History of Birds - dinosaurs that can fly
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History of Birds

Robin

The first birds evolved out of earlier small dinosaurs late in the Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago. At this time, most of the bigger animals on Earth were dinosaurs.

Birds are like dinosaurs in many ways: they both lay eggs in nests, and they both walk mainly on their hind legs (Birds use their front legs as wings). Many dinosaurs were warm-blooded, like birds. Some dinosaurs even had feathers, like birds. Some dinosaurs had beaks, like birds, instead of teeth.

Birds ate the same things as small meat-eating dinosaurs - worms and small insects like flies, grasshoppers, bees and mosquitoes, and meat from dead reptiles and mammals and frogs. Sea birds also ate mollusks like clams and mussels.

While most birds remain wild animals, people have gradually domesticated a few types of birds. Chickens and turkeys, especially, survive mainly as farm animals today.

Learn by doing - birds


Bibliography and further reading about birds:

Face to Face with Frogs, by Mark Moffett (2008). Mostly about poisonous dart frogs, but it's got beautiful National Geographic pictures.

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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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