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A COUPLE OF NEWSWIRE STORIES OF INTEREST
Dinosaurs' "graveyard" unearthed in Russia
MOSCOW, Oct 18 (Reuter) - A dinosaur "graveyard" has been unearthed in the
Siberian wastes and Russian scientists hope they will be able to reconstruct a
whole dinosaur skeleton from the fossilised remains.
Scientists came across partial skeletons and bones near Shestakovo in
western Siberia at a site of prehistoric remains known to Russian
palaeontologists since the early 1950s but left unexplored until recently.
"These are not individual burial sites of the animals. We are talking about
a whole cemetery of them discovered in Russia for the first time," said chief
palaeontologist Igor Grebnev.
Grebnev, director of the Novosibirsk Museum of Natural History, told Reuters
television that finds included the bones of unidentified dinosaur species.
They had an average age of 70 million years and had reached a height of
eight metres (25 feet).
"We hope with some certainty to be able to reconstruct at least one dinosaur
for display in the Novosibirsk museum," he said.
Local palaeontologists began work last spring after road construction
workers unearthed a huge number of fossilised remains.
Since then the nearby Kiya river, which has overflowed, has spewed out more
prehistoric bones and scientists now plan excavation work on the river banks as
"This is a great discovery for us. We have to find out how this cemetery of
dinosaurs came to be here," Grebnev said.
Confucius says -- earliest bird was Chinese
LONDON, Oct 18 (Reuter) - Researchers working in China say they have found
the remains of the first bird with a beak, and the discovery could point the way
to the earliest bird of all.
They named the bird Confuciusornis sanctus, after the ancient Chinese
philosopher, and said its remains provided the first evidence of a bird covered
with true feathers.
In a report in the journal Nature, they said the bird's remains, dated to
between 142 and 137 million years ago, were the first Jurassic bird fossils to
be found outside Germany.
Archaeopteryx is popularly accepted as the first bird. The crow-sized
fossils of the creature were first found in Germany but it had teeth instead of
a beak and a bony, reptilian tail.
It lived 160 million years ago and looked very similar to the dinosaurs from
which it evolved.
The researchers -- Larry Martin of the University of Kansas and colleagues
at the Chinese Academy of Sciences -- said Confuciusornis was even more
It was about the size of a small Archaeopteryx -- about 28 cm (11 inches)
high -- with feathers and a beak, but otherwise fairly similar.
Martin's group said the fossil showed either that birds evolved rapidly
after Archaeopteryx, or that some other birdlike creature had evolved before it.
"These specimens provide evidence for either an undiscovered
pre-Archaeopteryx or a rapid, post-Archaeopteryx evolution in birds," they
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