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FEATHEROSAURUS FLOPS, according to reports in Proceedings of the Royal Society B doi:10.1098.rspb.2007.0352, ABC (Australia) News in Science and news@nature 23 May 2007. A team of researchers including Theagarten Lingham-Soliar of University of KwaZulu-Natal and Alan Feduccia of University of North Carolina have closely examined a fossil named Sinosauropteryx, a fossil found in Liaoning province, northeastern China in 1994. The turkey sized long-tailed dinosaur was covered with a down of fibres originally claimed by Chinese researchers to be primitive feathers, but this new study has swept away the proto-feathers claim. The 'feathers' have turned out to be the remains of a frill of collagen fibres that ran down the dinosaur's back. The report states: "The fibres show a striking similarity to the structure and levels of organisation of dermal collagen," the kind of tough elastic strands found on the skin of sharks and reptiles today, the investigators say. The fibres have an unusual "beaded" structure, but this most likely was caused by a natural twisting of the strands, and a clumping together caused by dehydration, when the dinosaur died and its tissues dried. The tough fibres could have been a form of armour to protect the small dinosaur from predators, or perhaps had a structural use, by stiffening its tail. These findings are confirmed in the holotype Sinosauropteryx and NIGP 127587. The proposal that these fibres are protofeathers is dismissed."
Professor Lingham-Soliar's team does not take issue with the theory birds are descended from dinosaurs, but is dismayed by the reckless leap to the conclusion that Sinosauropteryx had the all-important "protofeathers", even though the dinosaur was phylogenetically far removed from Archaeopteryx. "There is not a single close-up representation of the integumental structure alleged to be a proto feather," Professor Lingham-Soliar says, given that the evolution of the feather is pivotal in the evolutionary history of life.

ED. COM. In 2001 Creation Research wrote: "Other reptile fossils have been previously found with fibrous structures projecting from them and if it wasn't for the current obsession to link dinosaurs and birds, no-one who'd ever seen a bird would ever claim these are feathers." Seems we were right and we haven't changed our minds, but the evolutionists may have to. (Ref. prediction, feather, birds)

13th June 2007


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