Modern birds' oldest known ancestor found in China

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Modern Birds' Oldest Known Ancestor Found In China


The oldest known bird species from which all current ones have descended has been found in China.

It is estimated to have lived approximately 130.7 million years ago which is 5 to 6 million years earlier than the former oldest specimen, according to a recent paper.

Paleontologists found two skeletal remains from the new species in the northeast region of the country.

It was determined that the feathered bird likely resembled modern-day shorebirds.

Because of its short wings, it may have been able to fly but probably stayed largely on land.

The structure of its feet and long hind legs indicate an adaptability to water which means it probably searched for food along the shoreline like cranes do.

Their habitation near water also reflects the possibility of early behavioral specialization and long-time aquatic evolution.

Scientists are continuing to figure out why one group of birds survived prehistoric times to develop into modern species while another known set of birds died off with the dinosaurs.

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Modern birds' oldest known ancestor found in China

An Archaeopteryx on a log above a stream.

(Daniel Eskridge/Stocktrek via Getty)

An Archaeopteryx stalks a dragonfly on a rock.

(Stocktrek/Getty Images)

Undated National Academy of Sciences handout of a Reconstruction of the flying dinosaur, Microraptor, showing its "biplane" design.

Primeval time: a Brontornis Burmeisteri (large bird) fighting with a Hadrosaur

(Getty Images)

Elephant Bird (Aepyornis) walking on beach, illustration (Photo by De Agostini Picture Library/De Agostini/Getty Images)

Archaeopteryx dinosaur on white background with drop shadow.

(Leonello Calvetti/Stocktrek via Getty)

LONDON - JANUARY 22: This handout image, showing an artist's interpretation of the winged dinosaur, Microraptor Gui, was published in the Journal Nature on January 22, 2003 in London, England. Microraptor Gui was discovered by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing. Scientist believe the four-winged dinosaur, measuring around one meter (red and black bar at bottom left represents five cm) lived approximately 130-million years ago and would have flown in the same way a flying squirrel does today. (Photo by Journal Nature/Portia Sloan/Getty Images)
circa 1890: A Pterodactyl on the hunt above a sea full of predators. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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