Poem a Day April 20, 2012

paleo-ornithology

which came first:
the chicken or the egg
or the dinosaur

and when?

was there one pair
an avian Adam and Eve
nesting in some phanerozoic Eden
blithely multiplying and being fruitful

programmed to survive?

and survive they did
and thrive they did
multiplying to fill
the ends of the earth
a family that touches all continents

but: which came first?

I needed a term for today, and into my head popped a term I am almost certain I had not actually heard: Paleo-Ornithology. I wondered, would the earliest birds be studied by ornithologists or dinosaur hunters? Where is the dividing line?

I have three websites that begin to address my questions:

Fossil Records of Avian Taxa

University of Kansas Ichnology page with descriptions of graduate students who studey ancient birds

A list of books and papers (many in English) on a German-language research site that appears to deal with paleo-ornithology. Clicking on the tabs leads to some descriptions of current and past research – and the researchers.