After studying 426 dinosaur species, scientists at Oxford University have discovered how some dinosaurs got smaller and flew away. The study, entitled (this really is the title) “Rates of Dinosaur Body Mass Evolution Indicate 170 Million Years of Sustained Ecological Innovation on the Avian Stem Lineage” was recently published in Public Library of Science Biology. It reveals that “birds didn’t just become small suddenly, but were the end product of a long-term trend of body size decline that took many tens of millions of years.”
Yes, the bird you see outside your window today is a direct descendant of a dinosaur. Want to know what the first feathered dinosaur looked like? Take a look at this reconstruction of Eosinopteryx. About 30 cm in length, it pre-dates bird-like dinosaurs (theropods) that birds were long thought to have evolved from! The fossiled remains of Eosinopteryx were found in north-eastern China.