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Archaeopteryx: Transitioning Transitional

Archaeopteryx in sandstone: ID 32027033 © Gekaskr |

[Originally posted and adapted from Genesis Apologetics]

transitional fossil is any fossilized remains of a life form that exhibits traits common to both an ancestral group and its derived descendant group. Evolutionary Analysis Freeman, Scott; Herron, Jon C. (2004)

Archaeopteryx is still widely promoted by evolutionists as the prime example of an intermediate form or “missing link” between reptiles and birds. However, even this “trophy” does not qualify as a transitional fossil since its socketed teeth, long bony tail, and wing-claws are all fully-formed structures of its alleged fossil representatives, showing no signs of partial evolutionary development.

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Archaeopteryx was originally discovered in 1861 and has since been widely used to promote evolutionary ideas. Alan Feduccia, a paleontologist who led studies in the origins of birds stated: “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.”[i]

That statement illustrates a constant battle in the evolutionary camp about whether Archaeopteryx should be thrown out of the evolutionary lineup. Over the past several years, Archaeopteryx’s “perch” in the evolutionary tree has shifted up and down, going from being a bird to a dinosaur and then back to a bird depending on who does the analysis. Archaeopteryx was even further disqualified as an evolutionary ancestor for birds when scientists found what appears to be a crow-size bird and extinct four-winged birds in rock layers below (i.e., deposited ‘earlier’ in earth’s history than) those containing Archaeopteryx.[ii]

For further study:

Journal of Creation 2012 article by Michael J. Oard: Is Archaeopteryx a Feathered Dinosaur?

Tim Clarey, Ph.D. for ICR: What’s All the Flap About?

Dr. Elizabeth Menton for Answers in Genesis: Did Archaeopteryx Evolve Flight and Then Get Grounded?

End notes:

[i] Allan Feduccia, “Archaeopteryx: Early Bird Catches a Can of Worms,” Science, Vol. 259, 5 February 1993, p. 764. See also: Archaeopteryx: Early Bird Catches a Can of Worms by V. Morell, Science 259 (5096):764–65, (February 1993): 5.

[ii] T. Beardsley, “Fossil Bird Shakes Evolutionary Hypotheses,” Nature 322 (6081): 1986, 677; X. Xu, et al., An Archaeopteryx-like theropod from China and the origin of Avialae, Nature 475 (7357) (2011): 465–470.

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