Earliest Known Bird Fossil Had Dinosaur Feet


This video from the USA says about itself:

Public Lecture—Archaeopteryx: Bringing the Dino-Bird to Life

Lecture Date: Tuesday, January 25, 2011. Some 150 million years ago, a strange creature died in a tropical lagoon that today is located in Bavaria, Germany. In 1861, a single feather of this creature was discovered. Not long afterward, a complete fossil was found with the same bird-like feathers but dinosaur-like anatomical features. Darwin had just published “On the Origin of Species,” could this be the missing link that Darwin’s supporters hoped to find?

Recently, 2 of the now 11 discovered Archaeopteryx fossils, and that first feather, were brought to SLAC, where, using the intense X-ray beam, researchers searched for the chemical remains of the original living creatures. Please join us as Dr. Bergmann explains how recent studies attempt to bring the original dino-bird “back to life.” Lecturer: Uwe Bergmann, SLAC.

From RedOrbit:

Earliest Known Bird Fossil Had Dinosaur Feet

WASHINGTON — A new analysis of Archaeopteryx, the earliest known birdlike animal, shows it had feet like dinosaurs – a finding that adds weight to the belief that the birds frequenting backyard feeders today are descendants of mighty ancient carnivores.

While not all scientists agree, many consider Archaeopteryx the first bird, since it had wings and was the first fossil found with feathers.

Details have been lacking on the animals, however, since only a few fossil specimens have been found.

The new one, reported in Friday’s issue of the journal Science, is the 10th known and one of the most complete.

Contrary to what had been thought, the new fossil shows that the first toe was not reversed in Archaeopteryx, as is the case on current birds, according to a team led by Gerald Mayr of Research Institute Schenkenberg in Frankfurt, Germany.

Lack of the reversed toe would hamper the animal’s ability to perch like current birds, the researchers said.

On the other hand, it’s second toe could be extended, like those of theropod – beast-footed – dinosaurs, a group that included such well known examples as T. rex.

Archaeopteryx was considerably smaller, however, close to the size of a magpie. The new example lived about 150 million years ago in what is now Bavaria.

There is also an Archaeopteryx fossil in Teyler’s museum in The Netherlands.

2006 fossil claw found in Brazil, and discussion on birds-dinosaurs relationship: here.

Cretaceous fossil bird Gansus from China: here.

Asiahesperornis, fossil bird from Kazakhstan: here.

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12 thoughts on “Earliest Known Bird Fossil Had Dinosaur Feet

  1. UPDATED: 11:25, May 30, 2005

    World’s earliest bird fossil unearthed in China to “fly to” Japan

    The world’s earliest bird fossil discovered in north China’s Hebei Province will be sent to Japan for an exhibition on July 15, Chinese researcher Jiqiang told Xinhua Sunday in this capital of Hebei Province.

    Yoichi Azuma, deputy director of Japan’s Fukui-ken County Dinosaur Museum made an on-spot investigation into the fossil’s birthplace in Hebei’s Fengning County this month, to prepare for the exhibition in Fukui-ken County in Japan.

    The fossil would also be exhibited in two other places in Japan.The bird fossil, named as Jinfengopteryx elegans and claimed as the earliest in the world, was discovered at the late Mesozoic stratum last July.

    Researchers found feathers attached to the whole body of the bird, which has a triangular-shaped head and 36 smooth teeth inside the short beak. The fossil consists of 12 sections of cervical vertebrae, 11 sections of spine vertebrae and 23 sectionsof caudal vertebrae.

    The bird’s tail is 27.3 centimeters long, or about 50 percent of its total length. Based on careful research on the 205 characteristics of Jinfengopteryx elegans, Ji Qiang, a research fellow with the Geology Institute under the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, said that it was more primitive than the archaeopteryx, previously considered the world’s earliest bird, which was discovered in southern Germany in 1861.

    Ji said that several factors could underpin their conclusion. The Jinfengopteryx elegans’ hind legs are longer than its forelimbs while the German bird’s hind legs and forelimbs almost at the same length. Also the Jinfengopteryx elegans has more and longer teeth than the one discovered in Germany.

    Source: Xinhua

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