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Large flesh-eating dinosaurs evolved into small flying birds, but it did not happen overnight. An international team of scientists described last week an extraordinary evolutionary process that unfolded over a period of 50 million years in which a lineage of carnivorous dinosaurs shrank steadily and acquired numerous traits that led to the first appearance of birds.The earliest known bird was the crow-sized Archaeopteryx, which lived in Germany 150 million years ago.The lineage was continually pushing the envelope of life at a smaller body size, little by little, over 50 million years," Lee said.The researchers completed a family tree of this dinosaur lineage and their bird descendants.
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