Absolute v relative dating

National Geographic: Modern Birds Existed Before Dinosaur Die-Off

Modern birds originated a hundred million years ago—long before the demise of dinosaurs, according to new research…

Fossil records suggest that modern birds originated 60 million years ago, after the end of the Cretaceous period about 65 million years ago when dinosaurs died off. But molecular studies suggest that the genetic divergences between many lineages of birds occurred during the Cretaceous period.

I've always had my doubts about the use of the so-called genetic clock to give absolute, rather than relative, dates for evolutionary events. My personal hunch is that this result says far more about molecular dating than it does about dinosaur/bird history.

But I could be wrong.


Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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