June 12, 2014

News Related to Day Five (Gen. 1:20-23)

Creation Day 5, as I interpret Genesis 1, was a time when extent kinds of social sea creatures were proliferating (Gen 1:20a), and when birds were first forming (Gen 1:20b). It seems to correspond with the time from roughly 250 – 65 Ma.

A problem that non-Bible believers could raise in regard to the Bible’s Genesis timeline is that land animals were forming at the same time as sea creatures. Additionally, it is arguable that birds formed much after land animals were already coming into being.

However, both of these objections to the timeline are erased when you consider only (1) soulful/social animals (Gen 1:20,24 LITV), and (2) modern/extent kinds of animals—e.g., those sea creatures that “swarm” presently in the waters (Gen 1:21), and those land animals that presently “creep” on the earth (Gen 1:25), and animals no longer evolving into new species but reproducing more strictly “according to their kind.” The animals being discussed in Genesis 1, as I interpret it, are the basic animal kinds that did not go extinct before Man walked the earth.

Here are some recent stories that may help confirm the Bible’s timeline:

1) An Early Bird Had a Digestive System Like Living Birds [~140-110 Ma]

One bird that existed within perhaps only 10-20 million years of the first “true” birds already had a complex digestive system similar to modern birds:

“This [fossil bird] reveals that the complex system of muscle contractions responsible for moving food from each section of the digestive system, capable of working in both directions, had already evolved in Early Cretaceous [140-100 Ma] ornithuromorph birds. This muscular system makes the digestive system of birds highly efficient by allowing items that would take long periods of time to digest to be regurgitated, reducing the weight of digestive system as it processes food.”
My guess is that birds were forming even before 160 Ma. By about 130 Ma most of the features associated with modern birds were already genetically activate. In contrast, the vast majority of modern kinds of land animals (e.g. mammals) had not begun to appear by 130 Ma. The last common ancestor (LCA) of mammals goes to only about 65 Ma. For birds it would appear that the LCA was at least 160 Ma.

2) Adult Dino Found With Feathers When Previously Unknown [~75 Ma]

So, apparently feathers were more common on theropod dinosaurs than previously known. A new discovery indicates that all dinosaurs called ornithomimid may have had feathers:

“The researchers found evidence of feathers preserved with a juvenile and two adults skeletons of Ornithomimus, a dinosaur that belongs to the group known as ornithomimids. This discovery suggests that all ornithomimid dinosaurs would have had feathers.”
The point I would make is that dinosaurs were the temporary forerunners of birds. You could even say that they were large “pre-birds.” The genetic information within dinosaurs may have become so specifically limited such that they would either go extinct or evolve to birds. Most of them did go extinct, perhaps because of a lack of new unexpressed genes that would allow them to rapidly adapt. God seems to have intentionally set dinosaurs up for extinction, in my opinion. In any case, many dinosaurs appear to have “sprouted” feathers for various purposes, even though feathers are highly specialized for flight (as best we know from modern feathers).

3) Rate of Formation of Some Fish Kinds Dropped to 1/5th About 50 Ma

Once the new genetic information within fish was exhausted, they slowed in their rate of speciation. A new study has found that the rate dropped around 50 Ma for some class of fish (spiny-rayed fish) to about one fifth of its previous rate. Thus, depending on extinctions, etc., something like 75-91% of spiny-rayed fish kinds formed from about 150-50 Ma, while the remaining kinds formed in the last 50 million years.

Put that together with the fact that about 90-96% of sea creature species died out around 250 Ma, and you can infer that the primary time when fish species were forming was from about 250-50 Ma.

On the other hand, mammals began forming around 65 Ma. Perhaps something like 90% of modern land creatures formed from 50 Ma until the present time.

The Bible is accurate in placing the primary speciation of modern sea creatures and birds before the primary speciation of land animals.

Here is a rough estimate of the percentages of modern families of animals that have existed in the last 250 million years:

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