Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Neverending Story--Now with Dinosaurs!

Here is another small skirmish in the neverending war between those who believe that birds are direct descendents of a group of theropod dinosaurs, and those who believe that birds and dinosaurs shared a common ancestor, usually said to be a thecodont reptile. For many, this is thought to be settled science--for example, see the Wikipedia article on the origin of birds. However, a few holdouts, led by Alan Feduccia, continue to maintain that there are many problems with the dinosaur-origins theory. Feduccia presents a strong case against dinosaur origins in his book The Origin and Evolution of Birds. This debate has been going on as long as I have been studying birds; I can't imagine that it will be finally settled any time soon.

Confused creationists sometimes mistake these scientific disputes for evidence that evolutionary theory has "holes" in it. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is the way science is supposed to work--one scientist publishes his work, and others examine the work and offer criticisms.


hipparchia said...

yep. zackly. [not that i know anything about bird ancestry, mind you]

hipparchia said...

ps. this little guy's pretty cute, the one you have pictured in this post.