How did birds survive the dinosaur-killing asteroid?

A picture of the fossil (major) and digital brain reconstruction (base) of the toothy Cretaceous chicken Ichthyornis. (Image credit rating: Torres et al CC BY 4.)

When the dinosaur-killing asteroid collided with Earth about 66 million yrs in the past, it brought on a slew of horrific occasions — shockwaves, wildfires, acid rain, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and nuclear wintertime-like circumstances — that killed about 80% of all animal species. But, mysteriously, some dinosaurs survived: the birds.

But why did some lineages of birds endure, even though others perished? New study on a nicely-preserved ancient bird cranium suggests that the chook species that survived the cataclysm had even larger cerebrums, or forebrains — the front area of the brain. 


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