Oldest Bird, Not A Bird?
Tuesday Oct 22nd, 2019
Scientists are thinking that the world’s oldest bird may not really be a bird after all.
Paleontologists have long considered the archaeopteryx the world’s oldest bird. Fossilized remains were discovered in 1861, revealing an ancient animal with the feathers and wings of a bird, but the tail and teeth of a dinosaur. Classified as an avian, their status is now in doubt thanks to new research conducted by scientists at China’s Linyi University.
As reported by the Guardian, researchers studying a chicken-size creature 155 million years old realized it shared common features with the archaeopteryx, but then determined that both the “new” old animal and the archaeopteryx properly belong to a family of dinosaurs called deinonychosaurs (like the velociraptors of Jurassic Park). Thus, the archaeopteryx really can’t be considered the first bird, unless further evidence linking it more firmly to the avian group is uncovered.