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From chicken to dinosaur: Scientists experimentally 'reverse evolution' of perching toe


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A unique adaptation in the foot of birds is the presence of a thumb-like opposable toe, which allows them to grasp and perch.  However, in their dinosaur ancestors, this toe was small and non- opposable, and did not even touch the ground, resembling the dewclaws of dogs and cats. Remarkably, the embryonic development of birds provides a parallel of this evolutionary history: The toe starts out like their dinosaur ancestors, but then its base (the metatarsal) becomes twisted, making it opposable.UepHyjdo6H0

 

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