Researchers remain divided over ‘feathered dinosaurs’

Young T-Rex feathered

The legitimacy of ‘feathered dinosaurs’ as a category.

by Dr Jonathan Sarfati and Brian Thomas, M.S.

Feathered dinosaur candidate fossils have drawn huge interest from secularists who have fitted them into a dinosaur-to-bird evolutionary narrative. The same fossils draw interest from biblical creationists who strive to accurately categorize them into Genesis kinds. Some researchers, including creation paleontologists, accept feathered dinosaurs partly on the basis of detailed secular descriptions.

Conversely, some creation scientists with expertise in other disciplines remain unconvinced that those secular descriptions have eliminated enough evolutionary bias to legitimize feathered dinosaurs as a Genesis-friendly category. In addition, secular reports fit the feathered dinosaur candidates into conflicting categories, and include disputes about whether certain fossilized structural remnants really represent feathers.

Other intractable barriers against evolution from dinosaur to bird, including centres of mass and respiratory systems, should call into question attempts to conflate the categories. Thus, both creation and anti-creation researchers remain divided over how to categorize feathered dinosaur candidates, and even over the legitimacy of ‘feathered dinosaurs’ as a category.

While a large majority of secular scientists agree that some dinosaurs had feathers, creation scientists remain divided. The very concept of feathered dinosaurs arose only a few decades ago, when new fossils from China began to reveal fossilized fibres and later actual feathers still associated with some dinosaur-like fossils, plus fossilized fibres interpreted as protofeathers on other fossils.

New discoveries of hard-to-classify extinct and feathered or fibred fossil forms have prompted some creation researchers to admonish their peers to embrace feathered dinosaurs. The various arguments that each side advocates reveal a healthy ongoing scientific and biblical exchange…

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image credit: Conty – wikimedia