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Why birds are NOT descended from dinosaurs


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Why birds are NOT descended from dinosaurs


By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 12:02 PM on 10th June 2009



Birds did not descend from dinosaurs, scientists claim after studying how our feathered friends move and breathe.


It has been known for decades that the femur, or thigh bone in birds is largely fixed making birds 'knee runners.'


But researchers from Oregon State University found the bone also stops their lung collapsing, allowing the breathing capacity for flight.










article-1192019-02D24E32000005DC-660_468x456.jpg The thigh bone stops a bird's lungs from collapsing, allowing them the breathing capacity to fly unlike dinosaurs like sauropods


Every other animal that has walked on land, including humans, elephants, lizards and theropod dinosaurs - a family that includes the T Rex, had a moveable thigh bone.


The find may force paleontologists to reconsider their long-held belief that modern birds are direct descendants of ancient, meat-eating dinosaurs.







'It's amazing we didn't understand a basic aspect of bird biology,' said US researcher Professor John Ruben.

'A velociraptor did not just spout feathers at some point and fly off into the sunset.

article-1192019-0549BAC4000005DC-142_233x309.jpg Running and walking is generated mostly at knee and ankle joints in birds


'Birds probably evolved on a parallel path alongside dinosaurs, starting that process before most dinosaur species even existed.'

Characteristics such as feathers, wings and a bird's unique way of moving therefore developed separately.

Dinosaurs and birds both thrived in the Cretaceous period between 145 and 65 million years ago.


The Archaeopteryx, long considered the oldest bird, lived 150million years ago, while dinosaurs emerged earlier around 200million years ago.


However, Professor Ruben said he didn't discount birds and dinosaurs sharing an ancient ancestor such as the small, reptilian 'thecodonts' that roamed Earth 250million years ago.


'It just seems pretty clear now that birds were evolving all along on their own and did not descend directly from the theropod dinosaurs,' he concluded.

There study has been published in The Journal of Morphology.

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