• Christopher Stephens, MSc

Therapods Didn't Die Out: You are a Flying Dinosaur Hunter

Updated: May 14

Do you have a bird feeder? Carry a pair of binoculars to the seashore? That makes you a dinosaur hobbyist. Yes, birds are simply modern dinosaurs.

When was the last time you looked closely at a bird? Whether it was an eagle overhead, a sandpiper skulking around a lake shore or a thrush in a hedgerow, you likely looked closely at the bird's plumage. You admired the creature's appearance, through the lens of its superficially familiar identity as a bird.

But what exactly is a bird? There are over 10,000 avian species that fly, walk and swim the planet, defined primarily by possessing feathers and secondly, by laying eggs, being winged and typically, the ability to become airborne.

A closer look at a bird, through the lens of evolutionary biology would show it to be in fact a therapod dinosaur. Yes. You don't need to go to a paleontology museum to see a dinosaur - that goose by the cattails will suffice for the experience. Though some birds, like the friendly Sandhill Crane in the author's photo admittedly look more like a dinosaur than other birds.

Investigations inspired by the original discovery of archaeopteryx (Latin, old wing) in Germany, alternatively known as urvogel (German, original bird) and multiple feathered dinosaur fossils in China inspired a long search for the true nature of the bird.

As noted by the University of Berkeley, dinosaurs are simply "technically" not extinct. Birds are the descendants of therapod dinosaurs, the name therapod meaning "beast-footed". These dinosaurs in turn are saurischian dinosaurs, which include species ranging from T-Rex to a pet parrot.

So, go put out some millet and sunflower seeds. Support your local dinosaur!


 © 2020 by Christopher M. Stephens Consulting & Writing

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