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This is a fascinating story, which probably is another of the many evolutionary hoaxes. Evolutionary theory is a myth. God created everything; the evidence clearly points to it. This is science vs. evolution—a Creation-Evolution Encyclopedia, brought to you by Creation Science Facts.

CONTENTS: The Case of Archaeopteryx: 1

Introduction: Evolutionists claim it is halfway between a reptile and a bird
Archaeopteryx May Be a Bird: It may be just another species of bird

This material is excerpted from the book, HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY.  An asterisk ( * ) by a name indicates that person is not known to be a creationist. Of over 4,000 quotations in the books this Encyclopedia is based on, only 164 statements are by creationists.


Evolutionists claim it is halfway between a reptile and a bird.

"Archaeopteryx": This is a big name for a little bird, and is pronounced "Archee-opter-iks." It means "early wing." If you have a hard time with it, just call the little fellow "Archee." He won't mind.

There are high-quality limestone deposits in Solnhofen, Germany (near Eichstatt), which have been mined for over a century. From time to time, fossils have been found in them, and the sale of these has provided extra income for the owners of the Dorr quarry.

In 1861, a feather was found, and it sold for a surprisingly good price. This was due to the fact that it had purportedly come from late Jurassic strata. Soon after, in the same quarry, a fossil bird was found with the head and neck missing. The name, Archaeopteryx, had been given to the bird. The Jurassic specimen was sold for a high price to the British Museum. Finding unusual specimens was becoming an excellent way to bring in good profit. In 1877, a second specimen was said to have been discovered close to the first,—but this one had a neck and head. In that head were 13 teeth in each jaw; the head itself had the elongated round shape of a lizard head. This latest find made an absolute sensation, and was sure to sell for a great amount of money. And it surely did—going this time to the Humbold Museum, in Berlin, as the highest bidder.

Including that feather, there are six specimens of Archaeopteryx in the world. All six came from that same German limestone area. In addition to the feather and the first two, three others are quite faint and difficult to use. It is almost impossible to tell what they are. Aside from the feather, the others are located at London, Berlin, Maxburg, Teyler, and Eichstatt—all in Germany. They all came from the same general area.

Only the first fossilized skeleton (the "London specimen"), and the second one (the "Berlin specimen"), are well-enough defined to be usable. Evolutionists declare them to be prime examples of a transitional species. If so, we would have here the only definite cross-species transitions ever found anywhere in the world.

"Evolutionists can produce only a single creature—one single fossil creature—for which it is possible to produce even a semblance of an argument. That creature is, of course, Archaeopteryx, of which about five fossil specimens have been found in Upper Jurassic rocks (assumed by evolutionary geologists to be about 150 million years in age). All have been found in the Solnhofen Pattenkalk of Franconia (West Germany)."—Duane Gish, Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record (1985), p. 110.

The evolutionists consider Archaeopteryx to be a transition between reptile and bird. But there are two other possibilities. Some favor the first; others (including the present writer) prefer the second. It could be a real bird or a fake. Here are both; take your pick:


If the Archaeopteryx specimens are really genuine, here are reasons why Archaeopteryx could be considered a bird and not a reptile:

1: Scientists say it is a bird. It is significant that a special scientific meeting was held in 1982, a year before the furor over the Hoyle-Watkins declarations that Archaeopteryx was a hoax (which we will discuss shortly). The international Archaeopteryx Conference was held in Eichstatt, Germany, not far from the limestone deposits where all the specimens were originally found. At this meeting, it was decided that Archaeopteryx is a "bird" and not a reptile or half-bird / half-reptile. It was also decided that Archaeopteryx was not necessarily the ancestor of modern bird.

Therefore, the scientific community now officially declares Archaeopteryx to be only a bird, not a transitional species.

2: How could scales turn into feathers? Although zealous evolutionists have always claimed that this creature is a descendant of the reptiles and an ancestor of the birds, yet they do not explain how the scales on a reptile can change into feathers.

3: It has bones like a bird. Archaeopteryx is said to have thin, hollow wing and leg bones—such as a bird has.

4: It was not earlier than the birds. Archaeopteryx does not predate the bird, because fossils of other birds have been found in rocks of the same period (the Jurassic) in which Archaeopteryx was found.

5: It has modern bird feathers. The feathers on Archaeopteryx appear identical to modern feathers.

"But in Archaeopteryx, it is to be noted, the feathers differ in no way from the most perfectly developed feathers known to us."—*A. Feduccia and *H.B. Tordoff, in Science, 203 (1979), p. 1020.

6: No intermediate feathers have ever been found. Transition from scales to feathers would require many intermediate steps, but none have ever been found.

7: It had well-developed wings. The wings of Archaeopteryx were well-developed, and the bird probably could fly well.

8: It had wings designed for flight. The feathers of Archaeopteryx are asymmetrical; that is, the shaft does not have the same amount of feathers on both sides. This is the way feathers on flying birds are designed. In contrast, feathers on ostriches, rheas, and other flightless birds, or poor flyers (such as chickens), have fairly symmetrical feathers.

"The significance of asymmetrical features is that they indicate the capability of flying; nonflying birds such as the ostrich and the emu have symmetrical [feathered] wings."—*E. Olsen and *A. Feduccia, "Flight Capability and the Pectoral Girdle of Archaeopteryx," Nature (1979), p. 248.

9: No prior transitions. There ought to be transitional species from reptile to Archaeopteryx, but this is not the case. It cannot be a connecting link between reptile and bird, for there are no transitions to bridge the immense gap leading from the reptile to it. It has fully developed wing bones and flight feathers.

10: Bird-like in most respects. Archaeopteryx gives evidence of being a regular bird in every way except that it differs in certain features: (1) the lack of a sternum, (2) three digits on its wings, and (3) a reptile-like head. But there are explanations for all three points.

[a]: Lack of a sternum. Archaeopteryx had no sternum; but, although the wings of some birds today attach to the sternum, others attach to the furcula (wishbone). Archaeopteryx had a large furcula, so this is no problem.

"It is obvious that Archaeopteryx was very much a bird, equipped with a bird-like skull, perching feet, wings, feathers, and a furcula wishbone. No other animal, except birds, possesses feathers and a furcula."—Duane Gish, Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record (1985), p. 112.

[b]: Digits on its wings. Archaeopteryx had three digits on its "wings." Other dinosaurs have this also, but so do a few modern birds. This includes the hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoatdzin), a South American bird which has two wing claws in its juvenile stage. In addition, it is a poor flyer, with an amazingly small sternum—such as Archaeopteryx had. The touraco (Touraco corythaix), an African bird has claws and the adult is also a poor flyer. The ostrich has three claws on each wing. Their claws appear even more reptilian than those of archaeopteryx.

[c]: The shape of its skull. It has been said that the skull of Archaeopteryx appears more like a reptile than a bird, but investigation by Benton says it is shaped more like a bird.

"It has been claimed that the skull of Archaeopteryx was reptile-like rather than bird-like. Recently, however, the cranium of the `London' specimen had been removed from its limestone slab by Whetstone. Studies have shown that the skull is much broader and more bird-like than previously thought. This has led Benton to state that `details of the braincase and associated bones at the back of the skull seem to suggest that Archaeopteryx is not the ancestral bird.' "—Duane Gish, Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record (1985), pp. 112-113.

"Most authorities have admitted that Archaeopteryx was a bird because of the clear imprint of feathers in the fossil remains. The zoological definition of a bird is: `A vertebrate with feathers.' Recently, Dr. James Jensen, paleontologist at Brigham Young University, discovered in western Colorado the fossil remains of a bird thought to be as old as Archaeopteryx but much more modern in form. This would seem to give the death knell to any possible use of Archaeopteryx by evolutionists as a transitional form."—Marvin Lubenow, "Report on the Racine Debate," in Decade of Creation (1981), p. 65.

11: A leading ornithologist agrees. *F.E. Beddard, in his important scientific book on birds, maintained that Archaeopteryx was a bird; and, as such, it presented the same problem as all other birds: How could it have evolved from reptiles since there is such a big gap (the wing and feather gap) between the two.

"So emphatical were all these creature-birds, that the actual origin of Aves is barely hinted at in the structure of these remarkable remains."—*F.E. Beddard,

The Structure and Classification of Birds (1898), p. 160.

12: Other birds had teeth. It may seem unusual for Archaeopteryx to have had teeth, but there are several other extinct birds which also had them.

"However, the other extinct birds had teeth, and every other category of vertebrates contains some organisms with teeth, and some without (amphibians, reptiles, extinct birds, mammals, etc.)."—*P. Moody, Introduction to Evolution (1970), pp. 196-197.

13: It could be a unique bird. Archaeopteryx could well be a unique creature, just as the duck-billed platypus is unique. The Archaeopteryx has wings like a bird and a head similar to a lizard, but with teeth. There are a number of unique plants and animals in the world which, in several ways, are totally unlike anything else.

The platypus is an animal with a bill like a duck; has fur but lays eggs; in spite of its egg-laying, it is a mammal and nurses its young with milk; and chews its food with plates instead of with teeth. The male has a hollow claw on its hind foot that it uses to scratch and poison its enemies. It has claws like a mole. But, like a duck, it has webs between its toes; it uses sonar under water.

There is no doubt but that the platypus is far stranger than the Archaeopteryx; yet, like the Archaeopteryx, there is no transitional half-platypus creatures liking it to any other species.

14: Totally unique. There are no transitional species leading to or from it. Thus, if genuine, it would provide no evidence of evolution.

Regarding the Archaeopteryx, Romer, the well-known paleontologist said this:

"This Jurassic bird [Archaeopteryx] stands in splendid isolation; we know no more of its presumed thecodont ancestry nor of its relation to later `proper' birds than before."—*A.S. Romer, Notes and Comments on Vertebrate Paleontology (1968), p. 144.

From his own study, *Swinton, an expert on birds and a confirmed evolutionist, has concluded:

"The origin of birds is largely a matter of deduction. There is no fossil evidence of the stages through which the remarkable change from reptile to bird was achieved."—*W.E. Swinton, Biology and Comparative Physiology of Birds, Vol. 1 (1960), p. 1.

Other scientists agree. Here is an important statement by *Ostrom:

"It is obvious that we must now look for the ancestors of flying birds in a period of time much older than that in which Archaeopteryx lived."—*J. Ostrom, Science News, 112 (1977), p. 198.

"Unfortunately, the greater part of the fundamental types in the animal realm are disconnected [from each other] from a paleontological point of view. In spite of the fact that it is undeniably related to the two classes of reptiles and birds (a relation which the anatomy and physiology of actual living specimens demonstrates), we are not even authorized to consider the exceptional case of the Archaeopteryx as a true link.

"By link, we mean a necessary stage of transition between classes such as reptiles and birds or between smaller groups. An animal displaying characters belonging to two different groups cannot be treated as a true link as long as the intermediate stages have not been found, and as long as the mechanisms of transition remain unknown."—*L. du Nouy, Human Destiny (1947), p. 58.

15: Modern birds have been found in the same strata. Bones of modern birds have been found in the same type of rock strata—the Jurassic—in which Archaeopteryx was found. (They have been found in eastern Colorado.) According to evolutionary theory, this cannot be; for millions of years ought to be required for Archaeopteryx to change into a regular bird. If it was alive at the same time as modern birds, how can it be their ancient ancestor? Birds have also been found in the Jurassic limestone beds of Utah.

16: Modern birds have been found below it! Not only do we find modern birds in the same strata with Archaeopteryx,—but we also find them below it!

"Perhaps the final argument against Archaeopteryx as a transitional form has come from a rock quarry in Texas. Here scientists from Texas Tech University found bird bones encased in rock layers farther down the geological column than Archaeopteryx fossils."—Richard Bliss, Origins: Creation or Evolution (1988), p. 46.

Two crow-sized birds were discovered in the Triassic Dockum Formation in Texas. Because of the strata they were located in, those birds would, according to evolutionary theory, be 75 million years older than Archaeopteryx! More information on this Texas discovery can be found in *Nature, 322 (1986), p. 677.


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