World's First Bird


Image: Masato Hattori

Move over, Archaeopteryx - there's a new (well, actually older) dino in town that claims to be the world's first bird:

An archaic bird known as Aurornis xui, described this week in the journal Nature by paleontologist Pascal Godefroit and colleagues, is the latest entry in the debate over which animal qualifies as the first bird and how birds evolved.

The delicately preserved specimen, which includes fossil remnants of feathers, was discovered in the roughly 160-million-year-old rock of China's Tiaojishan Formation. While Aurornis lived about ten million years earlier thanArchaeopteryx, and very far from the prehistoric European archipelago thatArchaeopteryx inhabited, the new study found that the two plumage-covered creatures were close relatives at the very base of bird evolution.

Brian Switek of National Geographic explains: Link


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