Evolutionists are obsessed with feathered dinosaurs. They regard them as one of the most prominent pieces of evidence that support their theory. However many of the creatures they cite as feathered dinosaurs are birds as I pointed out in my Feathers on Dinosaurs? article I published a while ago. However, many creatures which are clearly dinosaurs have what appear to be hair-like structures known as filaments or “dino-fuzz”. Evolutionists tend to refer to these structures a “protofeathers” and claim that these evolved into true feathers eventually. However, there are significant problems with using these filaments as evidence that dinosaurs evolved to have feathers. This article will point them out.
While evolution in the molecules to man sense can best be regarded as a vastly branched tree, there is still the of timing. For example, Archaeopteryx is believed to have lived somewhere between 146-151 million years ago and most evolutionists believe it was completely bird. However, Shuvuuia, which evolutionists believe had protofeathers, lived between 76-81 million years ago. Evolutionists will insist this is not a problem as some forms with protofeathers persisted past the formation of flight. While this may be a valid point if there were one or two such creatures found, there are significantly more than that. There are multiple such creatures believed to have lived later than Archaeopteryx including Beipiaosaurus, Conchoraptor, Dilong, Psittacosaurus, and others. Why did filaments persist if they were precursors to feathers?
There is another problem with filaments, one which evolutionists completely ignore, except when it suits them. Filaments are generally found alongside the bodies of the creatures. They are not attached directly to bone. By contrast, feathers in birds are attached directly to bone. Evolutionists are demonstrably aware of the attachment points of feathers. For example, Avimimus is classified as a feathered dinosaur based on certain marks on its arm called “quill knobs.” Quill knobs are the attachment points of feathers in birds. The quill knobs in birds are organized and spaced carefully. However, in Avimimus and other dinosaurs assumed to have feathers on this basis, the quill knobs are not evenly spaced or aligned. Some scientists have argued that these quill knobs are actually attachment points for ligaments. Regardless, they do not match modern quill knobs. However, the key point here is that evolutionists ignore the attachment points of feathers when discussing filaments as protofeathers, yet are clearly well aware of how feathers attach to bone. These are significant issues, but there is a larger issue in play as well.
Evolutionists have biochemically analyzed these filaments. They have discovered they are made of beta-collagen. Beta-collagen is a fairly common structure in creatures even today. However, evolutionists love to tout the fact that the only known structure composed solely of beta-collagen is bird feathers. However, there are issues. Dr. Alan Feduccia, an evolutionist, has proposed that the filaments are leftovers of fibrous collagen networks that were squeezed out of the dinosaur during the fossilization process. He notes in a 2005 study that “These integumental structures show a strong resemblance to the collagenous fiber systems in the dermis of many animals.” In other words, these filaments are nothing special at all. They are remnants of something common to many animals. Further, arguing that they are protofeathers based on the lack of alpha-collagen is essentially an argument from silence. These fossils have been there, according to the evolutionary timescale, for millions of years. Many are significantly incomplete. Is it really that unreasonable that the structures may have contained alpha-collagen or some other chemical before it was fossilized?
A final problem with filaments as protofeathers is the problem of structure. Feathers show a great deal of integrated complexity. They have vanes, barbs, barbules, hooks and can be zipped and unzipped by the bird’s bill. The filaments have no such structures. They are essentially strands of hair that do not connect to bone. They do not have any attached structures, nor do they seem to have any true complexity to them.
Evolutionists attempting to use filaments as support for their theory is simply wrong. They are found well after feathers are found in the fossil record in certain amounts of abundance. Unlike feathers, they do not attach to bone, something evolutionists, due to their attempted use of quill knobs, are well aware of. They lack the properly integrated complexity to be considered even protofeathers. Even some evolutionists recognize the problems these filaments pose and have openly written about it in the scientific journals. Thus using filaments to classify a creature as feathered is spurious at best, and dishonest at worst. Filaments do not equate to feathers, no matter how hard evolutionists try to make it so.
Dr. Feduccia’s article I quoted above: