RESEARCHERS in Germany (德國) have unearthed a new species of flying dinosaur that could hold vital clues as to how modernday birds evolved from their reptilian ancestors.
For more than a century and a half since its discovery in 1861, Archaeopteryx – a small, feathered dinosaur around the size of a crow that lived in marshland around 150 million
years ago – was widely considered to be the oldest flying bird.
Palaeontologists examined rock formations in the German region of Bavaria, home to nearly all known Archaeopteryx specimens. They came across a petrified wing, which the team
initially assumed to be of the same species.
“There are similarities, but after comparisons with Archaeopteryx and other, geologically younger birds, its fossil remains suggested that we were dealing with a somewhat more
derived bird,” said lead study author Oliver Rauhut.
They called the new bird-like dinosaur Alcmonavis poeschli – partly from its discoverer, excavation leader Roland Poeschl, and said it was “the most bird-like bird discovered
from the Jurassic”.
The new specimen had more notches in its wing bones, which points to muscles that would have allowed it to actively flap its wings.
The discovery is likely to fuel debate among dinosaur experts over whether birds and dinosaurs developed the ability to fl ap their wings from earlier gliding species.
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 23 May 2019)
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