Descended From Dinosaurs

By The Intersection | September 26, 2009 12:43 pm

Sheril's Pictures 246by Sparticus Maximus the Great

I knew it all along.

The discovery of five remarkable new fossils has confirmed that birds evolved from dinosaurs, Chinese scientists said last night.

. . . . . . . .

Feathers cover the arms and tail, but also the feet, suggesting that a four-winged stage may have existed in the transition to birds. The fossils will also help scientists work out the mechanics of how early birds flew. The specimens have been identified as types of Anchiornis huxleyi. The details of the find will also be announced in Nature.

Just look at that handsome fellow! The Guardian’s got details…

Feathered-dinosaur-Anchio-009
Artist’s impression based on the feathered dinosaur fossil Anchiornis huxleyi, discovered in north-eastern China. Photograph: Hu Dongyu/AP
CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution
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Comments (10)

  1. These ferocious killing machines seem much more lovable now.

  2. MadScientist

    The best part would be encouraging the chicken to express more ancient genetic traits:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/05/how_to_build_a_dinosaur.php

    That would be even more evidence that science rules and religion is just full of batpoo.

    I want a guard chicken that can maul intruders.

  3. magistramorous

    I’d tell the creationists I met today at the creation science museum of Santee, CA, about these new findings, but they’d probably say the fossils are either clearly of birds or clearly of dinosaurs: there’s just no getting through to some of them. I did, however, cause one to stumble today when I asked him if the particular way he interpreted the bible could be blinding him to the truth. His response: Yes, it could be!

    Btw, if you’re curious, that was microbiologist Joseph Francis (not the Girls Gone Wild guy). Steve Austin and Duane Gish were also there. It’s truly amazing to me that so many people could earn PhDs and still be young-earthers! Are we hardwired for delusional thought, as Steven Pinker has argued?

  4. jon

    looks like a bird.

  5. John Kwok

    Chinese paleobiologist Xu Xing also discovered Microraptor earlier in this decade, and it could be that Microraptor is a descendant of this new fossil. The most exciting news is the fact that this fossil is older than Archaeopteryx, and finally resolves the temporal paradox which critics of the dinosaur to bird hypothesis had often invoked as a major criticism of this hypothesis.

  6. John Kwok

    Chinese vertebrate paleontologist Xu Xing also discovered Microraptor, which could be a descendant of Anichiornis huxleyi (The species name pays homage to T. H. Huxley, who was the first to propose that birds are descended from dinosaurs.). What is most amazing about this new fossil is that it is older than Archaeopteryx, and that its discovery finally resolves the temporal paradox posed by Archaeopteryx that critics of the dinosaur – bird hypothesis have often cited. Now we know for certain that feathers evolved first before the skeletal and muscular structure necessary for powered flight in birds.

  7. MadScientist

    @magistramorous: I don’t know about being hardwired for delusional thought (although hallucinations are common to most if not all humans). An alternative explanation would be that humans simply aren’t as well evolved for critical thought as some may wish. Given two stories, one of which is true and the other not, narrated by a single person, and no good training on how to think, which story would you choose to believe? Sit in any court hearings which are open to the public – who do you believe and why? A person who is well trained to think may even decide that neither side is telling the truth.

  8. Anthony McCarthy

    MadScientist, even people with training can be stunningly uncritical in their thinking, some by virtue of their training. A lot of even advanced academic training is more in the nature of propaganda than in critical thinking, a lot of it amounts to the learning of established dogma that supports the ideology of those in control of a degree program, department or other intellectual power center, up to and including, generally temporarily, entire areas of study.

    Your point is true, clearly, that presentation matter greatly but it isn’t the entire problem. More complex ideas will always be at a disadvantage to those which are more simplistic, even those simply stated ideas that have nothing to do with reality and are contradicted by it. The present health -care payment struggle, the upcoming struggle over energy policy. People who don’t like the truth in those fights because it won’t be profitable for them don’t mind lying which can be done in simple and sensational ways. Telling the truth often takes longer and requires changing thinking. Neither of which is easy.

    As we see a media that has gone from reporting, to “opinion journalism” to pushing polls to push polling and now is increasingly taken up with “predictions” [read “unfiltered propaganda”] I’m increasingly convinced that in politics, the critical factor for wide public acceptance has a lot less to do with the truth but with the presentation. Get on TV and hate talk radio and you can sell a critical mass of shallow thinkers your position. And these days of the “freest” free media we’ve ever had, in the absence of fairness, balance and public service, progressives and reality based discourse are more effectively blacklisted than socialism was during the McCarty period and its aftermath. With Glenn Beck and his ilk, the new “Red Channels” and all the other trappings of that era are back and doing very will with the toniest of media venues. Look at this disgusting item that appeared at the venerable NYT, from it’s “public editor”

    Jill Abramson, the managing editor for news, agreed with me that the paper was “slow off the mark,” and blamed “insufficient tuned-in-ness to the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio.” She and Bill Keller, the executive editor, said last week that they would now assign an editor to monitor opinion media and brief them frequently on bubbling controversies. Keller declined to identify the editor, saying he wanted to spare that person “a bombardment of e-mails and excoriation in the blogosphere.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/opinion/27pubed.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

    So, you see, it really is Glenn Beck and FOX that are the boss of news even at the most august of outlets.

    And, yet, people wonder why Americans are so ignorant as compared to those in other countries. Some of them, no doubt, with columns at the nyt and other large, though fading, daily newspapers.

  9. Austin L

    I think the important fact we’ve learned here is that we finally have evidence for something we have always suspected: Dinosaurs taste like chicken

  10. John Kwok

    Austin L –

    Actually, you mean that chicken tastes like dinosaur.

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