Re: half-evolved feathers

Glenn R. Morton (
Sun, 26 Apr 1998 21:44:52 -0500

At 07:00 AM 4/27/98 +0800, Stephen Jones wrote:
>I don't " keep missing this" at all. I accept fully that "it" (ie,
>"Longisquama insignis") was found in 1972 not 1993". My point is
>that it was found in "1972"* and was virtually ignored for 20 years
>until "1993". And for the last five years it has been virtually
>ignored since.
>*Actually it was first described in *1970* so it was probably found
>even before then:
>"These authors point to small Triassic basal archosaurs such as
>Longisquama (Sharov 1970..." (Feduccia A., "The Origin and Evolution
>of Birds," Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1996, p86)
>GM>And it was mentioned, as I said, a few weeks back in Nature. >Two
>guys accept it two guys didn't.

Well a few days ago I did a lit search on longisquamis. It was first put in
English in 1970 A. G. Sharov, "An un usual reptile fromt he Lower Triassic
of Fergana, Paleontological Journal 4:1:112-116

A. De ricqles, "Les Premiers Vertebres volants,La Recherche 6:58:608-617
(in french)

H. Haubold E. buffetaut, "Une nouvelle interpretation de Longisquama
insignis reptile enigmatique du Trias superieur d'Asie centrale," Comptes
Rendus srie 2 305:1:65-70

Omni, 16:9 p. 34 "the birds first? A theory to fit the facts.

and finally the reason it has been ignored is that most paleontologists
believe that birds came from theropods Feduccia and Martin believe they
came from the thecodonts (which is what Longisquama is).

r. L. Disilvestro, "In quest of the origin of birds", Bioscience 47:8:481

>It is often several months before NATURE is received here in the
>Antipodes. I would therefore appreciate you posting exact
>references, and even a quote, please. Thanks.

**** need to do***
>I did not deny that "it is accessible to an english speaking
>individual". My point was that it did not feature in a mainstream
>"English speaking journal" like SCIENCE or NATURE.
>>SJ>You just ignore my main point: "Do you seriously think that if
>>>*real* half-scales/half-feathers had been found *six years ago* it
>>>would not have been trumpeted from the evolutionary rooftops >>and
>republished in SCIENCE and NATURE?"

Believe it or not Stephen, Science and Nature are not the premier
paleontological journals. If you want to know paleontology, or claim to
have researched paleontology as many apologists want their readers to
believe, very little of it will appear in the pages of SCIENCE and NATURE.
That is my point. Gish didn't spend much time in the journals.

>GM>You forget Maderson.
>I don't "forget Maderson". Even he sounds tentative about it: the
>title of his 1972 article was "On How an Archosaurian Scale MIGHT
>have Given Rise to an Avian Feather" (my emphasis).

You are a very literal person. Of course it is might. No one was there.
Having read the article the author was proposing that it DID happen that
way but of course he can't prove it so he uses the word MIGHT.

>GM>That is my point, the scales of Longisquama do resemble feathers.
>>Thank you for agreeing with my point, finally.
>That wasn't your "point" at all. Your "point" was that Longisquama
>was a "true transitional form...(that is, in the sense
>of...containing incipient, developing or transitional structures-
>such as half- scales/half feathers...":

Actually unless you can mind read I don't know how you can know that. The
resemblance to feathers is arguable a half feather. Many paleontologists
beleive that dinosaurs, other than those related to birds had feathers for
thermal regulation.
>Now you are just claiming that "the scales of Longisquama" only
>"resemble feathers." Big deal! The mere fact of resemblance means
>nothing. Such resemblance could be just *analogy* (ie. convergence
>due to common function), rather than *homology* (ie. inherited due
>to common descent):
>The real question is whether these scales that superficially resemble
>feathers really are on the way to becoming feathers, or whether they
>are just are unusual scales that just look a bit like feathers.
Exactly what evidence would you look for in the fossil record to be sure of
a half-evolved feather. Anything you find can be claimed not to be a half
evolved feather or not on the main line of descent. Even if we find an
elongated scale on a thecodont, you could still claim it wasn't on the line
to birds. Is there anything that would convince you? Can you lay out a
scenario which if true, would convince you?

>The fact is that being a single specimen, there is no evidence that
>Longisquama left any descendants:

See, this allows you never to have to consider ANY evidence from the fossil
record because you can always say the above.
>>SJ>And BTW, it's a bad habit of yours to assume that you are the
>>>only one being serious, and those who criticise your posts are just
>>>"playing games". I assure you that in criticising the theistic
>>>naturalistic evolution that you espouse, I am being *deadly*
>You just ignored this too!

Yes I did ignore that. Repeating personal type charges is one of those
things that you do that makes me not enjoy discussing things with you. So I
am going to ignore it again. I have a right to ignore statements I find
provacative and then to ignore them again when you insist that I respond
to them. To do otherwise, reduces what should be an intellectual
discussion into personal charges.

>Having said all that, I repeat that my Mediate Creationist position
>does not deny that there may well have been "true transitional forms
>(that is, in the sense of forms containing incipient, developing or
>transitional structures-such as half-scales/half-feathers, or
>half-legs/ half-wings)".

I really don't believe you hold that view. If you really could accept
transitional forms as defined above, then you would not argue against ALL
transitional forms like you do. You hide your willingness to accept
transitions quite well.

God may have created feathers de novo or He
>may have created by modifying existing designs. In both cases it
>may have been so rapid and directional that it left few traces in the
>fossil record of the actual transition event(s).

So why can't Longisquama be a transition? He lived much earlier than the
first birds. and he had a wishbone, a bone found only in birds I believe.

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