Origin of Birds and Mammals
There are thousands of bird species on the earth. Every one of them possesses distinct features. For example, falcons have acute vision, wide wings and sharp talons, while hummingbirds, with their long beaks, suck the nectar of flowers.
Others migrate over long distances to very specific places in the world. But the most important feature distinguishing birds from other animals is flight. Most birds have the ability to fly.
How did birds come into existence? The theory of evolution tries to provide an answer with a long scenario. According to this story, reptiles are the ancestors of birds. Approximately 150-200 million years ago, birds evolved from their reptile ancestors. The first birds had very poor flying skills. Yet, during the evolution process, feathers replaced the thick skins of these ancient birds, which were originally covered with scales. Their front legs were also completely covered by feathers, and changed into wings. As a result of gradual evolution, some reptiles adapted themselves to flight, and thus became the birds of today.
This scenario is presented in evolutionary sources as an established fact. However, an in-depth study of the details and the scientific data indicates that the scenario is based more on imagination than reality.
The Origin of Flight According to Evolutionists
How reptiles, as land-dwelling creatures, ever came to fly, is an issue which has stirred up considerable speculation among evolutionists. There are two main theories. The first argues that the ancestors of birds descended to the ground from the trees. As a result, these ancestors are alleged to be reptiles that lived in the treetops and came to possess wings gradually as they jumped from one branch to another. This is known as the arboreal theory. The other, the cursorial (or "running") theory, suggests that birds progressed to the air from the land.
Yet both of these theories rest upon speculative interpretations, and there is no evidence to support either of them. Evolutionists have devised a simple solution to the problem: they simply imagine that the evidence exists. Professor John Ostrom, head of the Geology Department at Yale University, who proposed the cursorial theory, explains this approach:
No fossil evidence exists of any pro-avis. It is a purely hypothetical pre-bird, but one that must have existed.
However, this transitional form, which the arboreal theory assumes "must have lived," has never been found. The cursorial theory is even more problematic. The basic assumption of the theory is that the front legs of some reptiles gradually developed into wings as they waved their arms around in order to catch insects. However, no explanation is provided of how the wing, a highly complex organ, came into existence as a result of this flapping.
One huge problem for the theory of evolution is the irreducible complexity of wings. Only a perfect design allows wings to function, a "half-way developed" wing cannot function. In this context, the "gradual development" model-the unique mechanism postulated by evolution-makes no sense. Thus Robert Carroll is forced to admit that, "It is difficult to account for the initial evolution of feathers as elements in the flight apparatus, since it is hard to see how they could function until they reached the large size seen in Archaeopteryx."107 Then he argues that feathers could have evolved for insulation, but this does not explain their complex design which is specifically shaped for flying.
It is essential that wings should be tightly attached to the chest, and possess a structure able to lift the bird up and enable it to move in all directions, as well as allowing it to remain in the air. It is essential that wings and feathers possess a light, flexible and well proportioned structure. At this point, evolution is again in a quandary. It fails to answer the question of how this flawless design in wings came about as the result of accumulative random mutations. Similarly, it offers no explanation of how the foreleg of a reptile came to change into a perfect wing as a result of a defect (mutation) in the genes.
A half-formed wing cannot fly. Consequently, even if we assume that mutation did lead to a slight change in the foreleg, it is still entirely unreasonable to assume that further mutations contributed coincidentally to the development of a full wing. That is because a mutation in the forelegs will not produce a new wing; on the contrary, it will just cause the animal to lose its forelegs. This would put it at a disadvantage compared to other members of its own species. According to the rules of the theory of evolution, natural selection would soon eliminate this flawed creature.
According to biophysical research, mutations are changes that occur very rarely. Consequently, it is impossible that a disabled animal could wait millions of years for its wings to fully develop by means of slight mutations, especially when these mutations have damaging effects over time…
The Design of Bird Feathers
The theory of evolution, which claims that birds evolved from reptiles, is unable to explain the huge differences between these two different living classes. In terms of such features as their skeleton structure, lung systems, and warm-blooded metabolism, birds are very different from reptiles. Another trait that poses an insurmountable gap between birds and reptiles is the feathers of birds which have a form entirely peculiar to them.
The bodies of reptiles are covered with scales, whereas the bodies of birds are covered with feathers. Since evolutionists consider reptiles the ancestor of birds, they are obliged to claim that bird feathers have evolved from reptile scales. However, there is no similarity between scales and feathers.
A professor of physiology and neurobiology from the University of Connecticut, A.H. Brush, accepts this reality although he is an evolutionist: "Every feature from gene structure and organization, to development, morphogenesis and tissue organization is different (in feathers and scales)."1 Moreover, Prof. Brush examines the protein structure of bird feathers and argues that it is "unique among vertebrates".
There is no fossil evidence to prove that bird feathers evolved from reptile scales. On the contrary, "feathers appear suddenly in the fossil record, as an'undeniably unique' character distinguishing birds" as Prof. Brush states.3 Besides, in reptiles, no epidermal structure has yet been detected that provides an origin for bird feathers.
In 1996, paleontologists made abuzz about fossils of a so-called feathered dinosaur, called Sinosauropteryx. However, in 1997, it was revealed that these fossils had nothing to do with birds and that they were not modern feathers.
On the other hand, when we examine bird feathers closely, we come across a very complex design that cannot be explained by any evolutionary process. The famous ornithologist Alan Feduccia states that "every feature of them has aerodynamic functions. They are extremely light, have the ability to lift up which increases in lower speeds, and may return to their previous position very easily". Then he continues, "I cannot really understand how an organ perfectly designed for flight may have emerged for another need at the beginning".
The design of feathers also compelled Charles Darwin ponder them. Moreover, the perfect aesthetics of the peafowl's feathers had made him "sick" (his own words). In a letter he wrote to Asa Gray on April 3, 1860, he said "I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold all over, but I have got over this stage of complaint..."And then continued: "...and now trifling particulars of structure often make me very uncomfortable. The sight of a feather in a peacock's tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!"
Archaeopteryx and Other Ancient Bird Fossils
While evolutionists have for decades been proclaiming Archæopteryx to be the greatest evidence for their scenario concerning the evolution of birds, some recently-found fossils invalidate that scenario in other respects.
Lianhai Hou and Zhonghe Zhou, two paleontologists at the Chinese Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology, discovered a new bird fossil in 1995, and named it Confuciusornis. This fossil is almost the same age as Archæopteryx (around 140 million years), but has no teeth in its mouth. In addition, its beak and feathers shared the same features as today's birds. Confuciusornis has the same skeletal structure as modern birds, but also has claws on its wings, just like Archæopteryx. Another structure peculiar to birds called the "pygostyle", which supports the tail feathers, was also found in Confuciusornis. In short, this fossil-which is the same age as Archæopteryx, which was previously thought to be the earliest bird and was accepted as a semi-reptile-looks very much like a modern bird. This fact has invalidated all the evolutionist theses claiming Archæopteryx to be the primitive ancestor of all birds.
Another fossil unearthed in China, caused even greater confusion. In November 1996, the existence of a 130-million-year-old bird named Liaoningornis was announced in Science by L. Hou, L. D. Martin, and Alan Feduccia. Liaoningornis had a breastbone to which the muscles for flight were attached, just as in modern birds. This bird was indistinguishable from modern birds also in other respects, too. The only difference was the teeth in its mouth. This showed that birds with teeth did not possess the primitive structure alleged by evolutionists.52 This was stated in an article in Discover "Whence came the birds? This fossil suggests that it was not from dinasour stock".
Another fossil that refuted the evolutionist claims regarding Archæopteryx was Eoalulavis. The wing structure of Eoalulavis, which was said to be some 25 to 30 million years younger than Archæopteryx, was also observed in modern slow-flying birds. This proved that 120 million years ago, there were birds indistinguishable from modern birds in many respects flying in the skies.
These facts once more indicate for certain that neither Archæopteryx nor other ancient birds similar to it were transitional forms. The fossils do not indicate that different bird species evolved from each other. On the contrary, the fossil record proves that today's modern birds and some archaic birds such as Archæopteryx actually lived together at the same time. Some of these bird species, such as Archæopteryx and Confuciusornis, have become extinct, and only some of the species that once existed have been able to survive down to the present day.
In brief, several features of Archæopteryx indicate that this creature was not a transitional form. The overall anatomy of Archæopteryx imply stasis, not evolution. Paleontologist Robert Carroll has to admit that:
The geometry of the flight feathers of Archæopteryx is identical with that of modern flying birds, whereas nonflying birds have symmetrical feathers. The way in which the feathers are arranged on the wing also falls within the range of modern birds… According to Van Tyne and Berger, the relative size and shape of the wing of Archæopteryx are similar to that of birds that move through restricted openings in vegetation, such as gallinaceous birds, doves, woodcocks, woodpeckers, and most passerine birds… The flight feathers have been in stasis for at least 150 million years…
On the other hand, the "temporal paradox" is one of the facts that deal the fatal blow to the evolutionist allegations about Archæopteryx. In his book Icons of Evolution, Jonathan Wells remarks that Archæopteryx has been turned into an "icon" of the theory of evolution, whereas evidence clearly shows that this creature is not the primitive ancestor of birds. According to Wells, one of the indications of this is that theropod dinosaurs—the alleged ancestors of Archæopteryx—are actually younger than Archæopteryx:
Two-legged reptiles that ran along the ground, and had other features one might expect in an ancestor of Archæopteryx, appear later.
The Origin of Mammals
As we have stated before, the theory of evolution proposes that some imaginary creatures that came out of the sea turned into reptiles, and that birds evolved from reptiles. According to the same scenario, reptiles are the ancestors not only of birds, but also of mammals. However, there are great differences between these two classes. Mammals are warm-blooded animals (this means they can generate their own heat and maintain it at a steady level), they give live birth, they suckle their young, and their bodies are covered in fur or hair. Reptiles, on the other hand, are cold-blooded (i.e., they cannot generate heat, and their body temperature changes according to the external temperature), they lay eggs, they do not suckle their young, and their bodies are covered in scales.
Given all these differences, then, how did a reptile start to regulate its body temperature and come by a perspiratory mechanism to allow it to maintain its body temperature? Is it possible that it replaced its scales with fur or hair and started to secrete milk? In order for the theory of evolution to explain the origin of mammals, it must first provide scientific answers to these questions.
Yet, when we look at evolutionist sources, we either find completely imaginary and unscientific scenarios, or else a profound silence. One of these scenarios is as follows:
Some of the reptiles in the colder regions began to develop a method of keeping their bodies warm. Their heat output increased when it was cold and their heat loss was cut down when scales became smaller and more pointed, and evolved into fur. Sweating was also an adaptation to regulate the body temperature, a device to cool the body when necessary by evaporation of water. But incidentally the young of these reptiles began to lick the sweat of the mother for nourishment. Certain sweat glands began to secrete a richer and richer secretion, which eventually became milk. Thus the young of these early mammals had a better start in life.
The above quotation is nothing more than a figment of the imagination. Not only is such a fantastic scenario unsupported by the evidence, it is clearly impossible. It is quite irrational to claim that a living creature produces a highly complex nutrient such as milk by licking its mother's body sweat.
The reason why such scenarios are put forward is the fact that there are huge differences between reptiles and mammals. One example of the structural barriers between reptiles and mammals is their jaw structure. Mammal jaws consist of only one mandibular bone containing the teeth. In reptiles, there are three little bones on both sides of the mandible. Another basic difference is that all mammals have three bones in their middle ear (hammer, anvil, and stirrup). Reptiles have but a single bone in the middle ear. Evolutionists claim that the reptile jaw and middle ear gradually evolved into the mammal jaw and ear. The question of how an ear with a single bone evolved into one with three bones, and how the sense of hearing kept on functioning in the meantime can never be explained. Not surprisingly, not one single fossil linking reptiles and mammals has been found. This is why the renowned evolutionist science writer Roger Lewin was forced to say, "The transition to the first mammal, ...is still an enigma."
George Gaylord Simpson, one of the most important evolutionary authorities and a founder of the neo-Darwinist theory, makes the following comment regarding this perplexing difficulty for evolutionists:
The most puzzling event in the history of life on earth is the change from the Mesozoic, the Age of Reptiles, to the Age of Mammals. It is as if the curtain were rung down suddenly on the stage where all the leading roles were taken by reptiles, especially dinosaurs, in great numbers and bewildering variety, and rose again immediately to reveal the same setting but an entirely new cast, a cast in which the dinosaurs do not appear at all, other reptiles are supernumeraries, and all the leading parts are played by mammals of sorts barely hinted at in the preceding acts.
Furthermore, when mammals suddenly made their appearance, they were already very different from each other. Such dissimilar animals as bats, horses, mice, and whales are all mammals, and they all emerged during the same geological period. Establishing an evolutionary relationship among them is impossible even by the broadest stretch of the imagination. The evolutionist zoologist R. Eric Lombard makes this point in an article that appeared in the leading journal Evolution:
Those searching for specific information useful in constructing phylogenies of mammalian taxa will be disappointed.
In short, the origin of mammals, like that of other groups, fails to conform to the theory of evolution in any way. George Gaylord Simpson admitted that fact many years ago:
This is true of all thirty-two orders of mammals ... The earliest and most primitive known members of every order [of mammals] already have the basic ordinal characters, and in no case is an approximately continuous sequence from one order to another known. In most cases the break is so sharp and the gap so large that the origin of the order is speculative and much disputed ... This regular absence of transitional forms is not confined to mammals, but is an almost universal phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontologists. It is true of almost all classes of animals, both vertebrate and invertebrate...it is true of the classes, and of the major animal phyla, and it is apparently also true of analogous categories of plants.
The Myth of Horse Evolution
Until recently, an imaginary sequence supposedly showing the evolution of the horse was advanced as the principal fossil evidence for the theory of evolution. Today, however, many evolutionists themselves frankly admit that the scenario of horse evolution is bankrupt. In 1980, a four-day symposium was held at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, with 150 evolutionists in attendance, to discuss the problems with gradualistic evolutionary theory. In addressing the meeting, evolutionist Boyce Rensberger noted that the scenario of the evolution of the horse has no foundation in the fossil record, and that no evolutionary proccess has been observed that would account for the gradual evolution of horses:
The popularly told example of horse evolution, suggesting a gradual sequence of changes from four-toed fox-sized creatures living nearly 50 million years ago to today's much larger one-toed horse, has long been known to be wrong. Instead of gradual change, fossils of each intermediate species appear fully distinct, persist unchanged, and then become extinct. Transitional forms are unknown.
Dr. Niles Eldredge said the following about the “evolution of the horse” diagrams:
There have been an awful lot of stories, some more imaginative than others, about what the nature of that history [of life] really is. The most famous example, still on exhibit downstairs, is the exhibit on horse evolution prepared perhaps fifty years ago. That has been presented as the literal truth in textbook after textbook. Now I think that is lamentable, particularly when the people who propose those kinds of stories may themselves be aware of the speculative nature of some of that stuff.
Then what is the basis for the scenario of the evolution of the horse? This scenario was formulated by means of the deceitful charts devised by the sequential arrangement of fossils of distinct species that lived at vastly different periods in India, South Africa, North America, and Europe solely in accordance with the rich power of evolutionists' imaginations. More than 20 charts of the evolution of the horse, which by the way are totally different from each other, have been proposed by various researchers. Thus, it is obvious that evolutionists have reached no common agreement on these family trees. The only common feature in these arrangements is the belief that a dog-sized creature called "Eohippus", which lived in the Eocene Period 55 million years ago, was the ancestor of the horse (Equus). But, the supposed evolutionary lines from Eohippus to Equus are totally inconsistent.
The evolutionist science writer Gordon R. Taylor explains this little-acknowledged truth in his book The Great Evolution Mystery:
But perhaps the most serious weakness of Darwinism is the failure of paleontologists to find convincing phylogenies or sequences of organisms demonstrating major evolutionary change... The horse is often cited as the only fully worked-out example. But the fact is that the line from Eohippus to Equus is very erratic. It is alleged to show a continual increase in size, but the truth is that some variants were smaller than Eohippus, not larger. Specimens from different sources can be brought together in a convincing-looking sequence, but there is no evidence that they were actually ranged in this order in time.
All these facts are strong evidence that the charts of horse evolution, which are presented as one of the most solid pieces of evidence for Darwinism, are nothing but fantastic and implausible tales.