Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

Technology

3D study shows forelimb enlargement key to evolution of dinosaurs into birds

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 - 02:39

April 24 - British scientists say they have found new evolutionary evidence linking dinosaurs to birds. A series of 3D reconstructions illustrate what the scientists say is the gradual evolution of small forelimbs into wings which led two-legged dinosaurs to stand and move like birds. Jim Drury reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

The world's third largest bird, the emu, has much in common with the dinosaurs. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR JOHN HUTCHINSON, OF THE ROYAL VETERINARY COLLEGE'S STRUCTURE & MOTION LAB, SAYING: "They still have features that the earliest dinosaurs had, like a three-toed foot, long muscular legs, they even have little tiny claws on their forelimbs, their wing stubs." Professor John Hutchinson, of Britain's Royal Veterinary College, believes the emu is living proof of how dinosaurs evolved. He is studying the evolution of archosaurs - prehistoric land animals whose modern descendants are crododiles and birds. He and colleague Dr Vivian Allen created 3D models of 17 archosaurs to help uncover their incremental evolution. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR JOHN HUTCHINSON, OF THE ROYAL VETERINARY COLLEGE'S STRUCTURE & MOTION LAB, SAYING: "We are able to reconstruct how the body shape of the whole evolutionary lineage changed over time and how we got from an ancestor that was kind of crocodile-ish to a modern-day bird that's so drastically transformed....and that's what we did in our study was use computer models of living archosaurs and extinct ones." Allen used scanning technology to create the 3D images before digitally adding flesh. SOUNDBITE (English) DR. VIVIAN ALLEN, OF THE ROYAL VETERINARY COLLEGE'S STRUCTURE & MOTION LAB, SAYING: "We started with a laser scan of as intact a skeleton as we could find and once we had this laser scan we had it as a computer model of the skeleton and from then we used very simple outline hoops, so we took cross sections of the skeleton at regular intervals and put a kind of a minimal, very tightly fitted shape around the skeleton... you can then - it's called lofting - you can extend each hoop into a full 3D shape." Received wisdom says the shortening and lightening of two-legged dinosaurs' tails caused their posture to become crouched, like their avian descendants. But the scans suggest the gradual enlargement of forelimbs were the more likely cause. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR JOHN HUTCHINSON, OF THE ROYAL VETERINARY COLLEGE'S STRUCTURE & MOTION LAB, SAYING: "It was just a few carnivorous dinosaurs that started shifting their centre of mass forward towards their head as their body changed and what changed, that changed their centre of body mass so drastically moving it forwards was not so much shrinking the tail, actually, but expanding the forelimbs which ultimately became wings but those changes began before animals were flying." Working with colleagues from Beijing and the University of Liverpool, Hutchinson and Allen's study sheds new light on the links between dinosaurs and birds, using modern technology to reveal new insights into the past.

3D study shows forelimb enlargement key to evolution of dinosaurs into birds

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 - 02:39

Top News »

Money »

S&P falls back from record high S&P falls back from record high

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (1:35)

S&P 500 closes at new high S&P 500 closes at new high

Thu, Aug 21, 2014 - (1:24)

S&P 500 just shy of record S&P 500 just shy of record

Wed, Aug 20, 2014 - (2:23)

Apple hits $100 a share Apple hits $100 a share

Tue, Aug 19, 2014 - (2:06)

Nasdaq closes at 14-year high Nasdaq closes at 14-year high

Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - (2:23)

Putin puts Wall Street in buying mood Putin puts Wall Street in buying mood

Thu, Aug 14, 2014 - (2:10)

We've become a promotional culture-RetailMeNot's Bodge We've become a promotional...

Thu, Aug 14, 2014 - (4:39)

Dow back to positive territory for year Dow back to positive territory for year

Wed, Aug 13, 2014 - (2:18)

Markets cheer Russia's Ukraine exit Markets cheer Russia's Ukraine exit

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (1:50)

Russia, Iraq push Dow to three-month low Russia, Iraq push Dow to three-month low

Thu, Aug 07, 2014 - (2:27)

Wall Street gains but telecom disconnected Wall Street gains but telecom disconnected

Wed, Aug 06, 2014 - (2:28)

The Exchange »

The Exchange: Hot commodity The Exchange: Hot commodity

Wed, Jul 16, 2014 - (9:25)

The Exchange: Constitutional crusade The Exchange: Constitutional crusade

Wed, Jun 25, 2014 - (11:35)

The Exchange: The value of money The Exchange: The value of money

Mon, Jun 02, 2014 - (9:53)

The Exchange: China’s Second Continent The Exchange: China’s Second Continent

Tue, May 27, 2014 - (9:35)

The Exchange: A master of business arts The Exchange: A master of business arts

Thu, May 08, 2014 - (8:24)

The Exchange: America's bankrupt cities The Exchange: America's bankrupt cities

Mon, May 05, 2014 - (8:52)

The Exchange: Let the rocking commence The Exchange: Let the rocking commence

Tue, Apr 08, 2014 - (8:13)

The Exchange: The Moneyball fallacies The Exchange: The Moneyball fallacies

Mon, Mar 24, 2014 - (9:54)

Is doing good a good business? Is doing good a good business?

Mon, Mar 17, 2014 - (7:38)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - (10:39)

Moving Pictures »

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, Jul 11, 2014 - (1:00)

A refugee in America gives back A refugee in America gives back

Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - (3:25)

A long search for refuge A long search for refuge

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - (3:04)

World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goals World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goals

Fri, Jun 06, 2014 - (1:08)

VIVID – Sydney’s spectacle of light VIVID – Sydney’s spectacle of light

Fri, May 30, 2014 - (1:37)

The week that changed Boston The week that changed Boston

Mon, Apr 14, 2014 - (3:28)