KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee (UT) Science Forum guest speaker Dr. Colin Sumrall revealed that modern-day birds are living descendants of dinosaurs.
Dr. Sumrall is an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UT. For ten years Dr. Sumrall has taught the Age of the Dinosaurs class. The class explains how the dinosaur lineage did not end 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit Earth.
According to Dr. Sumrall, “the idea of dinosaur extinction is 19th-century science.”
The mass extinction killed the largest predator dinosaurs, but seven or eight small dinosaur lineages survived.
Dr. Sumrall referred to the mass extinction as, “a pseudo-extinction because rather than the last dinosaur on Earth die, we simply changed the name of the last dinosaur on Earth to bird.”
The bird lineage began with the dinosaur Archaeopteryx. Over time dinosaur characteristics of a stiff tail and three toes evolved in present-day birds.
An extra hinge jaw and a wishbone are dinosaur adaptations that help birds fly. These adaptations support Dr. Sumrall’s belief that, “all birds are equally related to dinosaurs.”
Although people have not recognized the dinosaur and bird genealogy, Dr. Sumrall insisted that the, “lineage persists regardless of our opinion of them.”