18 July 2007

Nice birdie


OK, so modern birds are supposedly derived from beasties like Argentavis magnificens, a little feathered friend with a 7m (23 foot) wingspan.

I was impressed many years ago when cousins of mine caught an eagle with a wingspan so wide that in order to pose it on a truck (semi-), they had to stand on each side of the tray & stretch their little arms wide. Magnificens is at least twice as wide as that, & weighed about 70kg (not far short of my own weight).

One would hope that birdie was a delicate scavenger, since an angry or starving one would not be a kind thing to meet while out walking. While a veggo bird that big is possible, this one is drawn with the long, sharp beak typical of a predator. Nyeh! Keep the kiddies inside!

At ¾ the wingspan of a Cessna, this would be something to watch out for while flying, & I don’t think even a Jumbo would do so well after sucking one into an engine.

With its powerful beak and big clawed feet, Argentavis would have made a fearsome predator, swooping down to snatch unsuspecting rodents.
Rodents? I reckon that would include the big hoppy ones — what do they call them? Oh, yes, kangaroo. Can’t see a 7m bird having much hassle downing a 2m boomer. Carrying one off might be harder, but OTOH 50kg of ’roo would make quite a dine-in meal.

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