According to a recent claim in the world of paleontology, we might still be living in the age of the dinosaurs. Scientists have disclosed fascinating findings after having studied fossilized unhatched dinosaur eggs in places such as Argentina, Mongolia and China with the aid of latest technological advances. These findings offer compelling evidence to support that Dinosaurs did not altogether disappear, but in fact, from an evolutionary standpoint, weathered the ancient mass-extinction event by steadily evolving into modern-day birds.
During a recent exhibition titled ‘Dinosaurs Among Us’ at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, curator and paleontologist Mark A. Norell advanced some extraordinary claims by underlining an unbroken evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds and an epoch of transition during which commenced a magnificent resurgence of a similar species, in the form of birds swarming the skies of present-day Earth as opposed to the gargantuan lizards of old that once roamed its primordial realms. According to Norell, modern-day technology has expounded upon this evolutionary process in great detail.
“The dismissal of the theory pointing to a direct connection between dinosaurs and birds ended 25 years ago. Now, after the most recent studies with the latest technologies, we can state that we live in the age of dinosaurs. Although this had been stated in the past, until now there was no firm proof of this association because we didn’t have the right technology”
The study of these fossilized unborn dinosaurs provided convincing insights into the evolutionary link between present day birds and their giant ancestors. In some instances, their brains were found to be ‘encased’ in bone structures linking the dinosaurs with the earliest origins of nearly 20,000 present day bird species inhabiting the planet. This link, experts reckon, does not merely establish a biological correlation, but also a likeness in specific patterns of behavior.
For years, paleontologists’ only fossil link between birds and dinosaurs was archaeopteryx, a hybrid creature with feathered wings, but with many other anatomical characteristics of a dinosaur. These animals appeared to have acquired their birdlike characteristics, namely feathers and wings, in just a few million years, a mere instance in evolutionary time.
Some scientists argue that a major stumbling block to the idea that dinosaurs evolved into birds continues to be the lack of veritable fossil support. Scientists have previously advanced theories to espouse the notion that birds may be altogether devoid of the embryonic character that the mighty dinosaurs of old had possessed, submitting that the two species simply cannot be linked from an evolutionary perspective.
Some years ago, a large inflow of freshly excavated dinosaur fossils from China revealed some truly absorbing findings. While many of these fossils lacked wings, they shared many other bird-like characteristics. The discovery of these new ‘intermediary’ species, which shed new light on an erstwhile shadowy fossil record, altered the way paleontologists viewed the evolutionary transition from dinosaurs to birds.
According to Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the evolutionary transition could have been subtle, but measured.
“A bird didn’t just evolve from a T. Rex overnight, but rather the classic features of birds evolved one by one; first bipedal locomotion, then feathers, then a wishbone, then more complex feathers that look like quill-pen feathers, then wings. The end result is a relatively seamless transition between dinosaurs and birds, so much so that you can’t just draw an easy line between these two groups.”
However, over the years, various studies have concluded that the argument for feathered dinosaurs is not altogether convincing, with some postulating that the features may actually represent fossilized remnants of the skin. Others argued that some ‘theropods’ did in fact possess feathers, but there has been plenty of uncertainty surrounding the classification of these creatures as true ‘dinosaurs’ or other rare, but extinct bird species.
The notion that birds progressed from dinosaurs has stirred the imagination of many a paleontologist for decades. Any plausible substantiation of these ideas has remained somewhat elusive in the eyes of many to this day.
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