I was just wondering if you defend the position that living dinosaurs are possible with Macro-Evolution or impossible?
Sep 17, 2007 - 9:24AM
Re: Living Dinosaur Debate
Macro-evolution does not rule out the possibility that creatures very closely related to ancient dinosaurs still exist. For examples, crocodiles seem to have changed only slightly since the time of the dinosaurs, and there is nothing unique about their biology that makes them "resistant" to evolution; they simply haven't been out-competed in their ecological niche, and so have been able to persist with apparently only relatively minor variation.
Similarly, a dinosaurian lineage could have persevered with little change, if it were sufficiently adapted to its environment to be able to out-compete newcomers to its niche and to survive environmental changes. That is why I point out that your argument that the existence of "living dinos" is not an obstacle for evolution.
nope, i agree dinos are only alive today in the birds, and by the way, what exactly is micro/macro evolution? some sort of meaning for evolution in small things or big things or over time? please clarify( that's a word i haven't used in a while.
William J. Gibbons
Oct 16, 2007 - 6:01AM
Living Dinosaur Debate
I do not presume to speak for Phillip on this debate, but the fossil record reveals there were birds walking around the same time as their (alleged) theropod ancestors.
Regarding living dinosaurs, the Mokele-mbembe of Equatorial Africa bears the strongest resemblance once could have for a small sauropod dinosaur. During our field research, we interview only FIRST HAND eye-witnesses who have observed these animals for themselves, rather than those who "think" they know what the animals might be, whether real or imagined.
We have built a very accurate picture over the years as to what Mokele-mbembe might, be an we are getting closer to claimimng the prize with every expedition we conduct. There might be a chance we will be returning to Africa in January 2008.
Hopefully then some photographic evidence might finally be acquired.
To William J. Gibbons;
Good luck with your next expedition searching for Mokele-mbembe. Maybe you can find some more “first hand eyewitnesses”. Do you only choose eyewitnesses that have a description you are looking for? I have read some descriptions by “first hand eyewitnesses" that resemble known animals such as rhinos.
In any case make sure all your cameras work, and that any film you use is protected from the elements, or any other excuse that has been used by anybody else searching for this creature of folklore.
Why is this called a “Living Dinosaur Debate”? Doesn’t that mean there needs to be some sort of exchange between persons with opposing views? I was really interested in hearing a response to Shygetz’s reply. His reply was excellent and to the point, I guess it was satisfactory to you, Phil?
William J. Gibbons
Oct 26, 2007 - 6:35AM
Living Dinosaur Debate
"Why only first-hand eye-witnesses?"
Because they have observed the animals in question and can give details of their physiology upon which much zoological data can be extracted. Over 99.9% of all reports concerning Mokele-mbembe always describe them as being typically sauropod, ranging in size from a hippo to bigger than an elephant. So,e eye-witnesses have remained at the water's edge and have observed the animals - in some cases - for hours on end as the animals browsed on fruits and leaves. I have not yet met a single eye-witness that has described Mokele-mbembes as looking like a rhino or anything like it.
However, the name "mokele-mbembe" is sometimes used as a generic term in reference to any strange or unknown animal, which Roy Mackal discussed in his book, "Mokele-mbembe, A living Dinosaur?"
Having spent over 20 years exploring this region of Equatorial Africa, I can say with certainty that Mokele-mbembes are not rhinos, elephants, giraffes or mi-identification of any known living animal.
Hopefully we will bring back that vital photographic evidence, and soon!
Bill said; “Having spent over 20 years exploring this region of Equatorial Africa, I can say with certainty that Mokele-mbembes are not rhinos, elephants, giraffes or mi-identification of any known living animal.”
Sounds like you are basing your identification solely on “first hand eyewitness” accounts, have you yourself seen Mokele-mbembe? If not, after twenty years you have nothing, nothing but “first hand eyewitnesses”. Not very convincing as far as evidence is concerned. There are first hand eye witnesses of UFO abductions also, do you believe them? People have a tendency to believe what they want to believe, making things quite real in their minds.
”Hopefully we will bring back that vital photographic evidence, and soon!”
That would be really cool, good luck!
William J. Gibbons
Oct 26, 2007 - 12:42PM
Living Dinosaur Debate
Regarding Mystery animals of all kinds:
Many animals known today such as the Okapi, mountain gorilla and the Komodo dragon were all regarded as mythical animals and were dismissed by skeptical scientists until they were eventually discovered. Note the discovery in 1992 of the Vu Kwang Ox in Vietnam, and the outsized asian elephants in Nepal.
Mokele-mbembe's are semi-aquatic and have a vast range. They can also hide underwater for long periods of time, so you could liken it to tracking a moving needle in a haystack. Eye-witnesses include riverboat captains, military personnel and missionaries - not just native fishermen.
The 20 years we have invested in this research has been very worthwhile. Yes, Brian Sass and I did glimpse the large, python-like head of a Mokele-mbembe as it waded through a swollen river to its cavern lair at an island just off the Congo side of the Dja river. Our guides started shouting in fear (as they saw it ahead of us first ,part of the head-neck and bulbous body just breaking the surface). The animal dipped its head underwater and stayed there. We are closing in on our quarry, and will have the evidence in the end. So, to say I have nothing is incorrect, and I would never equate this kind of research with the UFO phenomenon.
Pierre Sima, our tracker in Cameroon, continues to make recon trips into the interior in order to establish the migration patterns of the animals. This is beginning to pay off as we narrow our search down to a specific area.
>>I do not presume to speak for Phillip on this debate, but the fossil record reveals there were birds walking around the same time as their (alleged) theropod ancestors.
Is this a rehash of the old "If evolution were true, why are there still monkeys!?!OMG!!!" tripe? Please tell me that your understanding of evolution is sufficient to refute your own "point".
Evolution does not state that every member of a species will all "progress" to a new species. When a new strain of influenza virus evolves, does that mean the precursor strain must now be extinct? Then why would you think more distant evolution would be different?
William, why don't you spend the $100 and give everyone who claims to be an eyewitness to Mokele-mbembe a disposable camera that you will collect on your next trip? Especially this Pierre fellow; as he claims to be able to track their migration pattern, just hand him a Minolta and some film.
I also find it interesting that you say you "did glimpse the large, python-like head of a Mokele-mbembe as it waded through a swollen river to its cavern lair at an island just off the Congo side of the Dja river." If you are accurately relating your story here, you saw a python-like head sticking out of the water, and from this decided that it was not, say, a python, was wading, and had a cavern lair on an island that for some reason you did not go investigate. Pardon my incredulity, but I remain underwhelmed.
The animal in question was not a python, or any snake. First of all, the head was about five or six times bigger than any python I have ever seen before -and I have seen some whoppers in my time. The colouration (dark grey/brown was also completely different.)Secondly, we were paddling against a strong current, and any creature swimming on the surface would have been swept quickly towards us. Thirdly, our guides (who saw the animal first) saw the head poking out of the water and the massive bulk of the animal's body just breaking the surface. They were absolutely certain that, observing its posture and manner in which the animal moved along, it was walking along the bottom, not swimmimg. We later plummed the depth of the river and found it to be twenty feet deep at the point where we observed the animal.
Fourthly, and I think most importantly, our guides were extremely frightened and would not return to the area, no matter how much money we offered them. These are experienced hunters and fishermen. They are perfectly familiar with crocodiles, pythons, large monitor lizards (we spotted a 2 meter specimen)elephants, hippos, etc. They also regularly hunt most of the aforementioned animals.
The area we were operating in was avoided by most of the locals due to Mokele-mbembe activity, and they have seen the animals browsing on leaves, wading through deep and shallow water, submerging underwater, surfacing (sometimes under canoes)and clawing apart fishing nets that obstruct their passage in smaller rivers and streams. Many of these eye-witness accounts are not mere fleeting glimpses, but lengthy observations for up to three hours at a time.
As Bernard Heuvelmans once stated to me in a letter, "one may have to spend up to one year in the target area to observe and film a Mokele-mbembe."
If that kind of funding ever becomes available, then I would jump at the chance. Until then, we have to be content with scrimping together funding for six week long expeditions and, I hope, distributing some disposable cameras to the fishermen on the next expedition.
On the question of theropod dinosaur-into-bird evolution, where does this leave Protoavis? Disovered by paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee in 1992, Protoavis was bird that lived in what is now Texas, USA, around 225 million years ago, according to the evolutionary time scale. Though Protoavis is much older Archaeopteryx, its skeletal structure is apparently much more bird-like, with teeth on the tip of its jaws and eyes located at the front of the skull, suggesting a nocturnal or crepuscular lifestyle. The reconstructed fossil shows that the forelimbs possessed quill knobs, suggesting that the creature had feathers.
However, Protoavis has not been accepted as an early bird by all paleontologists because this places it in the fossil record long before its alleged coelurosaurian ancestors. Nevertheless, the mystery still prevails. Either birds first appeared in the fossil record when there were very few dinosaurs around to begin with, or feathered dinosaurs evolved completely independently right at the very beginning of dinosaur evolution.
Ashlyn Why do you have to be extremely close-minded?(and small-minded?)There are HUGE Differences in Dinosaurs and Crocodiles. 1 Such Being That Some Dinosaurs posture is similar to birds. But look at crocodiles-NONE Stand On TWO Legs.