30 July 2006

Strange life forms

No, I don't mean submariners. Or skimmers. Or even airdales.

The hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) is a pheasant-sized bird native to the jungles of South America; amongst its other oddities, the chicks are born with functional wing claws, similar to those of Archaeopteryx and other prehistoric birds. Carel Brest van Kempen, at Rigor Vitae, has a post up about visiting these birds in Peru. Photos, too.

And while you're looking at his blog, check out this post about the Cambrian Explosion. No photos, alas, but he did illustrate it with one of his paintings.

If you want to read more, Wikipedia has articles on both hoatzins and the Cambrian explosion.

1 comment:

Madog said...

My sister and I went to a nice display of the Burgess Shale that the Peabody had a couple years a go. Now those are some freaky looking creatures.

Kinda makes you wonder what life on other planets will look like....