Bird brains: CT links development of avian skulls to baby dinos

A new study featuring 3D CT imaging has shown how bird skulls evolve differently than relatives and ancestors. Instead, they develop more like young dinosaurs and crocodiles.

Led Arkhat Abzhanov, with the department of life sciences at Imperial College London, the study was published online Sept. 11 at Nature Ecology & Evolution. Its aim was to generate 3D computer tomography scans of the skulls from extinct and modern species, using computer software to track changes in shapes.

The team’s 3D modelling of skulls represented some of the best—or first—representations for certain species.

“The skulls and brains of birds are dramatically different from those of adult non-avian dinosaurs and other reptiles, and we can show that these differences reflect how birds evolved to become species of forever-young dinosaurs,” said Abzhanov.

Read more at the Imperial College London.