Today’s birds descended from dinosaurs: study

Today's birds have descended from huge meat-eating dinosaurs that roamed Earth millions of years ago, according to a new study conducted by University of Edinburgh paleontologists.

Paleontologist Steve Brusatte and his co-researchers examined more than 850 different body features in 150 species of extinct birds and their closest dinosaur relatives.

They concluded that there was no single missing link the birds' evolution to dinosaurs. They also concluded that the classic bird skeleton was developed over a period of millions of years.

Brusatte said the bird known today started its development around 150 million years ago, and for a long time they were barely distinguishable from their dinosaur brethren.

Sharing the findings of the study, the researchers wrote, "We surmise that a Mesozoic naturalist would make no immediate distinction between a Velociraptor-type animal and anArchaeopteryx-type animal."

The researchers also found that the birds we see nowadays had small changes in shape as well as functions of their skeletons.

The study, which published in the most recent issue of scientific journal Current Biology, supports the 1940s theory by paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson that new body shapes in many groups of species came through evolution.

United States