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Turtles closer to BIRDS and crocodilians than to lizards and snakes?

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painted turtle/Daniel Field

To birds?

A growing number of studies examining DNA sequences have suggested a close evolutionary kinship between turtles and archosaurs, but those results were contradicted by anatomical studies and a recent study of small biomolecules called microRNAs. Because microRNAs are viewed by some as excellent evolutionary markers, the conflict between the microRNA and DNA results meant the turtle-archosaur link was viewed skeptically by many.

But the Dartmouth-led team’s research suggests the earlier microRNA conclusions were erroneous, and instead indicates that microRNAs and DNA sequences yield a common signal — that turtles share a more recent common ancestor with birds and crocodilians than with lizards and snakes.

Another highly productive day in straightening out the odd little kink left in the tidy picture of Darwinian evolution.

For what it is worth, birds are endothermic (warm-blooded), like mammals. Just a little adjustment there, of course, no big deal.

See also: Human and squid eyes arose from the same genes 500 mya (So if “evolution” just randomly did this, why don’t we hire “evolution” to solve other intractable problems?)

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35 Replies to “Turtles closer to BIRDS and crocodilians than to lizards and snakes?

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    Turtles closer to BIRDS and crocodilians than to lizards and snakes?

    In a lake near my home we see many turtles living in complete harmony with a bunch of swans and ducks. They seem to get along very well. That seems to partially confirm the title of this thread, doesn’t it? 😉

  2. 2
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Another idiotic post. Birds are a subgroup of dinosaurs, which are a subgroup of archosaurs, which is the clade defined by the common ancestor of crocodiles and birds/dinosaurs. The study is just suggesting that turtles are somewhere on the stem way below the archosaur crown. You can’t just pick some random clade high up in the tree and pretend it is representative of the whole clade and then on that basis suggest the hypothesis is absurd.

    Yet again proving that the primary reason ID/creationism has no cred with scientists is that its advocates can’t get the most basic points correct.

  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    (So if “evolution” just randomly did this, why don’t we hire “evolution” to solve other intractable problems?)

    Had the main investors in engineering and software development projects realized the amazing power of RV+NS, most engineers and computer science professionals would’ve been out of work by now. Glad those investors haven’t read Darwin’s memo yet.

  4. 4
    wd400 says:

    Umm, that birds are dinosaurs (and therefore nested within reptiles) is not news, News.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    NickMatzke_UD states:

    “You can’t just pick some random clade high up in the tree and pretend it is representative of the whole clade and then on that basis suggest the hypothesis is absurd.”

    Yet Nick, your dishonesty with cladistics was exposed here:

    A One-Man Clade – David Berlinski – July 18, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74601.html

    Nick Matzke and “Clutching in Mid-Air”
    December 9, 2013 by Barry Arrington
    Excerpt: The relationship between cladistics and Darwin’s theory of evolution is thus one of independent origin but convergent confusion. “Phylogenetic systematics,” the entomologist Michael Schmitt remarks, “relies on the theory of evolution.” To the extent that the theory of evolution relies on phylogenetic systematics, the disciplines resemble two biologists dropped from a great height and clutching at one another in mid-air.

    Tight fit, major fail.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....n-mid-air/

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    wd400 claims that “birds are dinosaurs”

    That is news to me, I thought Birds were Birds and Dinosaurs are Dinosaurs:

    Bird Evolution vs. The Actual Fossil Evidence – video and notes
    http://vimeo.com/30926629

    The Unknown Origin of Pterosaurs – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP6htc371fM

    When Dinosaurs Flew – February 4, 2014
    Excerpt: A study published online by PeerJ on Jan. 2 detailed the examination of a startlingly complete and pristine specimen of an ancient, dinosaur-era bird: Hongshanornis longicresta, which flapped throughout what is now China roughly 125 million years ago during the early Cretaceous Period.
    This particular specimen, discovered a few years ago in rocks from northeastern China, is the latest example of the unexpected diversity of primitive birds that have been unearthed from that part of the world.,,,
    Roughly 90 percent of the skeleton is complete, with wings and tail so finely preserved that the outlines of feathers and what may be dark color bands on the tail can still be seen. That high level of preservation — particularly around the wings and tail — has allowed the team to perform an aerodynamic analysis of the bird, revealing how it likely flew.
    Michael Habib, assistant professor of research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, analyzed the shape of the wings and tail and determined that the bird “flitted about,” bouncing through the air with bursts of flapping.
    The flying style is far closer to that found in modern birds than what was supposed of ancient flyers — which have been thought to rely more on gliding due to a lack of enough muscle mass in flying appendages to achieve flapping bursts.
    “This isn’t a mode of flight we expected from Cretaceous birds,” Habib said, adding that its small size and overall shape are comparable to that of modern birds. “It was pretty much a Cretaceous starling with a larger tail like a mockingbird.”
    Transported to the modern world, it wouldn’t look like anything special to the casual observer, until a closer examination revealed claws at the end of the bird’s wings and tiny teeth in its beak.,,,
    http://dornsife.usc.edu/news/s.....aurs-flew/

    Darwin ‘Wrong’: Species Living Together Does Not Encourage Evolution – December 20, 2013
    Excerpt: Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution set out in the Origin of Species has been proven wrong by scientists studying ovenbirds.
    Researchers at Oxford University found that species living together do not evolve differently to avoid competing with one another for food and habitats – a theory put forward by Darwin 150 years ago.
    The ovenbird is one of the most diverse bird families in the world and researchers were looking to establish the processes causing them to evolve.
    Published in Nature, the research compared the beaks, legs and songs of 90% of ovenbird species.
    Findings showed that while the birds living together were consistently more different than those living apart, this was the result of age differences. Once the variation of age was accounted for, birds that live together were more similar than those living separately – directly contradicting Darwin’s view.
    The species that lived together had beaks and legs no more different than those living apart,,,
    ,,,there is no shortage of evidence for competition driving divergent evolution in some very young lineages. But we found no evidence that this process explains differences across a much larger sample of species.,,,
    He said that the reasons why birds living together appear to evolve less are “difficult to explain”,,
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/darwi.....on-1429927

  7. 7
    Mung says:

    Warning: You are entering an area of taxonomic research that is constantly changing. The phylogeny of this group of theropods is debated by paleontologists involved in its study, and new classifications are proposed several times a year! We will attempt to keep this site updated, but for now, as you warily maneuver through the shadowy byways of this theropod exhibit, remember that the relationships of this diverse group are not yet understood fully. It is both a frustrating and exciting area of research. So tread carefully from here on…and watch the shadows! Hungry beasts lurk ahead!

    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/d.....auria.html

    We all know now that birds are dinosaurs, right? The clade Maniraptora (which is defined as containing all dinosaurs closer to birds than to ornithomimids ) is the group of theropod dinosaurs that many paleontologists believe birds were derived from some 150 or so million years ago, in the Jurassic period. Hence, according to phylogenetic taxonomy, birds are by definition maniraptorans, and the other maniraptorans are their closest relatives.

    The exact membership of this clade is highly disputed; any coelurosaur could be quite convincingly argued to be a member of Maniraptora. There is much convergent evolution apparent in Maniraptora, which makes the resolution of their phylogeny difficult; a problem compounded by their poor fossil record. Even without considering birds, Maniraptora is a diverse and interesting group, with many specimens that outwardly look dissimilar, but have enough structures in common (synapomorphies) to unite them as a group.

    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/d.....ptora.html

    “Another idiotic post.”

    At least we agree about that.

  8. 8
    Joe says:

    Whoever has seen a tutle sans shell has seen the similarities between it and a plucked bird.

    That said, birds are only a subgroup of dinosaurs in those with an imagination and a need.

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    Unfortunately no one knows what makes a turtle a turtle and a bird a bird, other than the obvious- a turtle is hatched from a turtle egg and a bird is hatched from a bird egg.

    That means cladistics is basically a fool’s errand based upon wishful thinking and dogma.

  10. 10
    News says:

    Nothing looks like its ancestry (turtles/birds)and even the genetics doesn’t look like the genetics “should” look like (human/squid eyes) according to prevailing natural selection acting on random mutations theory. This is everywhere now.

    No one is dumb because they noticed.

    By the way, would Nick Matzke like to comment on Nicholas Wade’s current thesis?

  11. 11
    Mapou says:

    Let me preface this by saying that I’m a pro-ID, non-fundamentalist Christian. I’m not entirely sure what is being argued here but what is wrong with turtles and birds or even humans sharing design characteristics with dinosaurs? It is strong evidence for design evolution, is it not? Does the resemblance between modern cars and horse carriages imply that cars went through a Darwin-like evolution over the years? Of course not.

  12. 12
    Andre says:

    Nick

    1. Please explain how cold blooded animals evolved to warm blooded ones….

    2. Please explain how the heart chambers evolved from a dinosaur to a bird.

    3. Please explain how bird legs evolved.

    4. Please explain how the bird’s respiratory system evolved.

    5. Please explain how limbs evolved into wings.

    Once you have explained the above, please be so kind to explain how these creatures survived while they randomly for no apparent reason evolved all these things…. How did they survive Nick?

    Please explain.

  13. 13
    VunderGuy says:

    @mapou

    What is a ‘fundamentalist’ Christian defined as anyways? Someone who actually affirms Jesus Christ being who he said he was or what?

  14. 14
    anthropic says:

    Fundamentalism used to mean people who believed in the historic fundamentals of the Christian faith. Nowadays it seems to mean different things depending on who uses it.

    I take it to denote folks who interpret the Bible in the most literal fashion possible. For instance, the days in Genesis 1 must be be 24 hours, even though this seems to lead to internal conflicts — how are days happening before the sun and stars are created? — and the Hebrew word for day can mean indefinite lengths of time, just as it does in English.

    My guess is that Mapou believes that the best Biblical interpretation is not always the simplest. Context is important, and so is the type of language employed. Poetry, for instance, is not meant to be taken literally. Trees don’t clap their hands, as they have no hands! And when the scriptures state that the Earth will not be moved, it does not mean physical movement…

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    anthropic, amen!

    And Jesus is not going to come back riding a literal white horse with a literal sword coming out of his mouth and wearing a literal robe drenched in literal blood and he’s not ruling with a literal iron rod.

  16. 16
    Mung says:

    Andre, another to add to your list. Why are some birds carnivores while others are not?

  17. 17
    Mapou says:

    anthropic:

    Trees don’t clap their hands, as they have no hands!

    Exactly, and snakes don’t talk to women either. In addition to being a compilation of books and letters by different authors over millenia, the Bible is full of strange metaphorical passages which nobody has the faintest idea what they really mean, especially those who claim otherwise.

  18. 18
    Dionisio says:

    …the Dartmouth-led team’s research suggests the earlier microRNA conclusions were erroneous…

    Why did the earlier research conclusions were wrong? Where was their mistake? Wrong test produced wrong results? or correct test produced correct results but were misinterpreted? what’s the guarantee that the new conclusions are correct?

  19. 19
    Dionisio says:

    Dionisio @ 18

    Why did the earlier research conclusions were wrong? Where was their mistake? Wrong test produced wrong results? or correct test produced correct results but were misinterpreted? what’s the guarantee that the new conclusions are correct?

    Correction:

    Why were the earlier research conclusions wrong? What was their mistake? Wrong test produced wrong results? or correct test produced correct results but were misinterpreted? what’s the guarantee that the new conclusions are correct?

  20. 20
    Dionisio says:

    Tracking turtles through time, study may resolve evolutionary debate

    Date: May 5, 2014
    Source: Dartmouth College

    What debate? were they still debating this? So why do some comments in this thread seem to affirm that this was a settled issue, a done deal, a known fact? The date indicates this report is practically new. The source seems like a respectful university.

    Turtles are more closely related to birds and crocodilians than to lizards and snakes, according to a study from Dartmouth, Yale and other institutions that examines one of the most contentious questions in evolutionary biology.

    Wasn’t this known already? so how come they publish this conclusion now?

    …but those results were contradicted by anatomical studies and a recent study of small biomolecules called microRNAs. Because microRNAs are viewed by some as excellent evolutionary markers, the conflict between the microRNA and DNA results meant the turtle-archosaur link was viewed skeptically by many.

    Are those contradictions resolved now? is the conflict resolved? is that link now accepted by those who viewed it skeptically before?

    Story Source:

    The above story is based on materials provided by Dartmouth College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

    Journal Reference:
    1.Daniel J. Field, Jacques A. Gauthier, Benjamin L. King, Davide Pisani, Tyler R. Lyson, Kevin J. Peterson. Toward consilience in reptile phylogeny: miRNAs support an archosaur, not lepidosaur, affinity for turtles. Evolution & Development, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/ede.12081

    Dartmouth College. “Tracking turtles through time, study may resolve evolutionary debate.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2014. .

    Well known sources. Very recent publication.

  21. 21
    Robert Byers says:

    Good thread and a common thing that keeps coming up. anatomical likeness doesn’t match DNA likeness.
    so it blows their ideas.
    A common design model would predict DNA points fitting creatures based on need. not on descent.
    its all just lines of reasoning anyways but their reasoning fails anyways.
    Who says dNA likeness equals PROFF of common descent??
    They just went on a hunch and didn’t think of other options.

  22. 22
    wd400 says:

    What debate? were they still debating this? So why do some comments in this thread seem to affirm that this was a settled issue, a done deal, a known fact>

    The position of turtles within reptiles has been argued over for a long time.

    The bit that has been well known for a long time is that birds are dinosaurs, and therefore archosaurs (and so the sister group to crocidillians among modern animals) and reptiles. Anyone who knew the first thing aboout tetrapod phylogeny would know this, an that therefore if turtles are closely realted to crocs that are necessarily qually related to birds too.

    The all-caps “BIRDS” and incredulity/suprise in this post tells you how much News knows, and about how much research goes into these posts.

  23. 23
    VunderGuy says:

    @Mapou

    “the Bible is full of strange metaphorical passages which nobody has the faintest idea what they really mean, especially those who claim otherwise.”

    Ummm… speak for yourself, dude. I know it’s tempting to say that, because you yourself don’t understand something that nobody else does, but that doesn’t make such an assertion correct.

  24. 24
    Mapou says:

    VunderGuy, do you know the meaning of the messages to the seven churches of Asia in the book of Revelation? Or the four creatures with the four faces and the six wings? How about the 24 elders and that mysterious number, 666? Do you know the meaning of Ezekiel’s wheel and the crystal-like expanse?

    And while you’re at it, please explain Zechariah’s stone with seven eyes, the golden menorah with the seven lamps, the 10-by-20 cubits flying scroll, the wicked woman in the ephah and the seven eyes of God.

    I’m all ears. Seriously.

  25. 25
    VunderGuy says:

    @Mapou

    Did I ever say I knew? Last I checked, the point I was making was that, just because there’s a gap in a person’s knowledge, doesn’t mean that somewhere, somehow, someone had already filled that gap. I myself am not even aware of much of what you’re referencing, but you may wish to ask people who are, and I’m sure that, if not answers that you are comfortable with, they will at least be answers that will get you thinking.

  26. 26
    Mapou says:

    VunderGuy, I’m sorry I misunderstand your comment. I think I got confused with your use of double negatives. Having read many Biblical commentaries and various interpretations of the metaphors I mentioned @24, all I can say is that I haven’t found anything that makes any sense. In fact, what I have seen is pretty pathetic.

  27. 27
    VunderGuy says:

    @Mapou

    It’s alright Mapou. Just don’t give up the search.

  28. 28
    Andre says:

    WD400

    We know birds are dinosaurs based on what? What you believe or the actual evidence?

  29. 29
    Barb says:

    Mapou writes,

    VunderGuy, do you know the meaning of the messages to the seven churches of Asia in the book of Revelation? Or the four creatures with the four faces and the six wings? How about the 24 elders and that mysterious number, 666? Do you know the meaning of Ezekiel’s wheel and the crystal-like expanse?

    Yes, I have heard explanations for those visions/passages. I doubt you’re interested in hearing them, though.

    And while you’re at it, please explain Zechariah’s stone with seven eyes, the golden menorah with the seven lamps, the 10-by-20 cubits flying scroll, the wicked woman in the ephah and the seven eyes of God.

    Give me some scriptural citations, and I’ll do a little research.

  30. 30
    phoodoo says:

    I don’t understand, why did Nick want to call the researchers at Dartmouth and Yale a bunch of idiots who don’t know the first thing about cladistics?

    He apparently thinks they can’t even get the most basic points right. Strange.

  31. 31
    wd400 says:

    Andre,

    There is a wealth of evidence, including morpholical homologous and fossils that share dinosaur traits and derived avian traits. Even the one prominant paleontologist who argues birds are not dinosaurs accepts that are archosaurs so fit within reptiles which is thing news was surprised by

    phoodoo,

    Nick didn’t do that.

  32. 32
    shader says:

    Birds are birds.

  33. 33
    Joe says:

    wd400:

    There is a wealth of evidence, including morpholical homologous and fossils that share dinosaur traits and derived avian traits.

    Yet there isn’t any genetic evidence that says the transformations required are even possible. The “evidence” wd400 mentions can be accounted for via convergence and/ or common design.

  34. 34
    Joe says:

    shader- Once I flipped a guy a bird and he turned into a dinosaur. 🙂

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    Crev.info weighs in on the ‘shrinking dinosaur to bird hypothesis’
    News About Bird Evolution – May 8, 2014
    Excerpt: Secular scientists are chained to the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs. Many say that birds are dinosaurs. Under that conviction, they cannot, and will not, consider any alternative, no matter how surprising the observation. Here are some examples of paradigm-driven explanation. ,,,,
    A study that has ‘weighed’ hundreds of dinosaurs suggests that shrinking their bodies may have helped the group that became birds to continue exploiting new ecological niches throughout their evolution, and become hugely successful today.
    The question is: did the birds decide to shrink, or did nature do it to them? If the latter (as it must be in neo-Darwinism), why didn’t the same rule apply to mammals? Evolutionists believe the first mammals were small, shrew-like creatures, long before they evolved into giraffes and elephants. Weren’t they under the same selective pressure to succeed at the same time, and in the same circumstances, in which birds were shrinking?
    The Oxford experts tell us that the birds didn’t decide to shrink. It was their lineage that decided that for them:
    The evolutionary line leading to birds kept experimenting with different, often radically smaller, body sizes – enabling new body ‘designs’ and adaptations to arise more rapidly than among larger dinosaurs. Other dinosaur groups failed to do this, got locked in to narrow ecological niches, and ultimately went extinct.
    This is very odd reasoning; inconsistent, too. First, it personifies an “evolutionary line,” turning it into an experimenter. But then it attributes the success of birds to downsizing. Surely the successful diversity of large dinosaurs never put a premium on smallness.,,,
    The number of fallacies is astounding. If future philosophers of science are not appalled about what passed for science in 2014, it will be a sad commentary on the human race. Perhaps it could also be considered prima facie evidence for human devolution.,,,
    http://crev.info/2014/05/news-.....evolution/

    News for the Birds – May 7, 2014
    Excerpt: Yanornis is called an ancestor of birds, but PhysOrg reported on April 18 that a fossil found in China shows that “the digestive system of the ancestors to modern birds was essentially modern in all aspects.”,,,
    But if it was already “essentially modern” in the ancestors, and already integrated with the flight systems, where is the time for natural selection to have supposedly produced it?
    http://crev.info/2014/05/news-for-the-birds-2/

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