Earth Science

“Archaeopteryx: The missing link that wasn’t”

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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.

“Return to list… Buried Forests Formed in Decades not Millennia”

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Yet another article, yet another link that leads to an article that has since been taken down for this or that reason. I cannot help but hypothesize that the article was criticized for the quality of science therein, but that’s neither here nor there.

This post concerns the potential misinterpreting of the geological record by geologists and Earth Scientists over time, providing misleading conclusions as to the age of different findings. The post author claims that comparisons that have been made between the “buried forests” of Mt. St. Helens, created in the late 20th century, and the “buried forests” of Yellowstone National Park, suspected to be hundreds of thousands of years old, indicates that the “buried forests” of Yellowstone may in fact be far more recently formed than originally thought.

For all intents and purposes, I am going to assume that by “buried forests” the author means the uncovering of petrified wood that has been preserved for decades, even millennia. As I said above, the article this post references has since been removed from its place on the internet and is thus difficult to interpret. My criticism, though, comes from this link, explaining the petrified wood that has been found on Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone. According to this source, fossilized plants have been uncovered that, by radiometric dating, have been found to be approximately 48 million years old. It is difficult to rationalize how a 48 million year old plant could be in an environment that is only decades old, as the post claims. I think that, quoting a previous post on, if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck…