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From Dinosaur to Bird: How did the transformation take place?



[I] In Bavaria, the limestone deposits, which had matured in the Jurassic, provided a nearly perfect Archeopteryx fossil. It had razor-sharp jagged teeth and many other features about the skeleton and skull that showed it was a carnivorous dinosaur. But the crow-sized specimen was covered with the impressions of the bird-like feathers. For [Thomas] Huxley, this was the transitional form he was looking for: a dinosaur on his way to becoming a bird.

[I] Feathers provided the irrefutable proof that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

Since then, a spectacular collection of small, feathered dinosaurs has been found in Liaoning and other places around the world, including every imaginable evolutionary step from small, fuzz-covered, carnivorous theropods to fully feathered and winged birds.

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They began as simple fluffy filaments that were probably used to keep theropods warm – evidence supporting the theory that at least some dinosaurs were "warm-blooded." They could also have served as pieces of jewelry. Tethered with plumage, the plumage of the smaller theropods would have given them a certain boost to hunt flying insects.

This series of features – small with light bones, twisted shoulder cavities with a furcula, turbocharged breathing systems and feathers – was developed long before they blew up and formed the scene for Protobirds

Complete, original post Read: The Feathered Revolution: How dinosaurs became birds


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