Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)


A (somewhat) serious post.

Cormorants are cool because they’re basically really crappy ducks. Ducks have oil in their feathers to help waterproof them for their aquatic life style. (The book Ducks Don’t Get Wet is a great resource for more information, if you’re less than this many: ✋.) One can imagine a time in history when little dinosaurs were floating in the water thinking “this is way too cold, let’s develop oils!” and, millions of years later, we get ducks. Cormorants are just starting out. Who knows, maybe they’ll figure out the oil trick and stop having to spend so much time drying themselves out. Maybe, though, they’ll do something else. They could develop a rubber-like feather (like the kiwi did). They could develop hydrophobic feathers (like lily-pads). They could go even weirder and develop some symbiotic relationship with an algae or something that needs the water more than they do, which absorbs it into their developing young and, when mature, drops off the bird at night, leaving it dry and ready for the next day.

Sadly, the only three ways to find out are:

1) Develop a time machine and travel forward to find out what happens.
2) Develop a stasis machine and be stuck in mid thumb-twiddle for several million years.
3) Hope someone else invents a time machine, thinks that cormorants are just as cool as you do, and comes back in time to tell you all about it. I’m hoping for a visitor at ten this morning.