Dino Birds

I just came across this adorable video of a pair of yellow-naped Amazon chicks. I can’t help but be fascinated by baby parrots. Compared to other companion animals (cats, dogs), birds go through a fascinating transformation from chick to adult. While puppies and kittens look like smaller, compact versions of adult dogs and cats, parrot chicks seem to resemble dinosaurs more than the adult versions of themselves.

Interestingly, scientists have debated the bird-dinosaur connection for years. Most recently, researchers at Oregon State University made a new discovery about how birds breathe and have a lung capacity that allows for flight.

The finding essentially debunks the theory that birds descended from any known theropod dinosaurs. The article goes on to say, “This discovery probably means that birds evolved on a parallel path alongside dinosaurs, starting that process before most dinosaur species even existed.”

 It’s an interesting article and what also catches your eye is the sketch of a bird’s anatomy. Most people mistake a bird’s ankle for a bird’s knee and don’t realize that a bird’s hip and thigh are way up in its body, under its plumage.

But still, it’s hard to not to see a little bit of dinosaur in a young, featherless parrot. In my own, completely non-scientific approach, I played the yellow-nape chick video for my 4-year-old, who, thanks to his pre-school ‘curriculum” has learned a great deal about dinosaurs. Without saying what they were, I waited for his reaction. “Cool! Real-live dinosaurs! But they’re kind of small for dinosaurs.”

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