Magpie geese sit at the other end of the ‘evolutionary age‘ spectrum, and are considered living fossils. Again, a strange nomer that doesn’t quite hold up to scientific scrutiny and logic, but does a perfectly good job of intuitively describing what is meant: an existing species that resembles creatures otherwise known only from the fossil record. Their superficial resemblance to geese confirms their place amongst the waterfowl, but they are not true geese. They represent a monotypic family that split off a long time ago, after the screamers, but before all other ducks, geese, and swans. Members of the family already existed in similar form some 66 million years ago.
Their ancient origins show, even today. There is something oddly reptilian about their bare triangular face. Their neck is just a tad too long and thin for what my idea of a goose is comfortable with, and seeing a flock strolling across a field, heads held high, reminds me a bit too much of some paleo artwork come to life. They are wondrous birds for sure.
– Coloured pencil and fineliner on brown toned paper, 14,8 x 21 cm