It seems like a silly question: Why don’t birds have teeth? Well, because she has beaks. It’s like asking why dogs don’t have wings or why horses don’t have flippers. According to the scientific consensus, birds already had teeth. But about 116 million years ago, a mutation led to beaked, toothless birds.
You probably already know a cool fact about birds: they are descended from dinosaurs. That’s right, even the humble chicken was an ancestor of the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex. There is a school of thought that many dinosaurs had feathers from the beginning, but that is beside the point. The thing is: dinosaurs had teeth, and sometimes big scary ones, so how did they evolve to be toothless? Although scientists can roughly determine when teeth were first lost, the question remains as to why birds evolved without teeth in the first place. Well, there are a few theories.
Birds’ beaks can be thought of as feeding tools, perfectly designed and adapted to each species’ dietary needs. Birds use beaks like chopsticks to grab edible items or use beak holes to get key food sources like grubs and worms. But wouldn’t they benefit from teeth?
Not according to one of the theories advanced by academics in 2009The theory suggests that the absence of teeth among some birds gave lighter-boned creatures – the extra weight – an advantage in flight. This explains their dominance over toothed birds in the period that followed the initial boom.
Sounds like a good theory, and for years the scientific community took these findings as a plausible explanation for the lack of teeth among birds. However, another compelling theory has emerged recently that experts claim is the real reason why birds don’t have teeth.
Faster incubation if no teeth
If you’ve ever held a bird, you’ve probably noticed how light it is and guessed that its weightlessness helps it fly. With that in mind, you might reasonably conclude that the teeth would weigh the bird down, hindering its flying abilities, which is why you don’t have them.
But this next theory—which has received a lot of scientific support—really requires some specialized scientific knowledge. It is related to chick development in the egg and has been investigated 2017. Gregory M. The scientists, led by Erickson, believe that the development of teeth in the egg means that pre-avian species such as dinosaurs had incubation periods that lasted longer than chicks, which typically hatch in a matter of weeks or months.
Even with parental protection, the eggs are vulnerable to predators, such as the lack of teeth — the last part of the developing embryo in an egg — that aided rapid development and helped hatch quickly.