Reseachers highlight the evolutionary link between theropod dinosaurs and modern birds with a groundbreaking experiment.
We have seen people creating dinosaurs from prehistoric DNA in the movie “Jurassic Park,”, but now a team of scientists is planning to turn this thing into a reality and may be creating an actual Jurassic Park.
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Researchers from the University of Chile have created dinosaur like feet by manipulating a chicken embryo and showning a evolutionary link between theropod dinosaurs and modern birds.
Theropod was a group of dinosaurs that lived more than 145 million years ago. The animals of this group were giant meat-eating creatures that gradually evolved into small, plant eating birds.
For creating a dinosaur like feet, researchers altered Indian Hedgehog gene commonly found in all animals. When researchers delayed the early development of a dinosaur-like fibula bone in the bird, it evolved into tubular shape similar to the one that once dinosaurs used to have.
Fibula is one of the two long bones of the lower leg which reached all the way down to the ankle in extinct dinosaurs. However, it was hypothesized that as the dinosaurs continue to evolve, the bone gets shorter. Today, the bone no longer touches the ankle.
The latest groundbreaking experiment not only sheds light on the transformation of dinosaurs from large theropods to small birds, but also proves a scientific hypothesis true.
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“The experiments are focused on single traits to test specific hypothesis,” said co-researcher Alexander Vargas. “Not only do we know a great deal about bird development, but also about the dinosaur-bird transition, which is well-documented by the fossil record. This lead naturally to be hypotheses on the evolution of development, that can be explored in the lab.”