Friday, 20 March 2009

Playing chess with Birds - regardless of which way their hips point

The excellent blog "Playing chess with pigeons" which specialises in debunking silly creationist claims caught my eye recently with an excellent piece revealing some very, very basic errors in some of the less obviously wingnut output from the creationist propaganda mills;
But this is all a lead up to the really big scientific blunder.

Menton:
But in most other respects, the bird-hipped dinosaurs, including such huge quadrupedal sauropods as Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus, are even less bird-like than the lizard-hipped, bipedal dinosaurs such as the theropods. This point is rarely emphasized in popular accounts of dinosaur/bird evolution.

So according to Dr. Mention the “huge quadrupedal sauropods“, the group to which the largest land animals that ever lived belong, such as Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus are “bird-hipped” dinosaurs that are “even less bird-like” than lizard-hipped theropod dinosaurs.

Yeah, huh, the problem with that is, the giant sauropods in question are, Dr. Menton’s claim notwithstanding, not in fact Ornithischian dinosaurs at all, they are Saurischian dinosaurs just like the bipedal theropods. Here is a cladogram showing the sauropods and theropods on the Saurischian branch of the dinosaurs and a variety of Ornithischians on the other.

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