It’s official: birds are literally dinosaurs. Here’s how we know

Drop any preconceptions of dinosaurs, which are likely reptile-centric and warped by Spielberg; the real dinosaurs are outside your window. Yes, birds are dinosaurs. Shaun Hurrell interviews dinosaur evolution expert Professor Roger Benson to unearth the latest research on the origin of birds.


Roger Benson’s latest paper features a feathered, chicken-sized, bird-like dinosaur revealed to have the hearing ability to rival a barn owl – a specialised nocturnal predator. Combined with short, muscular arms ending in a single giant claw for digging, Shuvuuia deserti (meaning ‘desert bird’) is not what you might classically expect from a dinosaur. Such are the revelations from fossil discoveries in recent decades that are changing how we see birds today. Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Oxford, Roger researches the evolution of dinosaurs – including bird origins – and large-scale evolutionary patterns. He explains why ‘dinosaur’ is more ‘incredible bird’ than ‘terrible lizard’…


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