display | more...

To start with, one must realize that the world has, and continues to have, horse-sized chickens. Once upon a time they were called dinosaurs. The larger members of the Dromeosaur family were, in fact, roughly the size of horses. If you believe you are able to take on a Utahraptor or an Astruoraptor and win, why then yes, fight the horse-sized chicken.

The modern version of horse-sized chickens are emus, cassowaries, and ostritches, all three of them well-known for being able to kick a person to death. If you think you can fight an emu, then yes, by all means, fight the horse-sized chicken. Keeping in mind that the Australian Army could not defeat a small contingent of them.

Now on the other hand, fighting a hundred chicken-sized horses has more unanswered questions. What is the actual mass of these horses? Are they coordinated, or are they  more likely to run away like regular horses? Are they as fragile as regular horses? Regular horses are fragile because they have a great amount of mass set atop very flimsy legs. If they were the size of chickens, would they retain this fragility, or not? It might be possible to obliterate such a horse with one kick, or perhaps not.

I think I would pick the horse-sized chicken simply because I would know exactly what I was in for and I would be able to plan accordingly. The tiny horses, who knows how they work?

I retort.

The world has never had, nor has now, "horse-sized chickens." Nobody ever saw a dinosaur or a cassowary and mistook it for a chicken.

A "chicken" is a very specific thing. According to the all-knowing (though lesser-than-E2) collection of knowledge called Wikipedia: "The chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a domesticated subspecies of the red junglefowl originally from Southeastern Asia." The dinosaur, by contrast, is not a domesticated subspecies of such red junglefowl, nor are any of the other extra-large flightless birds known to adorn many continents. Even a turkey is not a chicken.

The first line of the syllogism being attempted in implying otherwise would be that "all birds are chickens" -- but that is no less fanciful than insisting "all mammals are horses," under which it might be claimed that whales are simply big ocean-roving horses and moles are tiny burrowing horses and wolverines are vicious little motherf--, ahem, carnivorous horses. And humans? Well then, humans are simply hairless bipedal horses. And if humans are a kind of horse, then a fight with a hundred chicken-sized human horses might bode ill, since they would be apt to apply their human intelligence to the problem and outmaneuver you.

But supposing that a horse-sized chicken is literally taken to mean an animal anatomically a chicken but the size of a horse, that is the foe to pick, due to (drumroll, please) the inverse-square law.

The largest chicken ever recorded is this fellow, Merakli, a Kosovar native tipping the scales at 17 pounds. But the average horse weighs over 50 times as much. An anatomically correct chicken which was the size of a horse by any measure (weight, height, length) would be unable to support its own weight on its chicken legs not designed to carry such a load. If it walked at all it would be with immense difficult, and might immediately collapse under its own weight. The "fight" would be a matter of taking a few steps back and waiting for this creature to experience heart failure.

Update: The node below is surely worthy of a full-length retort of its own, but I have but two words: Dik-dik.

While Pandeism Fish makes a good point about the inverse-square law, and how the infeasibility of a chicken's musculoskeletal system when augmented to an equine size would lead to the fight being self-concluding.

But we also have to consider the reverse: how would shrinking down to the size of an average chicken affect the health of a horse? And here, we have a pretty clear reason why a chicken-sized horse would be just as helpless as our cardiovascularly overburdened monster chicken. A horse's diet is based on eating a lot of grass. Horses can digest cellulose, which in general is not a very nutritious food (for us at least). I am not exactly an equine microbiological dietician, so I won't give you the details, but here is the common sense explanation: a horse depends on an economy of scale to be able to get nutrition out of cellulose. Its digestive system has to be big and warm and full of intestinal flora to get the needed nutrition out of cellulose rich grass. That is why most grass-eating animals tend to be big. Herbivorous animals, as they get smaller, have to focus on nuts, seeds, and vegetables, which are more energy rich, or have to do things like reingesting their feces, or coprophagy. Horses do enjoy things like apples, carrots or bread for treats, but horses are large enough that they can survive on cellulose. If we were to scale a horse down to chicken size...its digestive system would not be able to extract enough energy from food for it to survive, unless it was eating constantly. Our chicken-sized horses would be just as metabolically penalized as our horse-sized chicken, and would probably be too busy constantly eating strawberries or pellets of their own feces to have much time for aggression, if they could even survive at all.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.