Sunday, March 23, 2014
THE CHICKEN FROM HELL
I've always been fascinated with dinosaurs. I spent a lot of time in my youth making them from plaster of paris in rubber molds. Paleontology was one of my early favorites, until I determined that searching deserts for fossils meant considerable discomfort and no showers for days.
Dinosaurs sort of looked like large lizards, so, of course, had to be reptiles. No one in his right mind then equated a dinosaur to a chicken. Well, over the past few decades, the science of these primitive critters has shifted towards a dinosaur now most likely at least being the early stage of a bird:
Some clues came from the fossils themselves, for more and more, feather-like markings seemed to be present. Most of the logic seems today to be centered on transition, that is, the thinking now is that dinosaurs served as the evolutionary step between reptiles and birds, sort of like amphibians as the link between fish and reptiles.
On the other hand, there is evidence to suggest that even large dinos, including the T. Rex, evolved from birds. Could the painting to the right be more realistic? As astrophyicists can't agree on why there was a Big Bang, these paleoscientists are not in total agreement about which came first: a bird or a reptile.
By the way, that chicken from hell shown at the top and to the left, Anzu wyliei, was eleven feet long and weighed in the neighborhood of 500 pounds. It would have made a grand Thanksgiving barbecue for a prehistoric village, except it lived around 65 million years ago, became extinct with all the other dinosaurs when that meteor crashed into Planet Earth, and Homo sapiens only appeared around 100,000 years ago.