Evolutionary diversification between birds and dinosaurs
Birds’ highly specialised forelimbs have adapted for flight, which is in contrast with their dinosaurian ancestors and limits their original flexibility. It is widely agreed among researchers that the avian neck evolved to the equivalent of an arm enabling birds to have increased flexibility. Recently, imaging techniques and computer technology allowed deciphering the complex biomechanical adaptations of the bird neck. The EU-funded EDDI project will explore the evolutionary mechanisms responsible for the diversification of the neck in the group of archosaurs that includes dinosaurs, birds and crocodilians. It will use developmental and morphological data to create models of the skeletal and muscular system of the neck, and provide new understanding of morphofunctional changes in avian descendants of the dinosaurs.
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