Are birds descended from dinosaurs? This has been an argument among paleontologists for many years now. Most agree that birds are descended from dinosaurs but there are still those that argue the theory and set out to disprove it.
The first bird discovered, Archeopteryx, was found to have skeletal properties which matched that exactly of a dromaeosaur, a 2 or 3 meter long carnivorous dinosaur, believed to a fast moving and formidable predator. This wrist bone structure of these two animals was identical.
Other similarities in their skeletal structure were to close to ignore. In the two species mentioned above, the shoulders, ankles and hips were also almost identical. Further studies have shown that dinosaurs and birds have over 100 skeletal features in common.
Some early dinosaurs bear an uncanny resemblance to modern day birds, particularly the large flightless birds like ostriches and emus. Their long legs and necks add to the similarities and when combined with the skeletal evidence, it is difficult to argue. Some dinosaurs also had hollow bones as birds do, something not shared by reptiles.
Dinosaurs and birds lay eggs and evidence suggests that types of dinosaurs nested in colonies similar to those of birds of today.
The fact that dinosaurs had scales and birds possess feathers is also explained. Scales and feathers are very similar in evolutionary terms and are structurally the same.
In the late 1990's, fossils were discovered in China which revealed a dinosaur skeleton surrounded by what appear to be the remains of feathers. This seems to prove the existence of the link between birds and dinosaurs.
There are paleontologists who disagree with this theory, and from which group of dinosaurs birds came from is not clear, but the similarities between the two species seems to suggest undeniable links.