Did Birds Evolve from Dinosaurs?
Feathered fossil fascinates scientists
The recent discovery of a fossil of a feathered bird-like creature the size of a crow has prompted more discussion on whether birds evolved from dinosaurs, and on how they began to fly.
Known as Microraptor zhaoianus, the creature lived 124 million years ago in northeastern China. Some press reports called it a feathered dinosaur.
Are Birds and Dinosaurs Cousins?
Most scientists believe birds are descended from dinosaurs. Other experts suggest birds and dinosaurs are separately descended from a common reptilian ancestor.
However, Microraptor zhaoianus does seem similar both to modern birds and to advanced, meat-eating dinosaurs. A meat-eater with teeth, Microraptor zhaoianus did not fly. Its curved claws, similar to those of modern perching birds, were probably used to climb trees and to escape predators. It had feathers.
Feathered Dinosaurs Debated
The fossil indicates that feathers, which likely evolved from reptile scales, developed before the origin of modern birds. Other fossils from China show that some dinosaurs themselves had feathers. However, some scientists dispute this finding, stating that the fossils were actually some type of flightless birds.
Origins of Flight
The uncertainty extends to the origins of flight. A common view is that flight evolved when animals on the ground began to run at increasing speeds, gradually becoming able to leap through the air. Other people believe flight developed when tiny dinosaurs began climbing trees and then began gliding. If this theory is correct, then Microraptor zhaoianus might indeed provide the missing link between birds and dinosaurs.
Provided by Factmonster.com.
Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month
May is Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month! Don't overlook this opportunity to study and enjoy activities about the history and culture of Asian-Pacific American communities.
Top 10 Galleries
Explore our most popular Top 10 galleries, from Top 10 Behavior Management Tips for the Classroom and Top 10 Classroom Organization Tips from Veteran Teachers to Top 10 Free (& Cheap) Rewards for Students and Top 10 Things Every Teacher Needs in the Classroom. We'll help you get organized and prepared for every classroom situation, holiday, and more! Check out all of our galleries today.
May Calendar of Events
May is full of holidays and events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Children's Book Week (5/13-19), Biographers Day (5/16), and Memorial Day (5/27). Plus, celebrate Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month, Clean Air Month, and Physical Fitness & Sports Month all May long!
Common Core Lessons & Resources
Is your school district adopting the Common Core? Work these new standards into your curriculum with our reading, writing, speaking, social studies, and math lessons and activities. Each piece of content incorporates the Common Core State Standards into the activity or lesson.