18 January 2006

Reptile clan gets together

Birds are feathered reptiles. Recent discoveries of feathered dinosaurs in China strongly support the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs. Turtles are, of course, reptiles first appearing in the fossil record about 200 million years ago.

When I first saw this Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) and a group of turtles (they appear to be Northern Red-bellied Cooters, Pseudemys rubriventris) together at a local lake last weekend, my immediate reaction was to grab the camera, hide behind a tree and take some shots. Then, it gradually dawned on me that I was witnessing a reunion of distant relatives even though the participants seemed to be ignoring each other. But, hey, how friendly would you be if some of your 200-million year old relatives showed up for a visit?

Read more about the evolution of birds and reptiles at the following sites:

Feathered dinosaurs

Did Birds Evolve from the Dinosaurs?



biosparite said...

I have been enjoying your excellent blog since last fall. Please keep up the good work. I have a fossil CONUS on my desk from the early Pleistocene of Florida (Bermont fm.) to remind me of the continuing threat to your favorite taxon.
I like your narrative about the bird-turtle photo (trying to stay on-topic here).

pascal said...

Your picture is essentially the cladistic definition of reptiles (assuming turtles are anapsids, and not convergent with them).

Roger B. said...

Which of the turtles ate the goose's other leg? ;-)

Pamela Martin said...

That's a wonderful picture. But turtles in January?