not true. There is burgeoning evidence that birds evolved from dinosaurs, though there are some aspects of their physiology that would suggest that birds evolved from thecodonts, the amphibious ancestors of dinosaurs. This is not a matter of liberalism, or conservatism, but a matter of highest scientific truth. Please understand that it is completely detestable to cloud truth, science, and progress due to petty bipartisan bickering. I feel obligated as a budding ornithologist to largely re-write the section of this article concerning the evolution of birds. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by BirdEgal202 (talk)

The article does not state that there is no scientific data. It says that creationists contend that there is no scientific data. Philip J. Rayment 22:16, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Okay, go ahead and rewrite. Bear in mind that the intro says, "It is commonly believed that birds have evolved from dinosaurs, although this view is disputed by both creationists and some evolutionists." --Ed Poor Talk 16:41, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

Yes, but the evolutionists who dispute the evolution of birds from dinosaurs believe that they descended from thecodonts. And creationism isn't really science, it doesn't use the scientific method, it's difficult to back up. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by BirdEgal202 (talk)

Creationism is no less scientific than evolutionism. It uses the scientific method just as much, and is just as easy (or hard) to back up as evolution. It's better to refute an opposing view than simply dismiss it as not worthy of refutation.
However, regardless of that, thanks for your addition to the article, although I will be editing it partly to remove the evolutionary view presented as truth.
Philip J. Rayment 22:16, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

That's just the thing. Everything I've written is true. I've presented cursorial theory as it is, a theory, and factual evidence that backs it up. For example, —The preceding unsigned comment was added by BirdEgal202 (talk)

Didn't finish writing that?
Yes, for the most part, you did present it as a theory. Most of my changes to your addition were simply for better wording. The one bit that I did delete outright, "Vertebrates consistently illustrate throughout their history that adaptive behavior probably evolves before anatomy in adapting to new niches and habitats.", was written as a fact yet presupposes the accuracy of the radiometric dating methods involved, which presupposes the naturalistic worldview.
Philip J. Rayment 23:00, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

Out-of-date quotes

I've deleted a hugely out-of-date quote by Ernst Mayr (1942), inserted by Philip J. Rayment. "Missing links" in biological evolution are being discovered all the time and the evolution of different types feathers in theropod dinosaurs (including birds) has now become an excellent example of gradual evolution of complex structures. The same could apply to the "Open Letter" quote from Storrs Olsen, given the very rapid development in theropod paleontology in the last 10 years. Please keep up with the current scientific evidence, especially in such a fast-moving area as this. JimBob61 06:50, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

I've reinstated the quote, because it's not out of date at all. You are confusing Mayr's objection to how it could have happened with supposed evidence that it did happen. If Mayr was saying that there was no evidence, then you would have a point. But he was not saying that, and you've offered nothing to show that the particular point he was making is out of date.
Storr's letter would only be out of date if he had retracted it, which is not a claim that you've made.
The issue is not one of keeping up with the evidence, but of keeping up with the prevailing opinions. Nobody has seen a dinosaur evolve into a bird, and nobody has produced a "finely-graded" (Darwin's words) sequence of fossils going from dinosaurs to birds. In other words, even if there really is one or more fossils of dinosaurs with feathers, dinosaurs with feathers are not birds, but dinosaurs with feathers.
Philip J. Rayment 11:58, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
Sorry, Philip, but I must disagree. The quote from Mayr says "it is a considerable strain on one’s credulity to assume that finely balanced systems such as certain sense organs (the eye of vertebrates, or the bird’s feather) could be improved by random mutations" - and this is ridiculously out of date as a representation of evolutionary thinking. No evolutionary biologist's credulity is at all strained these days by the notion of random mutations leading to finely balanced systems. Humblpi 12:42, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
Regarding PJR's comment, "Storr's letter would only be out of date if he had retracted it": that's incorrect. Science can (and very often does) go out-of-date even if the author of a hypothesis doesn't retract it. Or indeed, isn't alive to retract it. Lamarck, for one, whose theory of evolution was entirely reasonable based on the state of scientific knowledge at the time he lived but was, of course, entirely superseded by the Darwin-Wallace model of evolution by natural selection and by developments in genetics in the 20th century. Or Aristotle, whose theory of logic is arguably the basis of Western scientific thought but some of whose biological theories have, to put it mildly, not stood the test of time. Or many, many others, alive and dead, whose hypotheses have been disproved by new discoveries. JimBob61 17:07, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
And regarding PJR's comment that "nobody has produced a finely-graded sequence of fossils going from dinosaurs to birds": sorry, not true either. The series of links between non-bird theropods and birds is now very good. It has even been possible to map the evolution of five stages of feather evolution onto points of divergence among theropod lineages (inc. birds). JimBob61 17:07, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
First of all, Humblpi's attempted refutation of my argument against JibBob61's reason for claiming that the Mayr quote was out of date does not actually refute my argument at all, but introduces a different reason for claiming that it's out of date.
Second, he hasn't made his case. That is, he claims that Mayr's quote is out of date simply because today most evolutionists don't have that problem. But he hasn't shown that most evolutionists had that problem when Mayr said that. That is, perhaps Mayr was simply pointing out a problem that most evolutionists ignored, and that they are still ignoring today. If that is the case, the quote is just as relevant today as when he said it. Further, he hasn't actually shown that evolutionary biologists don't still have that problem. Although it's not talking about exactly the same thing, the much more recent quote from Scientific American would tend to suggest that the problem remains.
Third, by restricting it to evolutionary biologists he is biasing the sample. There are many biologists that still agree with Mayr; they simply aren't evolutionary biologists. True, Mayr was an evolutionist, but he wasn't claiming that this was something that all evolutionists and only evolutionists believed, so the claim that current-day evolutionists collectively and only evolutionists believe that, is irrelevant.
Storr's letter was talking about methodology, not evidence. True, methodology can change, and you are right that letters can go out of date without being retracted, but there's no evidence offered that it has gone out of date.
Please point me to the finely-graded sequence of fossils from dinosaurs to birds. I suspect that it's really a case that rather than being no sequence at all, there is now a very coarse sequence, which to evolutionists struggling to find any evidence of a sequence is a major improvement, but still does not constitute a "finely-graded" sequence.
Philip J. Rayment 02:35, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Before I spend any more time...

PJR's edits have destroyed the sense of what I added. I don't understand this over-reaction. Can someone please enlighten me as to what on earth creationism has to do with conservative politics? JimBob61 10:02, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

I don't think it's an overreaction at all. And what does evolution have to do with conservative politics? Philip J. Rayment 22:27, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Reverting

Well, that doesn't answer the question, does it. I've reverted the page to the way it was before I tried bringing the science up-to-date. Do what you like with it but just beware that this page, at the moment, is quite hopelessly out-of-date. A couple of points before I say cheerio, tatty-bye and farewell:

  • A good article describing the detailed relationship - not at all a coarse sequence - between the evolution of theropod/bird anatomy and the evolution of feathers was in National Geographic in the last few years, probably sometime between 2004 and 2006 (possibly 2007). Anyone seriously interested in the one of the most exciting developments in biological evolution in recent years will be able to find it in a public library. Also plenty of material in peer-reviewed journals.
  • It really doesn't matter whether a hypothesis was proposed by someone as eminent as Ernst Mayr - if it's disproved by the evidence, it's wrong. Any scientist with a decent amount of imagination will have proposed several hypotheses which have turned out the be wrong. In this case, the hypothesis that it strains one's credulity to understand how feathers could have evolved from simple structures is wrong, because it's disproved by the fossil evidence of feather evolution in last 20 years. This is one of very many 'missing links' in biological evolution which are constantly being filled. There was a good article about 'myths of evolution' in New Scientist recently (http://www.newscientist.com/channel/life/dn13620-evolution-24-myths-and-misconceptions.html). JimBob61 16:34, 11 May 2008 (EDT)
I'm extremely sceptical of such a finely-graded sequence, especially if it's in National Geographic, as it is a popular magazine and is unlikely to go into that much detail, and is the same publication panned by Storrs Olson as "highly biased". Nevertheless, if you can tell me the specific issue, I will try and have a look at it.
According to your own comments, Mayr's "hypothesis" has not been disproved by the evidence. That it is very hard to believe something could have occurred is not disproven by showing that it has occurred: it can still be very hard to believe.
As for "keeping up to date" (in your edit comment), it's wiser to keep a little (or lot) behind the claims, as so many turn out to be overstated if not outright wrong after further investigation. Piltdown Man, anyone? Or, more appropriately here, Archaeoraptor? I'm not saying that every claim about feathers on dinosaurs is fraudulent, but there's been sufficient fraudulent and mistaken claims that caution is warranted instead of immediately accepting the very latest claims at face value.
I had seen the print copy of the New Scientist article, but not the expanded Internet version. But I reject that it is a "good article", with absolute nonsense being included, such as claiming that the Bible says that the Earth is flat and that the moon generates its own light. They should be ashamed of having published this rubbish.
Philip J. Rayment 23:12, 11 May 2008 (EDT)

And if they flew, they would be birds, surely?

Not if they were chickens. Or turkeys. Or penguins. Or bats. Or Rocky the Flying Squirrel.AliceBG 22:59, 11 June 2008 (EDT)

Or many other things that fly and are not birds! CherryS 22:54, 11 June 2008 (CDT)

Chickens and turkeys are birds. I didn't say that if they are birds they would fly, but if they flew they would be birds. The latter does not exclude the possibility of non-flying birds. As for the rest, the comment was in the context of dinosaurs supposedly evolving into birds, and to the point where they might have flown. So if they had got to the point of flying whilst evolving into birds (not flying mammals, etc.), then they would surely have been considered birds. Philip J. Rayment 06:12, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
What about pterodactyls? Are they not birds due to lack of feathers? If so, how are we defining birds? Did we know that all feathered dinosaurs were warm-blooded? CherryS 19:02, 12 June 2008 (CDT)
What about them? Pterodactyls were neither dinosaurs nor birds. I'm defining birds the way birds are commonly defined these days. I don't see the relevance of the last question, but I'm not even sure that there were feathered dinosaurs, let alone knowing if they were warm-blooded. Philip J. Rayment 07:05, 13 June 2008 (EDT)
I was referring to the "definition" of birds as egg-laying feathered warm-blooded animals, all of which may or may not have been characteristics of some species commonly or scientifically referred to as "dinosaurs." This is why whether or not pterodactyls being warm-blooded or not may be relevant, since it is still not completely determined whether dinosaurs were cold-blooded like reptiles or warm-blooded like birds. As for your first statement, if pterodactyls were neither birds nor dinosaurs, where do you think they fall? Palaeontology textbooks (which admittedly always take the evolutionist side) classify them in Dinosauria (though some books list Aves as a subset of Dinosauria). CherryS 13:08 13 June 2008
Correction, old paleontology textbooks think pterosaurs are dinosaurs, but most believe them now to be true reptiles that could fly. You learn something new every day! :) CherryS 13:13 13 June 2008
I think your discovery about pterodactyls removes most of your argument, but there's still a valid question hidden in there. That is, if the sequence is cold-blooded dinosaur --> add feathers --> add ability to fly --> add warm-bloodedness, then at what point are they considered "birds". And perhaps you are correct. Perhaps until they reach that last stage, they are not considered "birds". (Keep in mind that such definitions are man-made and somewhat arbitrary classification system.<-- read that.) But a hundred or so years ago, you had the following definitions (loosely stated): Dinosaur = "large cold-blooded reptile". Bird = "warm-blooded feathered flying creature". That is, there was no provision for "warm-blooded reptile", "cold- or warm-blooded reptile with feathers", and "cold-blooded feathered flying creature". When scientists realised that some dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded, they didn't invent a new category, but expanded the definition of "dinosaur" to included warm-bloodedness. And when they started to imagine that dinosaurs evolved into birds, they expanded the definition again to include feathers. But why keep expanding the definition of "dinosaur"? Why not expand the definition of "bird"? Including "cold-bloodedness" in "bird" seems more reasonable (especially given that the precedent with dinosaurs is that blood temperature is not really a critical determining factor). So in the sequence above, they became "birds" not at the last step of acquiring warm-bloodedness, but at the second last step of gaining the ability to fly.
Of course that's all based on that particular sequence. If (some?) dinosaurs were warm-blooded before acquiring feathers, it would seem that the sequence is wrong, and I suspect that there's likely biological reasons why it's better for flying creatures to be warm-blooded anyway.
Philip J. Rayment 19:45, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

Luke said some velociraptor skeletons have been found with imprints of feathers. Does he have a source for that? --Ed Poor Talk 16:43, 3 January 2010 (EST)

I think this is the source you want
Feather Quill Knobs in the Dinosaur Velociraptor
--JohnD 17:11, 3 January 2010 (EST)
Should the source go with birds or velociraptors? --Ed Poor Talk 17:29, 3 January 2010 (EST)
How about both? That way all bases are covered. --JohnD 17:33, 3 January 2010 (EST)
up to you --Ed Poor Talk 17:54, 3 January 2010 (EST)
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