As anyone who has ever stood within earshot of me for longer than three minutes knows, I am a doctor. Specifically speaking, my PhD gives me dominion over all literature, but more specifically, I am a doctor of books written within a certain time frame that contain elements of the gothic. However, like Drs Drew, Phil, and Ben Carson, I like to think that I am also a doctor of any subject on which I begin speaking. And thus, it is completely within my purview as a doctor of philosophy to assert that the differences between birds, dinosaurs, and lizards are so negligible that these animals are, essentially, the same terrifying creature.
While I have held my tongue on the matter for many years, in light of a new retraction by Nature, I can be silent no longer. According to NBC News, a group of bird/lizard/dinosaur doctors has recently revised their assertion that they unearthed the skeleton of the world’s tiniest dinosaur, as it’s come to their attention that the remains were most likely simply that of draconem parvus—or a lizard, to those lay people who never spent $120,000 to join a decade-long book club:
“The new species – dubbed Oculudentavis, meaning “eye tooth bird” – was thought to be just a few inches long, making it the smallest dinosaur ever found, NBC reports. “But the questions about the research and the discovery of a similar fossil have cast doubt on its classification as a bird-like dinosaur, and the authors agreed to a retraction in late July.”
The lizard/bird’s teeth and eyes appeared, in the opinions of people with actual knowledge of the matter, to indicate that the specimen was most likely just a regularly small lizard and not an irregularly small bird, yet even doctors specializing in beasts of yore recognize that they all do look pretty much the same to those of us who have nightmares about all three:
“Lizards and snakes are a different group of reptiles than dinosaurs. Both groups evolved from amphibians more than 300 million years ago, but then diverged from each other – and although some lizards now look like dinosaurs, the closest relatives of dinosaurs living today are birds, which evolved from them directly.”
Or, to put it in terms the rest of us can understand, even though Faulkner and the Brontë sisters are technically classified as different types of literature, they share a common ancestor, Pamela, and though some books by men now may look like Faulkner in terms of annoying sentences, the closest relatives of the genre are novels by Sarah Waters. And to those exclaiming, “But those are all books!” at this very moment, allow me to counter-exclaim that birds, dinosaurs, and lizards are all terrifying dragons of various sizes with eyes heralding boundless murder lust, beaky maws merrily chirruping as they unhinge, revealing portals to hell, and scaly feet unnaturally sharded by angry talons, electric with the possibility of scoring the closest living creature to meaty streamers of wet, red ribbon.