Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Crane Blogging: Living Dinosaurs?

Sandhill Sequence

Peter Patau Photo

This time, when I encountered a Sandhill Crane on my noon walk, I had the big camera with me. Got wet feet following it, too. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

In today's NYT there's a story about scientists using new molecular data extracted from T. Rex bones to confirm that birds are descended from dinosaurs.
The research, being published Friday in the journal Science, yielded the first molecular data confirming the widely held hypothesis of a close dinosaur-bird ancestry, the American scientific team reported. The link was previously suggested by anatomical similarities.

In fact, the scientists said, T. rex shared more of its genetic makeup with ostriches and chickens than with living reptiles, like alligators. On this basis, the research team has redrawn the family tree of major vertebrate groups, assigning the dinosaur a new place in evolutionary relationships.
I'm reminded again of Richard Powers' description of Sandhill Cranes in The Echo Maker: ". . . something saurian still clings to them: the oldest flying things on earth, one stutter step away from pterodactyls." It's not just poetic license. It seems to be true.

1 comment:

Dr Bud Diablo said...

Charming wildlife pics this week. However, they also illustrate why National Geographic will never produce an Imax feature called "Wild Wisconsin."

If Old McDonald's Farm is a '1' and Jurassic Prk is a '10,' Central Wisconsin is about a 4. Its creatures are cute; they waddle, shuffle, scamper, and twitch their noses at photographers. No battles to the death around here; they all subsist on garbage and handouts, like the unsalted peanuts, cracked corn, and pizza crusts I strew around my back lawn. Its scenery is placid.

I hope your blog eventually generates enough revenue to finance some travel; I'd love to see your pictures of Komodo dragons or Emperor penguins.