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Since birds are dinosaurs, I wonder what the evolutionary history is of the big birds like emus and dodos. Did they come from medium-sized dinos?

I recommend reading Jack Horner's "How to build a Dinosaur", he talks about this sort of thing, namely that you can take an existing flightless bird, give it teeth, a tail, and flip the arms around and you've basically got a dinosaur.

The creepy part is people are actually messing around with chicken genes and can turn on things like "grow teeth" and "grow a tail".

- http://www.ted.com/talks/jack_horner_building_a_dinosaur_fro...

You'd think the guy who was the dinosaur adviser for Jurassic Park would actually learn the lesson from the movie, so if we all get eaten to death by chickens, here's your guy.

Isn't the lesson from the movie that the park would just need better security?

Current bird size has nothing to do with their ancestors really since all birds share a common ancestor, all variance came after they branched off.

That's sort of what I suspected; too bad!

The size doesn't matter :)

All feathered creatures must have been evolved from a single one (that first got that feather-mutation), like Archaeopteryx or something older, but the difference in their sizes may be something that occured later.

Yes, but it's kind of interesting if some big birds had big ancestors running around with the dinosaurs. "Later" could mean "after someone got feathers" but still be before the mass extinction.

Looks like that is still very much an open question (from a quick scan of wikipedia) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratite

--edit-- though not dodos, pretty sure they were a type of pigeon... or I could be making that up.

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