Are birds technically dinosaurs?

Nov 18, 2019
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I am not sure if it is snobbery in favor of modern species, but it seems that the scientific community recognizes birds as having evolved from dinosaurs, but not actually BEING dinosaurs.

As there are a vast array of dinosaur species out there, flapping, swimming, crawling, running, jumping, lumping and otherwise dominating the landscape for many million years. Archeaopteryx were a dinosaur that could be called birds, even though they had teeth.

There are a great many articles about the creatures, which lean one way or another, but leaning toward being merely an "evolutionary link" rather than continuation:
Birds themselves have evolved to incredibly dimorphic forms, from flappy, tubby penguins to gangly flamingos to tiny hummingbirds. There are flightless birds, diving birds, soaring birds, as different from each other as the archeaopteryx is from other dinosaurs, but noone questions they are all birds.

So ARE birds dinosaurs? I'm interested in the opinions of my fellow mammals.
Griff
 

MindyW

Staff member
Nov 20, 2019
5
15
35
I am not sure if it is snobbery in favor of modern species, but it seems that the scientific community recognizes birds as having evolved from dinosaurs, but not actually BEING dinosaurs.

As there are a vast array of dinosaur species out there, flapping, swimming, crawling, running, jumping, lumping and otherwise dominating the landscape for many million years. Archeaopteryx were a dinosaur that could be called birds, even though they had teeth.

There are a great many articles about the creatures, which lean one way or another, but leaning toward being merely an "evolutionary link" rather than continuation:
Birds themselves have evolved to incredibly dimorphic forms, from flappy, tubby penguins to gangly flamingos to tiny hummingbirds. There are flightless birds, diving birds, soaring birds, as different from each other as the archeaopteryx is from other dinosaurs, but noone questions they are all birds.

So ARE birds dinosaurs? I'm interested in the opinions of my fellow mammals.
Griff
This is a great question! Short answer: Birds ARE dinosaurs. Paleontologists are definite about that. All birds alive today are, in fact, living dinosaurs! They're the sole branch of the dinosaur family tree that survived, while all non-avian dinosaurs went extinct. For me, this relationship is easiest to see in the big flightless birds, like ostriches, rheas and cassowaries.

Archaeopteryx, long recognized as the earliest known example of a primitive bird, had feathers and could probably fly. But scientists now know that feathers and flight occurred in non-avian dinosaurs, too. Feathers preserved in fossils suggest that many dinosaurs were downy, including tyrannosaurs (yes, even T. rex!) In recent decades, fossils of other primitive birds dating to the Jurassic and Cretaceous are helping paleontologists piece together how birds evolved.

There are a number of features that distinguish a bird from its non-avian dinosaur cousins, including a wishbone (fused clavicle bones), forelimbs longer than their hind limbs, unfused shoulder bones, and a flexible wrist, among others.
 
Nov 26, 2019
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I live in the country in central North Carolina. We often see wildlife of various sorts in our yard. It never fails when I catch a wild turkey out of the corner of my eye, I am always startled by the fact that a tyrannosaurus rex is standing in my yard.
 
Nov 27, 2019
1
1
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I am not sure if it is snobbery in favor of modern species, but it seems that the scientific community recognizes birds as having evolved from dinosaurs, but not actually BEING dinosaurs.

As there are a vast array of dinosaur species out there, flapping, swimming, crawling, running, jumping, lumping and otherwise dominating the landscape for many million years. Archeaopteryx were a dinosaur that could be called birds, even though they had teeth.

There are a great many articles about the creatures, which lean one way or another, but leaning toward being merely an "evolutionary link" rather than continuation:
Birds themselves have evolved to incredibly dimorphic forms, from flappy, tubby penguins to gangly flamingos to tiny hummingbirds. There are flightless birds, diving birds, soaring birds, as different from each other as the archeaopteryx is from other dinosaurs, but noone questions they are all birds.

So ARE birds dinosaurs? I'm interested in the opinions of my fellow mammals.
Griff
Absolutely. Birds are avian dinosaurs. Non-avian dinosaurs became extinct but all the other dinosaurs continued on watching the rise of mammals. "Birds" are dinosaurs in much the same way that "primates" are mammals. Hope this helps.
 
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Nov 27, 2019
42
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I am not sure if it is snobbery in favor of modern species, but it seems that the scientific community recognizes birds as having evolved from dinosaurs, but not actually BEING dinosaurs.

As there are a vast array of dinosaur species out there, flapping, swimming, crawling, running, jumping, lumping and otherwise dominating the landscape for many million years. Archeaopteryx were a dinosaur that could be called birds, even though they had teeth.

There are a great many articles about the creatures, which lean one way or another, but leaning toward being merely an "evolutionary link" rather than continuation:
Birds themselves have evolved to incredibly dimorphic forms, from flappy, tubby penguins to gangly flamingos to tiny hummingbirds. There are flightless birds, diving birds, soaring birds, as different from each other as the archeaopteryx is from other dinosaurs, but noone questions they are all birds.

So ARE birds dinosaurs? I'm interested in the opinions of my fellow mammals.
Griff
From what I’ve read, I understand that birds’ ankle bones came from dinosaurs. So they came from dinosaurs, evolved into birds after the mass extinction 66 mya. There were feathered dinosaurs for sure.
 
Nov 26, 2019
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Birds do not have teeth by definition, the Avian species were 'Created" by prototyping, and their skeleton shows that, 20 million years after the demise of the Dino, there was a very compatible bone structure, which was used in the Creating of the Raptor, which was re purposed into the Avian frame structure.
 
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Jan 20, 2020
3
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15
I am not sure if it is snobbery in favor of modern species, but it seems that the scientific community recognizes birds as having evolved from dinosaurs, but not actually BEING dinosaurs.

As there are a vast array of dinosaur species out there, flapping, swimming, crawling, running, jumping, lumping and otherwise dominating the landscape for many million years. Archeaopteryx were a dinosaur that could be called birds, even though they had teeth.

There are a great many articles about the creatures, which lean one way or another, but leaning toward being merely an "evolutionary link" rather than continuation:
Birds themselves have evolved to incredibly dimorphic forms, from flappy, tubby penguins to gangly flamingos to tiny hummingbirds. There are flightless birds, diving birds, soaring birds, as different from each other as the archeaopteryx is from other dinosaurs, but noone questions they are all birds.

So ARE birds dinosaurs? I'm interested in the opinions of my fellow mammals.
Griff
I was in paleontology groups on Facebook for about six years until recently quitting the site. There's pretty much zero debate about birds being dinosaurs (maniraptoran theropods). In the late Cretaceous prior to the K-Pg extinction event, you had a wide variety of dinosaurs, and then after the event only birds managed to survive. They are just one type of dinosaur of many that used to live. It would be like if an extinction event happened now and only cats survived of all mammals. They would still be mammals millions of years later. They won't have turned into something else. The same is true of birds. They're still dinosaurs even though the others all dropped dead 66 million years ago. Evolution hasn't stopped, as they've certainly developed new species with new traits, but they are still fundamentally theropod dinosaurs and not all that different from what existed in the Cretaceous. Not different enough to warrant being classified as something else other than dinosaurs. Just as dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous had evolved and differed from dinosaurs that existed in the early Cretaceous, nearly 80 million years earlier. They were still dinosaurs even though they'd evolved into new species from what had existed in the past.
 
Jan 20, 2020
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Jurrassic Park velociraptors = my backyard chickens in every way except teeth and size. Nuff said!
Ha ha, I often tell people I have sixteen theropod dinosaurs. Fifteen chickens in my backyard, and a parakeet (budgerigar) in my home office.
 
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Jan 15, 2020
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This is a great question! Short answer: Birds ARE dinosaurs. Paleontologists are definite about that. All birds alive today are, in fact, living dinosaurs! They're the sole branch of the dinosaur family tree that survived, while all non-avian dinosaurs went extinct. For me, this relationship is easiest to see in the big flightless birds, like ostriches, rheas and cassowaries.

Archaeopteryx, long recognized as the earliest known example of a primitive bird, had feathers and could probably fly. But scientists now know that feathers and flight occurred in non-avian dinosaurs, too. Feathers preserved in fossils suggest that many dinosaurs were downy, including tyrannosaurs (yes, even T. rex!) In recent decades, fossils of other primitive birds dating to the Jurassic and Cretaceous are helping paleontologists piece together how birds evolved.

There are a number of features that distinguish a bird from its non-avian dinosaur cousins, including a wishbone (fused clavicle bones), forelimbs longer than their hind limbs, unfused shoulder bones, and a flexible wrist, among others.
Not necessarily. We THINK birds are dinosaurs and the Evidence suggests that, but there are anomaly’s that give experts pause for thought. So, the correct answer is “probably”.
 

MindyW

Staff member
Nov 20, 2019
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If by "experts" you mean "paleontologists," the consensus is clear (based on evidence): Birds are dinosaurs. I'm not sure what "anomaly's" you're thinking of, but there are no fossil or DNA clues that I'm aware of that suggest birds are anything other than an extant lineage of theropod dinosaurs.
 
Mar 6, 2020
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Birds are descended from dinosaurs, but it depends on whether you think that they have evolved away from dinosaurs enough to consider them different or not. Some taxonomists, called cladists, group animals by whether they all come from one common ancestor. Therefore,they would make reptiles and birds into one group.
 
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Nov 27, 2019
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They are avian dinosaurs. I believe I read somewhere that their ankle bones are still the same as the dinosaurs’ were. Something like that.
 
Jan 24, 2020
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OK, here I go with a stupid question. If life is extinguished by a large meteroite, and( ALL life perishes), then the next life forms are a NEW species right? So why do we insist on relating dinosaurs to birds? Please clarify. Just bacause some dino's had feathers does not make them ancestors of birds if they all died.
 
Jan 24, 2020
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If by "experts" you mean "paleontologists," the consensus is clear (based on evidence): Birds are dinosaurs. I'm not sure what "anomaly's" you're thinking of, but there are no fossil or DNA clues that I'm aware of that suggest birds are anything other than an extant lineage of theropod dinosaurs.
I do not agree. I think it is alot of hooooey.
 
Mar 6, 2020
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OK, here I go with a stupid question. If life is extinguished by a large meteroite, and( ALL life perishes), then the next life forms are a NEW species right? So why do we insist on relating dinosaurs to birds? Please clarify. Just bacause some dino's had feathers does not make them ancestors of birds if they all died.
If all life perishes, there would be nothing on the planet. In the case of the dinosaurs, it is likely that a few very lucky dinos survived the meteorite, and over time evolved into birds. The meteorite did not kill all living beings, otherwise the earth would most likely be a barren wasteland. Therefore, the birds of today all trace lineage to those very lucky dinos millions of years ago, making them an extension of the dinosaur family tree.
 
Mar 19, 2020
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Jurrassic Park velociraptors = my backyard chickens in every way except teeth and size. Nuff said!
Jurrassic Park didn't have the small size of velociraptors for cinematic reasons (they are closer to the Utahraptor in size). They also didn't have feathers because the bone marks that show feathers weren't discovered until later. So A LOT like your chickens!
 

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