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Archaeopteryx was probably not an ancestor of modern birds (Talk.Origins)
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- Modern birds were probably not descended from Archaeopteryx, so it is wrong to claim Archaeopteryx as a missing link between dinosaurs and birds.
- Jonathan Wells, 2000. Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?, Washington DC: Regnery Publishing Inc., pp. 115-116.
CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)
1. "Transitional" does not mean "ancestral." It means that the transitional fossil shows a mosaic of features from organisms before and after. It is wrong to say that Archaeopteryx was ancestral to modern birds.
Talk.Origins apparently concedes that the main point of the claim is correct, and is mainly arguing over the definition of "transitional forms." It is agreed that Archaeopteryx is a mosaic form, but what is at dispute is what that means. What is at issue is ancestor/descendant relationship. While mosaic forms like Archaeopteryx show that such a relationship might exist it in no way shows that it does exist. To be meaningful to evolution an ancestor/descendant relationship must be assumed. That is the problem.
But it is also wrong to say that it is not transitional. It is indisputable that Archaeopteryx is intermediate between dinosaurs and modern birds. That makes it transitional and gives evidence of the relatedness between dinosaurs and birds.
What is indisputable is that Archaeopteryx is a mosaic of dinosaurs and modern birds, but even that assumes that those dinosaurs are not misclassified birds.
2. Several other recently discovered dinosaur, bird, and intermediate dinosaur-bird fossils are starting to fill in the gaps and are providing further evidence that the interpretation of Archaeopteryx is correct.
While there are other mosaics, they do not form an objective series between dinosaurs and birds.