Fossil Discovered In China Belongs to Oldest Known Ancestor of Modern Birds

Researchers have discovered fossilized remains of a new species of bird that’s challenging much of what we know about the origin of modern birds. From Time

“The Archaeornithura meemannae lived roughly 130.7 million years ago in northeastern China, about 6 million years before the previously thought origin of modern birds, according to the researchers who published their findings in Nature Communications.”

 

The fossil has more in common with modern birds than any other found from this era. The new species belongs to the evolutionary branch Ornithuromorpha, which contains all bird species alive today.

According to The Washington Post

“Bird origins are important. We know with some certainty that birds descended from the dinosaurs, making them the last living remnants of the creatures that once dominated our planet.”

 

Although older bird fossils have been discovered in the past, this is the oldest bird species ever discovered with living descendants.

Read more from The Washington Post or Time.

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