Archaeopteryx

Archaeopteryx lithographica - cast of Humboldt...I’m excited to share this bird with you since it has fascinated and puzzled me for many years.  If you take a look at any book on dinosaurs you’re likely to run into this critter because it seems to be just what the evolutionists are looking for to prove that dinos turned into modern birds.  But is it really?  Let’s take a look at what we do know about this animal.

We know the archaeopteryx [arkyoptuh-ricks. Hey, it has the word ARK in it!] lived in the area that is now southern Germany (I wonder if they were fond of soft pretzels and sauerkraut? Just kidding!).  This area was on the edges of a shallow, warm sea a lot like the one that covered what is now the American Midwest.

Several specimens of Archaeopteryx lithographi...

Several specimens of Archaeopteryx lithographica compared in size to a human.

One of the surprising things I learned doing research was how small Archaeopteryx actually was.  The fossils we’ve found are only about the size of a modern Raven.  The biggest model we’ve found was only 20 inches long.  Scientists are pretty sure all the birds we’ve found weren’t full-grown (don’t ask me how they know), so the adults might have been a bit bigger, but that’s a lot smaller than I had pictured.

The other big surprise was Archaeopteryx’s coloring.  We all know that all dinosaurs and other extinct creatures are stone colored now with no way for us to find out their original color.  But it turns out that we DO know the color of this little guy pretty accurately.  The most famous fossil Archaeopteryx is the ‘Berlin specimen’ and they just published studies of one of its feathers under a microscope.  It has the same structure that produces modern black feathers.  Now that is NOT how I’ve seen them colored in any of the books I’ve seen!

artist’s model of black archaeopteryx

One of the reasons Evolutionists are so excited about the Archaeopteryx is that it had teeth in its beak.  I just read a book from the library in town that described the Archaeopteryx as “primitive” because it still had teeth.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’m more primitive because I haven’t lost my (grown up) teeth yet!  This would have made it easier for the Archaeopteryx to snag fish or whatever else it liked to eat for lunch. (For more extinct birds with teeth see this news article from Answers in Genesis)

London Specimen detail

Archaeopteryx Tail, London Specimen

Another interesting thing about Archaeopteryx is that its backbone continued on into its tail like the Penguin (bet you didn’t know that, I sure didn’t).  Archaeopteryx didn’t have a “keel” on its breastbone (whatever that means), which is similar to the breastbone of the weak-flying Hoatzin of South America.  It also had long feathers on its legs, large wings similar to pheasants who have to fly around trees, and a strong wishbone.  The jury is still out on whether Archaeopteryx was a strong flier, but it was certainly well designed for long glides!

Archaepteryx Berlin wing detail

The last thing that Evolutionists point out about Archaeopteryx to ‘prove’ that it developed from dinosaurs is large claws on its wings.  You can see the impression of them clearly in the Berlin Specimen.  The tips are in the center of those white circles.  Turns out Ostriches have these claws too, and theirs are even more ‘reptile-like’ than Archaeopteryx’s.

If you look at the first picture of Archaeopteryx sideways, you will notice right away that this is not a normal position for a bird to be in.  But in the fossil record it is seen all the time.  Most of the intact dinosaurs are also found with their necks bent WAY back like this poor little dude.  Here’s a quote from Answers in Genesis: “This position is so common in both large and small dinosaurs it has a name: the opisthotonic death posture.”  They did some studies to see if today’s animals can be made to bend their necks back too.  They tried leaving dead chickens out for a month, but that just made a mess.  Turns out birds will still do this if their dead bodies are dunked in (you’ll never guess) cool water!

And God created… every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:21

Sites I used to reasearch this post:

Answers in Genesis News to Note January 28, 2012 article No. 2

Wikipedia: Archaeopteryx

Answers in Genesis Verebrates: Animals with Backbones

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13 thoughts on “Archaeopteryx

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  4. Mister Gordons

    I noticed that it’s more than disagreement with your critic and stick with the facts. He had to misrepresent the facts as you said, and went beyond, implying that you are evil and deliberately misleading people to believe in a God that hates lying.

    Reply
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  8. Dr. Luciano

    So basically, at the end of your long studies, you still can’t piece together that modern birds have reptile scales and scutes on their tarsus, and some even around their beaks. They also have the same breathing system that links their nostrils to their lungs as reptiles do. Also it’s an interesting fact that birds primarily sport the exact same feet that theropod dinosaurs walked with complete with the same number of toes and bones which are identical in structure. Lets’ not mention dinosaurs had a wishbone and hollow bones like birds do too…they walked the same in bipedal stance, hunched over the same way…. Not to mention the numerous amounts of feathered dinosaur fossils from the maniraptoran family found in Asia in the 90’s. Oviraptor was a Cretaceous dinosaur that evolved from early birds and it clearly shows because it sports a toothless beak and feathers on its body but a long reptilian tail and clawed talons on its arms instead of wings. All of these physical traits are operated by genes which are the same in both dinosaur and bird. Meaning, birds still have some of the genes that dinosaurs were reproduced with within their DNA.I don’t know dude, I’m not buying your argument. You sound like you’re in denial to me with all your funny puns you toss in your article to try and divert readers from seeing the obvious.

    Reply
    1. Cheri-CreationScience4Kids Post author

      “So basically, at the end of your long studies, you still can’t piece together that modern birds have reptile scales and scutes on their tarsus, and some even around their beaks. They also have the same breathing system that links their nostrils to their lungs as reptiles do. Also it’s an interesting fact that birds primarily sport the exact same feet that theropod dinosaurs walked with complete with the same number of toes and bones which are identical in structure. Lets’ not mention dinosaurs had a wishbone and hollow bones like birds do too…they walked the same in bipedal stance, hunched over the same way….”

      You seem to be suggesting that if a bird has anything similar it must have developed from the other animal. By this reasoning I can prove people evolved directly from horses because our hair is so similar, platypuses evolved from ducks (or was that chickens?), dolphins from tuna, and feathery lichens from the asparagus fern.

      For information on the true similarities and differences between birds and dinosaurs here’s an article to check out:

      http://www.icr.org/article/fixed-bird-thigh-nixes-dino-bird-development/

      Stating that some living things are similar to others comes nowhere close to proving they must have developed from one to another.
      If you visit an art gallery displaying a single artist’s work, you will soon notice themes. Each person has a particular style, or set of styles they enjoy and are skilled at producing. All living things were designed by a single Creator who happens to like certain styles and is well aware of what forms will function best in a given environment.

      “Not to mention the numerous amounts of feathered dinosaur fossils from the maniraptoran family found in Asia in the 90′s.”

      This is a gross misstatement of fact. To see more, you can read my post and follow the links to scientific studies of these fossils. http://creationscience4kids.com/2012/04/25/feathered-dinosaurs/

      “Oviraptor was a Cretaceous dinosaur that evolved from early birds and it clearly shows because it sports a toothless beak and feathers on its body but a long reptilian tail and clawed talons on its arms instead of wings.”

      This is a statement simply asserting what you believe based on your assumptions. We don’t actually have a fossil of an oviraptor with feathers. We have fossils of birds similar in size and shape with feathers, and we have a dinosaur fossil without feathers.
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/11/12/news-to-note-11122011#two
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2012/11/17/news-to-note-11172012#three

      “All of these physical traits are operated by genes which are the same in both dinosaur and bird. Meaning, birds still have some of the genes that dinosaurs were reproduced with within their DNA.”

      Again, the “singular artist” concept comes into play. We as Creationists expect to see a frugal reuse of gene coding between animals because their Designer understood how efficient and effective His design was. Ask an engineer if they ever reuse parts from a different machine in a new model or even to accomplish a completely different function.

      “I don’t know dude, I’m not buying your argument. You sound like you’re in denial to me with all your funny puns you toss in your article to try and divert readers from seeing the obvious.”

      I”m sure you didn’t mean anything by it, but I’m not a dude. I’m a lady. 🙂 Just so you know.

      And you’re quite right, I’m in complete denial of the philosophy of biological Evolution. I haven’t seen it, you haven’t seen it, the only place it has ever happened is in the minds of people. I have instead chosen to believe the eye-witness account of the One Who Was There, our Creator God.
      In my experience, God has proven Himself to be real, faithful, and worthy of my worship and obedience. Every new discovery scientists make only increases my confidence in the truthfulness of God’s account of the world and how He made it.

      Having just reread my article I’m a trifle puzzled by your claim that I use “funny puns.” I was being funny with the pretzels and sauerkraut, but that was something an Evolutionary book for kids might mention to fix the location of the fossil find in kids’ heads. I also asked whether we should be considered more primitive because we have teeth. This is a legitimate question kids should think through before buying claims by “experts.” Other than that, I wasn’t funny at all, but perfectly serious.

      Reply
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