Q: Are today’s birds genealogical ‘cousins’ to today’s reptiles, due to a shared (evolutionary) ancestry?
A: No. However, birds and reptiles share the same Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who created them to share the same earth.
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.1st Corinthians 15:39
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.
So don’t expect reptiles to accidentally change their genes to produce birds as descendants!
As Australian creation scientist Fiona Smith once said:
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.
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. Burnett, R. W., H. I, Fisher, and H. S. Zim. 1958. Zoology: An Introduction to the Animal Kingdom. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 5-7, 13-17, 72-75; Zim, H. S., and I N. Gabrielson. 1964. Birds: A Guide to the Most Familiar American Birds. New York, NY: Golden Press, 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, F. 2006. A ‘One-Hundred-Million-Year-Old Bird’ Is Still a Bird. Creation Science Update (June 20, 2006). See also Johnson, J. J. S. 2020. 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, F. 2015. Evidence for Creation: A Tour through Some East-Australian Zoos. Fremantle, Western Australia: Vivid Publishing, 164-165 (quotation), 251. Fiona Smith, 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 truth about unique events of the no-longer-observable past, see Johnson, J. J. S. 2016. There’s Nothing Like an Eyewitness. Acts & Facts. 45(12):20.
5 Regarding the ubiquitous and inescapable destructiveness of biochemical entropy, see Johnson, J. J. S. 2018. Infinite Time Won’t Rescue Evolution. Acts & Facts. 47(6):21. Regarding the animistic role that selectionists imagine “nature” as playing, in order to “favor” or “select” a series of genetic mutations for producing phenotypically survivability-“fit” outcomes, see Guliuzza, R. 2011. Darwin’s Sacred Imposter: The Illusion that Natural Selection Operates on Organisms. Acts & Facts. 50 (12).
Are Birds “Cousins” to Reptiles – (Updated 12/04/21)