A PIECE OF AMBER ABOUT THE SIZE OF A DRIED APRICOT was purchased by a Chinese scientist called Xing Lida in a Myanmar market. An inclusion in the amber looked like part of a plant, but was actually the tail of a theropod dinosaur, covered with feathers. The tail of the creature contained at least nine vertebrae, so it definitely was not a bird.
NOTE: the references in this article come from an article in a website called “evolutionistrue”. I do NOT support evolution without the hand of God guiding it (i.e. I believe in intelligent design).
Well, okay, but what’s a theropod? Theropods are a diverse collection of bipedal dinosaurs (i.e. walk on two legs). They include the largest terrestrial carnivores, such as T-rex. Recent studies have conclusively shown that birds are actually the descendants of small non-flying theropods.
THE SPECIMEN TURNED OUT TO BE FROM THE MID-CRETACEOUS ERA, ABOUT 99 MILLION YEARS OLD. Wait…….how old is that? One answer is that it was when the north-south Cretaceous seaway split the north American continent in two, and over time forests of trees were deposited and formed into peat and then coal. And some of these coalbeds exist in the San Juan basin not far from Albuquerque. I spent a large portion of my working life studying these coalbeds and extracting natural gas called coalbed methane. If you ever come to Albuquerque, visit the Natural History Museum which has spectacular displays of the Cretaceous era with its forests and its dinos, and even the extinction of the dinos by a huge asteroid impact 65 million years ago.
THE FEATHERS IN THE AMBER THEROPOD WERE NOT USED FOR FLYING. Maybe for temperature regulation, or just ornamentation. However the bony amber tail belonged to a coelurosaur, a group of feathered dinosaurs from which birds are descended. Based on the tail size, the animal was very small: apparently it could fit in the palm of your hand, and was about the size of a sparrow. Can you imagine a dinosaur with a bony tail that small?
Some color can be discerned in the amber tail feathers suggesting the dinosaur was white and chestnut brown, also like a sparrow.
SO THERE IS AN EVOLUTIONARY TREE PROPOSED FOR FEATHERS, as shown in the image (I had never heard of such a thing). But personally I want to see the forest as well as the tree. Although I do believe in an old earth, including dates like 99 million years ago, the final result is a beautiful dinosaur feather, so beautiful that I find it easy to attribute its design to a creator……God……no matter how it was formed. This is my perspective. Same for a beautiful modern feather in the next image. Note: to me it takes a lot of faith to believe in evolution without the hand of God guiding it.
POST-SCRIPT ABOUT AGE OF FEATHERED DINOSAURS: there is an ongoing debate between YEC proponents (Young-Earth Creationism, earth being less than ten thousand years old) and the majority of scientists who accept the old-earth position (earth being about 5 billion years old.) I may write about this later, but for now if you want to read an example of this debate click here (I understand the author is a Christian who believes in evolution). The article also happens to be about feathered dinosaurs!
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The Gray Nomad
Probing the practices of Christian faith
Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzeroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, “Here we are”? Who has put wisdom in the clouds, or given understanding to the mists? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cleave fast together? [Book of Job chapter 38].