Friday, 11 November 2011

New Research: Hoatzins Crossed the Atlantic on Rafts

Hoatzins. Image courtesy of Cláudio Dias Timm, Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Problems for Darwinian evolution are not about to disappear. More difficulties are cropping up all the time. The latest features the South American bird Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin).

Last month, a team of German, Brazilian and French scientists published a paper in the journal Naturwissenschaften on the origin of the Hoatzin. They compared Hoatzin bones found in Brazil to bones assumed to be 17 million years old found in Namibia and suggest that the bird lived in Africa before crossing the Atlantic.

Science Daily describes the problem caused by the new discovery:

Africa and South America were once part of a supercontinent called Gondwana, but this had already broken up much longer than 20 million years ago, the continents being separated by the Atlantic. So Hoatzins must have crossed the ocean at some stage in order to get from one continent to the other.

But how does a bird, which is an especially poor long-distance flyer, manage to cross a sea that is over 1,000 kilometres wide? Even if the flying capabilities of the Hoatzin's ancestors were better, it is highly unlikely that they could have managed this distance in the air

The researchers suggest that instead of flying, the Hoatzin probably crossed the Atlantic on “drifting flotsam”. Some time ago, evolutionists proposed a similar method for getting African monkeys into South America.

Once we disregard the millions of years, the explanation begins to sound like the scenario that probably occurred after Noah’s Flood.


Across the Atlantic On Flotsam: New Fossil Findings Shed Light On the Origins of the Mysterious Bird Hoatzin. Science Daily (4 October).