Unrepentant over extreme falsification, evolutionary paleontologists are just taking it for granted that soft tissue can survive millions of years.

Scientists have reported soft tissues from the lower hindlimb of a Cretaceous bird. Writing in Nature Communications, Jiang et al. say,

Here, we report cellular-level preservation of tendon– and cartilage-like tissues from the lower hindlimb of Early Cretaceous Confuciusornis. The digital flexor tendons passed through cartilages, cartilaginous cristae and ridges on the plantar side of the distal tibiotarsus and proximal tarsometatarsus, as in extant birds. In particular, fibrocartilaginous and cartilaginous structures on the plantar surface of the ankle joint of Confuciusornis may indicate a more crouched hindlimb posture. Recognition of these specialized soft tissues in Confuciusornis is enabled by our combination of imaging and chemical analyses applied to an exceptionally preserved fossil.

The Early Cretaceous period dates from 146 to 100 million Darwin Years. Their focus is not on the remarkable fact that “strikingly preserved soft tissues” remain on a creature they believe dates from over a hundred million Darwin Years ago, but on what it can tell them about bird evolution. Unfortunately, the fossil doesn’t help them in that regard. The bird crouched pretty much the same way as modern birds.

The hindlimb of theropod dinosaurs changed appreciably in the lineage leading to extant birds, becoming more ‘crouched’ in association with changes to body shape and gait dynamics. This postural evolution included anatomical changes of the foot and ankle, altering the moment arms and control of the muscles that manipulated the tarsometatarsus and digits, but the timing of these changes is unknown.

But aren’t they ashamed to admit that soft tissue, long thought to decay rapidly, is still present on this fossil?

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