Wait, Feathered Dinosaurs?!

Copyright ยฉ 2022 Jurassic World Dominion. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by New Creation does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.

Have you been keeping up with the latest news for the upcoming film, Jurassic World Dominion? If so, then youโ€™ll know that not all of the dinosaurs featured in it have tough, leathery, scaly hide. Some are decked out with feathers, like birds!

The one with fiery red wings and tail fan, taking on Chris Pratt in the trailer, is Pyroraptor olympius, a cousin of the more-famous Velociraptor. However, not all of the filmโ€™s dinosaur cast have the same types of feathers. Others, like the Therizinosaurus seen tracking down Bryce Dallas Howard, are covered in a hairy-like pelt.

Seeing these creatures as more bird-like will no doubt surprise some moviegoers. From a young-earth creationist perspective, such portrayals might seem upsetting. After all, if some dinosaurs had feathers then would that not mean some of them evolved into birds?

Just how do creationists make sense of feathered dinosaurs? Do they really exist? If so, how do they fit into a young-earth creationistโ€™s understanding of the diversity of life?

Did Dinosaurs Really Have Feathers?

This exquisitely-preserved fossil Zhenyuanlong displays vaned feathers along its tail and wings.

Yes they did! Starting in the 1990โ€™s, paleontologists have discovered that feathered dinosaurs came in all shapes and sizes.1 Then, in 2016, scientists reported the fascinating discovery of a baby dinosaur tail encased in amber.2 Feathers cover its little tail!

One of my favorite feathered dinosaur discoveries is Zhenyuanlong (a close relative of Pyroraptor). About the size of a turkey, its exquisitely-preserved fossil remains show that its feathers were not just limited to its body.3 It also had long feathers on its wings, and a tail fan. Zhenyuanlong was a bit like a small, meat-eating ostrich, because it didnโ€™t use its wings to get off the ground. Others, like the crow-sized Microraptor, had four wings, one on each limb. Though it’s traditionally thought to only be a glider, some paleontologists have recently proposed that this creature was capable of powered flight, similar to modern birds.4

An artist’s reconstruction of Beipiaosaurus, a smaller cousin of Therizinosaurus.

As we saw in the Jurassic World Dominion trailer, not all dinosaurs had the same types of feathers. Beipiaosaurus, a smaller cousin of Therizinosaurus, was instead covered in something like the downy feathers seen covering baby chickens.5 These are called dino fuzz. Useless for flying, several dinosaurs had them, probably in order to stay warm. The largest dinosaur discovered with dino fuzz so far is a T. rex-like animal called Yutyrannus.6 It was as long as a school bus!

Feathered Dinosaurs and Young-Earth Creationism

So how do feathered dinosaurs fit into a young-earth creation model? Firstly, we know from Scripture that different kinds of birds (Genesis 1:21-22) and different kinds of land animals (Genesis 1:24-25, which would include dinosaurs) were already present within the first week of the Earthโ€™s existence. God created flying creatures on the fifth day of creation. But God created land-dwelling dinosaurs on the sixth day. This means that not only is there not enough time for birds to evolve from non-bird dinosaurs, but that God brought birds into existence first, not the other way around. This precludes any notion of dinosaur-to-bird evolution taking place.

Feathered dinosaurs, like this Anchiornis, represent the creativity, ingenious design, and downright beauty with which God has filled His creation!

This matches the scientific evidence we see that distinguishes feathered dinosaurs from birds, and even other dinosaurs. Evolutionary paleontologists place all dinosaurs and birds on a single, evolutionary tree that links them to a common ancestor. However, young-earth paleontologists recognize many distinct groups of dinosaurs that go back to ancestors God created during Creation Week. One recent study found that there are at least eight distinct groups, or created kinds, of feathered dinosaurs.7 Each member of a single created kind of feathered dinosaur is related, but they are unrelated to birds and other dinosaurs outside of their kind.

Rather than emblems of evolution, feathered dinosaurs represent the creativity, ingenious design, and downright beauty with which God filled His creation.

Check out these articles to learn more about dinosaurs:

How Many Created Kinds of Dinosaurs Were There?

Dinosaur Soft Tissues: Can They Really Last for Two Hundred Million Years?

My First Dino Dig

References

1 Surtees, M. 2021. โ€œIs it a bird? A critical analysis of feathered fossils.โ€ Journal of the Biblical Creation Trust. 2021, Volume 3, pages 12โ€“19.

2 Xing, Lida & McKellar, Ryan & Xu, Xing & Li, Gang & Bai, Ming & Persons, W. & Miyashita, Tetsuto & Benton, Michael & Zhang, Jianping & Wolfe, Alexander & Qiru, Yi & Tseng, Kuowei & Ran, Hao & Currie, Philip. (2016). โ€œA Feathered Dinosaur Tail with Primitive Plumage Trapped in Mid-Cretaceous Amber.โ€ Current Biology.

3 Lรผ, Junchang; Brusatte, Stephen L. (2015). “A large, short-armed, winged dromaeosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Early Cretaceous of China and its implications for feather evolution”. Scientific Reports. 5: Article number 11775.

4  Pei, Rui & Pittman, Michael & Goloboff, Pablo & Dececchi, Alexander & Habib, Michael & Kaye, Thomas & Larsson, Hans & Norell, Mark & Brusatte, Stephen & Xu, Xing. (2020). โ€œPotential for Powered Flight Neared by Most Close Avialan Relatives, but Few Crossed Its Thresholds.โ€ Current Biology.

5  Xu, X.; Tang, Z.-L.; Wang, X. L. 1999. “A therizinosauroid dinosaur with integumentary structures from China.” Nature. 339 (6734): 350โ€“354.

6  Xu, X., Wang, K., Zhang, K. et al. 2012. โ€œA gigantic feathered dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China.โ€ Nature 484, 92โ€“95.

7  McLain, M.A., M. Petrone, and M. Speights. 2018. โ€œFeathered dinosaurs reconsidered: New insights from baraminology and ethnotaxonomy.โ€ In Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Creationism, ed. J.H. Whitmore, pp. 472โ€“515. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Creation Science Fellowship.

The views expressed in this article reflect those of the author.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
robert byers
robert byers
June 7, 2022 9:04 PM

Great article and well done. Yet i disagree. there were no dinosaurs on creation week. There never were dinosaurs. instead, as smarter research is now done, the theropod dinos wwere just varities of flightless ground birds. probably had feathers. The evolutionists finding such great likeness of theropods with birds BINGO they conclude birds evolved from dinos. closer but still wrong. T rex was a giant chicken. T rex had a wish bone like a turkey. the artists depictions of the past were done on ideas of reptiles. nOw, including this dumb movie, they make them more bird like. They will never fly with the truth while grounded with saying dinos were reptiles.

You May Also Like