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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Which came first, the T-Rex or the Chicken?

The answer: they came on the same day, Day 6 of Creation.

On April 24, the Gainesville Times published a front-page article trumpeting an ancestral relationship between the Tyrannosaurus rex and the chicken. This is what decades of indoctrination in Darwinian evolution will get you: a front page story in your local paper telling you that one of your favorite delicacies is perhaps a descendant of a giant lizard.

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. Darwinian evolution leads to many ridiculous scenarios. After stories like this, I don’t want to hear a single secularist, atheist, liberal theologian, et al, deride any of the so-called “ridiculous” stories told in Scripture. To believe the biblical account of Creation, The Flood, Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath, etc. requires less faith than to believe that the ferocious T-Rex eventually turned into the genteel chicken.

Stories detailing the supposed link between the T-Rex and the chicken started appearing in the mainstream media (such as USA Today and MSNBC.com) as far back as April of 2007. On April 12, 2007, USA Today reported, “The discovery of traces of flesh in a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex bone ties the King of the Dinosaurs to modern-day species and… ‘Based on the small sample we've recovered, chickens may be the closest relatives (to T. rex),’ says geneticist John Asara of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.”

On the same day, MSNBC reported, “For the first time, researchers have read what they say is the biological signature of a tyrannosaur — a signature that confirms the increasingly accepted view that modern birds are the descendants of dinosaurs.” This story began in 2003 when paleontologist Jack Horner unearthed a tyrannosaur femur in the cliffs of Montana. When the massive fossil was broken during transport, preserved inside the bone was some of the dinosaur’s soft tissue.

Molecular paleontologist Mary Schweitzer and her colleagues analyzed the soft tissue. They were able to recover what they suspected to be preserved collagen protein from the soft tissue sample, which is the main organic constituent of bone. Many scientists were skeptical that the soft tissue belonged to the T-Rex. These scientists suspected some sort of contamination from another species. However, as the Times article correctly noted, “the research…indicates that the protein from the fossilized tissue is authentic, rather than contamination from a living species.”

What the Times failed to make note of is the reason many scientists were, and still are, skeptical of the soft tissue find. The T-Rex is supposedly about 65 million years old. Soft tissue is not supposed to survive for millions of years. The confirmation that the material was indeed dinosaur soft tissue came as quite a shock to evolutionists. John Asara, a researcher to which the Times article referred, said, “I mean can you imagine pulling a bone out the ground after 68 million years and then getting intact protein sequences? […] That’s just mind boggling how much preservation there is in these bones.”

However, it is not mind boggling if one subscribes to the six-day, biblical model of Creation instead of the Darwinian model, which requires millions and billions of years. Answers In Genesis correctly noted that, “Incredibly, Schweitzer and other paleontologists have fiercely held on to their old-age beliefs, concluding that soft tissue must be able to survive such a long period, rather than admitting that the old-earth paradigm is flawed.”

Also, the Times failed to put into perspective the “close” relationship between the collagen of the chicken and that of the T-Rex. While the sequence similarity between the chicken and the T-Rex was 58%, this compares with a reported 81% similarity between humans and frogs, and 97% between humans and cows. I don’t hear anyone touting “Kermit” or “Flossie” as one of our distant ancestors (although Darwinian evolutionists do believe all life evolved from a single organism).

Last, I find the words of Mike Lacy, UGA poultry science professor, amazingly ridiculous. He was quoted as saying, “Birds are living dinosaurs, which means that chickens are dinosaurs…They are the only surviving dinosaurs.” He added that featherless chickens, “look like those little velociraptors that were in ‘Jurassic Park,’…It’s obvious that they are dinosaurs.”

The very word dinosaur means “terrible lizard,” not “horrible hen.” To state that chickens are obviously dinosaurs, and premise that on mere appearances is utterly foolish. This sounds a lot like the “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” nonsense. This was the fraudulent theory popularized by evolutionist Ernst Haeckel in the 1860s. In it he proposed that the human embryo retraced its evolutionary history, passing through a fish stage, an amphibian stage, a reptile stage, and so on. To support his theory he compared drawings (which were later shown to have been faked) of human embryos at different stages to various animal embryos. The likeness of the appearance of the embryos was supposed to demonstrate the human embryo exhibiting characteristics of its ancestors.

Again, Answers In Genesis says it well when they note, “When it comes to animal similarities, creationists are keen on comparing morphologies and placing animals into clear families that correspond to the created ‘kinds’ of Genesis 1.” In other words, chickens begat chickens, lizards begat lizards, and never the twain did meet.

Copyright 2008, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

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