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Why weren’t there many dinosaur species?

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Asks Jon Tennant at Paleo Community: Further to the dinosaur document dump (a fair bit of news and views recently, about the late and the great):

Why are there so many bird species around today, when we have relatively so few dinosaurs in the fossil record? This disparity is even more extreme when you consider that while non-avian dinosaurs were around for about 170 million years, there were only ever about 800 or so species of dinosaur, based on current records. The actual number fluctuates through time, as new species are discovered, and others are shown to be invalid through research broadly known as ‘taxonomy’.

One problem is with the difference between what existed and what gets preserved and another is the tendency to look where one already expects to find something.

Many think the true number much larger, for example:

Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh is sceptical though: “I would take these numbers with an ocean full of salt”, he said. “There are over 10,000 species of birds – living dinosaurs – around today. So saying there were only a few thousand dinosaur species that lived during 150+ million years of the Mesozoic doesn’t pass the sniff test.

One of two things: Either there weren’t very many dinosaur species, compared to bird species, and the reason would doubtless be instructive. Or there were, and new finds might change much that we think we know.

24 Replies to “Why weren’t there many dinosaur species?

  1. 1
    mw says:

    Adam ate them all.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    related note:

    Scientists caught faking Dinosaur – bird fossil Archeopteryx (Stors Olson)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Iz7GResDtQ

  3. 3
    Me_Think says:

    There were but they weren’t all preserved conveniently for us to discover !

  4. 4
    earthsinterface says:

    “There were but they weren’t all preserved conveniently for us to discover !”

    Funny, I was going to post something similar as a sarcastic joke, but you beat me to it with all seriousness. So I imagine it’s similar with all those missing link transistionals as well ?

    But here is where the blind faith comes in handy. We know they were there, we just haven’t discovered them as yet.

  5. 5
    Me_Think says:

    earthsinterface @ 4,
    Well, that’s the truth .If you use TRiPSin (which is discussed in the article quoted in OP), you get an estimated 1543-2468 species but we don’t see so many fossil samples and the only reason is – as Steve Brusatte himself puts it :

    The problem is the data. The fossil record is horrifically biased [He means sampling bias/bonanza effect]. Only a tiny fraction of all living things will ever be preserved as fossils. So what we find is a very biased sample of all dinosaurs that ever lived, and no amount of statistical finagling can get around that simple unfortunate truth

  6. 6
    aarceng says:

    Me_Think @ 5
    So let’s average that as ~2000 species of dinosaur. That’s still a lot less than 10,000 species of birds.

  7. 7
    Me_Think says:

    aarceng @ 6

    So let’s average that as ~2000 species of dinosaur. That’s still a lot less than 10,000 species of birds.

    You seem to be thinking 10,000 species of birds evolved from 10,000 species of dinosaurs ! Only Maniraptorans that had downsized to about 1 kilogram or so were able to survive when asteroid hit Earth 66 million years ago and evolved into birds.

  8. 8
    mw says:

    As for data and dinosaurs:

    The paper (now revised), “Recent C-14 Dating of Fossils including Dinosaur Bone Collagen,” was presented at the proceedings of Gustav Siewerth Akademie’s conference, Austria 2009. The papers are now in book form, Evolution Theory and the Sciences: A Critical Examination, (Albrecht Graf von Brandenstein-Zeppelin, and Alma von Stockhausen, eds., 2011), pp. 295–319. The papers were seen by Pope Benedict who gave the conference his Papal blessings (pp 7-8). http://www.sciencevsevolution.org/Holzschuh.htm

    Abstract: “The discovery of collagen in a Tyrannosaurus-rex dinosaur femur bone was recently reported in the journal Science. Its geologic location was the Hell Creek Formation in the State of Montana, United States of America. When it was learned in 2005 that Triceratops and Hadrosaur femur bones in excellent condition were discovered by the Glendive (MT) Dinosaur & Fossil Museum, Hugh Miller asked and received permission to saw them in half and collect samples for C-14 testing of any bone collagen that might be extracted. Indeed both bones contained collagen and conventional dates of 30,890 ± 380 radiocarbon years (RC) for the Triceratops and 23,170 ±170 RC years for the Hadrosaur were obtained using the Accelerated Mass Spectrometer (AMS). Total organic carbon and/or dinosaur bone bio-apatite was then extracted and pretreated to remove potential contaminants and concordant radiocarbon dates were obtained, all of which were similar to radiocarbon dates for megafauna.”

  9. 9
    Indiana Effigy says:

    MW, what journal was this published in?

  10. 10
    Me_Think says:

    mw @ 8 ,
    The research team from Creation Research Science Education Foundation, led by Hugh Miller obtained their sample posing as chemists in order to secure a number of fragments of fossilized dinosaur bone from a museum of natural history. When the museum provided the bone fragments, they emphasized that they had been heavily contaminated with shellac and other chemical preservatives. Miller and his group accepted the samples and reassured the museum that such contamination would not be problematic for the analysis at hand. Miller et al. were informed by a professor from the University of Arizona that the samples were heavily contaminated, and that no collagen (where most of the carbon for C14 dating comes from) was present. Miller assured the professor that the analysis was still of interest to the group. It should be noted that contamination would reduce the apparent age of a 60,000 year old object by almost 50 percent. What Miller etal measured without decontamination of the sample is carbon in Shellac, hydroxyapatite and calcite, not collagen ! Isochron dating to test for contamination should have been done.
    A similar issue of soft tissues in Dinosaur was turned into a huge controversy. It has been shown multiple times that the free radicals of iron nano particles in blood can cause proteins and cell membranes to tie in knots which basically act like formaldehyde, thus under good fossilization environment soft tissues are preserved.

  11. 11
    Robert Byers says:

    It shows how research undermines the wromng ideas of evolution and company.
    firsat i don’t agree there were a dino group.
    Rather just kinds that had a few minor like traits.
    A t rex was no more related to a triceratops then a rabbit to a lion.
    The world dinos lived in was extrem. It ws not safe. Diversity comes where there is a lack of predation relative to the wealth of the environment.
    All dinos ever found were killed by the great flood. There was no great time for diversity in types of a kind.

  12. 12
    Indiana Effigy says:

    RB: “All dinos ever found were killed by the great flood.”

    The willful ignorance of some people show no limits. How would the flood kill ichthyosaurs and other aquatic animals? How come there are no Dino fossils above the KT boundary, and no human fossils (or any large mammals) below it? How do you explain radioisotope dating?

  13. 13
    mw says:

    Hi Me_Think @ 10.

    Yes, I am fully aware of what you say.

    Extract:“One simple suggestion solves these dilemmas—dinosaur fossils formed thousands, not millions of years ago. That’s why they still have proteins, cells, and radiocarbon. But due to the ruling paradigm of millions of years of evolution, such ‘young’ ages for the existence of dinosaurs are simply dismissed.” http://creation.com/radiocarbo.....orld-havoc

    It seems the meteor destruction theory of dinosaurs is an excuse to avoid the compelling case of global watery death in which most dinosaur fossils are found.
    That a butterfly could survive and not a huge beast must have better explanations than shutting God out of theory. http://crev.info/2015/01/dinos.....as-global/

    A beautifully-preserved fossil from China shows a full-fledged bird doing just fine 60 million years before T. rex walked. http://crev.info/2014/02/creta.....Uh86W.dpuf

    See, scientists not affiliated to any religious organisation, but against the present Darwinian world view. http://dinosaurc14ages.com/

    As for historical eyewitnesses, http://www.kolbecenter.org/wp-.....stence.pdf

    Still, it is believed Yahweh said to Job:
    “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.’” (Job. 38:1-2)

    Silly me, I forgot, Darwin dismissed such as rubbish.

    There again, using scientific data, it is believed humans come from worms. http://www.natureworldnews.com.....eveals.htm

  14. 14
    Me_Think says:

    mw @ 13,
    Do you realise that according to your account, Dinosaurs would have walked with Humans ?
    Note that the website is not of scientists, but is owned by Hugh Miller who lives in Bryson Road in Columbus

  15. 15
    mw says:

    Indiana Effigy @ 12. Surely you do not mean, the willful ignorance of ‘Jesus’ shows no limits!

    Against Darwin’s willful ignorance you mean?
    The master said:
    “By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported—that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become—that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us—that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events—that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses—by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation.” Ref, pp. 85-96, http://darwin-online.org.uk/co.....;pageseq=1

    Let’s see, that makes, in your opinion; Yahweh ignorant, Jesus ignorant and the Judaeo-Christian scriptures ignorant. Or has true science got more explaining to do?

    What really gets me, Darwin dismissed cart loads of written evidence for miraculous events, in order to prove we came from simians back in unchartered history. Now that is real broadened, leave no stone unturned science!

    How can you trust the mind of a man, who dismissed, at a stroke, evidence that people wrote and witnessed and died for; all in order to promote a degrading theory? What such people were convinced of was beyond human understanding. Faith is a conviction in the unseen, like a worm turning eventually into a human.

    You say, how do you explain radioisotope dating? By a miracle, of course, but that is not allowed: tuff.
    That an all-powerful intelligence can create a matured cosmos in six days is entirely possible. Of course, miracles affect data; hence, to create a youthful cosmos with maturity, you must get some anomalies relative to human scientists, none of whom saw the first life ever formed. Therefore, cannot speak from direct experience.

    An example of a maturing miracle Jesus did at the wedding at Cana. Six large jars of water instantly matured into best wine. What a God-Man, cheers.

    However, if the best data detecting apparatus was available at the time, they would say, that is impossible, our instruments prove this wine is years old.

    You say, how would worldwide flood kill ichthyosaurs and other aquatic animals?

    Well, by asphyxiation, and many dinosaurs are found in that death pose. And of course, very quickly, or very slowly over a year.

    The flood waters would be pulled back and forth across the earth to mix everything up, and drown them in the bargain: again, a miraculous event.

    Well, at least Jesus would have been able to walk on flood water if need be.

    As for “wilful ignorance,” Jesus said the world was destroyed by water, he should know, he was both a third and fully responsible, it is believed. Saint Peter said the same. Why, according to the Hebrew scripture, human imagination had grown rotten: a bit like today?

    I also believe men had lusted and mated with beasts, therefore, the whole human/animal fabric was compromised.

  16. 16
    mw says:

    Yes, Me_Think, I am open to scoffing.
    ————
    “Do you realise that according to your account, Dinosaurs would have walked with Humans ? Note that the website is not of scientists, but is owned by Hugh Miller who lives in Bryson Road in Columbus.”
    ————
    Of course, today, we must be a historically leaning evolutionist scientist and not a God to be qualified in historical truth.

    The Judaeo-Christians scriptures, certainly around Pentecost, were passed on by mainly unlearned men and women who followed Jesus: of course, it is believed, aided by a superior intellect, the Holy Spirit. No doubt, a Hugh Miller of the time included, who is today a Catholic creationist, following what Jesus knew and believed, as the Creator/Saviour.

    Extract:
    “Once again, we have a carving of an animal that looks more like a dinosaur than any other animal, living or extinct. What’s more, all of the evidence points to the carving being genuine. Finally, fossil footprints prove that dinosaurs once lived in the same general area of the dinosaur-like rock art. Yet again, we ask: How could man have drawn such an accurate picture of a creature he supposedly never had seen? The fact is, man once lived with dinosaurs, and the carvings at Cambodia, Natural Bridges, and Havasupai serve as strong evidence of their cohabitation.” https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=2416

    Eyewitnesses to Extinction: Testimonies to the Life and Death of Dinosaurs. Flavius Philostratus provided this sober account in the third century A.D.

    Extract:
    “The whole of India is girt with dragons of enormous size; for not only the marshes are full of them, but the mountains as well, and there is not a single ridge without one. Now the marsh kind are sluggish in their habits and are thirty cubits long, and they have no crest standing up on their heads.” (Flavius Philostratus (c170–c247 A.D.). 1912. The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, volume I, book III. F. C. Conybeare, trans. New York: Macmillan Co., 243–247.) http://www.icr.org/article/6092/

    Thanks, Me_Think, for your comments.

  17. 17
    mw says:

    Hi Me_Think, # 14:

    ————
    “Note that the website is not of scientists, but is owned by Hugh Miller who lives in Bryson Road in Columbus.”
    ————

    Were you referring to the Kolbe Centre that I mentioned? —

    “As for historical eyewitnesses, http://www.kolbecenter.org/wp-…..stence.pdf”

    The person who runs the web site is Hugh Owen, not Hugh Miller. That is who I was referring to, not Hugh Miller. I thought it sounded odd when I replied to you.

  18. 18
    Me_Think says:

    mw @ 17
    No I was referring to website run by ‘scientists not affiliated to any religious organization’:

    See, scientists not affiliated to any religious organization, but against the present Darwinian world view. http://dinosaurc14ages.com/

    As for carvings, there are many other carvings of strange creatures. Do you believe all those creatures existed with the humans? As for

    …dragons of enormous size; for not only the marshes are full of them, but the mountains as well, and there is not a single ridge without one

    don’t you find it strange that none of the epics of India mention dragon infestation ?

  19. 19
    Indiana Effigy says:

    mw: “Surely you do not mean, the willful ignorance of ‘Jesus’ shows no limits!”

    No. But I don’t remember Jesus saying anything about dinosaurs.

  20. 20
    Robert Byers says:

    IE. Possibly ignorant but WHY wilful??
    Anyways.
    The great flood would also kill all marine life. why just the creatures on dry land? it was a general curse. God just preserved himself the marine critters.
    Yes I see the k-t line as the flood line. so all above is fossils after the flood.
    All fossils below the line were killed in the first days of the flood. Thats why they always show a spectrum of ages and not a skewing towards old age if they died normal and were buried quick enough to avoid decay. Very unlikely to do that unless special cases. Nothing is being fossilized today.

  21. 21
    Indiana Effigy says:

    RB: “Yes I see the k-t line as the flood line. so all above is fossils after the flood.
    All fossils below the line were killed in the first days of the flood. Thats why they always show a spectrum of ages and not a skewing towards old age if they died normal and were buried quick enough to avoid decay. Very unlikely to do that unless special cases. Nothing is being fossilized today.”

    Fossils above the KT boundary also show a spectrum of ages.

    At the time of Noah’s flood there were large populations of humans. It was due to their evil nature that God brought the flood. Where are all of the human fossils below the KT boundary? And why are they not found right above the KT boundary?

  22. 22
    mw says:

    Hi, Indiana Effigy @ 18: Jesus and dinosaurs,

    ———————————————————–
    “No. But I don’t remember Jesus saying anything about dinosaurs.”
    ————————————————————

    I took your comment to be in relation to the believed world-wide Flood Jesus referred and that things would be similar to, just before his return.

    In the same breath, so it seems, you were scoffing at Robert for believing in a world-wide flood. Therefore, by extension, you must include Jesus, as he believed (knew) of such? That is, Jesus therefore showed “willful ignorance”?

    However, Jesus and dinosaurs:

    It may be believed, Yahweh describes awe-inspiring animals: “the first of the great acts of God,” (Job 40:19), created miraculously on the sixth day—Friday, the same as Adam and Eve. Friday—the same day God was crucified, rejected in disbelief:

    “Look at Behemoth, which I made just as I made you; it eats grass like an ox . . . It makes its tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are knit together . . . Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like bars of iron. It is the first of the great acts of God” (Job 40:15–19)

    Captain Charlie said, the Creation of Yahweh’s/Jesus/Spirit is “erroneous,” tearing up recorded inconvenient history. (John van Wyhe ed., 2002, Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species By Means Of Natural Selection, Or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (London: Murray, 1859), p. 6. http://darwin-online.org.uk/Va.....6-dns.html)

    However, was Yahweh describing a plant-eating dinosaur? (the name ‘dinosaur’ originated in 1861). If so, perhaps it is no wonder humans and climate killed the remaining dinosaurs after the Flood? However, in the context of the Holy Trinity, Jesus would be describing a fire breathing dragon:

    “From its mouth go flaming torches;
    sparks of fire leap out.
    Out of its nostrils comes smoke,
    as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
    Its breath kindles coals,
    and a flame comes out of its mouth.” (Job 41:19-21)

    http://www.truthingenesis.com/.....g-dragons/

    Of course, if good old Richard Dawkins was having a go, he would cast it into the fire of intellectual ferocity that a person who died to save mythological figures is in the same class as mythical fire-breathing dinosaurs, “barking mad.” However, he has limited vision.

    Still, in the case of hot substances and the bombardier beetle, one false move in evolving, and its backside would be blown to smithereens.

    What a broadminded scholar Darwin! He convinced himself and the world that natural elements will form a dinosaur without prior design, or intelligence. His formula works every time:

    ‘Eye of chance; wing of common descent, entrails of genetic drift, toes of mutants, and brains of brainless natural selection. Boil and stir well for millions of years in a little warm pond.’

    If Jesus is not an idiot, then he must be good. But as Jesus said, there is none good but God, meaning, he is both or not at all. Still, he said he was equal to God, “I am.” That, and him raising Lazarus from the dead, nailed him; so to speak.

    The theory of six-day creation rests on the axiom that miracles happen, and the belief in the spirit; according to historic eye witnessed evidence.

    Life can only come from life, another major axiom. That we do not understand how miracles operate is no scientific excuse to deny the possibility.

    Wallace, co-founder of the theory of evolution from common descent, was a spiritualist. How did a spirit evolve, how did Satan evolve? Surely, pure spirit at origins can only come from pure spirit.

    Hence, on creation theory, an ascending breath (living power) of life generated the creation of all life forms out if nothing. All life forms demonstrate uncommon descent, that is, uncommon to common descent theory. That is, from divine life. Therefore, the theory maintains that all the building blocks of life were assembled at super inflated speed, and at will, and in ascending order, but distinct.

    Therefore, in order to satisfy the theory, all lifeforms must have similar common building patterns, patterns of coded information, and all have core similarities.

    Such is nevertheless equal in footing to believing worms had a hand in processing humans, and lately, some chimpanzee types: or, that something less than the size of a water flea will eventually inflate intelligent coding to produce a dinosaur by none-intelligent means?

    I mean is this not the biggest intellectual con in all history: nay, a powerful delusion.

    Still, thank you for your comments and clarification.

  23. 23
    mw says:

    Me_Think @ 18
    ——————–
    don’t you find it strange that none of the epics of India mention dragon infestation ?
    ——————–

    Well, having read some of the epics, I do not recall they mentioned infestations of elephants or tigers. However, when I was citing that article, I thought it was open to criticism. Fair enough.

    However, the story may have poetic licence. Still, it is a remarkable artistic licence for cave painters to paint dinosaur look-alikes. The same for flood stories the world over. Some significant event occurred and was impressed on the mind of humans.

    Besides, as Jesus said he was “the truth” (Jn 14:6), and Yahweh the same (Jn 17:17). If the worldwide flood did not occur, then such scripture, any such divine assertions would be valueless, suspect and flawed.

    Better rely on Captain Charlie, whose Ark of Common Decent rested on Mount Improbable, after broadsiding Mount Sinai, as insane thinking!

    For real time wasting insane experimental science, create a dinosaur out of non-life, and with no intelligence allowed.

  24. 24
    mw says:

    Indiana Effigy # 21:
    ——————-
    “At the time of Noah’s flood there were large populations of humans. It was due to their evil nature that God brought the flood. Where are all of the human fossils below the KT boundary? And why are they not found right above the KT boundary?”
    ——————–

    Probably because God was miraculously destroying all trace of humans, bar a few. Therefore, the dinosaur and such like crushed and ate drowning humans, before they mostly drowned themselves?

    Whether there were large populations of humans, I doubt it, for after all, as you argue, there appears not much evidence.

    That is my last comment on this thread. Thank you.

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