Discovery of dinosaurs sheds new light on bird evolution

Discovery of dinosaurs sheds new light on bird evolution
An artistic interpretation of what the animal might look like

Noos News

About 148 to 150 million years ago, a species of dinosaur appeared to have lived with remarkable anatomy, according to scientists. A fossil of a bird-like dinosaur with long hind legs and wing-like front legs has been discovered in Southeast China’s Fujian Province.

The below-the-knee portion of its hind legs is twice as long as the animal’s thighs, and is comparable in size to a pheasant. This is remarkable, because the ratio is the opposite in most dinosaurs.

this Fujian Venator Miracle (Latin: strange hunter from Fujian) Due to its special structure, it raises the question among scientists whether the animal can be classified as a bird.

“Fujianvenator is unlike any modern bird,” said paleontologist Min Wang, who led the research and excavation. When asked how to describe the animal, he replied: “I would call it strange.”

Runner or wader

The fossil was found in October, but the discovery was only recently published in a journal Scientific journal Nature. By the way, the fossil is not complete. It is missing a head and parts of its claws, making it difficult for scientists to determine how the animal lived and what its diet was.

Based on fitness, researchers hypothesize two possible ways of living. Modern animals with long lower legs can generally run quickly. Presumably FujianVinator can too.

Another possibility is that the animal resembled modern-day wading birds, such as a heron or a crane. If so, he probably lived in a swampy area.

Bipedal dinosaurs

The arm-like forelimbs are reminiscent of wings, but have three protruding toes, Wang says. “Modern birds don’t have that. You can call it a wing, but it can’t be determined whether the beast can fly as well.” Based on the information they have now, scientists think the animal probably couldn’t fly well, if it could fly at all.

Birds are generally thought to be descended from bipedal dinosaurs, so-called theropod dinosaurs, with distinctive three toes and hollow bones. the T-Rex And Velociraptor They are the best known examples.

The oldest species of birds found so far date back to 150 million years ago, and they are feathered birds archeopteryx, And also from the late Jurassic period. Little is known about the early evolution of birds, as few fossils have been found since that time.

Different types of birds

Fujianvenator’s book therefore sheds new light on the origins of birds as we know them today. Because the animal lived in approximately the same period as the animal found in Germany archeopteryx, Scientists give the impression that dinosaurs had already split into different bird-like species at that time.

“For me, Fujianvenitor is another interesting piece of evidence about how diverse different bird-like dinosaurs were,” says paleontologist Zhong Zhou, who co-authored the paper published in Nature. “They lived at roughly the same time and in similar environments as their descendants today.” With Wang.

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