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Birds and Dinosaurs in The Urantia Book

Here's an article that appears to be a scientific corroboration of some Urantia Book teachings about bird evolution, along with the decline and extiinction of dinosaurs: New indications of gradual decline of dinosaurs before the end of the cretaceous period by paleontology researchers at Heidelberg University. We supply those teachings below in our blog, but here's the snippet that caught my eye:

"While conducting paleontological research in northeastern Mexico, the scientists came upon sedimentary rock deposited toward the end of the Cretaceous Period that evidenced an enormous diversity of fossils, including the tracks of birds, dinosaurs and pterosaurs. "Most of the imprints come from at least five different species of birds; dinosaur tracks, however, are rare. Only a single footprint comes from a predatory dinosaur," explains Prof. Stinnesbeck. The finds therefore indicate a gradual decline of the dinosaurs with a simultaneous increase in the diversity of birds even before the end of the Cretaceous Period' Until now, it was generally assumed that the dinosaurs died out first and bird species diversified afterward,' states the researcher. 'Our data, however, substantiate the theory that birds ascended before dinosaurs became extinct.' "

Click to read the article

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One thing that many readers appreciate about the teachings of The Urantia Book is that they introduce and educate even the average reader about the facts of momentous and important events in the history of our world - its development along with the development and evolution of species. It's a huge panorama, and accessible to even the casual reader of the revelation. Following are some of the book's information about dinosaurs and birds:

Dinosaurs - Monarchs of an Age

140,000,000 years ago, suddenly and with only the hint of the two prereptilian ancestors that developed in Africa during the preceding epoch, the reptiles appeared in full-fledged form. They developed rapidly, soon yielding crocodiles, scaled reptiles, and eventually both sea serpents and flying reptiles. Their transition ancestors speedily disappeared.

These rapidly evolving reptilian dinosaurs soon became the monarchs of this age. They were egg layers and are distinguished from all animals by their small brains, having brains weighing less than one pound to control bodies later weighing as much as forty tons. But earlier reptiles were smaller, carnivorous, and walked kangaroolike on their hind legs. They had hollow avian bones and subsequently developed only three toes on their hind feet, and many of their fossil footprints have been mistaken for those of giant birds. Later on, the herbivorous dinosaurs evolved. They walked on all fours, and one branch of this group developed a protective armor.

How these Monarchs Became Extinct

For many years, science has theorized that the dinosaurs perished all at once, due to a collision of an asteriod with the planet; the article also mentions the asteroid event, and still maintains that it was responsible for a "mass extinction" in the Cretaceous period, but not for the extinction of dinosaurs  But Urantia Book teachings further correct this error. They corroborate the findings in the article above in that they show that the dinosaur decline was a gradual development, not connected to an asteroid collision. Further, Urantia Book teachings do not speak of any mass extictions in this period:

Soon after two species of dinosaurs migrated to the water in a futile attempt at self-preservation, two other types were driven to the air by the bitter competition of life on land. But these flying pterosaurs were not the ancestors of the true birds of subsequent ages. They evolved from the hollow-boned leaping dinosaurs, and their wings were of batlike formation with a spread of twenty to twenty-five feet. These ancient flying reptiles grew to be ten feet long, and they had separable jaws much like those of modern snakes. For a time these flying reptiles appeared to be a success, but they failed to evolve along lines which would enable them to survive as air navigators. They represent the nonsurviving strains of bird ancestry.

One hundred million years ago the reptilian age was drawing to a close. The dinosaurs, for all their enormous mass, were all but brainless animals, lacking the intelligence to provide sufficient food to nourish such enormous bodies. And so did these sluggish land reptiles perish in ever-increasing numbers. Henceforth, evolution will follow the growth of brains, not physical bulk, and the development of brains will characterize each succeeding epoch of animal evolution and planetary progress.

This period, embracing the height and the beginning decline of the reptiles, extended nearly twenty-five million years and is known as the Jurassic.

Throughout these parts of The Urantia Book, the authors speak of "sudden" developments in evolution - the sudden appearance of a species. And birds are one of those sudden developments; however, this development did occur concomitantly with the decline of the dinosaurs, as the article above indicates.

58:6.3 From era to era radically new species of animal life arise. They do not evolve as the result of the gradual accumulation of small variations; they appear as full-fledged and new orders of life, and they appear suddenly.

The sudden appearance of new species and diversified orders of living organisms is wholly biologic, strictly natural. There is nothing supernatural connected with these genetic mutations.

The Sudden Emergence of Birds

60,000,000 years ago, though the land reptiles were on the decline, the dinosaurs continued as monarchs of the land, the lead now being taken by the more agile and active types of the smaller leaping kangaroo varieties of the carnivorous dinosaurs. But sometime previously there had appeared new types of the herbivorous dinosaurs, whose rapid increase was due to the appearance of the grass family of land plants. One of these new grass-eating dinosaurs was a true quadruped having two horns and a capelike shoulder flange. The land type of turtle, twenty feet across, appeared as did also the modern crocodile and true snakes of the modern type. Great changes were also occurring among the fishes and other forms of marine life.

The wading and swimming prebirds of earlier ages had not been a success in the air, nor had the flying dinosaurs. They were a short-lived species, soon becoming extinct. They, too, were subject to the dinosaur doom, destruction, because of having too little brain substance in comparison with body size. This second attempt to produce animals that could navigate the atmosphere failed, as did the abortive attempt to produce mammals during this and a preceding age.

55,000,000 years ago the evolutionary march was marked by the sudden appearance of the first of the true birds, a small pigeonlike creature which was the ancestor of all bird life. This was the third type of flying creature to appear on earth, and it sprang directly from the reptilian group, not from the contemporary flying dinosaurs nor from the earlier types of toothed land birds. And so this becomes known as the age of birds as well as the declining age of reptiles.

Ammonites

The article above also mentions ammonites, a common (and very beautiful) fossil that one sees in rock shops all over the world. Ammonites were around for tens of thousands of years before this era, when they declined, along with the dinosaurs. The age of their greatest presence was known as the Triassic Age

60:1.12 The marine life of this period was meager but improved rapidly with the new invasion of the sea, which again produced extensive coast lines of shallow waters. Since there was more shallow water around Europe and Asia, the richest fossil beds are to be found about these continents. Today, if you would study the life of this age, examine the Himalayan, Siberian and Mediterranean regions, as well as India and the islands of the southern Pacific basin. A prominent feature of the marine life was the presence of hosts of the beautiful ammonites, whose fossil remains are found all over the world.

130,000,000 years ago the seas had changed very little. Siberia and North America were connected by the Bering Strait land bridge. A rich and unique marine life appeared on the Californian Pacific coast, where over one thousand species of ammonites developed from the higher types of Cephalopods. The life changes of this period were indeed revolutionary notwithstanding that they were transitional and gradual.

Biologically as well as geologically this was an eventful and active age on land and under water. Sea urchins increased while corals and crinoids decreased. The ammonites, of preponderant influence during a previous age, also rapidly declined. On land the fern forests were largely replaced by pine and other modern trees, including the gigantic redwoods. By the end of this period, while the placental mammal has not yet evolved, the biologic stage is fully set for the appearance, in a subsequent age, of the early ancestors of the future mammalian types.

You can read much more about these developments in our planet's history by visiting these links, from which most of the passages above were taken:

The Cretaceous Stage and Paper 60

Far from being an exclusively religious text, The Urantia Book supplies the student with an enormous amount of easily-digestible information about the physical and earth sciences: Astronomy, archaeology, geology, and in this case, paleontology. Its teachings also demonstrate the importance of evolution as the driving force behind these early developments; developments that eventually led to the appearance of mammals and man himself as the crown of creation. This kind of information is vital to our balanced understanding of the planet we live on (called Urantia), and our eventual destiny - as a world and as individual citizens in an ordered, friendly universe family of worlds and personalities.

It is a fact of note, however, that in The Urantia Book, we have an amzing text that includes dinosaurs and Jesus in one book! Where else can you find something like that?

Link to External Source Article

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