The first beak to evolve was a horn-covered pincer tip at the end of the jaw of an animal that takes a place in the transition from reptiles to birds. This animal, Ichthyornis dispar, lived in North America nearly 100 million years ago and probably looked like a sea gull. It would have used its beak as a precision grasping instrument to replace its paws and hands that had already transformed into wings. Also, Ichtyornis had a brain like modern birds, but the skull was still dinosaur, showing that the brain transformed before the skull in the transition from reptiles to birds. These discoveries give new insights in the origin of birds.

Read the full story: Yale University
Scientific publication: Nature