Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/94914
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Type: Journal article
Title: Sustained miniaturization and anatomical innovation in the dinosaurian ancestors of birds
Author: Lee, M.
Cau, A.
Naish, D.
Dyke, G.
Citation: Science, 2014; 345(6196):562-566
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 0036-8075
1095-9203
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Michael S. Y. Lee, Andrea Cau, Darren Naish, Gareth J. Dyke
Abstract: Recent discoveries have highlighted the dramatic evolutionary transformation of massive, ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs into light, volant birds. Here, we apply Bayesian approaches (originally developed for inferring geographic spread and rates of molecular evolution in viruses) in a different context: to infer size changes and rates of anatomical innovation (across up to 1549 skeletal characters) in fossils. These approaches identify two drivers underlying the dinosaur-bird transition. The theropod lineage directly ancestral to birds undergoes sustained miniaturization across 50 million years and at least 12 consecutive branches (internodes) and evolves skeletal adaptations four times faster than other dinosaurs. The distinct, prolonged phase of miniaturization along the bird stem would have facilitated the evolution of many novelties associated with small body size, such as reorientation of body mass, increased aerial ability, and paedomorphic skulls with reduced snouts but enlarged eyes and brains.
Keywords: Animals
Rights: Copyright 2014 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.
RMID: 0030019876
DOI: 10.1126/science.1252243
Appears in Collections:Genetics publications

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