Today there is even more evidence that has been discovered which supports the belief that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
Brian Switek wrote that it appears as though there was a long period where birds looked exactly like dinosaurs, and the earliest birds were probably some form of a dinosaur specifically. Over time, the evolution process slowly dwindled the modern bird down to what we see today.
The actual discovery was made by Stephen Brusatte – a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh. His study, which was aided by a few co-authors evaluated the “big picture” of bird evolution, instead of evaluating individual species in an effort to get a truly large-scale concept of what was happening within the bird family throughout history.
Their findings, and remarks in their study stated that “Mesozoic naturalist,” would have a difficult time making any characteristic distinctions between dinosaurs and the earliest birds. Interesting news, since this has been something that has been long debated over the last 20-30 years.
Originally, paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson in the 1940’s actually noted a similar theory, but over time, the theory was regularly shot down.
However, of the 853 skeletal characteristics that were characterized by the researchers, they found that there wasn’t any significant jump – in terms of evolution – whether they were looking at birds, or dinosaurs. Furthermore, it was found to be that the two shared many characteristics under the flesh, and that what happened was – there was a long period of time when no dinosaur flew – but then, dinosaurs began flying.
At that point, the bird began its metamorphosis. And, in turn what we’re seeing is a development of the dinosaur into the modern bird – over a massive span of time.
Even though the theory has been given new blood though, and it would seem that there is concrete evidence to at least assert the potential that this could be the case – that birds did in fact come from dinosaurs – nothing is absolutely guaranteed.
This is a very nice step in the direction of having a better understanding the relationship between dinosaurs and birds – as birds remain as one of the least understood creatures on Earth – but it by no means explains, or puts to bed any of the questions that remain.