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Dinosaurs shrank for over 50 million years

Posted on Saturday, 2 August, 2014 | Comment icon 13 comments

Today's birds are far removed from their reptilian progenitors. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Aviceda
Researchers have been piecing together how therapod dinosaurs eventually became today's birds.
Aside from ostriches and a few other large species, most modern birds are predominantly tiny and look nothing at all like their prehistoric meat-eating ancestors.

The evolutionary process that governed this transformation has not been well understood, but now researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia have put together a detailed family tree mapping the evolution of therapod dinosaurs to the agile flying birds we see today.

Their results indicated that meat-eating dinosaurs underwent several distinct periods of miniaturization over the last 50 million years which took them down from an average weight of 163kg to just 0.8kg before finally becoming modern birds.

"Being smaller and lighter in the land of giants, with rapidly evolving anatomical adaptations, provided these bird ancestors with new ecological opportunities, such as the ability to climb trees, glide and fly," said study leader Mike Lee.

Source: BBC News | Comments (13)

Tags: Dinosaurs, Birds

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by jarjarbinks on 2 August, 2014, 20:27
first time i heard about it was in Jurassic Park, i was 11 years old.
Comment icon #5 Posted by bobb73 on 3 August, 2014, 2:52
A T-Rex whistling and with feathers would be an awesome sight
Comment icon #6 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 on 3 August, 2014, 3:37
Comment icon #7 Posted by third_eye on 3 August, 2014, 4:57
now we have sufficient backing fossil records that they hunt in packs ~ [list] [*]LiveScience [*]ScienceChannel [/list] ~
Comment icon #8 Posted by RaymondEternal on 4 August, 2014, 12:46
I think some of are birds and some are reptiles & amphibians...
Comment icon #9 Posted by bobb73 on 16 August, 2014, 19:51
Wow that's amazing! I just saw an emu that was making a drumming sound with lots of bass to it and you could feel it 50 yards away. Imagine what a T-Rex would sound like? I think the more bird-like Rex is far more frightening than a reptile roaring one. Something very unerving about giant birds.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Scheming B on 16 August, 2014, 22:58
So, they do move in herds?
Comment icon #11 Posted by third_eye on 18 August, 2014, 5:58
Well ... I think it more accurate to say that their prey of the day moved in herds ~ ~
Comment icon #12 Posted by DecoNoir on 18 August, 2014, 6:23
Dr. Grant, my dear Dr. Sattler, welcome the Jurassic Park references!
Comment icon #13 Posted by third_eye on 18 August, 2014, 6:25
Do I get to pet a Brontosaurus ?

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