Feathers, Flights, & the Evolution of Birds From Dinosaurs

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Feathers, Flights, & the Evolution of Birds From Dinosaurs

When we walk around outside and look at birds, we often see a glimpse of the past. Although pigeons, canaries, and robins don’t seem threatening, their ancestors were quite fierce. Birds stem from the same family tree as select dinosaurs. Curious about how that can be the case? Learn about feathers, flights, and the evolution of birds from dinosaurs.

Which Dinosaurs Had Feathers?

The majority of feathered dinosaurs came from the theropod group. Some noteworthy members that had feathers but didn’t necessarily evolve:

  • Sinornithosaurus
  • Velociraptor
  • Yutyrannus

Scientists hypothesize that dinosaur feathers came in an array of colors, ranging from muted grays to vibrant reds. Likewise, the shape, size, and location of feathers differed for each species.

Many paleontologists believe that the Velociraptors likely had feathers along their arms and other areas of the body. On the other hand, paleontologists hypothesize that the Sinornithosaurus had feathers covering its entire body.

Dino Fun Fact

Feathers served numerous purposes, from helping dinosaurs regulate their body temperature to making them more aerodynamic as they ran.

Which Dinosaurs Evolved?

One of the biggest questions regarding the evolution of birds from dinosaurs is which dino families progressed. Most birds have ties to dinosaurs from the Troodontidae family, a subgroup of theropods. Some small theropods from other familial groups, such as the Velociraptors, also branched off and evolved.

Although some of us like to refer to birds as “modern dinosaurs,” this is technically incorrect. Modern birds are not dinosaurs but come from the same family tree, making them more like distant cousins.

What Were the First Birds?

Most scientists recognize the Anchiornis huxleyi as one of the earliest versions of a bird with fossil records. This member of the Troodontididae family had wing-like limbs but could not fly, as its body wasn’t aerodynamic—its feathers were too short.

The Anchiornis huxleyi lived in the Late Jurassic period in the area now known as northeast China. Moreover, the beast most likely had red feathers as a crest on top of its head, black feathers throughout the body, and black and white feathers on its “wings.”

Other beasts living during the Late Jurassic, such as the Archaeopteryx, are related to modern birds. This small, carnivorous dinosaur lived in the region now known as Europe. Fascinatingly, its feathers may have been long enough to support it gliding short distances as it ran and leaped.

Dino Fun Fact

Over thousands of years, beasts such as the Anchiornis and Archaeopteryx, among others, continued to evolve with their changing world. Parent dinosaurs passed on these genes, and over millions of years, we have birds!

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The Mesozoic era was a time of incredible transformation for the creatures that roamed our planet. Pay homage to the age of dinosaurs by purchasing accurate beasts of the Mesozoic figures. At Creative Beast Studio, we offer carefully crafted dinosaur figures perfect for any dinosaur collector. Add a little piece of prehistoric history to your collection today!

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