Original Scientific Articles

Evolution: Education and Outreach

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 248-256

First online:

Downsized Dinosaurs: The Evolutionary Transition to Modern Birds

  • Luis M. ChiappeAffiliated withThe Dinosaur Institute, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Living birds are the most diverse land vertebrates and the heirs of a rich chapter in the evolution of life. The origin of modern birds from animals similar to Tyrannosaurus rex is among the most remarkable examples of an evolutionary transition. A wealth of recently discovered fossils has finally settled the century-old controversy about the origin of birds and it has made the evolutionary saga toward modern birds one of the best documented transitions in the history of life. This paper reviews the evidence in support of the origin of birds from meat-eating dinosaurs, and it highlights the array of fossils that connect these fearsome animals with those that fly all around us.


Dinosaurs Birds Origin Evolution Mesozoic