Birds in the dino era pecked just like their modern counterparts

October 27th, 2010 - 1:21 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Oct 27 (ANI): 110 million-year-old rock fossils discovered recently by palaeontologists from the University of Kansas in Lawrence indicate that shorebirds from the dinosaur era shuffled and foraged just like today’s birds.

Today’s shorebirds shuffle along muddy flats pecking and probing for invertebrates to eat. The marks they leave behind are the same as those found in ancient rocks in South Korea.

“The behaviours are pretty much identical to modern plovers and sandpipers,” Discovery News quoted Amanda Falk as saying.

“Herons do a shuffling behaviour to stir up the substrate” and find food, said Martin Lockley of the University of Colorado in Denver.

These are just the sort of tracks seen in the rocks.

“Then again, there are no herons known from the Cretaceous,” he said.

The other possibility is that the birds of the early Cretaceous were not closely related to modern birds and only evolved the same kind of feet, beaks and feeding strategies.

Just like how modern emus, ostriches and rheas evolved separately into very similar-looking, but not closely related, large flightless birds. It’s what’s called convergent evolution.

However, in the shorebird case they were separated by time, whereas the large flightless birds were separated by oceans.

“All these wader and water birds have very similar feet,” Lockley. And so there’s no reason to think they could not have evolved 110 million years ago as well. (ANI)

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