Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Dinosaur Link

Random thoughts to begin your day. Exploring the world of birds is quite exciting and there never seems to be a boring one in the batch.  On the way back from a trek in the mountains, we stopped at the Rooster Cogburn Ranch near Picacho Peak off of I-10. 
I've passed this place a billion times and have always wanted to stop.  What was different this time?  I had a friend with a camera who said, "Why not?" And so it was done.  Standing among these giants I found myself thinking about a recent discovery made in China about dinosaurs.  These birds reminded me so much of Jurassic park that it tripped me out a bit.  In fact, they have the nasty habit of pecking you if you're not watching.  My friend found out the hard way:)
So to make this post interesting here are some facts about this incredibly cool bird.  Are ostriches related to dinosaurs?  Although modern reptiles were once thought to be the closest relatives of Tyrannosaurus rex, more recent evidence indicates a closer relationship between T-rex and the ostrich.

Similarities Between Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Ostrich

Tyrannosaurus rex had large powerful hindlimbs, long in proportion to their bodies. The ostrich also has heavy long powerful legs, strong enough to kill a lion. The fossil skeleton of an early tyrannosaurid found in China appeared to be coated with filamentous structures identified as the precursors of feathers. It was suggested that, despite not having discovered any large tyrannosaural specimens with protofeathers, it is possible they existed.
Today scientists are making a lot of discoveries that strengthen their theory that dinosaurs and birds are linked tightly together.  The question is, "Which group evolved from the other?" Digs around the world, like in the Gobi Desert, are providing evidence that dinosaurs may fall into two groups....one with feathers and the other without. 
"The newly discovered fossil of Microraptor lived about 130 million years ago, during the early Cretaceous period, in what is now northeastern China. The latest depictions of the beast, whose feathery adornments may have extended to other Microraptor species, suggest it looked similar to a crow, even though non-avian dinosaurs had already separated from the ancestors of modern birds by that time." Source
I actually felt fear.  If I were thrown into a pen with these birds, I would actually be worried about my life.  They way they walked, their height, and their rapid beak attack made me think twice about approaching them.  Are they dangerous? Anyone who's seen Hitchcock's classic film The Birds may feel a little uneasy around pointy beaks and razor-sharp talons. An ostrich attack, however, is straight out of Jurassic Park. Like that movie's velociraptors, ostriches are fast--they can run at up to 45 mph--and they have a sharp nail on each of their feet that is capable of slicing a person open with one kick. Unlike velociraptors, however, an ostrich can reach more than nine feet tall and 350 pounds. Larger than most people:)
And here is one more tidbit you should know before visiting the ranch. Ostriches love man-made objects, especially shiny ones, so before you go out on safari or onto an ostrich farm leave all your jewelry behind and do not display shiny or dangling objects when near ostriches. Even the most mild mannered of ostriches practice investigative pecking, and a peck at an earring or your eyeglasses - or your eyes, for instance, could result in serious injury. Or your friends finger:)
My friend has only the short lense for her nice Nikon.  She got a little too close to the birds and had a peck at the head as well. I laughed, but had it been me, I don't think I would have been smiling very much.  The Ranch is a lot of fun.  Bring the kids as they will have a good time feeding the goats, donkeys, etc. It was a nice way to end the day after a hike. Here's the link if you are interested.  It's about 35-40 minutes north of Tucson.  Until tomorrow....

22 comments:

Timeless said...

I've been by this Ostrich farm several times and found it a really kool place for kids to view the nature of Ostriches.

As far as the Chinese take on origins, I'm not so convinced. My problem with the Chinese sponsored digs is there is so much fable fabrication and much fraud from Chinese people trying to make money off these bones to prop up the storytelling.

I'm not an Evolutionist, but then neither am I a Creationist nor an Intelligent Designerist(if their is such a term). I find all three waste valuable research and time on debating and pushing ideology as opposed to getting down to facts. I'm simply interested in how things intelligent work together in any ecosystem and replicating that in urban landscapes, home gardening, agriculture, etc. So I stay away from those combat debate folks.

I don't believe the T-Rex was a ferocious Predator and I've felt this way long before John "Jack" Horner, one of the T-Rex researchers and curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana gave his similar take on T-Rex which upsets alot of the traditionalists.

Yes I loved Jurassic Park the movie. I loved the special effects because they seemed to bring to life something that no longer exists, although we have only the film makers and so-called experts personal bias, ideas and imaginations to go by as far as how the animals actually live and their behaviors in those ancient worlds.

You might be interested in this link from last year:

T. Rex the Killer? Nah. King of Dinos More Like Hyena Than Lion

There is always going to be debate on this one way or another. Personally I find it hard anymore to watch these modern day nature shows where preditors are depicted as nothing more than outrageous vicious killers. Yes they do what they do, but there appears to be a great number of shows where selfpromoting celebrity sensationalistic Crocodile Hunter Wannabes are seen annoying and intimidating all manner of wildlife to get a dramatic reaction from these poor animals. So needless to say the TV shows aren't my cup of tea anymore.

Sorry, just my rant, but google the info, you'll find it interesting.

Kevin


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Giga said...

Może i strusie maja coś wspólnego z dinozaurami i nie są zbyt ładne. Podobają mi się jednak ich rzęsy i pióra. W Polsce są fermy strusi i miałam okazję oglądać je z bliska. Pozdrawiam.
And ostriches may have something to do with dinosaurs and are not too nice. I like them but their eyelashes and feathers. In Poland there are ostrich farm, and I had a chance to see them up close. Yours.

Thérèse said...

Beaks attacks! They could be fun: you just need a good fence in between and good shoes that you let sneak under the fence. It's a lot of fun when they fight each other too. Do they have emus as well?

ShySongbird said...

A very interesting post and great photos Chris. I think I'll content myself with seeing them through your eyes, I'll hang on to my earrings for a while longer I think ;-)

Kathy said...

Chris, when I look at pictures of some of the bigger birds (such as herons and pelicans) in flight with their stretched out legs and wings I think they look so much like dinosaurs! In fact, check out this link http://www.missingthemomgene.com/ and the post for Friday April 27 and you'll see what I mean. This is a beautiful blog on all accounts but especially for its bird photos. I think you'll become a follower when you see it.

Jill said...

The close ups are beautiful. They do provide much debate. I don't know if I'd dare enter a pen of them but liked learning from you doing it. ;)

TexWisGirl said...

you know, for birds who cannot fly, they have an AWFUL (awe-full?) lot of plumage! and yikes to the peck on the head!

Ragged Robin said...

Thats a brilliant and really interesting post Chris with lovely photos. I find the history of life on earth, fossils and evolution really fascinating and its great to read of all the new discoveries that take place.

RoeH said...

I am so fascinated by the fact that birds link back to the dinosaurs. I couldn't imagine how at first but it makes so much sense now.

Rohrerbot said...

Hey rants are fine:) That's why we blog!:)

Rohrerbot said...

Sadly no. I did see these deer, goats and something else while there. The goats freaked me out and I don't think I'll ever feature them on this blog. My friend said they were cute and I guess in their own way they were....kids loved them though:)

Rohrerbot said...

For me, it's the buttons on my shirt and glasses!!! Those monsters do some damage:)

Rohrerbot said...

Thanks Kathy!!! I'll check it out. I agree....the pelicans especially remind me of pteradactyls!!

Timeless said...

Hey BTW, on my backoffice post list, your 'Fire Spirits' article doesn't come through when I click the link. I simply get the words -
"Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist."

Hmmm!

JT said...

Yes, I lost an earing to an Ostrich a few years ago and I got the peck on the head as well. Same place that I also got spit on by a llama. I guess it wasn't my day.Up in Wisconsin they raise these creatures for exotic meats. They call it alternative farming. Never tried it, never will!
Great pictures! Interesting observations.

Rohrerbot said...

I accidentally scheduled that shoot ahead of time. It's coming up:)

Warren Baker said...

Amazing to think our birds are descended from the Dinosaours!

Elephant's Eye said...

I prefer my ostriches a little over there, safely out of reach and part of the landscape. But I've never been eye to eye with an ostrich.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

What an interesting post, Chris... I have never been to an Ostrich Ranch---but not sure I'd get close enough to risk being pecked!!!!! (I'm 'chicken'--buck buck buck)... ha ha

BUT--these are some great pictures...And I loved reading about them in comparisons to dinosaurs. Interesting.

You've had some great life experiences, Chris.
Betsy

Magpie said...

I love some of your closeups. They look very inquisitive. Tracy and I really needed to make that Picacho Peak trip before the heat set in. My bad. :(

Rohrerbot said...

Hola Magpie:) Stuff happens. It just means you have some fun for next year:) It is warm here as well. It's getting hard to walk outside. And we have to go up to Phoenix yet!!! Yuck! Dry heat my butt!:)

tracy said...

I have stopped here once but never paid to enter. A few of them always peek over the fence. They are so goofy looking they make me laugh (I would never say THAT to a dinosaur). I, like most people, learned about the connection between dinosaurs and birds through Crichton's book. My husband, the physicist, claims that book as the only novel he has ever read. He hates to read - reads so much technical stuff through work, but I knew the science would reel him in.