Flightless birds gave up flying after dinosaurs were wiped out

Feb 22, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
This giant Moa (Dinornis giganteus) a member of the ratite family (the same family as the kiwi, emus and ostriches) and met its demise around the 13th century.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists have assumed the ancestors of modern flightless birds were also flightless, but results of new research suggests they only became flightless and began to explore the ground when it became safe to do so because the dinosaurs had been wiped out.

According to the leader of the study, Dr Matthew Phillips from the Australian National University in Canberra, when the suddenly became extinct around 65 million years ago, this opened up niches on the ground that were plentiful in food and free of predators. Since there was no need to take to the air for a quick escape, the birds, such as the of modern day ostriches, cassowaries, rheas and emus, stayed on the ground and grew fat, until they could no longer fly.

Dr Phillips said it was an advantage to the birds to lose the ability to fly because wings are “fairly costly in terms of the amount of energy that goes into them.” Becoming larger was also of benefit because it made them more energy efficient.

Phillips and his team studied of flightless birds, including the extinct giant moa, from what is now called New Zealand, and other ancestors of the modern large flightless birds. They discovered the moa’s closest relatives were small ground-dwelling birds called tinamous, which are still found in South America today, and which can just barely fly. Molecular dating of the samples suggested the ancestors of the moas became flightless around the same time the dinosaurs became extinct. Phillips said the of the dinosaurs had effects on birds that were previously unknown, and was a turning point in the evolution of the modern birds.

During the period in which the moa’s ancestors lived, the Cretaceous (about 145 to 65 million years ago), Antarctica, New Zealand, Australia, Africa and South America were joined together as the massive super-continent Gondwana. Over time the segments began to drift apart, with New Zealand separating from Gondwana around 80 million years ago.

The new study suggests the evolved separately from flying ancestors on the different land masses, rather than from a single flightless ancestor on Gondwanaland, as previously thought, and they all lost the ability to fly about 65 million years ago. This neatly solves the age-old problem of how “flightless” birds could have reached the different continents: they were not flightless at all, and simply flew.

The results of the study are published in January’s edition of the Systematic Biology journal.

Explore further: And then there were 10—unexpected diversity in New Zealand kanuka genus Kunzea

More information: Tinamous and Moa Flock Together: Mitochondrial Genome Sequence Analysis Reveals Independent Losses of Flight among Ratites, Systematic Biology 2010 59(1):90-107; doi:10.1093/sysbio/syp079

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breadhead
1.6 / 5 (7) Feb 22, 2010
Assumptions based on assumptions, molecular dating cannot be blindly assumed to be true. There is circular reasoning involved in this article. Soft tissue has recently been discovered in dinosaur bones, it could not have stayed this way for 65mil years. Therefore, the assumption that birds could land is fiction. There were no trees for birds back then? Dinosaurs occupied every inch of the earth? Evolution is a silly theory folks.
StillWind
2.2 / 5 (5) Feb 22, 2010
While part of what you wrote is correct, there are many assumptions being made, I'm not sure where you got the rest, or how you came to your ultimate conclusion. While there were no flowering trees, like we have today, there were certainly large upright members of the plant kingdom, that even you would call a "tree". These were cycads, tree ferns, etc.. that we have fossil evidence for. So, there was definitly an arboreal habitat.
Please supply a source to support your statement about soft-tissue.
Likewise, your suggestion that dinos occupying every habitat negates the existence of birds makes no sense, since multiple species co-exist cross habitat today.
Evolution is not a theory. It is an observed phenomenom that can not be denied by anyone who deals in the truth. Natural Selection is a theory to explain evolution, however and may be completely wrong.
LuckyBrandon
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 22, 2010
i tend to agree with stillwind's statements here. To state that evolution is a "silly theory" is simply ignorance of fact.
Natural selection itself may be SLIGHTLY off, but its not way off base by any means. You can look at the animal kingdom around us and see what we call natural selection in action right now, as we speak (such as the frog species in south america that has 3 separate subspecies currently learning new niches in their environment).
To think evolution is a silly theory is silly....
NuShrike
3 / 5 (2) Feb 22, 2010
If you deny evolution and the validity of the entire process of scientific thought behind it, you MUST deny your computer, your medicines, your telephone, the Internet, and all other sciences that you use every day based on the same process.

You cannot choose to deny small parts just because you somehow rationalized your circular thinking based on no process nor facts.
shinobue111
Feb 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
TheWalrus
5 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2010
breadhead sed: "Evolution is a silly theory folks."

Ah, yes, and Creationism is a rock-solid, falsifiable theory, backed up by fossil records, DNA analysis and morphology, and it consistently makes predictions that are supported by observation, right? Is that where you were going? Please, enlighten us, breadhead. We're dying to know the "truth" as you've been taught.
breadhead
1 / 5 (6) Feb 22, 2010
Not only silly, but evolution is not even worthy of being called a theory. Let us identify what we are talking about, evolution would need to explain the origin of time, matter, space, higher order elements, how non-living chemicals came alive. Ah, you say there is no such thing as spontanious generation? If (Giving the benefit of doubt) by accident chemicals came alive, what did it eat? How did it reproduce? Did one of each sex have to evolve at the same time? Did multiple lives have to evolve at the same time so one could eat the other? It should be easy to create life in the lab then, right? Why has no one been able to do that? The mathmatical probability of life evolving is astronomically rediculous. I admit that creation requires faith, can you admit that evolution does too? Evolution even defies the laws of thermodynamics. Fossils defend creation better than evolution any day.
breadhead
1 / 5 (2) Feb 22, 2010
TheWalrus
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
Um... Have you ever read anything about evolution aside from the distortions that are spoon-fed you at the Hee-Haw Kristian Akademy?
breadhead
1 / 5 (5) Feb 22, 2010
Everything I have read on this evolution site is based on assumptions. I read things like "Could be", "Should be", "Might be", "Hope to find", concerning finding any real unquestionable proof for evolution. If I can easily explain the same evidence in another way, then you have no proof for evolution. I am just suprised at how there is nothing to defend evolution, yet you all blindly believe it. I call to question radiometric dating, molecular dating, all those are just based on assumptions. You will have to do better to get me to join your ranks.
breadhead
1 / 5 (6) Feb 22, 2010
I wouldn't consider this a Kristian site, should I? This is where I am reading about so called proofs for evolution. Not sure what Nushrike was after, I am all for science, tell me how assumptions about millions of years is science? How do you observe, study and quantify millions of years? How do you reproduce evolution in the lab? Do scientists have a time machine? We have the same fossil evidence, yet differing conclusions. Where are the transitional forms that Darwin said we should be tripping over every day?
NuShrike
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
Again, you cannot pick and choose what parts of Science you accept.

If you cannot understand Natural Selection, read up on Genetic Algorithms in Computer Science. It models how simple rules can "intelligently" select the best-fit from a randomness, and as a variation of hill-climbing search over a large domain. Very easy to see that no "Great Designer" is necessary especially if you have enough time to iterate enough generations to create what we know as life.

If your faith still cannot understand, more power to you. :-P
TheWalrus
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 22, 2010
breadhead--

You're offering nothing apart from your ignorant misunderstanding of evolution, and you think we should take you seriously. In each of your posts you have revealed a gross ignorance of what science is, and an even grosser understanding of the theory of evolution. This brief thumbnail article makes no claims about the greater theory, and yet you hold it accountable for those supposed failings. You demand that the theory of evolution explain the existence of the time-space continuum, though the theory of evolution has no such burden upon it. You offer no theory of your own, though we all know what your "theory" is: "God made everything, we can't understand His Divine Wisdom, end of story." You have demonstrated that you have no grasp of what constitutes evidence or proof, and yet you want the more educated of us to abandon the well-established science of evolution in favor of your superstitious gibberish. Good luck in the real world. You'll need it.
breadhead
1 / 5 (6) Feb 22, 2010
The Molecular dating result is likely an assumption based on the 65 million age of dinosaurs, and the age of dinosaur will no doubt, agree with the molecular dating time scale. Yet both are assumptions. Circular reasoning. The article establishes 65 million years as the starting point assuming that dinosaurs were gone after that. So now birds could finally land, and walk around on the ground without predators. Assuming that the need to fly was gone, the birds lost their ability to fly. So instead the birds grew larger in size. So basically some birds flew to different places on the earth and lost the ability to fly, so they were stuck there. I am saying that this entire "bird brain" idea is based on assumptions. Why are there still birds that fly today? If soft dinosaur tissue was found recently, how could it have lasted 65 million years? Dinosaurs were around more recently in history, obviously.
TheWalrus
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
(correction)

breadhead--

You're offering nothing apart from your ignorant misunderstanding of evolution, and you think we should take you seriously. In each of your posts you have revealed a gross ignorance of what science is, and an even grosser misunderstanding of the theory of evolution. This brief thumbnail article makes no claims about the greater theory, and yet you hold it accountable for those supposed failings. You demand that the theory of evolution explain the existence of the time-space continuum, though the theory of evolution has no such burden upon it. You offer no theory of your own, though we all know what your "theory" is: "God made everything, we can't understand His Divine Wisdom, end of story." You have demonstrated that you have no grasp of what constitutes evidence or proof, and yet you want the more educated of us to abandon the well-established science of evolution in favor of your superstitious gibberish. Good luck in the real world. You'll need it.
breadhead
1 / 5 (6) Feb 22, 2010
If you are so well educated, why can't you provide one single solitary unquestionble proof for evolution, and call me a convert to your faith? Tell others how you converted a creationist from his unscientific and uneducated ways. You give me no reason to change my thinking in any of the responses from any of you. Shame, shame, you are not making your fearless leader, Darwin happy.
breadhead
1 / 5 (4) Feb 22, 2010
If evolution is only responsible for defining natural selection of organisms, where did the organisms come from? You have a story with no beginning, evolution just kind of picks up somewhere in the middle then? You have no choice
but to have an explanation of a starting point, like it or not. If you believe life evolved, that is, chemicals to living cells, living cells into complex organisms, these into fish, mamals etc., non-life had to become life at some point.
I seek a full answer, not a partial one. That idea you call, "evolution" is incomplete. Too many holes, too many contradictions, to rediculous, explains nothing, no proof for it.
frajo
1 / 5 (2) Feb 23, 2010
why can't you provide one single solitary unquestionble proof for evolution,
Sorry, but you don't have the slightest idea how science works. Scientific theories don't have to be proven, but they have to be falsifiable. That's the fundamental difference between faith and science. Science is based on faithlessness. If you really want to know more read the Wikipedia entry on Sir Karl Popper.
and call me a convert to your faith?
If you don't understand that one fundamental difference between faith and science - falsifiability - it makes no sense to talk with you about science.
frajo
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 23, 2010
You have no choice but to have an explanation of a starting point, like it or not.
No. As every virus shows, there's no sharp boundary between life and non-life. Natura non facit saltus, isn't it?
Where's the starting point of twilight?
If you believe life evolved, that is, chemicals to living cells, living cells into complex organisms, these into fish, mamals etc., non-life had to become life at some point.
If you need a sharply defined boundary between life and non-life have a try at your own definition and discuss this definition of yours with all objections that will be raised.
I seek a full answer, not a partial one.
That's not science. In science you know that every answer to an hitherto unanswered question opens up ten new questions.
That idea you call, "evolution" is incomplete.
Yes. Nothing human is complete. But so are all ideas of gods. Or are you the first one to give a convincing theodicy?
Parsec
2 / 5 (2) Feb 23, 2010
If you are so well educated, why can't you provide one single solitary unquestionble proof for evolution, and call me a convert to your faith?


I have a strong faith in God and he guides me in my life. I also am absolutely certain evolution is real because I have used it in my work in genetic algorithms. Biochemists use it every day to evolve new DNA sequences, and bacteria use it all the time to become resistant to our medicines. Belief in reality is not faith.

I lay no limitations on the abilities of God. Why do you?
Bob_Kob
Feb 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
breadhead
1 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2010
What a twisted definition of truth. Who defines science? you? All it has to be is falsifiable? What a crock. So you will take a new medicine before it is tested? You will believe something is true if not proven? Parsec what a bunch of bull. You guys are obviously living a lie to believe in your evolution faith. I made my comments in relation to the article, so apparently if I don't go along with evolution I am a troll. Wow, O well, I have been called worse.
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Feb 27, 2010
What a twisted definition of truth.
Truth is a matter of philosophy, not of science.
Who defines science? you?
The scientific community.
All it has to be is falsifiable?
No, there are some more qualifiers. But falsifiability is the most discerning.
What a crock. So you will take a new medicine before it is tested?
Obviously, you don't understand. A medicine is not a scientific theory. Science knows well enough that the human mind-body compound is too complex to be understood in every detail.
You will believe something is true if not proven?
Forget "truth"; science is about models/theories. A model/theory is usable until it is disproved.
If you are interested in the concept called "truth" switch over to philosophy.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2010
breadhead, for the record, even most YEC scientist have no objection to evolution.

although I will disagree with frajo, without truth/reality, models and theories are just glorified video games and star trek.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Mar 01, 2010
without truth/reality, models and theories are just glorified video games and star trek.
Certainly would be an interesting discussion.
For instance: Given all physical data about a piece of music, although we agree on these data our emotions/feelings usually would be different, even to the extent of being contrary.
What is truth/reality then? Only the common subset of physical data?
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2010
How you enjoy reality, does not determine reality, this is true. Enjoyment is subjective. But play your piece of music out of tune and you'll quickly find the reality :)

frajo
1 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2010
But play your piece of music out of tune and you'll quickly find the reality
I happened to do just that when I was a child: I played several children tunes in minor instead of major scale. And I found that the "wrong" scale, the minor scale, was a lot more joy.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Mar 05, 2010
I said out of tune, not a different tune/key/scale/etc.

Although, what you've just admitted to is that in order for you to enjoy something more, you potentially have to alter the original data. By switching to a minor scale, you are playing flatted notes on the 3rd 6th and 7th notes. No matter how close to the original progression it may sound, you are no longer playing the same sheet of music you started with. It may "sound" better to you, but it is only a reflection of the reality you began with.

The goal of science is to understand thte original composition, not to create variations that we find more enjoyment in, because this is what fiction writers and video game makers do.


breadhead
1 / 5 (3) Mar 07, 2010
I recall a teaching, from my public schooling, called, "The scientific method". It is a standard used to perform experiments that might lead to reproduceable conclusions. This method would involve setting up a test to prove or disprove some hypothosis, observing an experiment that might provide such proof, and documenting the results. Perhaps the test would be reproduced by peers, to make the idea something worthy to share with the world.

Mutations have not yet been proven to add any genetic complexity. Evolutionists are still holding their breath for that to be found. Birds "loosing" flight just makes my point, if "loosing" some feature is an example of evolution.

Face it, between evolutionists and creationists, we share the same evidence concerning the past, mainly fossil evidence. Fossils are not found with dates or history stories written on them. The soft fossil tissue found recently, blows that 65mil year notion of dinosaur extinction out of the ballpark.
frajo
not rated yet Mar 07, 2010
The soft fossil tissue found recently, blows that 65mil year notion of dinosaur extinction out of the ballpark.
Do you have a link where I can read more about this claim?
breadhead
1 / 5 (2) Mar 07, 2010
Look earlier in this thread, back to Feb 22, 7th entry from the top. I put the link there.
frajo
5 / 5 (3) Mar 08, 2010
Thanks. I looked up your link. And I looked up two related links:
http://animals.ho...sil2.htm
http://en.wikiped...hweitzer
Mary Schweitzer doesn't agree with Creationist belief:
She’s horrified that some Christians accuse her of hiding the true meaning of her data. “They treat you really bad,” she says. “They twist your words and they manipulate your data.”
Unlike you, Mary Schweitzer is convinced that that soft fossil tissue she found is 68 million years old.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (2) Mar 08, 2010
Does it matter how convinced one is? She needs to find a mechanism that would preserve protein for 68 million years. Not having one, either the Creationists are right and its actually young, or the non-Creationists are right and it isnt protein. It's easy to pick on the Creationists, but I find it odd she wont pick on the non-Creationists for doubting her work when they seem to have been just as aggressive. It'll be interesting to see what comes from any additional work she does.
frajo
5 / 5 (1) Mar 08, 2010
Does it matter how convinced one is?
The scientist should have a say on his findings.
And yes, it matters how convinced the Creationists are. If they are so much convinced that no fact and no argument ever could possibly falsify/change their position on this matter then they are no scientists.
She needs to find a mechanism that would preserve protein for 68 million years. Not having one,
She's made proposals for a mechanism. Thus she has one.
I find it odd she wont pick on the non-Creationists
She did "pick" on the non-Creationist critiques.
It'll be interesting to see what comes from any additional work she does.
Yes. And from any work which deals with her findings.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Mar 08, 2010
From the first article: "Schweitzer offers hypotheses for how the tissue could have survived so long. One is that the densely mineralized bone, combined with as-yet-undiscovered geological or environmental processes, protected the structures within."

I'm sorry but yet undiscovered is not good enough. She needs to discover one first...ideas and hypothesis arent good enough to have her cake and eat it to.

"She did "pick" on the non-Creationist critiques."

Where? The first article does not quote her and the wiki link only quotes her complaining about the "horror" or creationists. Not sure how they manipulate her data though, when it is her saying she found protein and there are plenty of noncreationists saying it isnt possible (as there is no known mechanism). Why point it out anyway, if she does it to both?

Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Mar 08, 2010
"If they are so much convinced that no fact and no argument ever could possibly falsify/change their position on this matter then they are no scientists."

And you were espousing minor scale being better in your own opinion earlier, so why so harsh towards them? Is any other scientist really any different? Are they not all biased to some extent? Ms. Mary isnt any different. She hopes to find an undiscovered mechanism to validate her position. More power to her for doing so, but it seems she will hold on to her position regardless. Is she not a scientist by your definition now?
breadhead
1 / 5 (3) Mar 08, 2010
Lets look at at the facts, there was soft tissue in the bone, it stretched and came back to shape. You will have to do some fancy dancing to explain how that lasted 65mil years. Notice the Berkley, "Expert" says, "could not possibly get molecules out of a 68 million-year-old fossil". There you have it folks, it can't be that old.
Face it, they can't exlpain away the facts sitting before them. There are countless other ways to disprove your evolution religion, but I am convinced, that God could appear before
most of you, and you would still not believe.
breadhead
1.6 / 5 (5) Mar 09, 2010
Tell me that the Chinese have been using a ficticious dragon symbol for centuries. Tell me the people who carved the "Ica" stones never saw what we call a "Dinosaur" in their lives. Look at the hundreds of other cave paintings, rock carvings, the images on front of ships way back when, dragon killing legends (Beowolf), there are hundreds of documented sightings from hundreds of years ago in Europe. Here is just one site; http://www.newani...gons.htm . You have to be completely ignorant to think that man was not around with real dinosaur kinds of creatures.
breadhead
1 / 5 (4) Mar 09, 2010
By the way Mr. Parsec, evolution brings no useful knowledge to the table. If anything it is a hinderance to real science. Just look at the time those people will spend trying to come up with hoaky reasons to explain why the red blood and soft tissue aren't what they appear to be.
You cannot possibly believe in the same God that I do, and use evolution. That is a countradiction. The two theories are mutually exclusive. Origins spoken in Genesis do not jive with the wacky origins taught by evolution theory. If you have found a genetic pattern you have just proven
that God exists, because it is His creation. You didn't offer a sliver of proof for evolution. Your faith is in vain because you don't give credit to God for what He has created.
LuckyBrandon
not rated yet Mar 16, 2010
What a twisted definition of truth. Who defines science? you? All it has to be is falsifiable? What a crock. So you will take a new medicine before it is tested? You will believe something is true if not proven? Parsec what a bunch of bull. You guys are obviously living a lie to believe in your evolution faith. I made my comments in relation to the article, so apparently if I don't go along with evolution I am a troll. Wow, O well, I have been called worse.

.

You yourself claim something is true without any proof. There is no proof of the invisible being called by the name of god, allah, and many many other names. This is called your subconcious mind my friend.
breadhead
1 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2010
I have already admitted that my belief requires faith. Evolutionists refuse to do so, even though they have no proof.
LuckyBrandon
5 / 5 (1) Mar 23, 2010
I refer back to my statement about the frog species in south america (I htink that was posted for this article..too lazy to check). Proof of evolution can easily be seen in a lab every day.
frajo
5 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2010
I have already admitted that my belief requires faith. Evolutionists refuse to do so, even though they have no proof.
Science doesn't require proof; science requires falsifiability.
Falsifiability is the decisive difference between faith and science. It allows us to leave the realm of complete uncertainty and enter the realm of relative certainty.

Relative certainty means: You don't know whether your theory is right because there is no proof of correctness. But if something is wrong with your theory then there exists at least one proof of incorrectness. As time goes by someone will discover this proof of incorrectness.

Complete uncertainty means: There are no proofs at all. You'll never know whether your faith is right. And you'll never know whether your faith is wrong.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2010
And then there is the certain realm of Death and Taxes? :)

You cant have falsfiability without proof though now can you?

You can not show incorrectness without your proof being correct.

frajo
not rated yet Mar 25, 2010
Did you mean "death and Texas"?

Read the Wikipedia page on Sir Karl Popper for a first introduction to Critical Rationalism. Your assumptions two and three are erroneous.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Mar 29, 2010
How is Popper any sort of a worthy example when you would not have Darwinism or Einstein's theories had they been listening to him in the 1800s? What Popper is stumbling on is that our knowledge of the universe is limited. Our theories represent a short sighted view, and we are to be ever mindful of that.

Lack of knowledge though, does not negate truth or the reality of the universe. It does not especially negate the drive toward truth and understanding.

What one can take away from Popper is that falsification is one of many tools a scientist can use because there is a reality to discover and understand at least for the present.

What defeats Popper is that even he says it begins with discussion of the metaphysical, the myths, which are actual ideas that you cant falsify. His own philosophy is unfalsifable, and thus it defeats itself by his own definition.
frajo
not rated yet Apr 12, 2010
What defeats Popper is that even he says it begins with discussion of the metaphysical, the myths, which are actual ideas that you cant falsify. His own philosophy is unfalsifable, and thus it defeats itself by his own definition.
Of course - historical beginnings are no causal beginnings. The historical roots of rational science are of philosophical and mythical nature.
But that does not imply that science is of the same nature. Falsifiability is a tool for the scientist, not a criterion for philosophers. Thus the postulate that a philosophy has to be falsifiable is just an application of a wrong, unsuitable tool.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2010
Science is of the same nature if it is dependent upon the collective judgement of scientists, which is ultimately based on the collective's philosophies. This is the only way Popper could define science because he tried to set a foundation, and then refused to subject it to the foundation.

In other words, falsification in science is just as much a philosophy. It is no less subject to our metaphysical or philosophical underlinings.

Kuhn states that problem well, much better than I can in 1000 characters.

Science can not actually be falsifiable without being subject to a true reality. A true reality that is not subjective to the collective's judgement.