Dawn tyrant

The Early Cretaceous predatory dinosaur Eotyrannus, was only named in 2001. Intriguingly, its fossil remains suggest that it probably had quill-like structures on some parts of its body. I felt sorry for the parents of the first Eotyrannus to have shown such characteristics . . .

An Eotyrannus emerged from its shell
As its parents looked on. Then Mum said,
“I don’t think he’s right. I’m his Mum, I can tell.
There are quill-things on top of his head!”

“Nay, Mother, he’s only just out of his egg,”
Answered Father, most anxious to soothe.
“That’s as maybe,” said Mother, “but look at his leg:
It’s all rough where it ought to be smooth!”

Now, Father had come from a studious line
Of great dinosaur scientists, who
Had told him mutations could sometimes be fine
In the long run – for dinosaurs, too.

“Well, happen you’re right,” replied Father, “But still
We must wait ’til he’s got a bit older.
Have you noticed, my dear, how the wind can feel chill
And the winter nights seem to get colder?

“I reckon these growths might evolve (don’t ask how)
Into things that are good insulators;
If they then develop, a long time from now,
His descendants could be aviators!

“And maybe the sight of his colourful quills
Will attract all the females for mating:
Just a shake of his plumage will give them such thrills
He can’t fail to get alpha-male rating.”

“Eee, you do talk some rot,” said his long-suffering wife.
“How can dinosaurs fly in the sky?
We’re big, bony predators, earthbound for life;
We can’t even jump very high.”

“Of course, dear, of course,” replied Father, who knew
Evolution would have the last words:
A dinosaur line, quills and all, would ensue
Which, aeons ahead, would be. . . birds!

[Image : Natural History Museum]
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