Contrary to what we may think, the long and complicated process of genetic modifications that we call evolution does not necessarily imply that an animal gains more strength, speed or that it becomes bigger to compete better against others for the same resources, sometimes it can mean the exact opposite.
That is precisely what scientists recently discovered from the Alvarezsaurs, a group of raptor-like dinosaurs that over millions of years underwent an impressive transformation.
The Alvarezsaurs were ostrich-sized dinosaurs, which had two long legs that served as support. It was a creature very similar in shape to the Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor but probably had plumage.
This animal was a great predator, however, scientific studies have shown that around 100 million years ago the Alvarezsaurs began to undergo a transformation that drastically shrunk it. From weighing according to researchers’ estimates, between 22 and 154 pounds quickly went to a maximum average of 11 pounds.
This Dinosaur Shrank To The Size Of A Chicken
“Size reduction is very uncommon in Cretaceous theropod dinosaurs,” said lead author Zichuan Qin, a doctoral student at the University of Bristol in the U.K. and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in China
Scientists hypothesize that changes in the ecosystem would have been the reason why a carnivorous dinosaur of this size radically changed its diet to become essentially ant-eaters and therefore reducing its size so shockingly to end up actually looking like a modern chicken would.
During that period the number of flowers and various types of plants amazingly increased on the whole planet and alongside them, many species of insects and ants also flourished, so for this reason, the Alvarezsaurs would have been intelligent enough to change their diet and take advantage of the abundance of this new prey, which would result in a decrease in size.