This week was a great week for me and giant dinosaurs in many ways, so I’m sharing that experience via photos and a bit of backstory. I hope you like it.
Stomach-Churning Rating: 1/10. Big birds and bones but no barfing.
First, I attended the filming of a new documentary, “T. rex Autopsy” (due for release on 7 June on NatGeo TV, just in time to
steal the thunder of get you excited for Jurassic World), on the edge of London. I’m allowed to post these two photos of it. Expect much, much more information later– and I think you will like that information when it comes! Not quite a 50′ tall bird, but… So. Damn. Cool.
Second, my team and I dissected a big animal I’ve mentioned here before. For various reasons, I won’t/can’t post images or details of it right now, but I hope to soon. It’s not a dinosaur, but it was giant as its kind goes, so I’m wedging it in here.
Third, and this is the main impetus for my post, I finally got to see the giant chicken! No, not this one that I recall from my childhood…
But this one! A 50’/13m tall chicken made by teacher Ben Frimet’s team of students and teachers at the City of London Academy!
The megachicken was unveiled at a “Chickenfest” event celebrating the sculpture’s completion. Chickenfest also prominently involved members of the “Chicken Coop” team who have drawn together scientists, humanities scholars, artists and more to investigate “Cultural & Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions” — more details here. Their theme helped unite the event’s various displays and lectures as well as some of the City of London Academy’s teaching topics, which inspired students to look at chickens from many angles. The event was so fun and truly integrative that it had me clucking with joy, but the anatomically accurate giant chicken art piece stole the show (as intended). Enjoy the photo tour below.
What will happen to that giant chicken art piece? This is yet to be determined, and was the question asked of the lecture panel (including me, who gave a lame answer involving King’s Cross’s birdcage). It was unanimous that it must not be destroyed– as long as it does not go on a destructive rampage through London…
One of my favourite films of my teenage years, Beastmaster, lends me a phrase I’ll throw out here like a razor-edged boomerang-thing: “Life is a circle. We will meet again.” And so, at the Chickenfest event, past and present worlds collided. I happened to be there presenting a talk just before Luis Rey. Almost exactly 13 years ago, Luis had done this classic T. rex vs. giant chicken race for my “T. rex was not a fast runner” paper in Nature. He likewise has blogged about the Chickenfest event, so check that out!
Coincidentally, there was ANOTHER 50′ tall bird placed not far from that giant chicken in southeast London this week, for a very different reason- a huge Norwegian Blue parrot in celebration of the Monty Python reunion! And I’ve been a Monty Python fan since age ~11, so that rocks my world two times over.
Two giant birds in London in one week. It doesn’t get any better than that– unless there were three such birds– if I missed one, chime in in the Comments!
(Edit: British friends tell me I must refer to an Alan Partridge skit here, so I am doing so. I know when to do as I’m told.)