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This is a picture I made for a topic on the Speculative Evolution Forum ([link]) about quadrupedal birds. Apparently, birds lack the necessary muscles in their forelimbs to become quadrupeds, so I proposed that giant birds could instead become effectively tripedal to support their weight.

Here's the original description:

Since forelimb mobility is apparently such a problem, I wonder; what would a bird do if it became a heavy grazer like a cow? Hadrosaurs and other ornithopods without the same anatomical restrictions as birds always became quadrupedal to support their expanded guts, but that's never been an option for avian grazers like moas and ostriches.

That leaves only the beak as an accessory support structure. Most birds don't do much with their beaks besides eat and preen, but parrots actually use theirs extensively when climbing. Potentially, a parrot that adopted the grazing lifestyle could continue the use of its beak as a third limb on the ground.

In fact, there is a grazing parrot; the Kakapo. And yes, it does use its beak for locomotion both in the trees and on the ground, as you can see in some of these videos: [link] . The Kakapo, while large for a parrot, is still a fairly small animal. If it attained the size of a cow* (or moa), is it that much of a stretch to imagine it using its beak to help support its weight? Think of a kangaroo using its tail as a fifth limb when walking slowly; likewise, the giant kakapo would trundle along on its feet and beak when grazing, only raising up on its hind limbs to run.


*This is all supposing, by the way, that the Kakapo isn't on the edge of extinction.

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Soon to be Scrapinated.

(Don't mind the uninspired little piece of animation in the lower left; it's only there to show how the bird moves)

My gallery: [link]
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:iconantfingers:
AntFingers Featured By Owner Edited May 9, 2015
Kakopods! Amazing idea!
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:iconelsqiubbonator:
ElSqiubbonator Featured By Owner May 10, 2014
It looks so fluffy! I want to hug it!
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner May 11, 2014
:)
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:iconzippo4k:
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012
How cute!
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012
:thumbsup: (^_^)
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:iconebervalius:
Ebervalius Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a very good idea, man!
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
Thank you!
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2012
This is adorable. A Cowkapow!
So why can't birds be quadripedal?
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
Apparently, they lack certain muscle groups that allow the arm to be pulled back parallel to the body in a step.
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
Hmm. You could get around that by twisting the arms 90 degrees, so they point strait forward and the pectoralis muscle pulls them back toward the chest. Like a headcrab!
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012
Interesting idea! I don't think anyone on the Speculative Evolution forum mentioned it, despite long conversation.

Hard to say what the biomechanical implications would be, though.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2012
I agree ... fun design & the little animation seals in the fun :p
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
Thanks :D .

Seals it with wax.
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the little animation!
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:iconzippo4k:
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012
Agreed! I wish I had any skills with Flash!
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
more skills than me!
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
Thanks :D .
Reply
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February 18, 2012
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