Published: 27 May 2014 (GMT+10)

This children’s book pictures a large egg, suggests it might be a dinosaur egg, and spends the rest of the book asking which reptile might have laid it.

Look what they’re telling your kids—the first bird was an Archaeopteryx, which hatched from an egg that was laid when the only other animals on the earth were reptiles! This is the storyline of a children’s picture-story book titled The Wonderful Egg, by Dahlov Ipcar (née Zorach, 1917– ), that has just been republished. It first saw the light of day in 1958.1 She is best known for colourful and geometrically-patterned paintings of animals.

Although the original edition was loaded with scientific errors (including some which even evolutionists repudiate), incredibly it “achieved specific recommendation from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAC) as well as from the American Council on Education and the Association for Childhood Education International”.2 We are waiting to see if these recommendations reoccur, as almost all of the book’s claims are factually erroneous, and none has been corrected in the 2014 reprint.

Error upon error in The Wonderful Egg

There never was a time when the whole earth was “covered with big green jungles”, as The Wonderful Egg claims. Now, even evolutionists have conceded that there was grass for dinosaurs to eat. Nor is it a fact that “the only animals that lived in the green jungles of the world were the dinosaurs”. For instance, we now know that dinosaurs ate birds and the mammal Repenomamus ate dinosaurs. Nor yet that “most of them were big”. Some were indeed big, but there were also small chicken-sized ones. Those reptiles that “swam in the warm seas” are not called dinosaurs, and neither are those that “flew through the air”.3 See Evidence for a young world, and Dinosaur Questions and Answers.


A double-page spread from The Wonderful Egg. The book claims that 100 million years ago the earth was covered with big green jungles, and the only animals were the dinosaurs.

Also, many of the illustrations show the dinosaurs with tails dragging on the ground and the bipedal ones with a kangaroo-like ‘tripod’ posture. This is an outdated view; from the structures of the hip and shoulder bones, paleontologists now think that dinosaurs held their spinal column almost horizontally with their tail held straight out as a counterbalance.


Brontosaurus is given pride of place in The Wonderful Egg. Unfortunately ‘Bronty’ never existed.

The first of the 12 reptiles individually pictured and described in The Wonderful Egg is Brontosaurus. However, there never was aBrontosaurus dinosaur. ‘Bronty’ simply never existed! In the 1870s, Othniel Charles Marsh (1831–1899) discovered some very large dinosaur fossils in Lake Como, Wyoming, USA, and thought that he had discovered a new genus. He gave them the name Brontosaurus, meaning ‘thunder lizard’, because he thought that the ground must have thundered when such a huge animal walked by. Unfortunately the head was missing. To remedy this obvious defect, he added a skull that he found several kilometres away in a different quarry and in a different layer of stratum, but told no one about this. With its correct head, it was found to be a type of dinosaur that had previously been named—by the same paleontologist—and called Apatosaurus. By the rules of naming, the first validly published name of a creature has precedence, soApatosaurus stands and Brontosaurus is relegated to a ‘junior synonym’ not for formal use. See Thunder lizards.

Another candidate for laying the egg, pictured and described in the book, is an Elasmosaurus. This is one of a group of marine reptiles called plesiosaurs. However, there is now evidence that several of the plesiosaurs gave birth to live young rather than by laying eggs.4Hence it is incorrect for The Wonderful Egg book to say that Elasmosaurus definitively laid eggs.


As this classic sketch (above) so beautifully illustrates (p. 63 in Duane Gish’s book, Dinosaurs by Design), it’s hard to imagine what a supposed ‘transitional form’, making its way from water to land, might have looked like. It was neither well-suited to where it’s [supposedly] going, nor to whence it [supposedly] came! And, as the evolutionist Stephen Jay Gouldhimself acknowledged, what are the chances of producing a ‘hopeful monster’ rather than a monstrosity, and with what would the hopeful monster mate? (The scan below is taken from p. 107 from Gary Parker’s 1980 book Creation: the Facts of Life.)


The bird that hatched out of the egg, Archaeopteryx, is no longer regarded even by evolutionists as being the first bird species, as claimed in The Wonderful Egg. As to anyspecimen being the first bird ever, with what would it mate? If it couldn’t produce offspring, it would not be an ancestor of anything. The book describes it as “the first beautiful bird that ever sang a song high in the treetops of the green world of long, long ago.” Birds ‘sing’ for two main reasons: to say “Go away” to other male birds and thereby establish their territory, or to say “Come hither” to female birds to attract a mate. Neither of these two types of bird-calls would have had any meaning if there was ever a time when there was only one bird! See also Birds: fliers from the beginning.

So where did the concept of a bird hatching from a reptile egg come from?

Schindewolf, Darwin, and that reptilian egg

This ‘miraculous egg’ concept goes back to the 1930s, when a German evolutionist paleontologist, Otto Schindewolf (1896–1971),5 had a problem. His problem was that the zillions of intermediary links in the progression of non-birds turning into birds, as required by the fiction of evolution, were all missing from the fossil record.

There was nothing new about this, of course. In 1859, in his Origin of Species, Charles Darwin devoted the whole of Chapter 9 to this pervasive problem (which was not just limited to birds) under the heading “On the Imperfection of the Geological record”.6 He wrote:

“But just in proportion as this process of extermination [i.e. natural selection—Ed.] has acted on an enormous scale, so must the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.”7

Darwin’s solution, in typical evasive Darwinian fashion, was to re-state the problem; he wrote: “The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.” However, the ‘evidence’ for the imperfection is the lack of intermediates; when it comes to kinds of living creatures we actually have today, the record is very complete. SeeThe links are missing.

Schindewolf’s solution to the same problem was much more innovative, albeit wildly preposterous. He too wrote a book, published in 1936, in which he said (translated from the German text): “The first bird hatched from a reptilian egg.”8

Goldschmidt and ‘hopeful monsters’

We know this because Richard Goldschmidt (1878–1958), a German evolutionary geneticist, who in 1936 became Professor of Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley,9(unsurprisingly) had the very same problem concerning the fossil record. As he put it: “… practically all known orders and families appear suddenly and without any apparent transitions”.10 He conceded that the gradual accumulation of small mutations advocated by neo-Darwinians was sufficient for microevolution,11 but for him, this could not bridge the unlimited gap between species. So he too wrote a book, published in 1940, and titled The Material Basis of Evolution.12

He gave his purpose for this on pp. 6 & 183:

“It will be one of the major contentions of this book to show that the facts of microevolution do not suffice for an understanding of macroevolution.”

“The decisive step in evolution, the first step towards macroevolution, the step from one species to another, requires another evolutionary method than that of sheer accumulation of micromutations.” (All italics in the original.)

As Goldschmidt approved of, translated, and introduced this bizarre ‘bird-from-reptilian-egg’ concept to American academia, it is usually attributed to him in English textbooks and journal articles.

Goldschmidt’s solution to the problem was to introduce his readers to Otto Schindewolf, and he wrote (p. 395): “He [Schindewolf] shows that the many missing links in the paleontological record are sought for in vain because they never existed: ‘The first bird hatched from a reptilian egg.’”


And God said, ‘Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.’ So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.’ And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:20–25)