Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chickies and Dinos...A Post 65 Million Years in the Making


"The compys didn't look dangerous. They were about as big as chickens, and they moved up and down with little nervous jerks, like chickens."
(Crichton, 559)
I wanted to start my second year of blogging on dino-scale proportions. The timing couldn't have been any better. I just read Jurassic Park, by the very talented Micheal Crichton, for the second time in my life. (Currently I'm reading The Lost World which I've never read before.) I wanted to start posting again with an interesting topic, so as I'm reading this book about re-creating dinosaurs that many believe to have evolved into our modern birds, I caught a special on TV about the exact the same thing. Sad to say I only caught the last 15 minutes of this program, called Dinosaurs: Return to Life? but what I saw had some pretty cool information. Plus I have evidence of it all right in my back yard!
" 'So these velociraptors look like reptiles, with the skin and general appearance of reptiles, but they move like birds, with the speed and predatory intelligence of birds' " ~ Ian Malcolm
(Crichton, 168)

I am sure most of you have heard of the idea of dinosaurs evolving into birds and have seen the movie Jurassic Park. (The book is better. I HIGHLY recommend it, but beware, there are some graphic parts.) This theory seems to be a popular one and the TV program Dinosaurs: Return to Life? gave examples to prove this theory. For example, most dinosaurs that stood upright on two legs had arms and hands with 3 fingers. Scientists think that these arms and fingers evolved into wings. A chicken wing has three "fingers" or bones as one can see by looking at a chicken skeleton. They also highlighted a chicken foot as being almost the exact replica of a dinosaur foot:
Again, dinosaurs that walked upright had 3 toes, as do modern-day birds/chickens.
Another link they pointed out are the scales on chicken feet. Despite some proof that dinosaurs had feathers, they had scales too.
Scientists today are working at genetically modifying chicken legs by adding in the feather-growing gene to produce feathers on their legs. (Though my Light Brahmas have those???) Anyhoo, they feel like they can reverse those genes and have feathery legs and also change those wings back into hands.
Are we going to have genetically-altered dinosaurs like in the book?
"In fact, the velociraptor conveyed precisely the same impression of deadly, swift menace Grant had seen in the casowary, the clawed ostrich-like bird of New Guinea."
(Crichton, 168)
The TV show said it would be hard and would take a lot of time for us to grow a dinosaur from scratch. (In the book it took them 10 years...) But we can alter smaller things such as the feathers/scales and arms and hands/wings. If scientists DID create a dinosaur, the popular bird of choice to begin with would be an emu. From an emu, we could get a raptor-sized dinosaur.
" it came forward, it looked from side to side, moving its head with abrupt, bird-like jerks. The head also bobbed up and down as it walked, and the long straight tail dipped, which heightened the impression of a bird. A gigantic, silent bird of prey."
(Crichton, 472)
I've always said the chickens look like dinosaurs with their movements. (Of course some of that came from watching the movie Jurassic Park.) And we have always said we have a flock of velociraptors in our backyard. I just hope to never see the REAL thing hanging out in my barn!
                                                                                             ...cluck... cluck... cluck...
Crichton, Micheal. Jurassic Park.  Boston: G.K. Hall & Co. 1990.


  1. That is intersting...there is some research that dinosaurs aren't near as old as originally thought, only 10,000 years or so.

  2. That's interesting! I've never heard that before...hmmmmm

  3. I'll see if I can find the info and send you a link.