Palaeontologists spend a lot of time wondering about how dinosaurs looked and moved in real life, and these thoughts recently were expressed by the recent shift in ideas about external appearance of dinosaurs that move away from the more traditional scaly-hided, shrink-wrapped Paulian beasts of the last forty years to the new anatomically rigorous yet rationally speculative reconstructions illustrated in the brilliant All Yesterdays or Matthew Martyniuk's equally inspirational Field Guide to Mesozoic Birds and Other Winged Dinosaurs.
My trip to the poultry show added plenty of fuel to the fires of imagination when it comes to thinking about the reconstruction of the soft tissues of dinosaurs, as the various breeds of chicken present had a bewildering array of wattles, combs and other ornamentations. They were equally diverse in terms of body shape and type of feathery integument as well as the placement of feathers over the body. In short, some looked they had really funny haircuts, some quite weird faces and fleshy bits and others looked duller but distinctly dinosaurian and at least one breed looked cuddly. Never thought I'd say that about a chicken.
Here are the pictures. I took these with my iPhone and so they're not great quality and them chucks have a habit of not staying still at all. I didn't get the breed names of most of these birds so apologies for the lack of clear labelling. However, I hope they convey some of the beauty of a bird it's all too easy to take for granted.
|First up, this chicken with a mostly naked head.|
|A more traditional looking bird, with an elaborate, flat comb.|
|The cuddly chicken.|
|This bird would not stay still hence the motion blur, but has very distinctive ear lobes.|
|Another chicken with prominent fleshy wattles, ear lobes and comb.|
|A lovely wattle/comb/feather combo on display here.|
|This breed is quite spectacular, and slightly weird (in a good way).|
In the Tet Zoo Gallus post Darren notes this breed is a Transylvanian Naked-Necked Chicken.
|A very solid comb and prominent fleshy eyelid, plus feathery ear coverts.|
|Er, obviously not a chicken, but a Dewlap Toulouse gander.|