“The theory that birds are the equivalent of living dinosaurs and that dinosaurs were feathered is so full of holes that the creationists have jumped all over it, using the evolutionary nonsense of ‘dinosaurian science’ as evidence against the theory of evolution,” he said.
“To paraphrase one such individual, ‘This isn't science . . . This is comic relief.’” -->(!!!)<--

Aquatic Origins for Birds - "The Duck at the Bottom of the Tree" (Nature)

The duck at the bottom of the tree
"...The idea that all modern birds stem from an aquatic ancestor might come as a surprise, admits Chiappe. "If you look at the evolutionary tree of living birds, the most primitive are all land birds — ratites, ostrich, emu, pheasants," he says. "It seems that many lineages left the water and colonized the land."
But although many people think of ducks, geese and other waterfowl as specialized animals, they are quite primitive in comparison to highly evolved species such as songbirds, Chiappe points out.
What's more, almost every bird group alive today has representatives that live in or around water, Chiappe says, suggesting that a watery lifestyle may be an ancient tradition that has persisted in many lineages. Pelicans are not closely related to penguins; and neither bears a close kinship with herons, he adds.
That's not to say that all of today's aquatic birds are evolutionary throwbacks. Penguins, for example, are highly specialized for hunting in water while battling the polar cold. And Chiappe admits that the aquatic-origins theory could be cast into doubt if somebody finds a fossilized land bird of the same vintage as Gansus.
For now, though, the Chinese fossils remain our best indicator of what early modern birds might have looked like. Among the dozens of fossils, some even preserve remains of soft tissues, allowing the researchers to deduce that the creature had webbed feet.
Does this spectacular fossil haul indicate that the birds flew in groups? Lamanna is not sure, but says it is possible: "Many aquatic birds roam in flocks and settle down at lakes - maybe Gansus did too."
China fossils fill out bird story
"... The detail in their preservation, such as the bone structure and even foot webbing, indicates the animals were well adapted to an aquatic existence.
Scientists say Gansus is the oldest known member of the group that includes modern birds.
They believe this makes its story a critical one in understanding the evolution of avian species.
"Every bird living today, from ostriches... to bald eagles, probably evolved from a Gansus-like ancestor," Matthew Lamanna, of Carnegie Natural History Museum in Pittsburgh, US, told a news conference on Thursday."
"...One of the new fossils, from northwest China, even preserves the webbing between the toes. The finding, reported today in the journal Science, supports the notion that all living birds, from ostriches to ducks to hummingbirds, descended from an ancestor that lived by the shore." (Source)

"...But early bird fossils are of birds not yet fully adapted to long or powerful flight."

I am focusing on the evolution of flight, pre-flight -- how birds came to be "birds" -- not extinct by-product species which were failed evolutionary experiments, or even modern birds. I'm am only concerned with the actual ancestors, of living birds. The environmental dynamics which lead to the evolution of their anatomy, which gave rise to flight. The same physics (aerodynamics) involved with flight are found in hydrodynamics... I think birds anatomy is covered in clues that speak to their early aquatic origins.

"...Their skeletons are still reptilian in many respects, their keel bones in their body are not very long and could not have supported thick broad wing flapping muscles. Sure, they could glide and climb trees."

That is not in question,

"... "If you took most of the bones in its body, including famous pieces like the breastbone and the wishbone, and put them next to those of a modern bird, you'd have a lot of difficulty telling them apart," he told the BBC Radio 4's Leading Edge programme.
"Gansus would probably have looked very much like a grebe or a diver, or certain kinds of ducks. It had webbed feet and it had fairly powerful legs. We can tell that from looking at the bones in the knee area. This tells us it was a very well-adapted diving or swimming-type bird."
According to Harris, these adaptations all demonstrate how the Gansus branch of the family tree, the structurally modern birds called ornithuromorphs, split from the enantiornitheans (or "opposite birds").
Enantiornitheans were among the famous feathered fossils found in northeastern China during the 1990s.
The analysis implies that the line that would become modern birds left the land and became adapted to life on the water and then, at a later date, came back onto land."

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Interesting Related Links

For the Anti-Creationism Darwinist Among Us

Thales of Miletus

My Other Blog:
Genesis in the Ancient World
"The Jews integrated into Greek culture around 300 BC. Notably, much of the modern Biblical literature is actually Greek. Enlightened Greek thought becomes apparent in the opening of Genesis. "One of the first evolutionary theories was proposed by Thales of Miletus (640–546 BC) in the province of Ionia on the coast near Greece followed by Anaximander (550 B.C.) who speculated that life evolved from the water; lower forms of life, in a very primitive precursor to evolutionary theory."

Namely this *ouch!*

Evolution and Paleontology in the Ancient World
"...For Anaximander, the world had arisen from an undifferentiated, indeterminate substance, the apeiron. The Earth, which had coalesced out of the apeiron, had been covered in water at one stage, with plants and animals arising from mud. Humans were not present at the earliest stages; they arose from fish. This poem was quite influential on later thinkers, including Aristotle.
Had Anaximander looked at fossils? Did he study comparative fish and human anatomy? Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing what evidence Anaximander used to support his ideas. His theory bears some resemblance to evolutionary theory, but also seems to have been derived from various Greek myths, such as the story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, in which peoples or tribes are born from the Earth or from stones. His concept of the apeiron seems similar to the Tao of Chinese philosophy and religion, and to the "formless and void" Earth of the Hebrew creation account and other creation myths. However, even though Anaximander's ideas drew on the religious and mythical ideas of his time, he was still one of the first to attempt an explanation of the origin and evolution of the cosmos based on natural laws."

(Source, ucmp.berkeley.edu History)

[Sadly, what the site fails to mention is that the oldest known biblical manuscripts date no earlier than around 300 B.C., therefore, Anaximander (610-545 B.C.) could not have based any of his concepts on Biblical Hebrew. However it can be deduced, the Hebrew Genesis account was borrowed from mainstream Greek philosophy.] [The analysis by Harvard and several other University sources are quite impressive: (Scala Naturae of the Bible, Charles Darwin and Ancient Greek Philosophy)]