Dinosaurs Are Still Here, Alive, And Doing Really Well

The dinosaurs are still here, living with us, and thriving. Seriously.

No, I’m not talking about crocodiles or alligators, turtles, or even lizards. While these are all ancient forms of life that existed in some form during the time of the dinosaurs, they evolved from an earlier branch of organisms. In other words, if you climbed up the tree of life, you would reach their branch before you came to that of the dinosaurs.

The group of animals I am referring to are on the same branch as the dinosaurs and, as increasing evidence has shown, are actually descended directly from them. They evolved while the dinosaurs were alive and kept right on thriving after their relatives went extinct around 65 million years ago. The animals I am talking about are classified as aves, however we simply know them as birds.

That’s right. Birds. Everything from the high-flying eagle and intelligent parrot to the scruffy pigeon on the sidewalk. They are, more generally speaking, what remain of dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus Rex.

While there is still some debate about exactly how the branches looked, most scientists now agree that aves are a subgroup of dinosaurs, most likely of the dinosaur group theropoda. This group was bipedal (walked on two feet) and included Deinonychus, Compsognathus, the Velociraptor, and even the massive Tyrannosaurus Rex.

What’s more, is that the evidence for this relationship continues to pile up. From studying fossils, we know that some theropod dinosaurs had feathers or, at the least, some type of protofeathers. There are also many skeletal similarities in their bone structures and makeup, including the presence of medullary bone. This is a special layer of bone, rich in calcium, that was used for egg production in dinosaurs and is still present in modern birds.

Fossilized dinosaurs have been discovered with their heads tucked under their arms – a sleeping position widely used by birds. And, perhaps most exciting of all, collagen tissue samples from dinosaurs have been extracted and compared to that of birds, providing an extremely close match.

So, the next time someone mentions that dinosaurs went extinct 65 millions years ago. It’s best to correct them, and kindly let them know that while most dinosaurs went extinct, one group of them continues to thrive today.

Maybe it’s time to start respecting pigeons a little more.


  1. I believe it was Bert from Sesame St. that esp. liked pigeons. He also liked vanilla ice cream. Bert would be a prime admirer of vanillasaurus rex. (Silly, huh!)

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