Friday, April 02, 2010

Convergent Evolution

Many creatures adapted to similar environments but separated by vast spaces or vast time have evolved to resemble one another. There is, of course, the example of the Icthyosaur and the modern bottle-nose dolphin. But one example which never fails to amaze me is the physical resemblance of the modern Cassowary bird and the extinct theropod dinosaur Oviraptor. Their skulls are so similar that it's almost frightening.

The Cretaceous-era Oviraptor. Yes, I know we don't know their colors, but this certainly is a good representation of their physical shapes.

70 million years later, their avian cousin, the Cassowary. Females stand 6 feet tall and weigh 160 pounds. Considered the most dangerous living bird. There are a few recorded instances of these creatures killing humans. Their claws are exceedingly sharp and their kick impressive. Of course they are endangered from human encroachment into their habitat. They will probably go extinct.

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