Mutant Chicken Grows Alligatorlike Teeth

Working late in the developmental biology lab one night, Matthew Harris of the University of Wisconsin noticed that the beak of a mutant chicken embryo he was examining had fallen off. Upon closer examination, he found that the snubbed beak of the mutant chicken had tiny bumps and protuberances along the edge of its beak that looked like teeth, alligator teeth to be specific. The accidental discovery revealed that chickens retain the ability to grow teeth, even though birds lost this feature long ago. The finding also resurrected the controversial theory of one of the founders of comparative anatomy, Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hillaire.

In the early 19th century, Saint-Hillaire observed that developing parrots have tiny bumps on their beaks that resemble teeth, something he ascribed to modern animals deriving from more basic primitive forms. But due to his developing battles with Georges Cuvier over evolution, the finding was forgotten until Harris, a graduate student, re-discovered it nearly 200 years later...

(Story continues here)


I don't know if this is George W Bush's worst nightmare -- who knows what imaginary horrors he saw lying drunk in the gutter all those years -- but something like this was big enough for him to put it in the State of the Union Address ....

I guess "Scarce as hen's teeth" is just one more old saying that the next generation will hear and say "Wottinhell does THAT mean?"


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