Swimming with Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs left plenty of bones, but some also created another type of fossil: preserved track marks. A handful of these tracks were made from swimming dinosaurs, and a new paper in the Chinese Science BulletinA new Early Cretaceous dinosaur track assemblage and the first definite non-avian theropod swim trackway from China (open access) – reports on the discovery of one such find.

Timothy L. Clarey’s new article on these tracks is called Dinosaurs Swimming out of Necessity, but the “necessity” conclusion is entirely his own. His article is quite similar to one from Brian Thomas published in January which we looked at in Stampede? For instance both Thomas and Clarey chose to claim in their opening paragraphs that, in the present day, it is very difficult to form footprints that will eventually be preserved as fossils – here’s Clarey’s opener:

What’s so fascinating about dinosaur tracks? Maybe it’s because their many mysteries beg for solutions. For instance, because tracks in mud are so short-lived today, how did dinosaur tracks ever preserve in the first place? Newly described prints bolster biblical creation’s explanation of dinosaur footprints.

It may be true that it’s hard to preserve footprints in mud, but it’s not so improbable once you consider the shear number of footprints that would have been made over the more than 180 million years of the Mesozoic Era. Clarey never does explain, meanwhile, how “biblical creation” suddenly makes preservation so much easier – not even a “footprints need to be preserved rapidly” claim (which is false, by the way). Continue reading

The Beta-Globin Pseudogene

The Great 2013 Catch-upIn Beta-Globin Pseudogene Is Functional After All (12 April 2013) Jeff Tomkins says… well, it’s in the title, really. This is the older article that Monday’s post alluded to, and it’s really quite similar. Again, we have a pseudogene. Again, it’s been shown that its sequence is being actively preserved by natural selection, as if it were actually useful. Again, it has been found that the pseudogene infact codes for functional RNAs. The biggest difference is that this pseudogene (“HBBP1”) is not a “processed pseudogene” like ψPPM1K was, but that’s not significant here. Continue reading