Monty Python Hits the Science Journals

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Monty Python hits the science journals as oldest fossil parrot found according to reports in University College of Dublin News and Times Online, 16 May 2008. One of the most memorable sketches from the 1960's comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus was the "Parrot Sketch" where a pet shop owner and a dissatisfied customer argued about whether a parrot was really dead. Part of the joke was that the parrot was identified as a "Norwegian Blue" - clearly a fictitious breed, because parrots are not native to Scandinavia, but are found mostly in the tropics and south of the equator.

Whilst working in Denmark as a PhD student David Waterhouse found a fossilised parrot's wing bone in a small museum. The bone was originally found two years earlier in a quarry in the Lower Eocene Fur Formation in Denmark, which is dated as being 55 million years old. Waterhouse identified the bone as belonging to a parrot about the size of a yellow crested cockatoo, making it the oldest, largest and most northerly located fossil parrot so far found. The new specimen has been formally named Mopsitta tanta but Waterhouse, a Python fan, has given it the nickname of Danish Blue as a tribute to its fictitious Norwegian counterpart. Waterhouse also commented to University College Dublin Research News: "It isn't as unbelievable as you might at first think that a parrot was found so far north. When Mopsitta was alive, most of Northern Europe was experiencing a warm period, with a large, shallow tropical lagoon covering much of Germany, southeast England and Denmark."

This comment led a writer in a science blog website to remark: "It's too bad these fossils weren't discovered in time for Al Gore's movie. He could have pointed out the horrific implications: if global warming continues, parrots will invade Denmark again! We must stop them! Our environmentally-conscious Eocene forebears stopped driving their SUVs and drove the parrots out - we can do no less! Posted by: Bob May 19, 2008 4:29 PM"

Scienceblogs

Editorial Comment: If this really is the oldest fossil parrot, then it is evidence that parrots have always been parrots and have only reproduced parrots, i.e. they have multiplied after their kind, just as Genesis says. The fact that it exists in the place where parrots no longer live only proves that this part of the world is no longer a good place for parrots to thrive. This fits with the Biblical history of an original good world with a uniformly mild climate being devastated by a world wide flood and enduring much more erratic climate since then.

"Bob" on the science blog makes an important point - there is ample and universally accepted evidence that the world has been warmer in the past without the effects of people driving cars, generating electricity from coal or breeding herds of flatulent cows, yet the followers of Al Gore insist we must endure extra taxes and regulations to put an end to the present warm period. This is a case of man trying to be his own god, rather than submitting to the real God who judged the world in the past, and will judge all human beings in the future. (Ref. ornithology, birds, climate)

Evidence News 9 July 2008

q_and_a2
crc_youtube
outdoor_museum_panel
free_audio2