While I was researching the story on the oldest fossil shrimp, I noticed another story about one of my favorite subjects, birds that lived with dinosaurs. The title is “Tiny ancient fossil from Spain shows birds flew over the heads of dinosaurs.” Now, a lot of creationists would read this and imagine robins and bluejays and such, but fossils of modern birds like those aren’t found in the same rock formations as dinosaurs.
It should also be noted that it isn’t news that there were extinct kinds of flying birds that were fossilized in Cretaceous and even Jurassic rocks alongside dinosaurs.
What’s exciting about this find is it provides very strong evidence that the extinct birds in the “early” or deeper Cretaceous layers had wings that were just as complex and well-designed for flying as modern birds’. Continue reading Dinosaur birds were flying like modern birds
This first article in the “Bad Science” category was inspired by “D’ya hear about the moon-bison?” by Lynda Walsh in The Scientist Weekend March 2, 2007.
As I researched the historical context of Darwin’s great myth of common descent of all life from microbial ancestors, possibly from chemicals coming together in some “warm, little pond,” I was struck by how many strange and just plain bad things began during the same period. The 19th century saw the rise of a number of cults, and toward the end of the 1800s there was a strong (but wrong) feeling that science was on the verge of having answered all the major questions, and the 20th century would only see the filling in of lesser details. These are subjects I may explore later. The article by Walsh touches on some of the hoaxes of the time that involved or were related to scientific discoveries. Continue reading The Beginning of Scientific Mythology
Here’s a cute one. How do you get animals with a special substance in one part of their body, but not anyplace else? You start with ancestors that had it everyplace else but that part! Sounds like a joke? Take a look at “Fish scales to fangs: Surprising tale of how teeth got their bite” – the Yahoo version of a Reuters report By Will Dunham, September 23, 2015.
Continue reading A Tale of the (Evolutionary) Tooth Fairy
One of the tantalizing corners of science (or fringe science, or pseudo-science, depending on the case and whom you ask) is OOPArts: Out Of Place Artifacts. These are apparently man-made objects found in geologic layers supposedly much too old for their level of technology, or even for humans to have evolved. I was studying a case today that came up in 2011 of a sort of reverse nature. It is a human skull (or part of one) found in Nigeria, where ancestral human remains are not often found. According to radioactive dating, this one is relatively recent, only 13,000 years old. While this is more than double the Biblically-derived age of the Earth, it’s not that far off compared to the many tens of thousands, or even millions of years, assigned to human ancestors. It is well into the period when even our cousins the Neanderthals are said to have died out, and only fully modern humans were in existence. In fact, an impressive archaeological site, Gobekli Tepe, is thought to be possibly that old, and it has huge stone pillars, not rough as at Stonehenge, but smooth and with carvings of animals. Continue reading OOPS = Out Of Place Skull