Last Update: 08 May 00
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REPLY #63 TO
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"
(R) In 1983, Sankir Chatterjee (an evolutionist) discovered two pheasentlike bird speciman in 225 million year old strata in Texas. He named the speciman Protoavis Texensis (Chatterjee, The Rise of Birds, 1997)
Given that textbooks have not been changed to move the origin of birds from 150 million years to 225 million years ago, the evolutionary (oops!, sorry, SCIENTIFIC) community has problems with these specimen. What are they?
(MB) Sorry, but I have to laugh when, in the same breath, a Creationist upholds a finding published by someone he labels as an "evolutionist" and then goes on to differentiate between "evolution" and "science". Is Chatterjee's information reliable because he is an "evolutionist", or is his information unreliable because "evolution" is not a "science"? You can't have it both ways, you know.
In any case, don't you think you're jumping the gun just a bit here in advancing this as a "problem"? Chatterjee's original discovery was in 1983, but don't you think it a bit unusual that he didn't publish until 14 years later and refused to allow anyone else to examine his specimens in the interim? Potential reasons for this have come to light since the publication of his book.
For example, from http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/birds/birdfr.html
Is Chatterjee right? One problem with Protoavis is that the bones were not found in an articulated skeleton, and had to be pieced together. In this situation, there is always the possibility of mixing up bones from different organisms. This has happened often enough in the past to make many paleontologists wary when discussing Protoavis. Dr. Kevin Padian of the UC Museum of Paleontology believes that Protoavis is probably a mixture of two or more different skeletons, and several other paleontologists concur in this interpretation.From http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/projects/cases/skeletons_notes.html
Creationists have argued that Archaeopteryx can't be transitional because true birds existed several million years before Archaeopteryx. It is possible that true birds existed before Archaeopteryx. Sankar Chatterjee of Texas claims that he has a specimen he named Protoavis that predates Archeopteryx by 75 million years. This can't be confirmed because Chatterjee refuses to let other paleontologists examine his specimen, and even he has not been able to find evidence for feathers. Finally, even if Protoavis is a "bird" rather than a small dinosaur, then it would simply assume the title of the earliest reptile-bird transition!And, from http://coldfusion.discover.com/output.cfm?ID=44
During the early 1980s, as Gauthier and Padian grew trees in their computers, Chatterjee was pulling bones out of Texas bluffs. The fossils he found dated back 225 million years, to a time when the area around Lubbock was a lush floodplain crisscrossed by rivers flowing west to a 300-mile-long inland lake. Animals living upstream would occasionally be overwhelmed by flash floods and carried for miles before they were dumped. Today they have become great piles of bones for paleontologists like Chatterjee to pick through.
(R) The thouroughness of the SCIENTIFIC community's investigation of Protoavis (17 years since the discovery), is interesting in comparison to those Chinese fossils of last year that took the National Geographic in, before being exposed as fakes (discovered, announced and exposed, all in a short time frame).
(MB) How "thoroughly" could the investigation have been conducted prior to Chatterjee's publication since nobody was allowed to see the specimens? The Chinese fake fossil was Archaeoraptor liaoningensis and it should be noted that National Geographic, despite its popular reputation, is not a peer-reviewed science publication and, as such, is not a primary source for the latest and greatest in accurate information.
Is there something wrong with science correcting an initial error upon further examination of the evidence? Speaking of Chinese early dino/bird fossils, what do you have to say about such examples as Confuciusornis sanctus, Liaoningornis, and/or Sinosauropteryx?
(R) Do you perceive any possible bias in this? If so, why do you think that is? If not, why not?
(MB) What "bias" is there in being skeptical of dubious extraordinary claims and correcting errors?
(R) Thank you for your time. Have a good day.
(MB) You're quite welcome.
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