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Giant seabird's fossilized skull found in Peru - Comments

crusader234's Avatar Comment 1 by crusader234

i love this site!

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 19:08:00 UTC | #331663

HappyPrimate's Avatar Comment 2 by HappyPrimate

Totally awesome.

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 19:47:00 UTC | #331666

Fuzzy Duck's Avatar Comment 3 by Fuzzy Duck

I love these birds. Seeing how their jaws reformed analogues of teeth; an excellent example of convergent evolution.

-Kevin

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 19:57:00 UTC | #331667

Jeff.Satterley's Avatar Comment 4 by Jeff.Satterley

It's a crocoduck! Maybe Ray Comfort will go away now.

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 20:15:00 UTC | #331668

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 5 by Rodger T

4. Comment #347649 by Jeff.Satterley



Yes ,that beak is just made for grasping bananas.

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 20:24:00 UTC | #331671

Teratornis's Avatar Comment 6 by Teratornis

Large extinct birds know a lot about Peak Oil.

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 20:51:00 UTC | #331673

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 7 by Rodger T

6. Comment #347654 by Teratornis

: ) did`nt they create it ? T

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 20:56:00 UTC | #331675

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 8 by mordacious1

Boy, those look like teeth, but from what I've read they're "tooth-like boney projections of the jaw" or "pseudo-teeth". It must be serrated bone. That skull is pretty cool.

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 21:12:00 UTC | #331677

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 9 by Rodger T

Could this be called a transitional fossil?
What criteria do Paleontologists use to connect fossils to other similar species ,extinct or living?

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 21:32:00 UTC | #331680

Roy_H's Avatar Comment 10 by Roy_H

Talk about "Rare as hens teeth!"
Actually I don't think they are teeth but serrations like those that ducks like Mergansers have, although the ones on this creature seem to be far more toothlike in form.

Edit: I did a Google Images search for 'pelagornithid' and one image it came up with was that of another toothy old bird, Sarah Palin !
(There are articles on that particular page about both the fossil birds and the politician ).

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 22:40:00 UTC | #331683

SteveN's Avatar Comment 11 by SteveN

What I find particularly interesting about the 'teeth' is that this bird presumably had all the genes necessary for making 'real' teeth (thanks to its dinosaur ancestry) but instead of just reactivating these genes, evolution took the path of reshaping the beak. Maybe it's a weight issue?

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 00:43:00 UTC | #331691

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 12 by TIKI AL

Come on, that skull looks nothing like Palin.
...however, when you figure the wing span, thin bones, and probable cackle, hmmmm, Ann Coulter?

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 01:06:00 UTC | #331693

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 13 by rod-the-farmer

The thumb and finger of the hand in the photo are indicating how close we are to closing ALL the gaps.

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 01:47:00 UTC | #331695

elise97's Avatar Comment 14 by elise97

10 million years old indeed. nah, its just one of the many creatures that died out in the flood. even though it lived at sea and ate fish!

that thing must have rivaled some of the big pterasaurs in size. would have been an awesome sight

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 02:09:00 UTC | #331697

Bullet-Magnet's Avatar Comment 15 by Bullet-Magnet

I was about to complain that all the interesting animals are extinct, but then I realised that were they still extant they would be as familiar as frigate birds. We'd all be fawning over blue whales were they only known from fossils.

It makes me wonder, when we find so many examples of animals that were once so big: Do we really live in a world of miniaturised animals, or would a fair sample of animals at most other eras yield a size distribution no different from that of modern times?

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 02:40:00 UTC | #331700

Tape432's Avatar Comment 16 by Tape432

So the Earth is not 6000 year old after all..

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 02:41:00 UTC | #331701

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 17 by Rich Wiltshir

Sorry Tape432, but 6000 is not the age of the earth.

I'm pretty sure that the specimen under discussion is female. My evidence for this is subject to scrutiny, of course, but I'm certain that in the late 1970's I went out with a girl who was her daughter... Could be wrong, but the mother's features here are an uncanny match.

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 03:14:00 UTC | #331703

beanson's Avatar Comment 18 by beanson

comment #347681 by Bullet-Magnet

I read somewhere that in evolutionary terms: 'size is an indication of the species coming to the end of it's viability'

mind you the dinosaurs ruled the earth for no small amount of time...?

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 03:44:00 UTC | #331705

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 19 by Billy Sands

What I find particularly interesting about the 'teeth' is that this bird presumably had all the genes necessary for making 'real' teeth (thanks to its dinosaur ancestry) but instead of just reactivating these genes, evolution took the path of reshaping the beak. Maybe it's a weight issue?


More likely they decayed beyond repair. Having said that, chickens occasionally throw out mutants with archosaur like teeth.

Bullet-magnet, there were some huge mammals and small dinosaurs too. We currently share the world with the blue whale.

I read somewhere that in evolutionary terms: 'size is an indication of the species coming to the end of it's viability'


Sounds like an overgeneralisation. species can get smaller as well as larger. A current example of this are fish population that are producing smaller adults due to net fishing

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 04:29:00 UTC | #331708

Kit Finn's Avatar Comment 20 by Kit Finn

beanson

I read somewhere that in evolutionary terms: 'size is an indication of the species coming to the end of it's viability'


What about the coelocanth, though - hasn't it become much smaller than the fossils show it once was?

edit - I'm too late, as normal!

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 04:30:00 UTC | #331709

neander's Avatar Comment 21 by neander

Found scientists inducing modern chickens to grow bird teeth at this site:
http://8e.devbio.com/article.php?ch=6&id=56

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 04:50:00 UTC | #331712

SteveN's Avatar Comment 22 by SteveN

Comment #347690 by BillySands

More likely they decayed beyond repair. Having said that, chickens occasionally throw out mutants with archosaur like teeth.

Well, the fact that, as you say, chickens sometimes spontaneously develop teeth does suggest that most of the necessary genes are intact and that a relatively simple mutation (inactivation of a suppressor gene, perhaps) is sufficient to grow teeth.

However, I can see how the abrubt appearance of teeth in a flying bird already adapted to a particular life-style might be a disadvantage, whereas the gradual morphing of the beak in tandem with other changes might be beneficial at every step. Pretty cool anyway, whatever the reason.

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 05:10:00 UTC | #331714

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 23 by Billy Sands

Neander, that is an interesting link, but the teeth are effectively mouse teeth. It does give some clues as to why birds dont produce teeth: an absence of BMP4 expression. This however does not appear to explain the bird's inability to produce dental mesenchyme. This link shows "proper" bird's teeth developing http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=mutant-chicken-grows-alli&ref=rss

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 05:14:00 UTC | #331715

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 24 by Billy Sands

SteveN,

Interestingly, the toothed chicks are not viable. I think it shows the evidence of reptilian ancestry, but whether the pathway could be reactivated without other serious effects remains to be seen. If the structures are indeed lighter, that would be an advantage, but I imagine that depends on whether having teeth is a strong enough advantage compaired to not having them. If having them is a big enough advantage that it overcomes the need to cut down weight, then reactivating the old pathway (if that were possible) would still be advantageous. It would then just be an "accident" as to which tooth producing pathway evolved first. (A lot of if I know, but I dont think we have enough evidence just now - The clue may lie in the pathways employed by other secondarily "toothed" birds)

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 05:27:00 UTC | #331716

Titania's Avatar Comment 25 by Titania

Neander and Billy, thanks for the links.

Now I have some really dumb questions:

Are the teeth in this fossil the same material as the beak or in some cases bones? Is this true for all species?

Do teeth fossilize? If so, do they fossilize at the same rate as bones?

Have different types of teeth evolved independently like eyes?

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 05:39:00 UTC | #331718

Titania's Avatar Comment 26 by Titania

I found this interesting article on the evolution and development of teeth which answers some of my questions:

http://www.palaeos.com/Vertebrates/Bones/Teeth/Teeth.html

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 06:04:00 UTC | #331723

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 27 by Billy Sands

Hi Titania,

Teeth do indeed fossilise - if you check out my fossil teeth album on facebook, you will see some of my collection. They are relativly common in the fossil record, probably because they are harder than bone and many animals shed then frequently. As far as I know (not making any absolute claims here ) "true" teeth evolved from a single source - modified fish scales. There are however secondary structures in some birds that resemble teeth, and are functionally teeth, so I suppose they have evolved independantly. Other possible examples of independently evolved teeth may be the "spikes" of Oviraptors.

I cant really comment on this fossil, but from the picture it tooks like part of the jaw. Normal teeth do not develop in the same way and are srtucturally different to the jaw (they also appear in sockets.

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 06:06:00 UTC | #331724

Titania's Avatar Comment 28 by Titania

27. Comment #347706 by BillySands

I cant really comment on this fossil, but from the picture it tooks like part of the jaw. Normal teeth do not develop in the same way and are srtucturally different to the jaw (they also appear in sockets.


This is what made me curious: that the teeth seem to be coming directly out of the jaw and not out of sockets.

I'll check out your page and add the evolution of teeth to the subjects I must read more about.

Thanks, Billy.

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 06:10:00 UTC | #331726

bluebird's Avatar Comment 29 by bluebird

Interesting--are they more closely related to gannets & pelicans or ducks? Just read about another avian debate--should new world vultures be in the order of ciconiformes (storks) or falconiformes (or neither)?

Kudos to artist's renditions- fun to compare pelagornithid to our small, snowblown birds at the feeder! Also, compare it to this winged jewel of northern Peru:
http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/video/spatuletail.html

~~H.B.D. to Chopin~~

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 06:20:00 UTC | #331728

Titania's Avatar Comment 30 by Titania

Wow, Billy, your fossil teeth collection is awesome. You should put the pictures on your blog so everyone can see them.

Did you find these yourself?

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 06:22:00 UTC | #331729