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What Do Turkeys and T. Rex Have in Common?

 

George Frederick

LiveScience.com2 hours, 50 minutes ago

A few days after Thanksgiving dinner, a popular tradition calls for two people to grab opposite ends of a dried wishbone and pull until the bone breaks in two.

The irony: The wishbone is special because it’s one piece.

The furcula (the technical term for a wishbone) is formed by the fusion of two collarbones at the sternum. The furcula is an important part of a bird’s flight mechanics—a connecting point for muscles and a strengthening brace for wings. The bone is elastic and acts as a spring that stores and releases energy during flapping. (Ever try to snap a wishbone before it’s been dried?)

Scientists once thought the furcula was unique to birds. Paleontologists now tell us that the bone dates back more than 150 million years to two-legged, meat-eating dinosaurs including the Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor. These reptilian movie stars didn’t fly. Their furculas likely served as structural supports as the dinos held their prey.

The furcula is a key component of the commonly accepted theory that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs.

Can Turkey’s Fly? Graphic: Know Your Wishbone Gallery: Dinosaur Art Original Story: What Do Turkeys and T. Rex Have in Common?Visit LiveScience.com for more daily news, views and scientific inquiry with an original, provocative point of view. LiveScience reports amazing, real world breakthroughs, made simple and stimulating for people on the go. Check out our collection of Science, Animal and Dinosaur Pictures, Science Videos, Hot Topics, Trivia, Top 10s, Voting, Amazing Images, Reader Favorites, and more. Get cool gadgets at the new LiveScience Store, sign up for our free daily email newsletter and check out our RSS feeds today!

 

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