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Friday, March 21, 2008

Birds and bees


The emerging majority view among Paleontologists is that birds are dinosaurs. Not just related to dinosaurs, but actually dinosaurs. So how did that chicken in the red and white striped bucket evolve from monstrous scaly creatures like T Rex? There had been a lot of speculation about sort of dino flying squirrels, but there has been no fossil evidence of that linage. Since the amazing feathered dinosaur finds in Northern China it looks like there is much evidence that feathers predated flight, and were probably sexual display adaptations. Birds are notoriously flashy in their mating habits, and I can't think of a better girl getter than a nice big bunch of colorful feathers that embellish a mating dance that wows the ladies. Fossilizing feathers is a tricky thing, and requires a fine grained volcanic ash covering that will preserve the imprint of the delicate structure. The feather fossils have been found only in relation with smallish carnivores, up to and including the velociraptor (in actuality a much smaller german shepherd sized creature rather  than the seven foot killing machine featured in "Jurassic Park"). 
How do females determine which male to chose for a mate? Males aren't all that picky in any species that I know. Apparently the females of the species Homo is drawn to the Governor of New York. We are drab, shallow creatures.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Considering the amount of money the governor had to pay, my guess would be that almost NO females of the species were drawn to him...

Speaking of dinosaur feathers, did you see this?