Most paleontologists now believe that modern birds
are the direct descendants
. Specifically, birds
evolved from the group of theropods
called the maniraptors
. This conclusion is based on similarities in skeletal structure
and on transitional fossils
such as Archaeopteryx
To avoid perpetuating a false distinction between dinosaurs and their feathered progeny, many paleontologists have started referring to birds as avian dinosaurs. Classical dinosaurs are, of course, non-avian dinosaurs.
So, it turns out that the rumors of the extinction of the dinosaurs have been exaggerated. They walk, hop and fly among us.