Evolution of Feathers

by Rhoden01
Last updated 8 years ago


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Evolution of Feathers

As little as 50 years ago, the idea that birds descended from dinosaurs seemed completely ridiculous--after all, birds are small, light, fluttery creatures, while dinosaurs were huge, plodding, and distinctly unaerodynamic. But as the evidence--small dinosaurs possessing feathers, beaks, and other birdlike characteristics--began to mount, the connection between dinosaurs and birds became apparent to scientists and the general public. Today, it's the rare paleontologist who disputes the descent of birds from dinosaurs, though there are some who try.This doesn’t mean, though, that all the technical aspects of the dinosaur/bird transition have been settled once and for all. Researchers still disagree about which dinosaurs were most closely related to modern birds, whether terrestrial dinosaurs sported aerodynamic or strictly ornamental feathers, and--perhaps most contentiously of all--how these reptilian proto-birds managed to achieve the huge evolutionary leap into powered flight.The Origin of Feathered DinosaursWhy, and how, did the small theropod dinosaurs of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods evolve feathers? It's a common mistake among people unversed in evolutionary theory to assume that feathers evolved specifically for the purpose of flight. Evolution, however, is a blind process--it doesn’t "know" where it's going until it gets there. For this reason, the accepted explanation is that dinosaurs evolved feathers as a means of insulation in cold climates (and, possibly, as a way to puff themselves up in the eyes of the opposite sex). If this sounds unlikely, bear in mind that even birds that have been flightless for millions of years still have feathers. If the purpose of feathers were solely to power flight, there would be no reason, from an evolutionary perspective, for penguins to keep their feathers: in fact, they might be better off with thick coats of fur!(A student e-mailed me this article, I thought it was cool!!!!! To read the rest click here)

The Evolution of feathers

From Dinosours to Birds

Key Words

1) Evolution-change over time2) Fossil-a remains of an organism3)Homologous Structures-limb structure in penguins, alligators, bats, and humans4) Anatomical Evidence-some different organisms have very similar body structures: 5) Vestigial Organs-organs that are no longer used by an organisms like the appendix

Evolve or Die!!!!!!!!!!!!



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