(Visited 62 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 In all the debates about the status of Archaeopteryx between reptiles and birds, no one till now expected this wild idea: it lost its ability to fly.Michael Habib (Univ. of Southern California) raised eyebrows in Los Angeles last week when he told a packed house at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting that he believes Archaeopteryx was secondarily flightless. Nature News reported,The idea that it was instead evolving to lose its flight and becoming flightless again, or ‘secondarily flightless’, occurred to Habib while he was calculating limb ratios and degrees of feather symmetry in Archaeopteryx, and comparing the values to those of living birds, to better understand its flying ability. In doing so, he found that the creature’s traits were surprisingly similar to those of modern flightless birds such as rails and grebes that frequently dwell on islands.Nature said that if this suggestion had been made over a century ago when the famous fossil was discovered, it “might have been considered madness.” That’s because for many years it was Exhibit A for Darwinism – a transitional form. Discovered just two years after The Origin, it appeared to be evolving from reptile to flying bird, just as Darwin had predicted.The reaction of paleontologists at the meeting was varied. Some were skeptical. This one saw some logic in Habib’s argument:“Just because Archaeopteryx was the first feathered dinosaur found, doesn’t mean it has to play a central role in the actual history of the origins of birds,” says palaeontologist Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland in College Park. “We have to remember it appears 10 million years or so after the oldest known bird-like dinosaurs and so our famous ‘first bird’ may really be a secondarily flightless one.”Others noted that birds use their wings for many functions beside flying. Ken Dial was there (see 12/03/12, #2), pointing out that some living bird species fly as juveniles but lose their flying ability as adults. Another paleontologist remarked, “We really need an improved understanding of how anatomy relates to these diverse behaviours, so we can better interpret the fossil record.”No one called Archaeopteryx a “feathered dinosaur” back then, because the phrase only came into vogue with the Chinese fossil discoveries. From Darwin’s day till recently, it was argued to be a transitional form between reptiles and birds. Evolutionists emphasized the reptilian traits (teeth, claws on the wings), and creationists emphasized the flight feathers and anatomy that seemed to show it capable of powered flight. They also pointed out that some living birds, like the hoatzin, have claws on their wings as juveniles. People saw what their biases wanted to see. Astronomer Fred Hoyle tried to prove it was a forgery. Today’s evolutionists use the “feathered dinosaur” label, but there is no guarantee that today’s consensus will not shift again. The new proposal it was secondarily flightless implies a win for creationists – it devolved from a fully-functional flying bird, just like some living birds with stunted wings have on the Galapagos Islands. Loss of function is not what Darwin needs!Let’s think about Nature‘s comment that the suggestion Archaeopteryx was losing the ability to fly “might have been considered madness” back in 1861 (actually, all the way from 1861 to just a few years ago). This tells us that if evolutionists consider something madness now, it might be considered sanity later. It further means that the sane ones could be the skeptics of the consensus, and the mad ones in the majority. Don’t be deterred, therefore, if you feel you have good evidence and arguments for your position when it runs counter to the consensus. It’s entirely possible for the intellectual majority to be suffering from delusions. “We really need an improved understanding … so we can better interpret the fossil record” – good advice, but it implies that understanding is lacking and interpretation is flawed. If they haven’t gotten it down after 152 years, don’t expect major improvements any time soon. They might just be secondarily clueless.
The Uttar Pradesh government has submitted a proposal to the Centre to encourage foreign airlines to operate at the proposed Jewar airport. The State’s suggestion is to allow foreign carriers to fly to the airport, likely to be ready by 2023, without the need for India to revise its bilateral agreements with different countries to increase the total number of flights permitted for different ports of call in the country.The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) informed potential bidders about this proposal late Thursday evening in its reply to queries raised about the tender on operation, management and development of Noida International Airport Limited. It has also made public its revised request for proposal-cum-request for quotation and concession agreement.In response to a query by an interested bidder on allowing international carriers to fly to Jewar airport for a period of three years without revising bilateral agreements, the YEIDA said, “Authority is awaiting a response from MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation).”Centre to take callAccording to the minutes of the meeting with the MoCA on August 16, the Centre is examining the issue: “MoCA will separately examine the issue of bilaterals and will provide clarity on whether the bilateral rights under Delhi (IGI Airport) will extend to the new airport or it should be considered as a separate port of call.”Though the reply from YEIDA to the bidders comes after a delay of almost one month, officials say that the deadline for submitting bids on October 30 will remain unchanged. The timeline for opening technical and financial bids on November 6 and November 29 will also be unaffected.Shailendra Kumar Bhatia, nodal officer for Jewar, told The Hindu that as many as 20 players have bought the bid document so far, including domestic and international airport developers. Nearly 70% land (1,400 hectares) has been acquired by the YEIDA. The authority has also entered into an MoU with Wildlife Institute of India for environment impact assessment. A team of scientists has already conducted an inspection earlier this month to draw a plan for conservation of flora and fauna in the area. It is expected to submit its report by October 30.On the instructions of the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet, the YEIDA will also explore whether the airport can have 4-6 runways instead of two proposed now.In order to ensure Jewar airport is connected to the National Capital Region, state-owned infrastructure company RITES has been tasked with conducting a study which is expected to be submitted by October 15, Mr. Bhatia said. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, too, has submitted its report for metro connectivity for the airport, which is being examined by the Uttar Pradesh government and Noida Metro Rail Corporation.
Clashes erupted late on Tuesday at Wangjing Tentha in Thoubal district between the police and people who were taking out a torchlight rally in protest against the Naga agreement. All sections of people fear that since the Centre was not disclosing the details of the agreement, there might be clauses against the interests of Manipur.S. Ibomcha, Police Superintendent of Thoubal district, told The Hindu on Wednesday that a large number of men and women took out a torchlight procession in the district. As part of the well-organised agitation under the supervision of the COCOMI formed by five civil society organisations, processionists tried to storm the house of Paonam Brojen, the MLA of the constituency. Police intercepted them to maintain law and order while the people tried to bull through the police barricade.There was a mild baton charge. The processionists retaliated by throwing burning torchlights. Besides, stones were pelted at the police. Some youths were also allegedly used sling shots to attack the police. A few policemen sustained injuries. Later, police arrested 17 processionists.There were reports of such processions at Leishangthem also in the Thoubal district on Tuesday night.Meanwhile, Congress MLAs of Manipur reached Delhi on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demand protection of the interests of Manipur while signing the Naga agreement. Okram Ibobi, the CLP leader and former Chief Minister, said, “The reported assurance of the Home Minister Amit Shah on the issue is nothing new since he made similar assurances in the past. Despite assurances, the stakeholders were not consulted before giving the final shape to the Naga agreement”. However, as Modi is out of the country, it is not immediately known when and if the meeting will take place.Appeals by Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren to have trust in the assurance of the Centre and call off agitations, including the proposed ban on the tourism-related international Sangai festival, had fallen on deaf ears since the COCOMI continues to quarterback the agitations. Taking umbrage at the refusal to summon a special Assembly session to take a firm resolution on the issue, the COCOMI announced that it will not hold any further talks with the State government.