In this article, creationist Dr Carl Werner claims that modern animals are found fossilized in the same layers as dinosaurs, which is evidence against evolution.

Contrary to popular belief, modern types of birds have been found, including: parrots, owls, penguins, ducks, loons, albatross, cormorants, sandpipers, avocets, etc. When scientists who support evolution disclosed this information during our TV interviews it appears that they could hardly believe what they were saying on camera.

It includes a video interview of evolutionary paleontologist, Dr William Clemens where he claims they have been finding modern birds in the late cretaceous and their findings have also been published in Nature.

One of the students here, Tom Stidham, has beeing going through our collectionsd from the late Cretaceous looking for the remains of birds, and wgar they're finding is that there is at that time, in the late Cretaceous quite a diversity of modern groups of birds. Tom has just had a little article published in Nature in which he describes a late Cretaceous parrot.

Does the science community accept that "modern" birds existed during the late Cretaceous?

1 Answer 1



Wikipedia's article Modern birds says,

It is generally agreed that the Neornithes evolved in the Cretaceous Period and that the split between the Palaeognathae and Neognathae, and then the split between Galloanserae (fowl) and the other Neognathae, occurred before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event (the earliest fossil remains confidently referred to the Neornithes come from the possible galliform Austinornis, dated to about 85 mya,[3] though the 130 million year old Hauterivian age Gallornis straeleni may also be a neornithine[4]), but there are different opinions about whether the radiation of the remaining neognathes occurred before or after the extinction of the other dinosaurs.[5] This disagreement is in part caused by a divergence in the evidence, with molecular dating suggesting a Cretaceous radiation and fossil evidence supporting a Tertiary radiation. Attempts made to reconcile the molecular and fossil evidence have proved controversial.[5][6]

  • I'm quoting Wikipedia because a) it's referenced b) there are many species so Wikipedia is a useful summary c) it's consistent with other Wikipedia articles on the subject d) the source I reference needs to be relatively authoritative, when compared with "creationist Dr Carl Werner". Please let me know if you have any specific criticism or questions about this answer.
    – ChrisW
    Feb 11, 2015 at 13:34
  • I might have questions later on about this (I will read wikipedia's article on this later as I am doing an assessment) it just depends. I was thinking about asking another question but I don't it will hurt just asking in the comments of this one as its closely related. What does finding modern birds in the late cretaceous mean for dinosaur-bird evolution? I was taught that this occurred after the asteroid struck not before it and that the supposed transitional fossils are also found in a period after the late cretaceous (If the answer to this is long I will create another question)
    – Ray Kay
    Feb 11, 2015 at 13:56
  • @RayKay I think it means that "modern" birds, as well as "early" mammals, evolved before the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs during the Cretaceous Paleogene extinction event.
    – ChrisW
    Feb 11, 2015 at 16:07
  • @RayKay Birds are usually classified as a subgroup of Dinosauria these days. I think this has happened within the last 20 years or so after a bunch of fossil finds in China, but my only source is watching Dinosaur Train with my kids. The fact that they evolved before the extinction event is of course irrelevant, there's still plenty of fossil evidence that they evolved. When I was a kid, the fossil evidence was not as complete, so people assumed the evolution occurred under the pressure of the extinction event, and that was what I also learned in school.
    – Matt
    Feb 11, 2015 at 18:21

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