The pelvis of a bird embryo first develops like that of a dinosaur and then takes on the shape of a bird before the hatching of the egg.
Scientists consider birds to be descendants of the modern lizard variety of dinosaurs prehistoric, and a recent study has found more evidence that prehistoric lizards were the ancestors of modern sparrows and pigeons, among other bird species.
The study carried out by scientists at Yale University, USA, has shown that, during embryonic development, the bones of bird embryos first become exactly like those of dinosaurs and only then acquire the characteristic shape of birds.
Observations have concluded that among ‘baby birds’ there is a time prior to egg hatching when the hip bone is a small replica of a dinosaur pelvis, says a statement issued by the university.
To reach that conclusion, the Yale scientists tagged the hips of some reptile (alligator) and bird embryos with specific antibodies that bound to proteins in the developing cartilage, bones, skeletal muscles, and nerves. They then created 3D images of the pelvic bones, muscles, and nerves using confocal microscopes and CT scans, says their study published in the journal Nature.
“It was unexpected to find that at these early stages of development, the hips of birds closely resemble those of a primitive dinosaur”, says Christopher Griffin, an evolutionary biologist at Yale University. “In just two days, the developing embryo changes in a way that mirrors how it changed in evolution, going from looking like an early dinosaur to looking like a modern bird,” he explained.
In addition to the peculiarities of bone development, the researchers also paid attention to the development of the muscles and nerves of the hip. They concluded that they develop in ‘discord’ with the bone.
In other words, each system operates independently of the others.