Did you know that that your dear chickens are very, very distant relatives of Theropods, bipedal dinosaurs like the better known Velociraptors and Tyrannosaurs?
But how did these ferocious, carnivorous dinosaurs become such charming chickens? No surprise, this transition was made over 200 million years. Here are 3 notable moments.
The appearance of feathers
The first feathered dinosaur fossil was discovered in 1861 in Germany. The Archeopteryx resembled an odd cross between a dinosaur and a bird. Since then, many other feathered dinosaur fossils have been found.
The reduction in size
The chicken’s ancestors, unlike other dinosaurs, evolved by progressively shrinking in size. This change would have been very important, as it would allow this group of dinosaurs to become lighter and eventually fly.
The emergence and disappearance of flight
Once the first flights had succeeded, the flying ‘dinos’ could colonise new places and experience rapid evolution. However, in this evolution, it seems that some candidates lost their capacity to fly, their wings being too small to support the weight of their body.
Nevertheless, chickens are still birds…and thus, descendants of dinosaurs. We hope this won’t change your attitude towards your chickens!