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Dinosaurs Had Sex As Youths, Study Says

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/070720-dino-sex.html July 20, 2007

Early sexual maturity aligns more with modern-day crocodiles than birdsa surprise because most scientists believe birds are akin to modern dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs sit on eggs like birds, sleep like birds, and have bone structures like birds.

Given all these similarities, researchers thought they would find dinosaurs grew up and reproduced like birds, too.

Birds don't start mating until well after they are fully grown. Eagles, for example, reach full size in a year but don't mate until at least four.

"That's clearly not what we're seeing in these dinosaurs," said lead study author Gregory Erickson, an evolutionary biologist and paleontologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

By mating early, dinosaurs are "really holding on to their ancestry, rather than jumping into the modern-bird style of reproduction," said study co-author Kristina Curry Rogers, a paleontologist at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

Curry Rogers said the study is a nice illustration that birds aren't all dinosaur.

"Birds inherited only parts of their uniqueness from their dinosaur precursors and everything else is distinctly bird."

several other interesting comments at link. (well, interesting to me)

"birds aren't all dinosaur" - BAAD