‘Wonderchicken’ fossil shows link between dinosaurs in their day and modern day birds- Technology News, Firstpost
FP TrendingJul 20, 2020 16:31:24 IST
A study has discovered the oldest fossil of a modern bird, dating all the way back to the age of the dinosaurs.
The discovery shows an extraordinary link between the age of dinosaurs and present day birds, as per a video feature by Seeker.
The bird is not just a well-preserved fossil but also a missing piece to the puzzle of how modern birds came to be, according to Amanda Deisler, one of the authors of the study.
According to a USA Today report, the tiny fossil, which was nicknamed ‘wonderchicken’, includes a nearly complete skull hidden inside a nondescriptive rock and dates back more than 66 million years ago.
According to a statement by study lead author Daniel Field of the University of Cambridge, the moment he first saw what was beneath the rock, it was the most exciting moment of his scientific career.
He went on to add, “This is one of the best-preserved fossil bird skulls of any age, from anywhere in the world. We almost had to pinch ourselves when we saw it, knowing that it was from such an important time in Earth’s history.”
Scientists used high-resolution X-ray CT scans to see what was lying beneath the surface and discover the nearly complete 66.7-million-year-old bird skull.
Co-author Juan Benito, also from Cambridge, added, “Without these cutting-edge scans, we never would have known that we were holding the oldest modern bird skull in the world.”
The team named the new bird species Asteriornis maastrichtensis.
The ancient bird is thought to have lived a few hundred thousand years before the great extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period.
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