Whether in a museum, amusement park, or film, dinosaurs are always an attraction. Fossils and footprints have revealed a lot about the prehistoric giant lizards. It is widely known that there have long been no more dinosaurs. But it’s not entirely true. Dinosaurs are still alive on Earth and even living between us.
Stupid question, one might think. After all, every child knows that the giant land creatures have been extinct for around 66 million years. But it’s not entirely true. While we can be sure never to run into a flesh and blood T-rex, there are still dinosaurs. Almost everywhere and they’re even related to T-rex.
Many of them are carnivores like T-rex. However, they are often content themselves with worms and insects. But the larger ones hunt rodents and rabbits, some also frogs, snakes or fish. They walk on two legs just like the T-rex. But usually many of them move differently as they have wings. The dinosaurs that still exist today are the birds.
Theropods Group Of Dinosaurs Still Alive
Research over the last 30 years has convincingly shown that our Birds today descended directly from the theropod dinosaur group. In terms of biological systematics, birds can rightly be called dinosaurs. It was primarily fossil finds in China that revealed a lot to paleontologists about the evolution of birds. This makes us say “Dinosaurs are still alive“.
In fact, many feathered dinosaurs have been found in Liaoning Province over the past 20 years. Some of them were nine meters long, others only about the size of a dog. The scientists identified more than 20 different species. They all had feathers, but not necessarily wings. The feathers were there long before the wings in evolution.
Once the researchers sorted these finds, it was clear that the birds belong to the giant theropods, their closest relatives among the dinosaurs are the small, agile raptors such as the velociraptor.
Wings Were Not Made To Fly
The velociraptor also had feathers without being able to fly. And so are many other, more distant dinosaur ancestors of birds. But what for? Feathers are multifunctional. The dinosaurs would have boasted in front of their sexual partners or rivals with their feather fluff, they would have kept their offspring warm with their feathers and used them to hatch eggs.
These feathers were simply not suitable for flying. For that, wings were needed first. And even those did not enable them to move in the air right from the start. The fact that the feathers gradually reshaped and resulted in wings did not evidently happen for flying. According to the latest findings, referring to winged but flightless dinosaurs, wings could have been used initially to show off. The feathers of winged dinosaurs shimmered in all kinds of colors.
Brusatte assumes that wings developed primarily for signaling. Flying would then have been invented purely by chance, and perhaps more than once when the various maniraptora made large leaps while jumping around, scurrying up trees, or jumping from branch to branch. Only over time, according to the paleontologist, smaller mani raptors would have developed with extra-long arms, strong chest muscles, and without the long tail. They became birds.
Also Read: Why Did Dinosaurs Get So Big?
The birds are simply a special type of dinosaur and a particularly adaptable one. After all, they are the only dinosaurs that survived the asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous Period. That is why the theropods are still strongly represented on earth today as they represent more than 10,000 existing bird species. The dinosaurs are among us.