Friday follies: flamingoes are funny

October 11, 2013


But not “funny ha-ha”. More like, “funny how that neck is clearly impossible.” I mean, really.

This is another shot from the Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma City. A few hundred more posts like this and I’ll be done.

For more flamingo-related weirdness, check out Casey Holliday’s work (with Ryan Ridgely, Amy Balanoff, and Larry Witmer) on the wacky blood vessels in flamingo heads. Unfortunately, Holliday et al. found no evidence of the antigravity generators that are obviously present in flamingoes somewhere. So there’s more work to be done here.

Kinda makes me sad, to ponder all of the sweet soft-tissue adaptations that extinct organisms must have had, that we will probably never know (enough) about. At least we have freaks like this around to remind us.

8 Responses to “Friday follies: flamingoes are funny”

  1. Mike Taylor Says:

    Flamingo skeletons make my eyes hurt.

  2. Nathan Myers Says:

    Its presence here implies that a sauropod is basically a flamingo with four squat legs and a tail. The question before us is this: did sauropods, too, sleep standing on one foot? The adaptive advantages are obvious. I would need to see a full reconstruction before I could discount the possibility.

  3. […] Flamingo skeletons are just as funny looking as you would expect. […]

  4. Nathan Myers Says:

    Has anybody checked if the tongue could be working in loco an auxiliary heart, to pump blood back up the neck? It’s vascularized, there is enough muscle there, and it works in a regular, repetitive motion when the beak is under water. How could evolution bear to leave such a resource untapped?

  5. Matt Wedel Says:

    Wow, you just blew my mind. I dunno–maybe Casey will drop in and tell us whether this is just crazy, or crazy enough to be possible.

  6. Nathan Myers Says:

    I live for that.

  7. Nathan Myers Says:

    In particular, I love that (unlike the case in physics) someone pig-ignorant can compose a coherent question that manifestly has an answer, that could be answered were it to be investigated, and that is potentially of wide interest, but is absolutely not known — not necessarily because of any intrinsic difficulty in investigation, but simply because everyone equipped to investigate is busy with other at least equally interesting questions.

  8. […] gross neck bird. We don’t have any of those: all bird necks are beautiful, at least once divested of soft tissue. (Though we’d admit that the neck of a flamingo is weird.) […]

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