Elephant Birds and Here’s Johnny: Open Thread

File:Aepyornis.jpgGood Evening

My daughter’s cheerleading dinner is tonight, which is a big thing here in Banjoville. It means we get to drive 45 minutes to eat out at a fancy Japanese steak house… you know the ones where they cook on a hot grill right in front of you. So since I am writing this post early in the morning, I hope the links are not repeats from during the day.

First off, this is one huge mutthafukken egg! Watch this video report from BBC:

Giant egg from extinct elephant bird up for auction

A rare giant bird egg is being auctioned at Christie’s auction house in London.

It was laid by an Elephant Bird in Madagascar and is thought to have been discovered by archaeologists in the late 19th or early 20th century.

The species became extinct sometime between the 13th and 17th centuries.

Who will shell out for this pre-17th century fossilised bird egg?

elephant-bird-eggAt 30cm tall and 21cm in diameter, the impressive egg is about 100 times larger than an average chicken egg, and larger than eggs laid by dinosaurs.

Far out innit? Check out the history of the Elephant Bird:

Elephant birds are an extinctfamily of flightless birds found only on the island of Madagascar. They comprised the generaAepyornis and Mullerornis. The reasons for and timings of their extinctions remain unclear, although there are written accounts of elephant bird sightings on the island in the 17th century.


The elephant birds, which were giant ratites native to Madagascar, have been extinct since at least the 17th century. Étienne de Flacourt, a French governor of Madagascar in the 1640s and 1650s, recorded frequent sightings of elephant birds. The famous explorer and traveler Marco Polo also mentions very large birds in his accounts of his journeys to the East during the 12th–13th centuries. These earlier accounts are today believed to describe elephant birds.[2]Aepyornis, believed to have been more than 3 m (10 ft) tall and weighing close to 400 kg (880 lb)[3], was at the time the world’s largest bird. Remains of Aepyornis adults and eggs have been found; in some cases the eggs have a circumference of more than 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and a length up to 34 cm (13 in).[4] The egg volume is about 160 times greater than a chicken egg.[5]

A bird that weighed 880 pounds! Geez!

Click image for more information.

Click image for more information.

Damn, that is one bad ass bird. Can you imagine coming across one of these things in the wild…wow.

And sticking with birds for the moment, True colors of some fossil feathers now in doubt (w/ Video)

Geological processes can affect evidence of the original colors of fossil feathers, according to new research by Yale University scientists, who said some previous reconstructions of fossil bird and dinosaur feather colors may now merit revision. The discovery reveals how the evidence for the colors of feathers—especially melanin-based colors—can be altered during fossilization, and suggests that past reconstructions of the original colors of feathers in some fossil birds and dinosaurs may be flawed.


In modern birds, black, brown, and some reddish-brown colors are produced by tiny granules of the pigment melanin. These features—called melanosomes—are preserved in many fossil feathers, and their precise size and shape have been used to reconstruct the original colors of fossil feathers. “The problem was that we had no idea whether melanosomes could survive the fossilisation process intact,” said McNamara. “Our experiments show that this is not the case. Our results cast a cautionary light on studies of fossil feather color and suggest that some previous reconstructions of the original plumage colors of fossils may not be accurate.” Using a novel experimental technique pioneered in the group’s recent study on the colors of fossil insects, McNamara’s interdisciplinary team simulated high pressures and temperatures that are found deep under the Earth’s surface. The team used feathers of different colors and from different species, but the geometry of the melanosomes in all feathers changed during the experiments. “This study will lead to better interpretations of the original plumage colors of diverse feathered dinosaurs and fossil birds,” said Briggs. “Fossils that have experienced relatively mild burial conditions will yield the most accurate reconstructions.”

There is a video at that link, you will find it fascinating.

Have you heard about the controversy over in England dealing with Richard III? A lawsuit has been filed….citing human rights issues. It seems strange to me…anyway here is the story: Richard III burial challenged on human rights grounds

The debate over the reburial of English King Richard III is heating up, with a group of the monarch’s supposed descendents challenging the University of Leicester on the plans for re-interment, basing their argument on human rights violations.

University of Leicester archaeologists discovered the bones of the lost monarch under a parking lot in Leicester last year, and they confirmed the king’s identity in February. The U.K. Ministry of Justice issued the university an exhumation certificate before the project began, giving them the right to decide where the king’s remains would be reburied, if found. That certificate hasn’t stopped the eruption of debate over the best spot for the burial.

From the beginning of the long search for Richard’s grave, the University of Leicester officials have stated that the king would be reburied in Leicester Cathedral, not far from his unmarked parking lot grave. But a number of Richard III enthusiasts say they’d rather see the king buried in York, a city where he spent about a third of his life.

Now, the Plantagenet Alliance, a group of about 15 people who claim to be relatives of the dead king, has released its intentions to file a legal challenge against the University of Leicester’s exhumation certificate. The challenge will argue that the Ministry of Justice is in violation of article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which affirms the right to respect for family and home life. [Gallery: The Discovery of Richard III]

According to the Alliance, the Ministry of Justice should have consulted the 15 relatives of Richard III before issuing the university a license to rebury the king as they wished. In a statement, the University of Leicester called this argument “particularly odd.”

“There is no obligation to consult living relatives where remains are older than 100 years,” the University of Leicester said.

In addition, Richard died without offspring. Any relatives are thus the descendents of his siblings, a relatively distant tie.


“Reinterment on the nearest consecrated ground is in keeping with good archaeological practice,” university officials stated. “Richard has lain in the shadow of St. Martin’s Cathedral, Leicester, for over 500 years.”

Seriously, the plans to re-bury Richard have been stated before they even found him under the car park. Seems like the powers that be in York are looking for a way to cash in on the find. This lawsuit has nothing to do with human rights…it has to do with money and more money than anything else.

The last link I have for you tonight is about Stanley Kubrick: Room 237 Review – The Shining Is Much Scarier Than You Thought

Nine different theories of the film are outlined in Room 237. These range from the somewhat obvious, like the uncovering of Native American themes and images, to outright conspiracy theories, like hidden proofs that Kubrick faked the moon landing. Even that crazy idea has some evidence to support it. Danny is wearing an Apollo 11 sweater during key scenes. Also, Kubrick changed the room number from the book. It was 217. He changed it to 237. The moon is 237 hundred thousand miles from the earth. Spooky, right?

That is all I am going to give you, just go read the entire review at the link.

Hope you enjoy your evening, I know that right about now I am sitting across from a sizzling grill, drinking plum wine and eating some damn good food.

This is an open thread.

23 Comments on “Elephant Birds and Here’s Johnny: Open Thread”

  1. Just got back from eating lots of food…how y’all doing tonight?

    • bostonboomer says:

      That egg is incredible.

    • dakinikat says:

      traumatized … had to go to the suburbs and shop at a Target … I’m home here in the bohemian ghetto drinking a Margarita and praying I don’t have to do that for another year or two … the RVs … the totally worthless crap shown in block after block of cookie cutter big box stores!! … the HORROR!!!

      • And a starbucks at every turn? We are heading to the cookie cutter stores on Monday, after my neurologist appointment in ATL.

        • dakinikat says:

          There’s blocks of them … it looks like you could be any where in the USA … just parking lots and ugly buildings. I really am glad I live in an old city where they can’t build that stuff but they go wild in the burbs.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Same here. The closest Walmart to me is in New Hampshire.

      • roofingbird says:

        Lol, I really feel for you. Most of CA is really the opposite. You have to drive miles and miles to get away from them. It’s really become a vast wasteland of big box malls with all the same stuff. Buying locally has a whole different meaning here.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    More bones dug up in Britain:

    The Greatest King In English History May Have Just Been Dug Up From The Ground

    The bones of long-lost English King Alfred the Great may have been discovered in a graveyard in Winchester, the Daily Echo reports.
    Alfred, the only English King to be known as “the Great,” was King of Wessex from 871 to 899 and was the first British Monarch to style himself as King of the entire of the Anglo-Saxons.

    He had a big reputation, too. He was once described as the “the most perfect character in history” for his legal reforms and repelling Viking attacks.

  3. Oh boy, this is something else:‘Monsanto Protection Act’ slips silently through US Congress

    The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week – including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.

    • HT says:

      Ah, so people who develop life threatening illnesses directly attributable to GMO’s are SOL (that would be shit out of luck). Typical from people who couldn’t give a crap about their constituents but are slavering after those donations to their bank accounts. Jeebus, I’m a cynical old bird.

    • NW Luna says:

      Guess if you’re not a corporation, it doesn’t matter if you get hurt.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Some new guy on the NCAA broadcast made a strange “white guy” remark.

    Introduced by Gumbel, Gottlieb made an awkward diversity joke that left all four of his African-American co-hosts shaking their heads.

    “Cream rising to the crop. I don’t know why you guys asked me, I’m just here to bring diversity to the set here. Give the kind of white man’s perspective on things from the point guard position.”

    While Anthony scowled and Gumbel looked away, Barkley and Smith awkwardly laughed, with Smith telling him “You’re swimming hard, upstream I might add.”

    He later apologized.

  5. HT says:

    P.S. Love the post JJ. The elephant bird takes me back to Sinbad and the Roc. Wonderful fun.

  6. NW Luna says:

    From the corporate piracy news department, private companies lie about weather satellite coverage:

    It appears that either the folks at PlanetIQ are either being disingenuous or their SatelliteIQ is far less than their PlanetIQ. According to her testimony in Congress, CEO Miglarese wants NOAA to reject COSMIC and sign a contract with her firm committing NOAA to purchase their services. Reject a proven system that is heavily supported by another country to commit to a firm that has no proven track record in financing and launching such a satellite constellation. As Texans would say a group that is “all hat and no cattle.”


    Warning: wonky meteorology language used at the link.