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Re: Jinfengopteryx , new Chinese bird

Says the journalist " fossil of the world's earliest bird from the late Mesozoic".
The article doesn't say much about it's age apart from 'Late Mesozoic'. It could be anything. But then, it's just an article..

----- Original Message ----- From: <bh480@scn.org>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2005 8:20 AM
Subject: Jinfengopteryx , new Chinese bird

From: Ben Creisler bh480@scn.org

In case this news has not been mentioned yet, Chinese
scientist have found a new early bird. Versions of this
story came out a few days ago but I'm still trying to find
the official reference.


Earliest bird fossil discovered in Hebei: researcher
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2005-03-24 10:34

A Chinese researcher said his team has discovered the
fossil of the world's earliest bird from the late Mesozoic
stratum in Fengning Man Autonomous County of north China's
Hebei Province.
Ji Qiang, a research fellow with the Geology Institute
under the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, said
that the fossilized Jinfengopteryx elegans is more
primitive than the archaeopteryx, previously considered
the world's earliest bird, which was discovered in
southern Germany in 1861.

Ji and his colleagues have been studying the 54.8-
centimeter-long fossil of Jinfengopteryx elegans since its
was discovered in Fengning county, about 120 kilometers
north of Beijing, in July last year.

Ji said, they found feathers attached to the whole body of
the bird, which has a triangular-shaped head and 36 smooth
teeth inside the short beak. The fossil consists of 12
sections of cervical vertebrae, 11 sections of spine
vertebrae and 23 sectionsof caudal vertebrae. The bird's
tail is 27.3 centimeters long, or about 50 percent of its
total length.

Ji said Wednesday that several factors have lead to their
conclusion. The Jinfengopteryx elegans' hind legs are
longer than its forelimbs while the German bird has hind
legs and forelimbs ofalmost the same length. Also their
bid has more and taller teeth than the one discovered in

Based on their research on 205 characteristics of
Jinfengopteryx elegans, Ji and his colleagues concluded
that the Chinese bird and the German bird belong to
species of sisterly relations.

Ji said, the fossil of Jinfengopteryx elegans also provide
evidence for the cursorial hypothesis about the origin of
avian flight.

There are now two theories about the origin of bird
flight, a hot topic for paleontologists around the globe.
One is the cursorial hypothesis, which says that birds
obtained flying ability in the process of running and
leaping. The arboreal hypothesis says that birds acquired
the unique skill of flutteringand soaring first through
gliding down from tall trees.