Scientists have finally worked out how dinosaurs evolved into birds.
Experts have isolated a genetic sequence that they believe was already present in dinosaurs before and during their evolution into birds.
Modern birds are descended from a group of two-legged dinosaurs called theropods, of which the members of the fearsome T-Rex and smaller Velociraptors.
Fossils show the bird-like features, such as feathers, light bones, air sacs and three-digit paws.
But the identification of genomic DNA changes in this evolutionary transition is still a challenge.
Tohoku University researchers have found a gene isolated in order that they believe was already present in the dinosaurs, before and during the transition to the feathered creatures that we know today.
The international group of researchers have found a specific gene sequence that may be associated with the evolution of the flight feathers of the dinosaur era.
In a journal published in Nature Communications, lead author Ryohei Seki wrote: “Flight feathers are one of the most prominent evolutionary innovations in the avian lineage, with the possibility not only for the flight, but also in some species, an important role in other biological functions, such as territorial displays and courtship ritual.
“Birds have two regions in which the flight feathers along the posterior edges of the wings and in the tail.
“Feathered dinosaur fossils have provided important new information about the evolutionary origin of flight feathers.”
A new species of huge dinosaur that was as long as two-and-a-half double-decker buses was recently discovered.