Charon and Joan were correct. The prehistoric looking bird is a juvenile Shoebill. But don't worry Larry and Kristi, you two were closer than you probably thought!

The Shoebill is related to the Pelicans, or at least as far as they can tell with DNA testing. I won't bore you with taxonomy but I will tell you that this awesome bird confused scientists for quite a while.

Some felt that it should be classified with pelicans. Others thought it was closer to a heron or a stork. A huge battle broke out between these two groups of scientists! It was unlike any battle you've ever seen! They were hurling things like mitochondrial sequences and COI barcodes and morphometric results at each other!*see below

It was incredible.

And the last scientist standing was the one with results pointing towards pelicans. And the Shoebill was happy.

ANYWAY. It's a pretty impressive bird. African in origin, it feeds mostly on fish. Check that beak out. I was pretty glad I wasn't a fish.

*scientific terminology disclaimer: I have no idea what any of that actually means. I may have been a biology major but I did not study genetics. As a matter of fact, I think the TA for my genetics class would have to agree with that statement. I certainly did not study genetics.

1 comment:

Kristi said...

*It was still hilarious. :)

Very interesting bird indeed!