South polar dinosaur feathers found, claim scientists, as reported by ScienceDaily 12 November 2019 and National Geographic 18 November 2019, and Gondwana Research, published online 11 November 2019; doi: 10.1016/j.gr.2019.10.004.
An international group of scientists has studied 10 tiny fossil feathers found in the Koonwarra fossil formation in Victoria Australia. The specimens examined by the research team included “one complex flight feather like those on the wings of modern birds,” some downy feathers and “a fluffy protofeather that most likely belonged to a nonavian dinosaur”.
The scientists suggest the Koonwarra fossil formation was once a lake, and the feathers were preserved after they were shed during moulting or preening and sank to the bottom and were covered in fine mud. The fossil formation is dated as 118 million years old, putting it in the Early Cretaceous period of the evolutionary timetable.
Scientists believe that during this period the southern part of Australia was within the Antarctic Circle (around 70 degrees south). Because of this, they were surprised when microscopic examination of the fearthers revealed microscopic structures that looked like melanosomes – packets of melanin, the dark pigment that colours feathers. Dark colouring would not be good for camouflage in snowy environments they argue. Stephen Poropat, from Swinburne University in Melbourne suggested the dinosaurs changed colour with the seasons, like the Arctic ptarmigan, or alternately it wasn’t so cold near the South Pole back then.
The National Geographic article is headlined “In a first, fossil dinosaur feathers found near the South Pole” and the Gondwana Research article is entitled “A polar dinosaur feather assemblage from Australia”.
Editorial Comment: Anyone reading these headlines could be forgiven for thinking that someone had dug up a dinosaur covered in feathers in Antarctica, somewhere near the South Pole. Far from it. The Koonwarra fossil bed is actually in the south eastern corner of mainland Australia at a latitude of 38 degrees south – a long way from the South Pole. The fossil bed does contain many fossil feathers, but no dinosaurs.
The only reason for the polar feathered dinosaur claim is that the formation is dated as Early Cretaceous, which according current continental drift theory puts that part of Australia near where Antarctica is now. The Cretaceous period is also believed by evolutionists to be the time when dinosaurs were evolving into birds.
Real birds, complete with feathers, have been found in Cretaceous formations in other places, and bird footprints are found in the dinosaur beds of south western Victoria, Australia. See our report Aussie Birds with Dinos here. Therefore, there is no evidence the isolated fossil feathers described in the new study are anything but bird feathers. Fossil feathers have been known in the Koonwarra formation since it was first discovered in the 1960s, and were always identified as bird feathers, because that is exactly what they look like.
The fossil described as a “proto-feather” is a small tuft of unbranched fibres. As it is not attached to any other fossil it is hard to identify, but it is not a feather. Calling it a proto-feather is pure evolutionary wishful thinking. (See photos in National Geographic article.) The fact that identifiable feathers were found in the same fossil bed means feathers already existed, and there is no evidence that such fibres turned into feathers.
There is a grain of truth in the suggestion that polar regions were warmer in the past. Fossils of land plants and animals, including dinosaurs, have been found in Antarctica and nearby islands, indicating it was once warmer. The same applies to northern polar regions. Rather than being evidence for millions of years of continental drift these finds are a reminder that the earth’s climate has been warmer in the past, and in the original very good world before Noah’s Flood the climate would have been uniformly mild all over the world.
Evidence News vol. 19, No. 18
27 November 2019
Creation Research Australia