Published in the August 2015 issue of National Geographic magazine
Not all dinosaurs went extinct. Their descendants live on in the Avialae group, aka birds. Hoping to learn how this group thrived when others didn’t, scientists measured hundreds of dinosaur femur bones to determine each creature’s mass. The survivors’ continual evolution and ecological diversity helped them fit into shifting niches, the researchers found. For avians, survival hinged on shrinking in size.
—Lindsay N. Smith