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    ArnieRoss's Avatar
    ArnieRoss Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Jan 25, 2010, 07:53 PM
    Ask a paleontologist
    Hello,

    Here is my question: Are the hind legs and feet of a crocodile similar to those of a chicken.. . And is the similarity one way that paleontologists relate the crocodile and the chicken to the dinosaurs (T-rex to be specific)? In other words, if a crocodile were somehow able to stand on its hind legs, would the legs and feet look very much like those of a chicken, and therefore, T-rex? If so, can you direct me to a book, article, or Website that says this?

    Thank you.
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,801, Reputation: 2674
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    #2

    Jan 25, 2010, 08:18 PM

    I think this answers your question, plus additional reading material:


    Tyrannosaurus Rex 'was more like a chicken than a crocodile'

    By Steve Connor, Science Editor

    Friday, 25 April 2008

    The largest carnivore that ever walked the planet – Tyrannosaurus rex – is more closely related to the modern chicken than it is to living reptiles such as the alligator or crocodile, a study of the dinosaur's fossilised protein has found.

    Researchers analysed a tiny shred of 68-million-year-old protein taken from the leg of T. Rex and compared it to the same protein found in 21 modern species. They confirmed that the giant predator is closely related to chickens and ostriches, but only to a lesser extent to reptiles such as alligators and crocodiles, which were thought to be more closely related to dinosaurs than other living creatures.
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    It is the first time that scientists have been able to trace a relationship between dinosaurs and birds through molecular analysis of animal protein, although anatomical studies have already produced convincing evidence of a link between birds and dinosaurs.

    "These results match predictions made from skeletal anatomy, providing the first molecular evidence for the evolutionary relationships of a non-avian dinosaur," said Chris Organ, a researcher in evolutionary biology at Harvard University in the US.

    Proteins are composed of amino-acids arranged in a sequence that mirrors the order of chemical bases on molecules of DNA, so scientists can look at short strands of protein– called peptides – to investigate the relationships between species: alive or dead.

    "Even though we only had six peptides – just 89 amino-acids – from T. rex, we were able to establish these relationships with a relatively high degree of support," Dr Organ said. "With more data, we would likely see the T. rex branch on the phylogenetic tree between alligators and chickens and ostriches, though we cannot resolve this position with currently available data."

    John Asara and Lewis Cantley, of Harvard Medical School, were the first experts to capture and sequence pieces of collagen protein from T. rex. The samples were taken from the thigh bone of a T. rex unearthed in the "badlands" of Wyoming and Montana. "Most of the collagen sequence was obtained from protein and genome databases," Dr Asara said, "but we also needed to sequence some critical organisms, including modern alligator and modern ostrich.

    "We determined that T. rex grouped with birds – ostrich and chicken – better than any other organism that we studied. We also showed that it groups better with birds than modern reptiles, such as alligators and green anole lizards."

    The study, published in the latest edition of the journal Science, will add to the growing evidence that birds are descended directly from a group of dinosaurs that grew feathers, possibly as a form of thermal insulation, before they learnt to fly.

    In China, scientists have found many examples of feathered dinosaurs, including several that may have used their wings to glide. One fossilised dinosaur had feathers growing in both pairs of limbs, suggesting that four-winged flight may have been possible among some species.
    ArnieRoss's Avatar
    ArnieRoss Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Jan 25, 2010, 09:41 PM
    Thank you for your answer. Although it did not exactly answer my poorly worded question, it did lead me to learn that crocodiles and dinosaurs/birds are only related to the extent that they share a common ancestor.

    I am reaching here to see if I can connect the chicken to the dinosaur by way of the crocodile, and if I can use the anatomy of their legs and/or feet to do so. Hence, these questions: 1) Are the legs and/or feet of the crocodile, the chicken, and some dinosaurs anatomically alike? 2) Is T-rex one of those dinosaurs? It doesn't matter much if it is or isn't.
    ebaines's Avatar
    ebaines Posts: 12,130, Reputation: 1307
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    #4

    Jan 26, 2010, 01:19 PM

    Birds, crocodiles, and dinosaurs are all part of the same group - Archosaur. Here is an article that describes some of the similarities: in tooth sockets, skull cavities behind the nostrils, small openings in the jaw bone, and (most relevant to your question) a ridge for attaching muscles on the femur in the leg.
    Archosaur - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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