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Giant fossil bird found in Central Asia

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From “Asian ‘phoenix’ lived with the dinosaurs” (ABC News, August 10, 2011), we learn that the fossil bones of a 65 million year-old bird that lived in Central Asia challenge theories about the size of early birds.

The bones measure 275 millimetres, indicating a skull that would have been a whopping 30 centimetres long.

Whether the bird was flighted or what its lifestyle was is not yet known.

Birds are believed to have evolved from tiny two-footed dinosaurs called theropods at the start of the Cretaceous era, around 150 million years ago.

The prevailing theory, based on usually-incomplete fossils, is that they remained extremely small for tens of millions of years.

And the one outlier is disputed, as it might have been a flying reptile.

From the BBC News story,

Dr Darren Naish of the University of Portsmouth

“I think the really interesting thing is that they’re living alongside the big dinosaurs we know were around at the time: big tyrannosaurs, long-necked sauropods, duck-billed dinosaurs,” he said. “That opens up loads of questions about ecological interactions that we can only speculate about.

“People have said there weren’t big birds when there were big pterosaurs, but now we know there were.”

People have said all sorts of things about ancient birds. The problem is when they become fanatics about it. Ask Feduccia

Birds are believed to have evolved from tiny two-footed dinosaurs called theropods at the start of the Cretaceous era, around 150 million years ago. And yet, only two years ago, evolutionists claimed: The implication, the researchers said, is that birds almost certainly did not descend from theropod dinosaurs, such as tyrannosaurus or allosaurus. The findings add to a growing body of evidence in the past two decades that challenge some of the most widely-held beliefs about animal evolution. "For one thing, birds are found earlier in the fossil record than the dinosaurs they are supposed to have descended from," Ruben said. "That's a pretty serious problem, and there are other inconsistencies with the bird-from-dinosaur theories. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609092055.htm But wait, it gets better: We're finally breaking out of the conventional wisdom of the last 20 years, which insisted that birds evolved from dinosaurs and that the debate is all over and done with," Ruben said. "This issue isn't resolved at all. There are just too many inconsistencies with the idea that birds had dinosaur ancestors, and this newest study adds to that." ... "This model was not consistent with successful flight from the ground up, and that makes it pretty difficult to make a case for a ground-dwelling theropod dinosaur to have developed wings and flown away," Ruben said. "On the other hand, it would have been quite possible for birds to have evolved and then, at some point, have various species lose their flight capabilities and become ground-dwelling, flightless animals -- the raptors. This may be hugely upsetting to a lot of people, but it makes perfect sense." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209183335.htm That's what you get when you have an UNfalsifiable 'theory' - anything goes! Now that's 'science' ;-) Blue_Savannah
Of related note: ID The Future has a new podcast on Birds: "Birds of a Feather: Darwinian Evolution Stumped by Novel Features" http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2011-08-10T15_58_59-07_00 Description: On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin continues his review of Giberson and Collins' The Language of Science and Faith, citing recent advancements in developmental biology that overturn their assertion that feathers evolved from elongated scales. Although Giberson and Collins have claimed the evolution of the feather as a prime example of novel features arising by random mutation, more recent findings show how evolutionary biology is failing to provide an explanation for how this could occur. Does the pursuit of scientific evidence really lead to the idea that the unique and complex structure of the feather is merely an accidental byproduct of evolution? bornagain77
There's nothing as dramatic as a rabbit in the cambrian. But this is not bad. Collin

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