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dinosaurs living and dead

This is more a personal observation than a technical or scientific
comment, but the topic has been discussed on the list recently, so here
goes . . . 

My wife returned from a school vacation trip to Florida with some
pictures of young emus she and the boys had taken at a zoo.  She is not
a scientist but has picked up some knowledge of recent thinking
regarding dinosaurs through my interest in the subject.  She was struck
by the resemblance she saw in these birds to some of the recent
reconstructions and dinosaur artwork that I have shown her.  I have in
front of me while I write this one of the photographs which shows two
of these birds (from the neck up).  They are covered in downy, hair-like
feathers with a complex dark and white pattern of coloration.  They are
picking at what looks like cracked corn or something similar scattered on
top of a wide railing constructed of pressure-treated lumber, while still
keeping a sharp eye on whoever was taking the picture.  

These creatures have a very primordial appearance that in my opinion
has been captured well in the artwork of Rachel Clark, Mike Keesey,
Peter Buchholz and others.  These artists have created not just technical
reconstructions but have instilled in their creatures a personality, a "look
in their eyes", that is very similar to the intense, watchful, and somewhat
alien stare evident in this photograph.  Whether the artists have been
influenced in their reconstructions by their knowledge of extant avian
appearance or whether they have objectively and scientifically based
their reconstructions on the available fossil evidence is hard for me to
tell, but the similarities between the heads of these emus and the
drawings of some theropod dinosaurs is striking.  The article in the new
National Geographic had much of the same effect.  I believe that the
professional paleontological community of artists and scientists is giving
the rest of us non-professional avocational paleontologists  a clearer and
clearer picture of what these creatures must have been like.  Kudos to
all of you.

James Norton