TIL: Dinosaurs May Have Danced Like Birds

Take a look out your window and you're bound to see a dinosaur or two—or at least the descendant of one. That little blue jay? Dinosaur. The obnoxious early rising crow? Dinosaur. The squirrel running up the tree? Well, that’s still a squirrel. But those feathered friends make your yard a real-life Jurassic Park. Most researchers believe birds are descendants of a group of dinosaurs that included the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Fossil research has shown that birds and dinosaurs shared behaviors such as brooding and nest building. According to paleontologist and National Geographic grantee Jack Horner, it also stands to reason that dinosaurs had similar courting behaviors as today’s birds. Because various bird species tap-dance, moonwalk, and boogie to impress potential mates, it makes sense that dinosaurs did the same. Just imagine a giant T. rex with its tiny T. rex arms "twerking" its way into the heart of its intended. In this week’s Today I Learned, Horner explains how dinosaurs might have been the original smooth criminals.

Read more about one species of Triceratops, Triceratops horridus

Additional footage provided by Cornell Lab of Ornithology