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What Species Is the Closest Dwelling Relative to Dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs have fascinated individuals ever since we discovered that they existed. Way back to 1914, they’ve been featured in motion pictures, however unsurprisingly, it was 1993’s “Jurassic Park” that enhanced our awe, surprise, and worry of dinosaurs.

However have you ever ever puzzled in the event that they nonetheless exist? Are there species round at present which can be associated to dinosaurs not directly? Sure! There are just a few species in existence — primarily, birds and crocodiles — which can be the descendants of dinosaurs.

Right here, we cowl all of the species which have a few of that dino DNA connection.

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nile crocodile
Picture Credit score: Hervé Clootens, Pixabay

Crocodiles, being the biggest reptiles, are technically the closest dwelling kin to dinosaurs. Crocodiles, in addition to alligators, descend from Archosaurs (“ruling reptiles”), which truly had been round earlier than dinosaurs. This was within the Early Triassic Interval, about 250 million years in the past.

The crocodiles that we’ve at present descend from the Deinosuchus, which suggests “horrible crocodile,” though they’re extra carefully associated to alligators. These critters grew to greater than 30 ft and weighed 8,000 kilos! The Deinosuchus advanced about 95 million years in the past, within the Late Cretaceous interval.


white tailed eagle flying
Picture Credit score: Albert Beukhof, Shuttersttock

Whereas crocodiles are the closest kin to dinosaurs, birds are the direct descendants. The truth is, crocodiles are extra carefully associated to birds than different lizards. A number of species of birds are value taking a more in-depth take a look at.


Cream Legbar Chicken
Picture Credit score: Lilly Trott, Shutterstock

It was found that the Tyrannosaurus rex shares just a few of the identical molecular buildings as chickens and ostriches! That is undoubtedly unusual, contemplating chickens and ostriches have little genetic connection.


masai ostrich
Picture Credit score: worldclassphoto, Shutterstock

Ostriches are giant, flightless birds that belong to the ratite group (to which kiwis, emus, and cassowaries additionally belong). There’s a idea that small dinosaurs advanced into small birds, and a few turned flightless as a result of their survival trusted staying on the bottom.


Adult cassowary sitting in the grass
Picture Credit score: PoldyChromos, Pixabay

Of all of the birds on the market, the cassowary definitely has the closest bodily resemblance to dinosaurs! Whereas the southern cassowary is the third largest chicken species (the ostrich is the biggest, adopted by the Somali ostrich), they’ve just a few distinctive options that make them stand out.

They’re recognized to be aggressive to people and have giant, claw-like ft. In all probability essentially the most distinctive bodily characteristic that offers them a dinosaur-like look is their casque. This can be a giant, leathery crest on the highest of their heads, and it’s believed to assist them within the warmth or with their resonant name.

Sea Turtles

happy cute sea turtle swimming in the ocean
Picture credit score:, Shutterstock

Sea turtles are reptiles, like crocodiles, and have been known as “cousins” to dinosaurs. They developed together with dinosaurs and ultimately advanced into a definite sort of turtle about 110 million years in the past.

The Archelon was the biggest sea turtle that lived about 65 to 75 million years in the past. Probably the most carefully associated species to the Archelon is the leatherback sea turtle, which is the biggest turtle on this planet. The leatherback measures a mean of as much as 7 ft lengthy, however the Archelon measured as much as 15 ft in size!


Picture Credit score: Successful4, Pixabay

The tuatara is a reptile with a genetic lineage way back to the Triassic interval. Whereas they appear to be lizards, they aren’t. Tuataras belong to the Rhynchocephalia reptile group, of which they’re the one member.

They stay on islands discovered off the coast of New Zealand and may stay so long as 100 years! They’re the one dwelling relative of the Sphenodontia order; the others turned extinct about 200 million years in the past.


shark swimming underwater
Picture Credit score: Wildfaces, Pixabay

Sharks are even older than dinosaurs, with their ancestors going again so far as the Silurian interval, 450 million years in the past. This makes sharks fairly historic, and so they have survived all main extinction occasions.

There are a number of historic species, with the Megalodon most likely being essentially the most well-known. They had been the biggest sharks to have ever existed and had been 50 to 60 ft lengthy, 3 times the scale of a contemporary nice white shark!


Picture Credit score: artellliii72, Pixabay

It’s mentioned that trendy snakes advanced from a small variety of species that survived the asteroid influence that introduced on the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years in the past. The snake’s ancestors survived this occasion by growing the flexibility to go with out meals for lengthy intervals, and so they advanced and diversified into the 4,000 or so species that we’ve at present.


Picture Credit score: WikiImages, Pixabay

Crabs are crustaceans which were round for tens of millions of years, even earlier than dinosaurs. The truth is, the horseshoe crab has been round for over 300 million years. True crabs have been round for 150 to 200 million years.

They flourished in the course of the Cretaceous interval, earlier than the dinosaurs went by means of the extinction occasion. The Megaxantho zogue was a big species that didn’t survive the asteroid, however the options that we’re accustomed to in trendy crabs — one large claw and a smaller claw — lived on from the M. zogue.


black throat monitor lizard
Picture Credit score: Vladislav T. Jirousek, Shutterstock

The phrase “dinosaur” interprets to “horrible lizard” from Greek, however lizards as we all know them diverged from dinosaurs about 270 million years in the past. There are just a few commonalities, resembling egg laying, however lizards are squamates, somewhat than sharing ancestry with archosaurs.

Some species of lizards lived alongside dinosaurs, however most species additionally went extinct. It took roughly 10 million years after the Cretaceous interval for lizards to begin to make a comeback. They ultimately tailored and advanced to the over 4,500 species that we’ve at present.



Whereas there are not dinosaurs besides what we see in photos and flicks, in a method, we’re all nonetheless dwelling amongst them. It’s exhausting to think about when taking a look at a rooster that they share molecular similarities to the T. rex, but it surely’s fascinating, nonetheless!

The following time that you simply admire birds flying overhead, keep in mind that they’re the direct descendants of dinosaurs. They’re simply prettier and gained’t attempt to eat you. However try to be somewhat extra cautious with the carefully associated crocs and gators!

Featured Picture Credit score: DariuszSankowski, Pixabay

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