Sunday, June 18, 2006

All modern birds likely originate from waterfowl

A new study proposes that all modern birds may descend from an ancestor that closely resembled today's duck.

Evidence of the species was found in mudstone slabs in China's Gansu province and are much older than any previously-dated specimens.

The ancient bird had webbed feet and skeletal structure similar to modern waterfowl.

A reconstructed Early Cretaceous (~110-115 million year old) amphibious bird Gansus yumenensis, found in lake mud in Changma Basin of northwestern Gansu province, China. Researchers on June 15, 2006 said this is the oldest example of a family ancestral to today's birds. REUTERS/Mark A. Klingler/CMNH, via Science-AAAS/Handout from Yahoo News.
A reconstructed Early Cretaceous (~110-115 million year old) amphibious bird Gansus yumenensis, found in lake mud in Changma Basin of northwestern Gansu province, China. Researchers on June 15, 2006 said this is the oldest example of a family ancestral to today's birds. REUTERS/Mark A. Klingler/CMNH, via Science-AAAS/Handout from Yahoo News.


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