Tonawanda News


November 19, 2012

CRITTER COMPANIONS: It's all relative: Wishing on a bone

Tonawanda News — While I never had a turkey, I did have the other 66 percent of the so-called turducken as pets. Ducks and chickens were definitely some of my favorites. The breeds I had ranged from the ordinary to the extreme.

Some ducks were mallard color (strangely enough called grey) and some were grey (called blue). Others had spots and some looked like bowling pins. The chickens also came in all shapes, sizes and colors. 

They were “farm birds,” but they were my pets and I would have never imagined eating them. Although, come November I would hear lots of bad jokes. What I learned from those jokes was that some people thought birds were not interesting and only meant for the table.

If not birds, then their scaly extinct relatives, are quite popular. Dinosaurs always seem to be trendy, from preschoolers to paleontologist. Maybe it is because of their mystique, size, intriguing history or their behavior. 

Dinosaurs are popular which should equate to popularity for modern birds. Did you know that turkeys are distant relatives of the tyrannosaurus rex? Like birds, dinosaurs also walked on their toes, and many dinosaurs had three toes pointing forward and one backwards. 

Since the work of paleontologist John Ostrom in 1969 there have been 90 features described which relate birds to dinosaurs. Other features include scaly legs, the ability to lay eggs, nesting behavior, thin-walled bones and a similar respiratory system and pulmonary air sacs. Another similarity is that t. rex and the bird that may be on your table both have a wish bone.

At least 2,400 years ago people started playing with their food. The Etruscans, who lived in Italy (roughly modern day Tuscany), believed chickens were mediums because the hen would proclaim she would be laying an egg with a call and the rooster would crow, if a new day was coming, early in the morning.

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