1. Theropod Diversity and the Refinement of Avian Characteristics

  1. Gareth Dyke2 and
  2. Gary Kaiser3
  1. Peter J. Makovicky and
  2. Lindsay E. Zanno

Published Online: 20 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781119990475.ch1

Living Dinosaurs: The Evolutionary History of Modern Birds

Living Dinosaurs: The Evolutionary History of Modern Birds

How to Cite

Makovicky, P. J. and Zanno, L. E. (2011) Theropod Diversity and the Refinement of Avian Characteristics, in Living Dinosaurs: The Evolutionary History of Modern Birds (eds G. Dyke and G. Kaiser), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119990475.ch1

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University College Dublin, Ireland

  2. 3

    Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, Canada

Author Information

  1. Field Museum, Chicago, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 8 APR 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470656662

Online ISBN: 9781119990475



  • deep evolutionary history of modern birds;
  • theropod diversity - and refinement of avian characteristics;
  • Archaeopteryx, and discovery of first specimens - evidence of avian evolution in fossil record, focal point for research;
  • Huxley (1868), evolutionary relationships - between birds and nonavian theropods, shared traits, as three principal weight-bearing toes in the foot;
  • cladistic methodology, establishing - testing proposing evolutionary relationships, conceptual framework for deciphering origin and evolutionary history of birds;
  • dinosaurian heritage of birds, that birds are archosaurs - closest living relatives to crocodilians;
  • theropods, exclusive of basal coelophysoid radiation - the Late Triassic–Early Jurassic, into two major lineages, Ceratosauria and Tetanurae;
  • birds within the Saurischia, or “lizard-hipped” branch of dinosaur diversity - than the Ornithischia, the “bird-hipped” branch;
  • birds, representing the most speciose - widespread clade of amniotes, unique locomotory and physiological adaptations;
  • evolutionary trend toward increased brain sizes - continuing within avian lineage, modern birds with larger encephalization quotient (EQ) values than nonavian theropods


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • A Roadmap to the Dinosaurian Heritage of Birds

  • New Inferences on Soft Tissue, Physiology, and Behavior

  • Are Bird Origins Still Controversial?

  • Conclusions

  • Acknowledgments

  • References