It is a well-known fact that birds do not have teeth. Birds just like anteaters and turtles don't possess any teeth for chewing their food. However, according to a new study, this was not always the case. About 116 million years ago, the ancient birds had teeth and used them for eating. The new study was conducted by a team of researchers that analyzed the remains of the tooth gene in modern birds and attempted to find out why the teeth disappeared in birds during evolution.
As the fossilized remains of ancient birds are fragmented and not well preserved, their use in determining this evolutionary change has not been helpful. Researchers have instead focused on analyzing the DNA of modern birds. The aim of the ongoing study is to search for clues in the genes of birds that explain the loss of teeth during evolution.
In the absence of teeth, birds heavily rely on their curved beaks to grind and process food particles. They also have an extremely efficient digestive tract that aids them in digesting the food properly. However, at some point in history, birds used to rely on their teeth for chewing food just like us.
The earliest known clue in this regard was found in Germany in 1862. The fossil of an ancient bird found there, suggested that birds were descendants of reptiles and had teeth in the past. Today, scientists have confirmed that birds evolved from dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex. The ferocious T-rex belonged to the category of Theropod dinosaurs that were known for their sharp and pointed teeth.
Until now, there has been no definite explanation of the significant evolutionary change in birds. In the ongoing study, researchers analyzed the genes of modern birds that are responsible for tooth production. They searched for any kind of genetic mutation that may have caused the gene to become inactive. They were able to find a mutation in the genes of modern birds that was related to the enamel and dentin. The gene mutation first occurred about 116 million years ago.
The mutation is also found in other animals that do not have teeth such as sloths or armadillos. The similarity between the genetic makeups of such animals with birds is also being studied. Researchers are hoping that the study would finally help them come up with the answer to the question of why birds lost their teeth.
I am Smith Baker, and I maintain corporate blog updates. Professionally, I have amassed a considerable amount of experience with positions ranging from accounting, web research and editing. .In this article I have shared my knowledge on Evolution of Birds