New Oxford research on extinction of dinosaurs

first_imgGroundbreaking research led by scientists including Oxford palaeontologist Dr. Roger Benson appears to have to revealed why certain dinosaurs became extinct and some did not.The palaeontologists’ work shows that dinosaurs below a certain body size successfully evolved to become birds, while those with larger bodies became extinct.According to Dr. Benson, the research team, “travelled all over the world on our mission to weigh as many dinosaurs as possible”. When full skeletons were not available, the researchers calculated dinosaurs’ weight by extrapolating from the weight of leg-bones.”The key to the most successful evolutionary line seems to have been small body size. Direct bird ancestors were the only dinosaurs to weigh in at under one kilogram.The researchers believe that this direct link with dinosaurs might explain why birds, compared to most other surviving classes of animals, have such extraordinary diversity. Birds are even described by the authors as being ‘extant dinosaurs’.Dr. Benson explained to Cherwell why this report is so significant for solving the mystery of how and why the animal kingdom has developed from dinosaurs.He said, “In their quest to understand the origins of ecological diversity, biologists have focussed on understanding exceptionally diverse modern groups such as birds or mammals. They have found that they diversified relatively recently, over about 100 million years, by a process called adaptive radiation.“But animals have been evolving for over 540 million years, so previous work had been quite focused on what palaeontologists would view as relatively recent evolutionary events.”However, Dr. Benson and his colleagues decided to take a new approach to tackling the study of evolution.“We looked further back, analysing rates of evolution in extinct lineages related to birds – the dinosaurs,” he explained, “We found evidence of continual ecological innovation for over 170 million years along the dinosaur lineage leading to birds. This is different to the widely accepted ‘burst-like’ concept of an adaptive radiation that you get from studying only non-extinct species.”Josie Dyster, a first-year French and German student from Hertford, questioned the research’s findings. “Dinosaurs are just a hoax to hide the existence of Pokemon,” she commented.last_img

first_imgGroundbreaking research led by scientists including Oxford palaeontologist Dr. Roger Benson appears to have to revealed why certain dinosaurs became extinct and some did not.The palaeontologists’ work shows that dinosaurs below a certain body size successfully evolved to become birds, while those with larger bodies became extinct.According to Dr. Benson, the research team, “travelled all over the world on our mission to weigh as many dinosaurs as possible”. When full skeletons were not available, the researchers calculated dinosaurs’ weight by extrapolating from the weight of leg-bones.”The key to the most successful evolutionary line seems to have been small body size. Direct bird ancestors were the only dinosaurs to weigh in at under one kilogram.The researchers believe that this direct link with dinosaurs might explain why birds, compared to most other surviving classes of animals, have such extraordinary diversity. Birds are even described by the authors as being ‘extant dinosaurs’.Dr. Benson explained to Cherwell why this report is so significant for solving the mystery of how and why the animal kingdom has developed from dinosaurs.He said, “In their quest to understand the origins of ecological diversity, biologists have focussed on understanding exceptionally diverse modern groups such as birds or mammals. They have found that they diversified relatively recently, over about 100 million years, by a process called adaptive radiation.“But animals have been evolving for over 540 million years, so previous work had been quite focused on what palaeontologists would view as relatively recent evolutionary events.”However, Dr. Benson and his colleagues decided to take a new approach to tackling the study of evolution.“We looked further back, analysing rates of evolution in extinct lineages related to birds – the dinosaurs,” he explained, “We found evidence of continual ecological innovation for over 170 million years along the dinosaur lineage leading to birds. This is different to the widely accepted ‘burst-like’ concept of an adaptive radiation that you get from studying only non-extinct species.”Josie Dyster, a first-year French and German student from Hertford, questioned the research’s findings. “Dinosaurs are just a hoax to hide the existence of Pokemon,” she commented.last_img

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