August 04, 2004

More on Archaeopteryx in the News

I read an interesting article today, about Archaeopteryx ... which has been hailed by many scientists as a 'missing-link' between dinosaurs and birds. If truly a missing-link it would make Archaeopteryx a perfect example of a 'transitional fossil.' Transitional forms of species are needed in order to prove macro-evolution, i.e. the evolution of one species to another. There has been a good deal of controversy over Archaeopteryx, and according to some scientists the lack of clear transitional forms of species in the fossil record. Some scientists claim many transitional forms have been found, others that none have, in the case of Archaeopteryx scientists have argued weather or not it is a bird, a dinosaur, or something clearly in between. This article was about some Hi-tech X-rays that were taken of the Archaeopteryx’s brain, and compared to dinosaur and bird brains.

The interesting part come in here:

"We were fully expecting to find a dinosaur like brain," Dr Milner told BBC News Online. "Instead, it was completely bird-like. The brain scan basically showed that the Archaeopteryx had all of the structures that allow birds to fly," added Dr Milner.

Dr Milner commented: "This all suggests that the development of the bird brain goes hand in hand with that of the physical structures, e.g. the wings, that allow it to fly. In fact, the brain is so bird-like, that the flying process must have evolved much sooner than anyone thought."
Now what really interests me here is they scan the brain of what they think is a transitional fossil; in their view that would mean this was a dinosaur that had evolved (i.e. mutated) over time enough to form feathers and some other bird features, as well as the ability of flight.

Now, given the framework of Darwinian Evolution they thought they would find a brain that was more dinosaur like, while the species evolved. However, they didn’t find this at all, in fact they find that the brain has all the flight features found in birds, i.e. the Archaeopteryx was in fact far more bird then they thought. Their logic is therefore that ‘the development of the bird brain goes hand in hand with that of the physical structures’ and that ‘the brain is so bird-like, that the flying process must have evolved much sooner than anyone thought.

This is fascinating, because at the least, it’s leaving less and less time for evolution, guided by blind natural selection, to function. That either means Darwinian Evolution is more efficient somehow then Darwin theorized or there’s a lot more for us to figure out about how life works, i.e. Darwin Evolution doesn’t adequately explain life on earth.

The article however, and the scientists involved seemed to want to gloss over this point, or perhaps their faith in Darwinian Evolution won’t let them think outside the box that Darwin setup for them.

1 Comments:

At August 06, 2004 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for staying informed, and thinking about it. And sharing. And other things.
~Sydney

 

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