Yet more dinosaurs?!

The teeny crow hatchling reminded me of last year’s Ig Nobel prize for biology.

This award went to Jose Iriarte-Diaz at UIC for research he did on dinosaur’s gait. The closest you can get to dinosaurs today are birds, so consequently Jose used domestic chickens for his studies. Normally when birds walk, the thighbone is more or less horizontal, with the knees doing most of the work.

Jose made a dinosaur tail out of modeling clay and a wooden stick that he then attached to the rear ends of his chickens two days after they hatched, increasing the weight as they grew. Effectively, this created a counter-balance, causing the birds to walk in a much more upright fashion, more like humans, with a more upright stance and most of the movement happening in the hips.

The thought of Daffy Duck being crossbred with a T Rex really tickled me. And imagine what a let-down it must have been when Jose removed that fake tail, not to mention that as the chicken concerned, you would end up flat on your face… beak – whatever!

Still, doing science nowadays is tough and I certainly do not begrudge anyone the funding they manage to wrangle out of increasingly tight budgets.

So good on ya, Jose.