What, If Anything, Is Big Bird?

Zoologist Mike Dickison throws his hat into the dinosaur comedy ring (yes, dinosaur):

[Hat tip to the brother in Jersey]

17 thoughts on “What, If Anything, Is Big Bird?

  1. When I was little and watching Sesame Street I told my mom that Big Bird was cross between an ostrich and a Pelican.
    The ostrich is understandable, the Pelican I can only attribute to the fact that we had one that hung around our boat and I had named it Big Bird.
    I don’t remember telling her this. But its a famous family story.

  2. OMG AWESOME! That was probably one of the best talks I’ve seen this year.

    Now the follow up talk should be on the mysterious large mammal that has a relationship with this large flightless crane and whether or not it is a long tailed proboscidean or a trunked xenarthrian!

  3. I’m out of time to watch the video (sorry), but a moa surely?

    (I’m biased: moas, like me, are from New Zealand. Or rather were. I don’t think I’ve gone extinct.)

  4. I would have thought it was a highly modified therizinosaur. Smaller claws, more feathers (possibly), and reduced dentitition. Then the fingers, neck, gut and posture would match and all you would need to do is make the tail extremely vestigial.

    Big “Bird”, obviously, is a modern colloquial taxonomic identification.

  5. The number of people who have tried to convince me that Grandicrocavis is non-avian… Last I looked, it wasn’t the Mesozoic any more, guys. What’s more plausible: last surviving non-avian dinosaur, OR, it’s a bird? See, this is why we need DNA.

    And Snuffleupagus is surely a dwarf island mammoth. But I’ll leave that debate to the mammalogists.

  6. Sorry, but he admits he did not have an actual skeleton, and he only hypothesized the skeletal morphology. Looking at the actual observations he in fact gave, we can see that the much reduced tarsometatarsus is more consistent in what we see in Therizinosaurs, than what we see in the family Gruidae with their greatly increased tarsometatarsal region. Also, the extremely large gut is more in line with a more herbivorous animal that utilizes a large bacterial fermenting for cellulose breakdown. Again, this is more consistent with Therizinosaurs.

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