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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
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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
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
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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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