The descent of Petey

Bird and Moon comics offers this helpful illustration of how evolution screwed over the parakeet.

See the full comic, "Evolution Sucks"

Via David Ng


  1. I for one look forward to the point where we become aquatic creatures that survive by evolving smaller brains. And also the return of Kilgore Trout. I assume he’s the one who will bring us some tasty sunflower seeds. 

  2. Large predators tend to become smaller with time as they use up their available food supply (this is especially apparent on islands where the ecosystem is limited).  Parakeets are just victims of their own success.

    1. That may be true on islands (where all large animals tend to become smaller, not just predators) but I don’t think it’s true in general–in paleontology there is Cope’s rule which says the body size of a given lineage tends to increase over time, though wikipedia says it’s debated whether it’s just a statistical artifact, and this article also notes that decreases in body size can happen more quickly then increases. Anyway, if we’re using the comic as a jumping-off point for discussing actual biology, it’s worth pointing out that parakeets didn’t really evolve from giant ancestors, the “terror bird” in the first panel wasn’t actually too closely related to parrots (wikipedia says Phorusrhacidae was most closely related to modern Seriemas, and Gastornis was probably most closely related to chickens, though in both cases they were probably cousins rather than ancestors of the modern birds).

      1. Yes, totally true – I was making a more general joke, and I hope you’ll forgive the specific inaccuracy. I should mention that I drew this comic before the discovery of the enormous terror bird Kelenken, which made terror birds even more awesome.
        Thanks so much for the feature, Boing Boing!

        1.  Oh, I definitely think strict paleontological accuracy can be sacrificed in the name of a good gag!

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