Aves (the scientific name for birds) are some interesting creatures. They have a subtle demeanor but still manage to maintain a majestic look when they are perched on a limb, rock, statue, or my car. They are a group of endothermic vertebrates which, how I understand it, is simply an animal with a backbone that uses it body to keep warm more than outside stimuli.
Actually, using their body to make heat like us humans, is usually just a by-product of the body’s common metabolism. In other cases, when its really cold out, say like 57 degrees in Florida, the bird’s bodies like the bodies of humans in that state start doing other things to keep warm. One example would be shivering because 57 degrees in Florida is basically winter time.
Scientists’s fossil records show that birds are the last surviving dinosaurs. I know it maybe hard to fathom considering that dinosaurs were on this planet millions of years ago but the records don’t lie. Here’s what the records show. Birds evolved from feathered ancestors in the theropod group… coelurosaurian to be exact. Theropods were usually carnivorous dinosaurs that had short forelimbs and walked on their hind-legs. They are called bipedal.
Other features that connect Theropods to birds are furcula (wishbone), air filled bones, egg incubation, and in Coelurosauria, which is a subgroup of Theropods, feathers. As a sidenote, the “wishbone” is found in birds and is formed by the fusion of two clavicles. It helps strengthen the skeleton so that birds can endure the strain and pressures of flight.
If we were to compare birds to other vertebrate animals we would see that the body of a bird has adapted for the specifics of flying. A bird’s skeletal is made up of many light weight but powerful bones. Some of their bones are hollow and the amount they have varies among species. Large gliding birds often have more than most birds. Birds that dive usually have less hollow bones than those that don’t dive.
So basically, I wanted to lay out a brief introduction of birds. Of course I left out tons of information but a lot of it was what I found to be “hard core” science stuff and I really didn’t want to go that route. Who knows though, throughout the life of this website, in other posts, I might have to use some scientific terminology to describe something. I just didn’t want to fill up one post with a bunch of science words and risk boring you and myself.
I was able to cover some good stuff here though… like the scientific name for birds which is actually not commonly known. Seems like it should be though. We have seen birds everyday of our lives for many years but if you asked 100 people what was the scientific name for birds, more than half of them wouldn’t know. It makes you think about what other things have we been living around and taking for granted.
It was also pretty cool to find out that birds are the last living dinosaurs we have on this earth. Anyway, check back in a few days to see if I have put up the next post. As of now, I’m thinking of being a little more specific about the birds but I’m not sure. I’ll know once I start writing. Later