Thanksgiving Day Reads

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Are turkeys descended from dinosaurs? Probably, according to some experts. The Washington Post: How to dissect your Thanksgiving dinosaur.

On Thanksgiving, people will gather with their loved ones to share their gratitude for one another over a lavish meal. And in all likelihood, the centerpiece of this feast will be a dinosaur.

That’s right. Birds, like the turkey gracing your Thanksgiving table, are dinosaurs. They are the only dinosaurs to survive the mass extinction that wiped out T. rex, triceratops and other behemoths 65 million years ago.

Scientists got their first whiff of the bird-dinosaur connection in 1861, when they found a fossilized feathered dinosaur called archaeopteryx in Germany. But feathers aren’t our only clue that birds are dinosaurs. Since the 1800s, paleontologists have found a wealth of evidence to support this claim. And on Thanksgiving, you and your family can dissect your own personal dinosaur to see the evidence for yourself.

Shaena Montanari, a paleontologist and dinosaur expert, showed me and my friend Joe Hanson how to perform the dissection. You can follow along in a video Joe made for his YouTube channel, It’s Okay To Be Smart. We used a rotisserie chicken, but you find the exact same structures in the bones of your bird on Turkey Day.



More from Was Tyrannosaurus a Big Turkey?

From museum displays to comic books and feature films, Tyrannosaurus rex has been celebrated as one of the biggest, meanest and ugliest predatory dinosaurs of all time. The image of this long-extinct carnivore as the apex of the apex predators has a nearly unstoppable amount of cultural inertia. Maybe that’s why people get upset when paleontologists and artists suggest that the tyrant dinosaur was at least partly covered in a coat of feathers. ( even listed an illustration of a feathered Tyrannosaurus as one of “17 Images That Will Ruin Your Childhood.”) Such images make it seem as if the old “prize-fighter of antiquity” has gone soft—how could such an imposing predator go in for such a silly look? Tyrannosaurus was no turkey, right?

To date, no one has found the fossilized remnants of feathers with a Tyrannosaurus skeleton. A few patches of scaly skin are known from some big tyrannosaur specimens, and those scraps represent about all we know for sure about the body covering of the largest tyrants. So why is Tyrannosaurus so often depicted with a coat of dino-fuzz these days? That has everything to do with the evolutionary relationships of the great tyrannosaur lineage.

Until the early 1990s, paleontologists often placed tyrannosaurus with Allosaurus, Spinosaurus, Torvosaurus and others inside a group called the Carnosauria. These were the biggest of the carnivorous dinosaurs. But the group didn’t make evolutionary sense. As new discoveries were made and old finds were analyzed, paleontologists found that the dinosaurs within the Carnosauria actually belonged to several different and distinct lineages that had branched off from one another relatively early in dinosaur history. The tyrannosaurs were placed within the Coelurosauria, a large and varied group of theropod dinosaurs which includes dromaeosaurs, therizinosaurs, ornithomimosaurs, oviraptorosaurs and others. Almost every single coelurosaur lineage has been found to have feather-covered representatives, including the tyrannosaurs.

Click on the link to read the rest.

Whether you’re having turkey today or not, I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing day. You may want to just ignore all the political news, but here are some stories to check out if you’re interested.

NBC News: Democrats won House popular vote by largest midterm margin since Watergate.

CNN Politics: US agency opens case file on potential Whitaker Hatch Act violations.

Open Secrets: Tax returns reveal one six-figure donor accounts for entirety of “dark money” funding Whitaker’s nonprofit.

Elizabeth Spiers at The Washington Post: Ivanka Trump ignores rules because she doesn’t treat the White House as a real job.

The Telegraph: MI6 battling to stop Donald Trump releasing classified Russia probe documents.

Gabriel Sherman at Vanity Fair: No One Is In Charge: Inside Trump’s New Fox Takeover.

Politico: Fiery West Wing meeting led to more power for military at U.S.-Mexico border.

The Daily Beast: DHS Wouldn’t Take Mattis’ No for an Answer on Lethal Force.

The Guardian: Mohammed bin Salman expected to attend G20 summit.

The Washington Post: Trump’s dangerous message to tyrants: Flash money and get away with murder.

CBS News: Trump defends Saudis, says “maybe the world” should be held accountable for Khashoggi’s murder.


If you have a little extra time today, please check in and let us know what you’re doing today and what you’re grateful for. 



26 Comments on “Thanksgiving Day Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving Day, whether you’re celebrating with family or friends or on your own.

    I’m very grateful to have the day to myself this year. I’ve enjoyed many happy Thanksgiving days with family and with friends, I’ve also had some really awful ones. At my age, I think I have the right to decide for myself how I want to spend these traditional holidays. So today I’ll be eating homemade beef stew and reading a cozy mystery.

    I love you all and I’m grateful for your support and your words of wisdom over the years.

    • Joanelle says:

      Love you too, bb. Enjoy your home cooked stew, good mystery and peace and quiet today, and hope you have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving Day!

    • NW Luna says:

      “I’ve also had some really awful ones”

      Oh, yes. I’m with you. Thank goddesses I decided some years back not to put myself through that anymore! Enjoy your reading!

  2. Delphyne49 says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Sky Dancers! It’s a cold, clear, sunny day in Jersey – I’m grateful for that, along with the Triple Goddeses who keep this blog fresh, informative and sane. I am also grateful for those in our government who persevere under this horrific regime in order to keep the country on the path of our ideals for a more inclusive, fair and just country.

    Like BB, I’m spending the day alone, which is what I’ve done for all but one time since I moved back here. The family gathering is too chaotic for my introverted self! I’ll be making an Italian style turkey meatloaf, some polenta and some steamed green beans, which will give me plenty of leftovers for awhile!

    Have a wonderful day, no matter how you spend it!

  3. dakinikat says:

    Well, I slept in late today! No more kid in me to be excited about early rising to catch the Macy’s parade! I’m taking it easy today.

    Hope everyone has the day they want and their way to celebrate!


  4. Pilgrim says:

    Here’s hoping you have a satisfying and enjoyable day. I thank you for your writings, posts, reflections, links. I appreciate your point of view.

    It’s gonna be interesting to see if MBS actually goes to the G20. Very interesting. Puts the others in a rather awkward place, as I cannot imagine they would care to present such a smiling approach to the murderer as did Sec. Pompeo.

    Now in their last days of power, the House Intelligence cmte subpoenas Comey to appear in closed-door on Dec. 3rd, when he has explicitly stated only willing to appear publicly. That too will be interesting to see, see how that gets handled. Republicans have become so corrupt. Gotta hope they learn better ways.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Here in Seattle we’ve got filtered sun turning to overcast and then light rain is predicted later on. I just finished a book of P. D. James short stories, with a cat on my lap. The furkids and DH and I are having a quiet day. Probably a walk soon. Hope to go x-c skiing in the mountains this weekend — snow level is lowering to 3,000 where it usually hovers through the winter. Dinner is unplanned as yet, but won’t be turkey.

  6. NW Luna says:

  7. NW Luna says:

    I hate to post on this horrific news but this is what we are fighting. I’m thankful we have a majority in the House and hope we’re on our way to take back the Senate and presidency in 2020 and turn the judiciary appointments back to non-misogynist candidates.

    Judge rules that federal law banning female genital mutilation is unconstitutional

    U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman found the federal ban unconstitutional, ruling that, among other reasons, female genital mutilation is a “local criminal activity” that must be regulated by the states, not Congress.

    Genital mutilation is the removal of all or part of a female’s genitals for nonmedical reasons. It is condemned by the United Nations and considered a human rights violation, but the practice is common for girls in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

    “This is not a market, but a small number of alleged victims,” Friedman said. “If there is an interstate market for FGM, why is this the first time the government has ever brought charges under this 1996 statute?”

    One of the comments which sums up my opinion: Lucyfer 1 hour ago Here is one old woman with a rusty and dull hacksaw that would love to show these buggars what it feels like.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That is horrific!

    • quixote says:

      /*Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh ??????? */

      Does that apply to lynching too? How about other violations of civil rights? And human rights? They’re all committed by some specific human(s) in some specific place and time. They’re all local! Why stop at state jurisdiction? Why not leave enforcement to municipal dogcatchers? (Who might do a better job, actually.) Or, better yet, neighborhood watch committees!

  8. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      “Steam is very reliable.” Why hasn’t this man been killed by his stupidity yet?

      Navy officer 😦yes we’re doing very well considering our idiot grifting toddler-in-chief

    • Sweet Sue says:

      This idiot just gave away military secrets to our enemies. Lock Him Up!!

  9. roofingbird says:

    Disgusting. Genital mutilation..state rights vs federal..PASS THE ERA!

    Happy Turkey day everyone.

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    Happy thanksgiving y’all. I love the dinoturkies.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Because of the holiday, I totally forgot that today is the anniversary of the JFK assassination.

  12. NW Luna says: