Sunday, August 22, 2010
As Brian Switek points out at Dinosaur Tracking one way to identify creationists is to find out who confuses the two animals above ... and thinks it is somehow important anyway.
"and thinks it is somehow important anyway"?
I'm no creationist, but I think a living pterosaur would be more than "somewhat important".
The frigatebird in the video is a living, flying dinosaur—a modified descendant of small, feathered theropod dinosaurs which lived many millions of years ago. To me, that fact is even more wonderful than the discovery of any long-lost species.
That may be, but it's not news, and it doesn't expand our knowledge potential from where it is now.
Even intact DNA from a pterosaur fossil would be a wonderful find, while a living pterosaur would rank with tuataras and coelacanths for important "living fossil" representatives of otherwise dead taxa--if an annoyance in the hands of creationists.
It's certainly a forlorn hope, however.
At this point evolution is so well-demonstrated as to be beyond reasonable doubt, so the implications for creationism v evolution would be the least interesting aspect of the discovery of an extant pterosaur. We shouldn't get so bogged down in the pseudo-science pseudo-issue of creationism that we don't experience at least a bit of a thrill at the mere notion of an extant pterosaur, even if there is no reasonable hope we'll find one.
You are not alone. Of course, a "persistent type" might also provide evidence of evolutionary transitions which occurred long ago but they are necessarily rare and hardly of the importance of the things we can learn from the more familiar life we see every day.