Thursday, October 1, 2009

BIRD: But I'm Really a Dinosaur!

You may be interested in the lecture Sir David Attenborough gave at the recent Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists meeting, dealing with those extant avian dinosaurs called the birds of paradise. Watch it here. Thanks to Dave Hone of Archosaur Musings for the tip.

Yeah, I just called birds of paradise "extant avian dinosaurs." I'm through with cautiously referring to birds as possibly being descended from dinosaurs. I mean, I've believed it for a while, but when I started this blog I wanted to avoid the appearance of being invested in it. Because let's face it, it's cool that birds are dinosaurs. And the allure of that coolness made me feel a little sketchy.

I guess I have Anchiornis to thank for the fact that I suddenly feel 100% comfortable taking a side, and I'm taking the one with the best parties: BAD. Birds are Dinosaurs. There is no point in sitting on the fence for the sake of false objectivity. Birds are derived theropod dinosaurs. Dinosaurs didn't go extinct. They adapted quite well, actually. In just under two months, Americans will feast on millions of factory farmed avian dinosaurs called "turkeys."

I'll refer to Hone again: read this.

Anchiornis huxleyi, from new species via flickr

I have my own acronym to offer up. BIRD: But I'm Really a Dinosaur!


  1. Love that acronym, very clever! I've been invested in this for awhile. Since I saw Jurassic Park at the age of eight and then later on learned about Archeopteryx I knew birds evolved from dinosaurs. I guess I was totally convinced that they actually are dinosaurs once theropods (some anyway) were found to have been feathered (1998?). That seemed convincing enough to me, after all no other animals have feathers. My wife still thinks birds evolved from dinosaurs but aren't dinosaurs themselves, I keep trying to convince her otherwise. Amazing how difficult it is for people to accept it. Like you I think it's totally badass, I love going out Coelurosaur watching or feeding the Maniraptors or chowing down on Theropods.

  2. Oh, I was convinced... but in my role as the writer of this blog, I didn't want to be all "birds are dinosaurs!" and get smacked down by some persnickety BANDer. But with the Anchiornis paper this week, I started really digging into the BAD vs BAND thing, and felt like it was getting silly to not admit what I believed was true. Like Dave Hone points out in the post I linked to, it would take a miracle for the BAND crew to amass enough evidence to outweigh BAD.

    I guess my main issue was that BAD always seemed almost too good to be true. I guess I'm coming out of the closet. Jumping, officially, on the BADwagon. But yeah, I've believed it for a long time.

  3. Yeah, BAND had given me a few doubts, namely with the whole hand thing and a couple other seemly important arguments but those just made me want to do more research and see how legit their arguments were and as it turns out, they weren't and new finds are constantly proving them wrong, like Limusaurus with the hands. For the most part I have no issue letting people know that that I'm a BAD supporter online (and love to debate it with any BAND supporter) but in the real world its not something I talk about much, I get weird looks.

  4. What is it with the real world? That glazed over look they get in their eyes. And then they end up asking about if it's true that there's no brontosaurus. Knuckleheads.


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