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....