Weavercat is a 22 yr-old female thing who doesn't know what she wants to do in life. A current art-student who has rediscovered her love of prehistoric critters. I'd like to be a scientific/medical illustrator someday.
So, ever since Wryd66 did an evolutionary explanation of the Paski I’ve been itching to do one for the BirdFolk. The BirdFolk descend from a single ancestor and are currently the only living members of the Avepezus (‘walking birds’) family.
BirdFolk Phlogeneological Study
The farthest ancestor that has derived characteristics similar to the BirdFolk is Avis nituifugax (splendid flyer). This small bird was beginning to give up flight and re-develop the long clawed fingers on it’s wings. Why? Because there was an abundance of food on the forest floor. Having to glide down from a tree is easy but to get back up they used those claws to climb back to their nests. This small, intelligent creature is the grandfather-bird of the BirdFolk.
Fast-forward quite a bit and a few smaller less-important versions of the BirdFolk. The forests have been both flooded by rain or fallen back to become plains and swamps. The current ancestor is Avis advena (migrant bird). Walking upright upon two legs they could peer about for predators. The hands of A. advena betray it’s close relationship to A. nituifugax. The hands are still structured for flapping and flying even though it is far too heavy to fly with marrow-filled bones. A. advena also begins to display the characteristic elongation of future BirdFolk in arms, legs, beak and neck. Genitalia in males is now external. A. advena is thought to have begun losing feathers on it’s body now. Webbed feet are present for life in the swamps.
From the A. advena that lived out on the plains the species that developed was so derived that it warrants an entire new genus for itself. Asterias lophogigas (giant-crested heron) was massive and thick-boned. It needed to be large just to power the massive beak. A. lophogigas was for all it’s size, a seed-eater. With that beak it could have easily broken open the hardest, thickest, shelled-nuts and seeds. Avis advena and Asterias lophogigas were contemporaries but A. advena survived simply because it was not as specialized.
Fast forward another thousand or so years and here, things get murky. Aves nuncio (messenger bird) comes into being evolving from Avis advena. With A. nuncio's hands becoming pronated and prehensile a very important change occurred in the brain. The brain was being re-wired to interpret the world in a different way. It was being re-wired to better interact with the world around it. Speech, the use of tools, communal-living all appeared with A. nuncio and were a direct result of this re-wired, less instinctual brain.
Within groups of A. nuncio another change was occurring. Aves ferrum (tool bird) were evolving amongst them. Larger-brained (compared to body-size) and less ‘stork-like’ these are the modern BirdFolk. Communities of A. ferrum were building complicated societies with new ideas and inventions. With the overwhelming technological-prowress of A. ferrum, A. nuncio was left to the far edges of the swamp where its’ species declined. It is thought that Aves nuncio is extinct but there are some strange BirdFolk in the far swamps that could be more closely related to A. nuncio than the modern A. ferrum.
[A article in the World Daily Science Journal by Doctor of New Vertebrate Studies Ms. Smith.] ?