[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

[toni.naish@btinternet.com: Restoring Phorusrhacos]

Yes more thesis-avoidance manoeuvres from Darren.  Stand by for his
13945-OTU, 45602-character analysis of amniota.

------- Start of forwarded message -------
Envelope-to: mike@miketaylor.org.uk
Delivery-date: Sat, 16 Jul 2005 12:51:05 +0200
From: "Toni" <toni.naish@btinternet.com>
To: "Mike Taylor" <mike@miketaylor.org.uk>
Subject: Restoring Phorusrhacos
Date: Sat, 16 Jul 2005 11:56:57 +0100
Content-Type: text/plain;
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2800.1165
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.0.0 (2004-09-13) on bagel.indexdata.dk
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-1.8 required=5.0 tests=AWL,BAYES_00 autolearn=ham 

I've read that some people will do the most mundane, unnecessary tasks (such
as housework, breaking rocks, removing weeds, painting walls) in order to
avoid doing a far more important job. On that note - and this is definitely
going to be the last of these I promise - could you, yet again, fwd this on
to DML for me please? Matt's sent me an email on 7306 that needs dealing
with - I'll try and get round to that tonight.

- -------------------------------

On life restorations of the Miocene phorusrhacoid _Phorusrhacos_, I

> << By analogy, the  giant predatory bird _Phorusrhacos_ is ALWAYS (pretty
> much) restored with black  and white plumage. Why? Well, because that's
how it
> was first depicted by Zdenek  Burian! Ah, the burden of history. >>

In response Dan wrote...

> Actually,  that should be Chas.R.Knight:
> http://www.50birds.com/images/extbPhororhacosapcrk.jpg
> Although I think both artworks are basically monochrome. DV

Hi Dan. Of course Knight is the master and doubtless his _Phorusrhacos_ was
highly influential - indeed it is quite likely that Burian looked at this
image while producing his restoration (Spinar & Burian 1972). But Knight's
bird doesn't have a distinct colour scheme: it's just greyish, with a pale
(white?) neck and chest. Burian's, in contrast, is distinctly patterned: jet
black body, tail and wings, white neck and head, with a black nape and ruff
and a red cere. I wonder if he was looking at Woolly-necked storks (_Ciconia
episcopus_), which have a similar colour scheme. And it's this colour scheme
(not Knight's) which has been copied in detail by artists again and again:
after a quick look in my library I found _Phorusrhacos_ depicted in exactly
this fashion by Jan Sovak (in Currie 1991, p. 143), in several children's
books where the artists are safely anonymous, and in life-size fibreglass
form in prehistoric animal parks the length and breadth of the land
(seriously). A google search will also throw up restorations that use
Burian's colour scheme. Granted, _Phorusrhacos_ isn't >always< depicted in
this fashion (Maurice Wilson, for example, restored _Phorusrhacos_ twice,
and on both occasions just made it grey and shaggy, like a rhea), but
there's definitely a tradition of 'doing a Burian' and making the bird
distinctly black and white, and red-cered, simply because that's how Burian
depicted it.

A few other things of interest - it's actually a bit ironic that
_Phorusrhacos_ is the one phorusrhacoid which is restored more than any
other, as it actually isn't well known enough for a confident reconstruction
to be produced (Alvarenga & Höfling 2002, p. 73), nor is a complete skull
known (Ameghino wrote of seeing one in the field, but was only able to
collect fragments as it was too fragile to recover). It's taxa like the
brontornithines _Physornis_ and _Paraphysornis_, the phorusrhacine
_Devincenzia_ and the patagornithine _Andalgalornis_ that we should see
restored more often (good skulls and near-complete associated skeletons).
Clearly we should be looking at seriemas when restoring these birds - though
I must say I'm partial to Alveranga's (1982) restoration of _Physornis_. It
looks like a horse-headed giant kiwi.

Refs  - -

Alvarenga, H. M. F. 1982. Uma gigantesca ave fóssil do Cenozóico Brasileiro:
_Physornis brasiliensis_ sp. n. _Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências_
54, 697-712.

- - . & Höfling, E. 2003. Systematic revision of the Phorusrhacidae (Aves:
Ralliformes). _Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, Museu de Zoologia da Universidade
de São Paulo_ 43, 55-91.

Currie, P. J. 1991. _The Flying Dinosaurs_. Red Deer College Press (Red
Deer, Alberta), pp. 160.

Spinar, Z. V. & Burian, Z. 1972. _Life Before Man_. Thames and Hudson
(London), pp. 228.

- -- 
Darren Naish
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Burnaby Building, Burnaby Rd
University of Portsmouth
Portsmouth, UK, PO1 3QL

email: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
[send large attachments to: eotyrannus@gmail.com]
tel: 023 92846045
------- End of forwarded message -------