Did you know that reptiles and birds are pretty closely related? It’s true! In fact birds evolved from an ancient ancestor called the Archosaurs or the ruling reptiles. So essentially all modern reptiles, dinosaurs, and crocodiles share these reptile ancestors...right? To be honest, it’s not that simple. Dinosaurs are split into two major groups. The Ornithischia, or the bird hipped dinosaurs and the Saurischia, or the lizard hipped dinosaurs. It can be a little confusing if you are not looking at an evolutionary tree, but the lizard hipped dinosaurs evolved the theropods, a group of bipedal meat eating dinosaurs, some of which were feathered. When a smaller group of these feathered dinosaur survived the huge extinction they diverged into the thousands of modern birds we have today. In fact, birds are more closely related to crocodiles then other reptiles! Modern birds evolved from the Theropods. Coelurosauria is the group of Theropod dinosaurs most closely related to the birds.
We didn’t want to make this article too long because we have a huge Dino Center in our kids zone, so be sure to head on over and check out all the dino fact sheets and activities. See you there defenders!