…later earning himself the nickname “Slippery Jim”.
Our last entry for this theme. Next up: “Well, That’s Different”
The Doclopedia #1,208
Strange Pet Ailments: Avian Regression Disease
There can be little doubt that among the diseases of pets, Avian Regression Disease is the worst and potentially the most deadly. Not deadly for the birds, but for humans and other animals.
ARD is believed to have entered the pet population via a shipment of 2,000 parrots captured in Costa Rica in the 1990s, a few years after the mysterious military firebombing of Isla Nublar, an island which still carries the death penalty for trespassers. The parrots came into the United States, Canada, the UK, Europe and South Africa via the usual route and were passed through quarantine with no problems.
About a year later, some of these parrots began to come down with a disease that caused many of their feathers to fall out, new & much different feathering to grow back and beak and skull deformities to occur. These individuals also began to grow scales on the featherless areas. Veterinarians were stumped as to what was going on. It would be another six months before the truth was even guessed at. During that time, most of the surviving 2,000 birds showed signs of the changes. Around 190 of these birds escaped into the wild in North America, South Africa and Europe. Dozens of aviaries and zoos started reporting that the disease had spread to other psittacine species, ostriches, some raptor species and, worst of all, domestic chickens.
In 1994, Dr. Sheila Soong at the UC Davis Veterinary school suggested that these birds were actually regressing into something similar to dinosaurs. She was roundly criticized for this, until several paleontologists and geneticists backed her up. This was also the same time that several attacks upon humans and other animals made the news. The worst came when 10,000 hens at a Georgia chicken farm escaped and killed 45 people. Only 7,000 of those birds were ever destroyed.
We now accept that ARD is real and does indeed turn several species of birds into therapod dinosaurs. We also know that some, if not most of these neo-dinos produce young that are larger with each successive generation, generally about 10-15% larger than the previous generation. Fourteen species of neo-dino have been identified, including raptors, carnotaurs, pterosaurs, tyrannosaurs and spinosaurs. It has also been discovered that pigeons can be carriers of this disease, but are never affected by it.
Oddly, one of the best friends that the United Nations Dinosaur Eradication Agency has are crows and ravens, who hate the dinos and will fly in large groups above them.