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 A Half of a Wing & A piece of A Prayer
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2008 :  05:29:14  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As implied by the title, this will be brief.

Over the decades we have had to listen, ad nauseum, to various “incomplete feature” attempts at argument against the Theory of Evolution by all of the usual suspects and most of the unusual ones. The blither most often bandied about like last week's gossip is some variation of:

“Of what use is a half a wing? Why none of course, and that proves y'all evolutionarians are full of the happy, ol' crap!”

So, not willing to let that dog drop it's mangy carcass down on our front porch, let's take a look at wings.

Wings are no big deal, really. When arthropods are figured into the equation, it becomes arguable, I think, that winged species outnumber the wingless (excluding microbes) and probably always have.

Flying organisms, the Protodonata, first appear in the fossil record in the Carboniferous, 359 million years ago, give or take a couple. These are directly related to our modern Dragon and Damselflies, except that they were huge. Three-foot-wingspan & relentless predator huge; the undisputed monarchs of the air of their times.



Of course these were not the first fliers, just the earliest seen in the fossil record. Insects, especially smaller species, do not fossilize well except in amber, so we can safely postulate that wings are quite a bit older than that.

Insects dominated the air all the way through the Permian and the massive extinction event heralding the Triassic. But in the Late Triassic strata, we begin to find Pterosaurs, the most remarkable fliers that ever lived. Pterosaurs had a hell of a good run before dying out during the KT extinction at the end of the Cretaceous.

Most people are not terribly familiar with pterosaurs. Sure, they might have come across Pteranodon or ‘pterodactyls' in books, films or television documentaries. However, pterosaurs are mostly cast as secondary components of prehistoric landscapes, playing bit parts in productions dominated by their dinosaur contemporaries. At most, pterosaurs have brief cameos in which they carry off scantily clad women or harass explorers on their entry to forgotten, lost worlds. However, these bit parts do little to tell the real pterosaur story. It is one of humble beginnings and eventual domination of Mesozoic skies for 160 million years, of global distribution and tremendous ecological diversity, and in the final days before their extinction 65mya, the evolution of the largest animals ever to grace the skies.



A forest pterosaur, the smallest yet found. China.


Which finally brings us to birds, the Big Squawk as it were: “One half of a wing won't work!”

Oh won't it?

So ok then, let's take a look at some modern birds with only “half-wings;” the Ratites.


Southern Cassowary, Australia.


Ratites have very short, stubby wings that were never used for flight (these guys evolved on the ground and stayed there). However, they are far from useless as they assist in balance as the bird makes a fast, predator-avoiding turn and, especial

"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

BlueCollarScientist
New Member

23 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2008 :  09:45:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit BlueCollarScientist's Homepage Send BlueCollarScientist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by filthy
As implied by the title, this will be brief.


That was great! I don't know about brief - but that's an excellent posting right there.

http://bluecollarscientist.com/
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Chippewa
SFN Regular

USA
1496 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2008 :  09:58:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Chippewa's Homepage Send Chippewa a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by BlueCollarScientist

[quote]Originally posted by filthy
As implied by the title, this will be brief.


Bravo! Great insights.

Then there's that weird further step in evolution where creatures that don't fly adapt the characteristics of some that do, and artificially create tools that allow them to fly as well.

Diversity, independence, innovation and imagination are progressive concepts ultimately alien to the conservative mind.

"TAX AND SPEND" IS GOOD! (TAX: Wealthy corporations who won't go poor even after taxes. SPEND: On public works programs, education, the environment, improvements.)
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1880 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2008 :  10:08:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank You. I enjoyed reading this.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2008 :  11:46:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks! Glad y'all liked it and sorry 'bout the sloppiness. I've something else going and was in a hurry to post this'n.

It's nothing like complete, but I'm hoping the links & all will set those interested on a course of their own. These idiotic, Creationist red herrings, straw men, misrepresentations & bald-faced lies must be stamped upon at every turn.

I can but try.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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