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Bird, or dinosaur?

Archaeopteryx is known from 10 specimens, including several complete, articulated specimens. It is often presented as evidence of evolution because the bones have some characteristics reminiscent of reptiles including teeth and incomplete evolution of the wing structure, making it appear to be a transitional form between reptiles and birds.

The criticism of the Archaeopteryx as a transitional form, has been strengthened by the work of Creationist anatomist Dr. David Menton[1] suggesting that Archaeopteryx was a true bird with flight feathers, not a transitional form at all.

In 1993, an article was published in Science magazine arguing that the Archaeopteryx had fully formed flying feathers (including asymmetric vanes and ventral, reinforcing furrows as in modern flying birds), the classical elliptical wings of modem woodland birds, and a large wishbone for attachment of muscles responsible for the downstroke of the wings[1]

While most Darwinist scientists agree that the flight feathers of Archaeopteryx were essentially modern, several papers since have refuted Feduccia's claims about the anatomy of Archaeopteryx[2] Specimens such as the Thermoplis Specimen [3] are thought to clearly show that the arms, wishbone, tail, feet, hips, and palate of Archaeopteryx were more like meat-eating theropod dinosaurs than modern birds.

In 1994, a Christian publication stated that the brain of an Archaeopteryx was essentially that of a flying bird, with a large cerebellum and visual cortex. The artilce argued that the fact that it had teeth is irrelevant to its alleged transitional status -- a number of extinct birds had teeth, while many reptiles do not. Furthermore, like other birds, both its maxilla (upper jaw) and mandible (lower jaw) moved. In most vertebrates, including many reptiles, only the mandible moves.[4]

External Links


  1. A. Feduccia, "Evidence from Claw Geometry Indicating Arboreal Habits of Archaeopteryx," Science, 259(5096):790-793, February 5, 1993.
  2. "The tenth skeletal specimen of Archaeopteryx," Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 149:97-116, 2007.
  4. D. Mentonand C. Wieland, "Bird Evolution Flies out the window," Creation Ex Nihilo, 16(4):16-19, September-November 1994.