Dinosaurs And Birds Essay

721 Words 3 Pages
Dinosaurs and Birds

Are birds really dinosaurs or are they simply related? That is a question that has gained new life in recent years due to the overwhelming facts the are pouring in from newly found fossils and studies from fossils that have been found in the past. Two groups have formed in the study of this question: those who believe birds are a direct result of dinosaurs and those who feel dinosaurs and birds must have had a common ancestor. Determining which view is correct is a matter of opinion based on fact. The main problem involves the use of cladistics or phylogenetic systematics to group organisms according to characteristics they share. When one looks at dinosaur fossils, he or she may feel that certain
…show more content…
Also, support is gaining that Archaeopteryx was not in fact the first bird, but instead a descendent of an earlier bird ancestor that had developed along a different pathway and actually represents an evolutionary dead end.

Two opponents of the “birds are dinosaurs theory” are Alan Feduccia of the University of North Carolina and Larry Martin of the University of Kansas. They believe that birds evolved from some unknown reptile from a time before dinosaurs came to be. One point they make is that flight must have begun from tree climbing or an arboreal ancestor but that all the proposed dinosaurian ancestors were ground dwellers or cursorial On the other side, supporters for the “birds are dinosaurs theory” feel there is an unknown dinosaur bird that was arboreal, or simply that birds evolved flight from the ground by chasing after insects.

In recent years other fossil finds have stirred the argument even more. One of these is the fossil named Sinosauroptyrex found in China. It appears to be an important link between birds and dinosaurs. Sinosauropteryx appears to be a feathered dinosaur having a mane of feathers along its neck, back, and tail—a feature until then seen only in birds. Sinosauroptyrex appears before Archaeopteryx and gives a substantial link between the theropods and birds. One opponent of this find is Martin who feels the
Open Document