“We have a gigantic chicken!”
This is about the funnest thing I’ve seen all week.
We all know that birds evolved from dinosaurs, right? But until now, the fossil record that we had showed that the creatures got smaller and smaller as they evolved away from being dinosaurs and into being birds.
Not this baby. This baby is more than 26 feet long and 16-1/2 feet tall, and is estimated to have weighed at least a ton and half. And it was a young adult — so it wasn’t even the biggest one of its species.
And it’s a bird.
(Well, okay, a “bird-like species.”)
My favorite quote is from the paleontologist who discovered it, Xu Xing: “When I went back to my geologist colleague Lin Tan’s lab to check the skeleton, I was shocked. I said to Tan, ‘It is not a sauropod, it is not a tyrannosaurus, it is a tyrannosaurus-sized oviraptor. We have a gigantic chicken!'”
This makes me happier than I can put into words.
(Via SFGate and Pharyngula. SFGate has a couple more pictures. The one above is the most scientific, but I personally like this artist’s conception the best. It somehow manages to make the thing look both ferocious and campy.)