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The Taxonomy of Big Bird, A.K.A. Grandicrocavis Viasesamensis [Video]

What is Big Bird? Well, the name may pretty much say it all as far as Sesame Street‘s young viewers are concerned, but one man needed to know more. Mike Dickison needed to know how Big Bird could possibly have arisen from evolutionary history: What are it’s relatives? How did it achieve such a unique bone structure? What happened to the other members of his species?

The video below contains Dickison’s findings, which he narrates adeptly at a presentation to Christchurch #8. From its unprecedented skeletal structure to its odd choice of natural habitat, Dickison has an answer for everything. And as funny as the video is overall, it’s absolutely not a simple joke. Legitimate, rigorous, poorly air-conditioned research went into this presentation, which makes it all the more wonderful as it comes together. But please, don’t laugh over him. This is science. It’s hard.

I always just thought he was a muppet. Also, I feel compelled to mention for legal purposes that we do not endorse trying to obtain blood from any Big Birds you happen to see around.  Caroll Spinney probably wouldn’t appreciate it.

This isn’t the only great scientific work that Dickison has done. He actually has a fantastic website, aptly URLed, and equally aptly names Statistically Improbable Phrases. Right now, he’s working on an experiment for which I have the utmost respect: The Beibignorace Project, wherein he is trying to know as little about Justin Beiber as possible. Science!

(Via Metafilter)

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