Age of Ancient Bird Fossil Found in China

Although he was not as old as Archaeopteryx, which is believed to be the oldest bird species in the world today, a new fossil found in China was found in the intact condition. Body structure might provide new clues for scientists to study the life histories of birds from the age of dinosaurs to modern birds.

The fossil was found in the paelontolog China and Britain from the edge of the lake in the forest around the northern part of Hebei Province during the expedition in 2005-2006. The scientists gave the name which means Eoconfuciusornis zhengi Confucius bird.

"Eoconfuciusornis provide new piece in the puzzle of evolution from Archaeopteryx to be more advanced birds," said Zhou Zhong, co-author of the study report from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing.

Conditions are intact fossils probably because the bird is submerged into the lake and buried by sediment in the bottom of the lake in the Cretaceous Era between 120 million years until 131 million years. Over millions of years buried, their bodies undergo a process of fossilization and preserved in fossilized sediments.

His figure was very similar to modern birds with feathered wing shape and symmetrical arrangement of tail feathers. Fur color varies from brown and black that could be the actual color or changes color from blue, red, and yellow like a modern bird.

Characteristics are more like modern birds than Archaepteryx who still has the physical characteristics of dinosaurs, such as teeth and long bony tail. Bone and muscle structure also supports the ability to fly more nimble maneuvers. However, both may share the same weakness fly from a flat surface, so easy to attack the opponent.

The animal probably lived in trees and has a nail and a long tail feathers that are important to help balance the body while perched on the branch. He seemed to glide to the surface of the lake astute to catch fish as prey

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