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Baby bird fossil from Spain
Wire stories from AP and UPI today told of a HOT new fossil find from
the Pyrenees Mountains of Spain: the fossilized remnants of a baby bird
lived around 130 million years ago. Apparently it was first found
eight years ago by an amateur fossil-hunter, but only recently came to
attention of Spanish paleontologists.
The four-inch-long hatchling, the oldest fossil baby bird ever found,
included dinosaur-type skull and teeth, plus definite evidence of
and enough of the wing, shoulder, and breastbone to tell that it was
like modern birds in those features. When fully grown, it would
have been a better flyer than the older "first bird" _Archaeopteryx_.
new fossil is thought to represent a new species, but has not yet been
a formal scientific name.
The hatchling bird's bones include clusters of small holes and bone
indicative of rapid growth, both features also found in modern birds.
find is interpreted (by almost everyone _except_ Alan Feduccia <g>) as
further evidence that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs.
A full report on the fossilized hatchling bird will be published in this
edition of the journal SCIENCE.