Last week, we discussed some of the problems with the hypothesis of dinosaur to bird evolution. If you’re still with me, thanks for hanging in there through these longer, more technical (and hopefully interesting) posts. To see the post from last week, click here. Now on to a few more problems with the idea of dinosaurs changing into birds:
1) Bird walk/lungs
Birds have a distinctive walk. We’ve all seen it and my kids do a perfect impression of a pigeon. Birds walk from the knee down because their upper leg bone remains firmly in place to support their air-sac lungs. Dinosaur legs and lungs are very different. No dinosaurs have fixed femurs like birds do. In particular, the Theropods, which birds supposedly evolved from, had moving femurs and therefore couldn’t support air-sac type lungs. Also, the dinosaur lung has a structure and physiology much closer to reptilian creatures than to birds.
2) Warm-blooded versus Cold-blooded
Living reptiles are almost exclusively cold-blooded (meaning they take on the same temperature as their surroundings), while living birds are warm-blooded (meaning they maintain a constant temperature, like us). And birds have exceptionally high body temperatures due to a high metabolic rate. Originally, dinosaurs were thought to be cold-blooded like reptiles, but recently many paleontologists have re-considered. Some now suggest dinosaurs were warm-blooded. Is this because they want to conform to the dinosaur to bird hypothesis? Or maybe they’ve watched Jurassic Park too many times? (Hey, I can say it because it’s my favorite book/movie). Unfortunately, no clear evidence exists to support the warm bloodedness of dinosaurs. In fact, no evidence exists to assume they were cold-blooded either, except the fact most of them resemble today’s cold blooded reptiles. So the debate about dinosaur metabolism rages on.
3) Bird hipped versus Lizard Hipped
Dinosaurs are typically grouped into two categories based on the structure of their hips. The bird hipped dinosaurs, called ornithischians, have a pubic bone directed to the rear (as in most birds), while the lizard hipped, called saurischians, have their pubic bone directed to the front (as in most mammals). This would probably lead you to assume that bird hipped dinosaurs are the ones which gave rise to the lineage of birds, right? Wrong. Bird hipped dinosaurs resembled reptiles, while the lizard hipped dinosaurs looked more like birds. Paleontologists believe the fleet-footed Theropod group were the ancestors of modern birds, such as T-Rex and Velociraptor (from Jurassic Park fame). These dinosaurs have hips that resemble lizards, not birds. Does it make sense that birds would evolve from the lizard hipped dinosaurs as is claimed?
As a small aside, Velociraptor was not nearly as big as they made it look in the Jurassic Park movies. I understand why they enlarged him—for dramatic effect—but a typical Velociraptor only got up to 7 feet long (including its tail). Its body would have been about the size of a turkey.
There are many reasons to be skeptical of the dinosaur to bird evolutionary hypothesis, not the least of which is that the Bible says it happened a different way. Genesis 1 makes it clear that winged creatures were created by God on Day 5 and land animals (which would include dinosaurs) were created on Day 6. The Bible tells us birds were actually created before dinosaurs. Knowing this doesn’t make these creatures any less fascinating to me. The fact that God personally designed every aspect of their physiology makes them that much more amazing.
What do you think? Are you surprised by some of the evidence? Does any of this change what dinosaurs mean to you? Do you still have questions? Ask them and I’ll do my best to get answers.
Additional Resources: Quad City Creation Science Association, http://www.qccsa.org, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/feathers/did-dinosaurs-turn-into-birds/