Dino/Bird Maker Space

March 25, 2024 By arne hendriks Off

Birds evolved through a unique phase of sustained miniaturisation in theropod dinosaurs. They didn’t just shrink but continued to do so over long periods of time. Therefor we can conclude that long before their small descendents developed the ability to fly, smallness already had clear advantages. Otherwise why would they have continued to shrink?

According to associate professor Michael Lee from the University of Adelaide, bird ancestors out-shrank and out-evolved their dinosaurian ancestors, surviving where their larger, less evolvable relatives could not. They evolved new adaptations, such as feathers, wishbones and wings, four times faster than other dinosaurs. This suggests that shrinking is a quality in itself; an substansive ingredient that enables fast transformation, especially within species that became too large for comfort, and perhaps to large to fit ‘naturally’ in their environment. The act of shrinking creates space that did not exist before, as well as make previously tied-up resources available. As such it creates a novel environmental condition for the embodied genetic information within the smaller being, stimulating novel DNA expression. According to Michael Lee: “Being smaller and lighter in the land of giants, with rapidly evolving anatomical adaptations, provided these bird ancestors with new ecological opportunities, such as the ability to climb trees, glide and fly.” Ultimately, this evolutionary flexibility helped birds survive the deadly meteorite impact which killed off all non-avian dinosaurs. As far as people are concerned, unfortunately we’re still getting bigger before, hopefully, we will soon start to get better.