Lets assume you go to visit friends over the weekend for a barbecue and they grill you a nice Tyrannosaurus Rex steak. According to the latest scientific research, it would probably taste a lot like chicken.
We’ve written here before , in our bird sex series, about the evolutionary links between modern birds and dinosaurs. Until recently this hypothesis was based mainly on anatomical similarities between dinosaurs and birds. (Size obviously not being one of the similarities.)
68 million years ago a Tyrannosaurus Rex died in present-day Montana. Protein (collagen) from deep within one of his bones — probably, but not certainly, uncorrupted — has been analyzed, yielding genetic confirmation that birds are the closest living relatives of dinosaurs. T-rex, ostriches and chickens all had the same — as yet, unidentified — ancestor. It probably tasted like chicken too.
The painting reproduced above is Eric Fischl’s Barbecue which we would happily steal from Steve Martin’s private collection. In fact, had Mr. Martin the decency to invite us to his home we might have done it aready. It is true that Steve Martin does not know us but that is no excuse. Who does he think he is anyway, some kind of big celebrity or something? Anyway, it was the only barbecue theme painting we could think of in time to get this post to press.
The complete article about T-rex appeared in today’s Science magazine. (Expensive subscription, which we don’t have, required. Who do they think they are, some kind of scientists?)
UPDATE – April 28, 2008
For more on the evolution of birds here is a real scientist discussing evidence of the evolution of feathers.