Here’s a fun fact for the Thanksgiving dinner table: Did you know that all modern birds, including turkeys, are dinosaurs?
Today’s feathered flyers descended from a group of meat-eating dinosaurs called theropods. That group also included famous hunters like Tyrannosaurus rex — although birds evolved from T. rex’s much smaller relatives. Birds first emerged about 150 million years ago, in the Jurassic Period. And they’re the only dinosaurs to have survived a mass extinction event 66 million years ago.
So if you celebrate Thanksgiving, you’re not just tucking into a turkey. You’re digging into a dinosaur. Happy Reverse Jurassic Park Day, everyone!
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This ancient bird rocked a head like a T. rex This bird from 120 million years ago had a head like a dinosaur and a body more like today’s birds. (6/12/2023) Readability: 7.6
Early dinosaurs may have laid soft-shelled eggs Scientists for the first time have turned up evidence of fossils from soft-shelled dinosaur eggs. This has scientists rethinking how dinosaur eggs evolved. (8/3/2020) Readability: 7.8
These fuzz-covered flying reptiles had catlike whiskers The dinosaurs in Jurassic World may be as smooth as any modern-day lizard, but real dinos would have looked much different. Many were covered in protofeathers. (2/4/2019) Readability: 7.9
Want to learn more about the modern dinosaurs all around you? Go birding! A few apps can help you recognize the birds in your area. To identify bird species with Merlin Bird ID, just answer a few questions, record a sound clip or snap a picture. The Audubon Bird Guide likewise helps users identify birds and share their observations.