back to article The Therapod diet: From humungo dino to tiny bird in 50m years

Terrifying dino-beasts from the family that spawned Tyrannosaurus rex kept shrinking and shrinking until they evolved into cute little birds, the whole process taking around 50 million years, according to palaeoboffins. Youtube Video Certain members of the theropod family – which counts T rex and Giganotosaurus carolinii …

  1. knarf

    Humans Next Step Hobbits ?

    Well can only dream of a 3 breakfast society

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Humans Next Step Hobbits ?

      Actually, Hobbits dies out. Not so long ago, however, that they wouldn't have met our ancestors.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Bleedin' obvious, innit?

    No *way* something the size of T. Rex could fly just by waving those silly little arms around, no matter how many feathers he had.

    Miniaturisation was the only logical course.

    And the reason they became extinct? When an egg-laying dinosaur weighing ten tons climbs into her nest to lay her eggs, if she doesn't pick a strong enough tree, the eggs are going to break. They got the chicken and egg problem the wrong way around, poor dears.

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Bleedin' obvious, innit?

      >Miniaturisation was the only logical course.

      Well, perhaps. Or they just died. Archaeopteryx pretty much had modern feathers (i.e. its a bird) and the link between dinosaurs and birds ("the ancestral paravian (~165 myo)") is, despite its picture and given age, missing. Loathe as I am to quote wikipedia, "The ancestral paravian is a hypothetical animal;" someone made it up.

      Try pulling a trick like that in the AGW debate...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bleedin' obvious, innit?

        "Logically" we'd accept the error in assuming we could correlate the hierarchy of ancestors from observation alone.

        Who is the uncle, brother, son or aunt, daughter, mother? We can confirm similarity, but any comment on relationship or family is pure assumption.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next Step

    The next step? Space bonking geckos from the USSR of course !

    ( a side question: why does a power point presentation on sauropod evolution need to be acoustically enhanced by electric guitar riffs? Is that to distract us from the lack of supporting evidence ?)

    1. frank ly

      Re: Next Step

      It seems that all 'scientific' videos have background music. The makers may think that they need to do this to 'reach out' to the MTV generation.

      1. sandman

        Re: Next Step

        Background music is now compulsory for all scientific, cultural and sporting presentations and programs. Preferably in the form of awful cover versions that will ruin your favourite songs for you. If that doesn't work, advertisers will utilise the same tactic (yes John Lewis, I'm thinking of you) and background their ads with lavishly produced, yet strangely appalling, cover versions of songs you once liked. Having said that, watching a Commonwealth Games montage to a background of Motorhead's Ace of Spades was quite surreal :-)

        1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          Re: Next Step

          Damn you! Having totally avoided Commonwealth Games coverage, I'm now searching for the montage. The lyrics don't seem appropriate - /You know I'm gonna lose/

  4. brooxta

    Therapod diet

    It's not exactly a crash diet now is it?

    230+kg over 50m years, that's around 0.005 grammes per year.

    Is it for featherweights?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Therapod diet

      50M years does seem rather slow, particularly in the downward direction:

  5. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    Planning a big Christmas Dinner?

    Then it's important to know the Tyrannosaur has got a wishbone, but the sternum is not large, so not much breast meat.

    1. Scroticus Canis

      Re: Planning a big Christmas Dinner?

      True, but look at them thighs and drumsticks! The oysters should be a fair size too; keep one for me.

  6. Bunbury

    Who knows?

    It might be that all those beasties, including the made up ones, were in a direct line relationship. However, it's equally likely that they were all unrelated. Evolution is a blind process, and hence fills the same niches repeatedly. And fossilisation is a rare process. So there's every likelihood that archaeopterix had entirely different ancestors.

    Plus there's a very good chance that the earlier beasties had relative that flew and didn't leave a trace in the record. No doubt earlier there were flying ammonites, trilobites etc. If flying fish can do it I don't see why another bunch couldn't.

    This time span is sufficient to shrink and grow to these scales several times

  7. lurker


    Someone will inevitably link this, it may as well be me:

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