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Apsaravis ukhaana, new Mongolian fossil bird



Yes, a new fossil bird from Mongolia. Here is the citation and abstract, from 
this week's issue of NATURE (freely available at the NATURE website). Don't 
know yet (haven't seen the article) whether this is a dinobird or a true bird 
farther up the cladogram:

Nature 409, 181 - 184 (2001) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 

Fossil that fills a critical gap in avian evolution

MARK A. NORELL AND JULIA A. CLARKE

Despite the discoveries of well-preserved Mesozoic birds, a key part of 
avian evolution, close to the radiation of all living birds (Aves), 
remains poorly represented. Here we report on a new taxon from the Late 
Cretaceous locality of Ukhaa Tolgod, Mongolia, that offers insight into 
this critically unsampled period. Apsaravis and the controversial 
alvarezsaurids are the only avialan taxa known from the continental 
deposits at Ukhaa Tolgod, which have produced hundreds of fossil 
mammals, lizards and other small dinosaurs. The new taxon, Apsaravis 
ukhaana, is the best-preserved specimen of a Mesozoic ornithurine bird 
discovered in over a century. It provides data important for assessing 
morphological evolution across Avialae, with implications for, first, 
the monophyly of Enantiornithes and Sauriurae; second, the proposition 
that the Mesozoic sister taxa of extant birds, as part of an 'ecological 
bottleneck', inhabited exclusively near-shore and marine environments; 
and third, the evolution of flight after its origin.