Seeds Saved Bird Ancestors From Extinction

Posted: Apr 22 2016, 6:31am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 22 2016, 7:59am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Seeds saved Bird Ancestors from Extinction
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Don't Miss: This How to find Fingerlings in Stock

After an asteroid impact that killed carnivorous bird-like dinosaurs some 65 million years ago, birds with toothless beaks survived on seeds in the absence of other food sources, say Canadian researchers.

When the dinosaurs became extinct, plenty of small bird-like dinosaurs disappeared along with giants like Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops.

Why only some of them survived to become modern day birds remained a mystery, researchers noted.

"The small bird-like dinosaurs in the Cretaceous -- the maniraptoran dinosaurs -- are not a well understood group. They are some of the closest relatives to modern birds and at the end of the Cretaceous, many went extinct, including the toothed birds but modern crown-group birds managed to survive the extinction," said first author of the study Derek Larson.

The team of researchers investigated whether the extinction at the end of the Cretaceous was an abrupt event or a progressive decline simply capped by the meteor impact.

Larson and his colleagues looked for patterns of diversity in the teeth, which spanned 18 million years (up until the end of the Cretaceous).

"The maniraptoran dinosaurs maintained a very steady level of variation through the last 18 million years of the Cretaceous. They abruptly became extinct just at the boundary," Larson said in a paper that appeared in the journal Current Biology.

The team suspected that diet might have played a part in the survival of the lineage that produced today's birds and they used dietary information and previously published group relationships from modern day birds to infer what their ancestors might have eaten.

Larson and his colleagues hypothesized that the last common ancestor of today's birds was a toothless seed eater with a beak.

"There were bird-like dinosaurs with teeth up until the end of the Cretaceous, where they all died off very abruptly," said Larson, adding, "Some groups of beaked birds may have been able to survive the extinction event because they were able to eat seeds."

Holiday Gift Guides and Deals

Get your Holiday gifting inspired by Best Toy Gifts with High STEM Value and the Top 10 toy gifts under $10 if you are on budget. The most popular Holiday 2017 toy list include Fingerlings, Crate Creatures and more. Don't miss the new Holiday deals on Amazon Devices, including $29.99 Fire tablet.

This story may contain affiliate links.

This free App Solves You Holiday Shopping Problem

Download the free Tracker app now to get in-stock alerts on Fingerling, Luvabella, SNES Classic and more.

Latest News


The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/59" rel="author">IANS</a>
The Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) was established in 1986, initially to serve as an information bridge between India and its thriving Diaspora in North America. Now IANS is a full-fledged wire agency, putting out news 24x7 from around the world.




comments powered by Disqus