The pleasure of waking up at 6 AM with this flying alarm clock.
(I used this drawing by Ralph Steadman for the “cover art”)
Bower bird nest. The male bower bird, is an accomplished architect that has long fascinated scientists with its remarkably complex courting behavior. Instead of using just showy plumes or a set of chirps to attract a mate, the pigeon-sized bower bird constructs an elaborate structure — a bower — on the forest floor from twigs, leaves, and moss. It then decorates the bower with colorful baubles, from feathers and pebbles to berries and shells.
Photo credit: Barry Hatton on Flickr
chemin faisant: this one looks like a rather suburban bower bird.
Study Suggests that Change in Developmental Timing Was Crucial to Evolutionary Shift from Dinosaurs to Birds
by PhysOrg staff
At first glance, it’s hard to see how a common house sparrow and a Tyrannosaurus Rex might have anything in common. After all, one is a bird that weighs less than an ounce, and the other is a dinosaur that was the size of a school bus and tipped the scales at more than eight tons.
For all their differences, though, scientists now say that two are more closely related than many believed. A new study, led by Harvard scientists, has shown that modern birds are, essentially, living dinosaurs, with skulls that are remarkably similar to those of their juvenile ancestors.
As reported in a May 27 paper in Nature, Arkhat Abzhanov, Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, a PhD student in Abzhanov laboratory and the first author of the study, found evidence that the evolution of birds is the result of a drastic change in how dinosaurs developed. Rather than take years to reach sexual maturity, as many dinosaurs did, birds sped up the clock – some species take as little as 12 weeks to mature – allowing them to retain the physical characteristics of baby dinosaurs…
(read more: PhysOrg) (image: Nobu Tamura)
Provided by Harvard University
Journal reference: Nature
The pigeon on the peach