Answering the Challenge of the Fossil Record
"From the reconstruction shown in Figure 11, it is obvious that
was very much a
bird, equipped with a bird-like skull, perching feet, wings, feathers and a furcula, or wish-bone."
The figure (reprinted here as Fig. 1) is taken from Lull (
, pl. XIV). However, the caption to
plate XIV cites Heilmann as the source. Dr. Gish's Figure 11 is in fact, a painting, by Heilmann,
from the frontispiece of his 1926 book,
The Origin of Birds
. Lull (
, p. 328) describes the
figure, "[t]hese first birds, of which but two or three specimens have been recovered, are known
(see Fig. 80 and Pl. XIV) are so reptile-like that were it not
for the preserved feathers it is doubtful whether they could be surely proved to be birds."
Prophetic words, since in 1940 a specimen of
lay in the Haarlem Museum,
misidentified as a pterosaur, and more recently, the Solnhofen specimen was recognised as being
after being originally identified as the small dinosaur
Dr. Gish not only ignores Lull's clear proclamation concerning the reptilian nature of
, but uses a 70 year old painting of
drawn as a bird
, to show that
was "very much a bird". Presumably, by the same logic, "Barney" proves that
dinosaurs were purple!
The painting does not show a "bird-like skull"; the feet are obscured by the foliage; and the
furcula is an internal skeletal structure, thus making its exhibition in the painting impossible.
Besides, in Heilmann's (
) detailed analysis,
was compared with maniraptoral
dinosaurs only for the link to be rejected because it was thought that maniraptoral dinosaurs
lacked clavicles (these are thought to be the precursor to the avian furcula or wishbone) (
). More recently, not only have clavicles been found in dinosaurs such as
), but indeed furculas have also been