No Transitionals? Archaeopteryx

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by UTEOTW, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. UTEOTW

    UTEOTW
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    Archaeopteryx represents a good example of what one would expect to find in a transitional organism. It is a mix of reptilian and bird characteristics.

    On the bird side:
    Fully formed flight feathers typical of a bird including assymetry.
    The clavicles have fused to form the furcula or wish-bone.
    The claws on the feet are adapted like those of a bird with the first digit extending backward.
    The knee and ankle joints are similar to birds and are on long, bird like legs.
    Some hollow bones like a bird.
    The pubis is pointed to the posterior.

    On the reptile side:
    Long bony tail.
    Teeth.
    Sternum lacks keel for attachment of flight muscles.
    Has stomach ribs, unlike birds.
    Maintains claws on wings.
    Some bones remain solid where birds have hollow wings.
    Vertebrae are shaped like those of reptiles and not birds.
    Carpals are unfused unlike birds who have fused carpals.
    Lack of fusion of bones in tail is different than birds.
    Birds have fused tarsals in ankle and Archaeopteryx has only the third tarsal fused.

    There are also some features that are unique to Archaeopteryx, that we will not go into here. Above should be enough to show the blend of features between reptile and bird. A true transitional even if it is unlikely to be on the direct lineage of birds.

    There is more if you are willing to do a quick search on "Archaeopteryx." For our creationist, I have two links for you.

    Here is a creationist site that says Archaeopteryx was a bird. http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2/4254news3-24-2000.asp

    Here is a creationist site that says Archaeopteryx was a reptile. http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/FAQ19.html#wp1365100

    We also have a number of specimens both which are more reptilian and which are more birdlike. If interested, look up information on some of the following animals: Sinosauropteryx, Confuciusornis, Caudipteryx, Protoarchaeopteryx, Hesperornis, Ichthyornis, and Oviraptor.

    Creationist hold that there are original "kinds" and that organisms cannot cross that boundary. Here is a creature that was a mix of reptiles and birds.
     
  2. Helen

    Helen
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    And what are you going to do with a platypus?

    These creatures are referred to as 'mosaics', and are not considered transitional. There were complete birds in the strata lower than archy -- which indicates he was not transitional in the evolutionary scenario.
     
  3. UTEOTW

    UTEOTW
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    I'll treat it as what it is. A very primitive mammal. Its overall characteristics show it to be a mammal, yet it retains some characteristics of the reptiles from which it evolved. It lays eggs, leathery eggs with large yolks like a reptile no less. It has a common cloaca for solid and liquid waste elimination and for laying eggs. It has cervical ribs like a reptile. It retains some reptilian features in its pelvic girdles. And while warm-blooded, it maintains a very low body temperature. On the mammal side, it has some of the key characteristics like warm-blooded (barely), four chambered heart, a covering of hair, and production of milk for the young, though it lacks nipples.

    In short, the platypus preserves many of the characteristics you would expect of a transitional animal between organisms at the level of mammals and reptiles. More specifically, its last common ancestor with placental mammals, such as yourself, was likely further back into the transition than the LCA of placentals or the LCA of placentals and marsupials. That they are still alive today becomes important with your second point.

    Maybe you have given us a living transitional?

    So how do you tell the difference between a mosaic and a transitional?

    You don't! You expect some transitionals to look like mosaics!

    Many transitionals would be expected to have traits intermediate between two other groups. In this case, the archaeopteryx has features of both the birds and the reptiles. It is intermediate between the two classes. And a mix of features between the two is what you would expect to find.

    That you have to say that there were complete birds in lower strata shows that you know that these were neither true birds nor true reptiles. (I thought you questioned geologist's dating anyhow.)

    The example you give of the platypus explains this just find. I pointed out that archaeopteryx is not thought to be on the direct line to birds. It is almost certainly a side branch on the tree of life. It is a dead-end branch from one of the creatures that did give rise to birds. That it was around after animals closer to true birds evolved is beside the point. The platypus is still around in addition to other mammals and in addition to the descendents of the reptiles from which it evolved. Put differently, the fact that my grandparents are still around doesn't prevent me from being around nor does it prevent me from having cousins.

    The fact remains that it cannot be classified as either reptile or bird. It has truely intermediate features. Transitional in the sense of not on the direct line to birds, I'll give you that one. Transitional in the sense that it preserves the features of an animal that was on the direct line to birds, it certainly seems so.

    Or are we going to start saying there was a "kind" that had these intermediate traits and a series of other "kinds" that were more and more bird like in one direction and a series more and more reptile like in the other direction? Sounds like a transitional series to me.
     
  4. ChurchBoy

    ChurchBoy
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    According to Dr Alan Feduccia, a world authority on birds at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an evolutionist, says:

    'Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of “paleobabble” is going to change that.’

    Feduccia, A.; cited in V. Morell, ‘Archaeopteryx: Early Bird Catches a Can of Worms’, Science 259(5096):764–65, 5 February, 1993.

    Hmmm...I guess there a lot of "paleobabble" going around.
     
  5. Meatros

    Meatros
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    To that, I'll let Talk Origins respond:

     
  6. john6:63

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    Concerning Talk origins and True origin, I would take the author of these websites advice and follow-up with the references following each article as with any article from any website. Very rarely do mainstream scientists contribute to the above-mentioned sites. The articles posted aren’t subjected to a rigorous peer review and may contain errors. :eek:
     
  7. DM

    DM
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    Your assertion wrt Talk Origins is not necessarily accurate--many of the contributors to the FAQ *are* mainstream scientists with peer-reviewed publications. I can't speak for True Origins because I do not read it much. I have had exchanges with a couple of its contributors, but they were not mainstream scientists.

    However, you are correct in that one should follow up with the references if one is unsure of any claims. That is actually a better way of assessing the accuracy of the material rather than the mere possibility that the author is not a "mainstream scientist".


     
  8. john6:63

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    But the articles submitted to these websites haven't generally undergone any type of peer reviwed, which was my point.

    Talk Origins Link:
    How do I know the contents of this archive are reliable?

    [ July 24, 2003, 12:34 PM: Message edited by: john6:63 ]
     
  9. The Galatian

    The Galatian
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    Alan Feduccia believes that birds evolved from thecodont reptiles instead of dinosaur reptiles. Since dinosaurs arose from thecodonts, it's not useful if you want to deny that birds evolved from reptiles.

    And I'm wondering why Helen thinks a platypus isn't a good transitional. Why not?

    Why would a transitional be a mosaic? Because there is often no reason for all characters to evolve in lockstep. Sometimes, coevolution makes that happen. But just as often, it does not.

    Examples on request.
     
  10. UTEOTW

    UTEOTW
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    [Snip out of context quote from ChurchBoy]

    This is the kind of YEC quote mining that I absolutely detest. On its surface, this does appear to be a devestating critique of Archaeopteryx as something intermediate between true birds and true reptiles. It is the context that is missing. And the context changes everything. This kind of deliberate dishonesty is what drives me to always want to see the information put into context. If you put a quote such as this up and want me to pay you any attention, you had better provide a quick link for me to read the rest of the story for myself. (No, I am not suggesting ChurchBoy was being dishonest, but that whoever provided the quote originally was. Assuming ChurchBoy has not already heard the rest of the story.)

    The context. First the specific context. The question was not "Is Archaeopteryx a transitional between birds and reptiles?" the question was "Is Archaeopteryx a flightless feathered dinosaur?" And in that case, no it is not a dinosaur and it is not flightless, it has characteristics to show that it could fly and perch like a bird.

    The more general context. Feduccia is a maveric evolutionist (as pointed out by The Galatian) in that he holds that birds did not evolve from a small theropod dinosaur but that birds and theropod dinosaurs evolved from the same common ancestor. [sarcasm]What a huge difference[/sarcasm]

    Now to let Feduccia speak for himself. Regarding the above quote, he has responded to others as follows. (It was in a private email to someone else and I do not have the original to give you.*)

    So Feduccia certainly believes that birds evolved from reptiles and that Archaeopteryx is a transitional.

    In a recent interview, Feduccia says ( http://www.discover.com/feb_03/breakdialogue.html ) (Emphasis mine.)
    But thanks for bringing Feduccia up so we could get an expert on the subject, that you want us to agree with since you were quoting him, to also say that Archaeopteryx is a fine example of a transitional.

    * Found here.
     
  11. ChurchBoy

    ChurchBoy
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    UTEOTW,

    So you detest quote mining, then you do the very same thing! I checked the link you posted and it a classic example of "quote mining" if I ever saw one. Here is quote form your link...

    So Feduccia is saying that Archaeopteryx is a bird, reptile or both? Which is it? It's hard to tell from the quote because we don't know the context of this quote. So I guess you only detest YEC "quote-mining" but evolutionary "quote mining" is OK? [​IMG]
     
  12. UTEOTW

    UTEOTW
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    I gave you the link I had as a reference so you could read all you wanted. I even put above the quote that it was secondhand from a private email. The quote you re-reference from Feduccia makes my point exactly. Archea is a mix of bird and reptile and could deservingly be called either. And Feduccia agrees.

    Even when you follow the link you will see that the author put the quote into context.

    For the second quote I gave you the entire article for you to go read everything that was said. And again, the person I was quoting would be expected to agree with the manner in which he was quoted.

    That is the key difference. The quote you gave was not what the author intended nor would he have agreed with your conclusion from the quote. It is a dishonest use of his material. Whoever culled that from Feduccia originally knew that what was intended by Feduccia was not what he was making it sound like.

    I have no problem with quoting. I have a problem with pulling a sliver of material out and using it to make claims that the person you are quoting would not agree with. This thread illustrates that perfectly. Your quote was a sliver pulled out from a context that did not match what we were discussing. You made no attempt to give the context so that the quote could be understood as it was meant. This was done because the context would destroy your argument. I attempted to give as much information as possible and I gave you links where you could go read what was said in its entirety. I have shown that you misquoted. Can you show that I quoted Feduccia in a manner inconsistent with what he meant? Can you show that I quoted Feduccia in a slieght of hand manner? Can you show that I left out anything important? The answer is no. And that is the difference.

    Quoting is fine. Sometimes you are unable to give complete references. Sometimes you have to make use of a hostile witness. These are not hard rules. But this quote was way out of bounds. And all too often, quotes of this type are found to fall out of bounds. Hence the skepticism if I cannot read it myself.
     

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