Friday, September 04, 2009

What Matters

I visited West Texas this past weekend. These videos and images were taken at my Father's house outside of Ft. Davis, TX, on August 30, 2009. It was a relaxing and peaceful visit. The hummingbirds are migrating south for the winter.

This looks like a Rufous and a female Black-chinned hummingbirds feeding.

Rufous and Black-chinned hummingbirds feeding at western feeder (snapshot from the above video)

Female hummingbird in oak tree

Rufous Hummingbird feeding at southern feeder.


I wonder if one could cross a hummingbird with an eagle or emu?

I see the Fort Davis area has a large radio telescope - quite something.

My dad doesn't live very far (a few miles) from McDonald Observaotry. I visited it as a teenager. they now have this telescope as well: . They built it on the cheap. Harvard University also has facilities there.

Nice joke that! :)
But, there would be no way to cross the birds. The size difference is one reason. They are different species as well. It's like trying to cross a tarsid or other small primate with a human. Too much time has passed since they diverged from a common ancestor. Now, once you have their genome sequences, you can extrapolate what the ancestral genome, and the ancestor may have looked like. All birds evolved from dinosaurs because they are theropods, but the divergence happened long enough ago that birds and dinosaurs coexisted. Experts are still arguing whether the birds are a branch of dinosaurs or whether they had a common ancestor. Mammals coexisted with the dinosaurs as well, but we have no dinosaurian features that I know of.
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