It was the Romans who first brought us the age old wishbone superstition: in which you take the wishbone, or furcula (“little fork” in Latin), from the carcass of a fowl, dry it out, and snap it in two with a fellow wish-maker; the wish being granted to the person with the largest half.
Today it’s usually a chicken’s wishbone that’s put aside during a Sunday roast, but you’ll find this fork shaped bone in every single bird species on the planet, from the little wren, to the flightless ostrich. Now, you might very well struggle to snap an ostrich wishbone in two, but how about the wishbone… of a Tyrannosaurus rex!
Yes, the T-Rex had a wishbone too, and this is one of the key pieces of evidence which shows that the T-Rex dinosaur family, the Theropods, are the great-great-great-great-great-great… great grandparents of all the birds we know and love today.
66 million years ago an asteroid 6 miles wide struck what is now Mexico: this is known as the ‘K-T Event’, and wiped out 70% of all Earth’s species. The reason why the theropods survived where other dinosaur families didn’t, was because by the time the cataclysmic asteroid struck, some theropods had already evolved into smaller feathered creatures, and after the devastating impact, if you were small (i.e., didn't have a big appetite) and could escape the aftermath, then you had a chance of survival.
Our mammal ancestors survived the same fait because they too were small: they lived in burrows where they could escape the immediate heat and devastation, and like the evolved theropods, they also had a varied diet which allowed them more opportunities to feed where food was hard to come by. If the infamous K-T Event hadn’t of occurred, then us mammals would now be living a very different existence - probably still hiding away in burrows and trees from the dreaded dinosaurs!
So the little feisty robin which hops about whilst you’re doing your gardening, is a dinosaur, the overfed ducks who hang about for free meals at the local pond, are dinosaurs, even Pingu the penguin is a dinosaur: they all are.
The name Tyrannosaurus Rex is a mixture of Latin and Greek, meaning ‘Tyrant Lizard King’. I propose we rightfully change the name to Tyrannus Rex Avium: ‘Tyrant King of the Birds’!
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With the exception of artists, inventors, and teenagers - we humans are diurnal daytime creatures on the whole, and although it’s one thing to be out and about during the night in a street lit urban environment, it’s a very different scenario if you find yourself in, say… oh, I don’t know, a forest per se. Where, if you’re lucky, you may hear the unmistakable cry or hoot of an Owl: natures very own nocturne, a stark reminder of the unknown peril of night, and a creature that has featured heavily in myth and folklore throughout the ages.