The Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas is currently running an exhibit called “Chinasaurs” that features dinosaur fossils discovered in China. Some of these fossils supposedly represent transitional species from dinosaurs to birds. But these “feathered dinosaurs” appear to be missing a key feature—namely, the feathers.

On a web page promoting the Chinasaur exhibit, Dr. Anthony Fiorillo, the chief paleontologist at the museum, said:

The most significant contribution China has made for improving our understanding [of] dinosaurs lies in the discovery of so many exquisite dinosaur skeletons with feather impressions. These spectacular discoveries have deepened our understanding of evolutionary relationships between groups of dinosaurs and furthered our understanding of dinosaur physiology. Plus the artists have had a field day reconsidering what dinosaurs may have looked like.1

Similarly, staff paleontologist Dr. Ron Tykoski stated:

Also, there are a couple of [Chinese fossil] sites that have remarkable preservation, including an area that has produced numerous skeletons of birds and non-bird dinosaurs that preserve traces of their feathers around the skeleton. That’s gone a long way in changing our idea of ‘the look’ of dinosaurs.1

But rather than showcasing real feathered dinosaurs, the exhibit only offers displays that don’t provide any evidence for “the rise of birds from among certain dinosaur lines.” For example, one features a painted fiberglass facsimile of the in-situ fossil of the “feathered dinosaur” Caudipteryx. Oddly enough, the model had no clear indications of either fibers or feathers. Is this kind of display adequate to support such a key part of the evolutionary story on the origin of birds?….

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