NO: BIRDS DID NOT ‘EVOLVE’ FROM REPTILES
All flesh is not the same flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of men [ανθρωπων], another flesh of beasts [κτηνων], another of fishes [ιχθυων], and another of birds [τηνων]. (1st Corinthians 15:39)
Q: Are today’s birds genealogical ‘cousins’ to reptiles, due to shared (evolutionary) ancestry?
A: No. (Not even close!) However, today’s birds and reptiles do share the same Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who created them (and their ancestors) to share the same earth, with us.
According to the evolutionary sequence of [imagined] events, birds are supposed to have evolved from reptiles.3
If that had occurred in the past, which it did not, it would mean that today’s birds—such as robins and roadrunners—would be distant ‘cousins’ of reptiles—such as cobras and crocodiles.
The Darwinian tale portrays today’s birds as winged dinosaurs who supposedly survived a global ‘extinction event’ that supposedly occurred about 66,000,000 years ago.1,2
Is there any eyewitness report supporting this magical scenario, or even evidence of any such timeframe? No and no.4,5
Although there are myriads of errors in this sensational speculation, only a few of which are mentioned here.
In particular, this pseudoscience scenario requires swallowing at least three invalid and drastic premises:
(1) the assumption that reptiles are not fundamentally different from birds;3 and
(2) the assumption that a secret agent (oxymoronically named “Natural Selection”, as if “its” naturalistic outcomes were intended) can accidently invent—and then successfully secure (i.e., genetically “lock down”)—such traumatic transitional transmogrifications;5 and
(3) the assumption that any such transitions’ biochemical and genetic details, in defiance of entropy’s universal destructiveness, repeatedly escaped thermodynamic reality.5
For starters, just imagine the first-listed problem, i.e., the complicated anatomical and physiological differences between birds and reptiles:
- birds have hollow bones; reptiles, except for marrow cavities, have solid bones;
- birds use air sacs for non-stop unidirectional (one-way) airflow through their lungs; most reptiles have two-way breathing systems;
- birds are endothermic (warm-blooded), actively controlling their body “thermostats”; reptiles are mostly ectothermic (cold-blooded);
- birds have muscle-controlled feathers; reptiles have dry skins or scales;
- birds have four-chambered hearts; reptiles usually have three-chambered hearts;
- most birds have major muscles anchored to their front, attached to a keeled sternum (breastbone), facilitating perching; reptiles’ main muscles anchor to their vertebral column (backbone), attached in arrangements conducive for standing, walking, and running.2
Don’t expect reptiles to accidentally change their genes to produce birds as descendants. As Fiona Smith says:
In other words, you don’t just put feathers on a reptile and then it can fly. There are a multitude of [essential] attributes, all working together, that make a bird fly.2
There is much more proof—to borrow Dr. Frank Sherwin’s observations—that birds have always (and only) been birds, and that reptiles have always (and only) been reptiles.
God created each bird, and each reptile, to be whatever He chose that creature to be–and it’s our privilege to see God’s magnificent creation and to learn about His magnificent majesty in the process (Revelation 4:11)!
1 For centuries evolutionists have proposed the notion that birds somehow evolved from reptiles, imagining “feathered dinosaurs” or dinosaur-like flying reptiles (like pterodactyls) as speculative ‘transitional’ animals. See, accord, R. Will Burnett, Harvey L. Fisher, & Herbert S. Zim, Zoology: An Introduction to the Animal Kingdom (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1958), pages 5-7, 13-17, 72-75; Herbert S. Zim & Ira N. Gabrielson, Birds: A Guide to the Most Familiar American Birds (New York, NY: Golden Press, 1964), pages 12-13.
2 “Birds are incredible flying (and occasionally non-flying) machines. The Creator has designed these creatures with specialized flight apparatus, an amazing respiratory system, not to mention unbelievable migration and navigation abilities.” Sherwin, Frank J., “A ‘One-Hundred-Million-Year-Old Bird’ Is Still a Bird”, Creation Science Update (posted June 20, 2006). See also James J. S. Johnson, “Wandering Albatross: Wide Wings on the Winds”, Creation Science Update (July 2, 2020), citing Job 39:26-27 as illustrating God’s bioengineering that enables heavy birds to efficiently use wind current for launching their heavier-than-air bodies into the sky.
3 Smith, Fiona. 2015. Evidence for Creation: A Tour through Some East-Australian Zoos (Fremantle, Western Australia: Vivid Publishing), pages 164-165 (quotation), 251. The late Fiona Smith (now in Heaven with her Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ), an Australian professional geoscientist and science educator, graduated ICR’s School of Biblical Apologetics, during 2015 with a Master of Christian Education degree (joint major in Biblical Education & Apologetics).
4 Regarding the need for reliable eyewitnesses, to learn the real truth about unique events of the no-longer-observable past, see James J. S. Johnson, “There’s Nothing Like an Eyewitness”, Acts & Facts, 45(12):20 (December 2016).
5 Regarding the ubiquitous and inescapable destructiveness of biochemical entropy, see James J. S. Johnson, “Infinite Time Won’t Rescue Evolution”, Acts & Facts. 47(6):21 (June 2018). The phrase “natural selectin” is a misleading bait-and-switch term, because the action of “selection” necessarily requires a selector who can think (i.e., utilize information while exercising intelligence), prefer/favor one outcome as more valuable than another (i.e., make value judgments), and make/implement action-oriented decisions (i.e., make volitional choices). Regarding the mystical-animistic role that Darwinian selectionists imagine inanimate “nature” as playing, in order to “favor” or “select” a series of genetic mutations for producing phenotypically survivability-“fit” outcomes, see Randy J. Guliuzza, “Darwin’s Sacred Imposter: The Illusion that Natural Selection Operates on Organisms”, Acts & Facts, 40(9):121-15 (September 2011).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Jim Johnson (“JJSJ”), shown here with a Roger Tory Peterson bird-book (in St. Petersburg, Florida, birdwatching in the backyard of Chaplain Bob & Marcia Webel), was first taught this post’s main facts by Mrs. Thelma Bumgardner, his 2nd grade teacher (a true creation science educator), at Damascus Elementary School in Maryland. During the half-century thereafter Jim has enjoyed learning about birds–and, more importantly, about the Lord Jesus Christ (the Creator or birds and everything else, including us!)–and have acquired some relevant formal education (including college degrees with concentrations on the ecology and zoology of birds)–and a lot of birding adventures (including one that almost cost him his life). Due to the kind patience, WordPress-savvy knowledge/skills and accomplishments, and ever-ready technical expertise of Professor Lee Dusing (who owns, operates, and prolifically posts on Leesbird.com, as she indefatigably role-models what Christian ornithologists should be like), Jim has been able to occasionally post articles, for the past few years, on this Christian birdwatching blog. To God be the glory!