During KU's first 40-plus years, the university didn't have an established mascot. During at least one early season of KU football, the team used a pig as a mascot.
For a while, a bulldog appeared as a mascot at sporting events. But students continued to consider themselves Jayhawks and to sketch their versions of the mythical bird.
Early in the 20th century, as the Jayhawk became an accepted, though unofficial, symbol of KU, a costumed version of the bird appeared on the sidelines of athletic events.
Today, two versions of the Jayhawk cheer KU teams to victory: Big Jay and Baby Jay. Big Jay cheered alone until 1971, when Baby Jay hatched from an egg at halftime of KU's homecoming game.