Modern Day Birds May Be Dinosaurs That Didn’t Develop
According to researchers, the birds of today may be dinosaurs that didn’t develop. Remarkable similarities were found following a comparison of bird skulls with juvenile dinosaurs’ fossilized skulls. This development is further proof to the growing belief that modern-day birds are the descendants of dinosaurs.
A group from the University of Harvard reported online in the journal Nature that for a currently unknown reason, some dinosaur babies started to mature quicker than normal. This speedy maturation changed their gene expression, which in turn changed their physical characteristics, making them smaller. These alterations allowed for the development of flight and a relatively larger brain.
Various evidence has suggested a link between the two animals. At least 22 bones are found only in both species, and not other animals. As well, researchers have found dinosaur fossils with feathers, and other bird-like characteristics, as well as, primitive bird fossils with dinosaur-like characteristics.
Harvard University evolutionary biologist, Arkhat Abzhanov, also found a credible resemblance between adult birds and juvenile dinosaur skulls and performed a more exhaustive study. Together with Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, a graduate student, he utilized CT scanners to analyze dozens of skulls, which included modern-day birds, theropods – dinosaurs that were the most closely comparable to birds – and earlier dinosaur breeds. When they identified different skull landmarks, they could track changes in the skull shapes over time.
Abzhanov and Bhullar, concluded that the changes which evolved the dinosaurs into birds was a phenomenon called paedomorphosis, which is created by a process known as progenesis, wherein the descendants reach their sexual maturity earlier. Birds can mature in as little as four months, while dinosaurs took months or even years.
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