We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Did Some Birds Survive the Extinction Event That Killed the Dinosaurs?

Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

It seems that bird life on Earth was saved by a nose. Or a beak, anyway. After an asteroid wiped out much of the life on Earth 66 million years ago, some bird species survived, eventually becoming the only present-day creatures thought to be the direct descendants of the dinosaurs.

Paleontologists now believe they know why: The bird species that survived had beaks, which allowed them to dine on the seeds and nuts that lay buried in the topsoil amidst the devastated forests. Vegetation did eventually return, but only the beaked birds were able to sustain themselves before that time. In fact, some other bird species had teeth rather than beaks – yes, many birds once had teeth – and like the rest of the animals, had no way to feed themselves and died out.

"When we think about hypotheses of traits that let birds survive, we need to take into account that it was only a small sliver of diversity that made it to the other side," said University College London anatomist Ryan Felice. "All the things that make birds, birds, were already in place well before the mass extinction."

The word on birds:

  • Ostriches have billiard ball-size eyes, which are bigger than their brains and the largest of any land animal.

  • Due to the structure of its mouth, a flamingo can eat only when its head is upside-down.

  • The hooded pitohui of Papua New Guinea has a toxin in its skin and feathers, making it one of the world's only poisonous birds.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.