This post is written against this page under the Earth Science tab on evolutionthelie.com.
This post claims that the fossilized creature Archaeopteryx is nothing more than a fossilized bird–not the transition species between dinosaurs and birds that it claims to be. I think that comparing the fossil to the skeleton of modern birds is perhaps the best way of sifting through the evidence to better understand this argument.
Examining this fossil, one can clearly see the wings of the creature, the fossilized markings that denote where feathers used to be, and the unique appearance of the fossil that doesn’t quite look like anything that exists in the world today. Now alternatively, lets examine the skeleton of a modern pigeon.
The similarities between the two images are undeniable–the small rib cage, the wing and leg structures, the presence of feathers. There are also, though, significant differences. The shape of the head, for starters, is perhaps the most obvious difference. The Archaeopteryx fossil doesn’t have a beak, it appears to have a mouth that is far more similar to our conceived notion of what dinosaur heads looked like. While the talons on the legs appear similar to those on the bird, there is certainly a difference in the distal ends of the wing bones–they seem to be much more defined on the archaeopteryx. The fossil seems to be different enough from the pigeon that it feels wrong to call it a bird. It is clearly not, though, a dinosaur. This is how the case has been assembled that dubs archaeopteryx a transition species that existed somewhere along the evolutionary path that lead to modern birds. Though an extremely bird-like creature, the existence of this fossil means that we must strongly consider the origin of this creature and the implications it has for evolution as a whole.